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May 28, 2009, 7 e-mail

R. wrote:

I don't understand how this is a victory since these "improvements" were dismissed by the West Diamond Group/Hook Ave in past meetings with GO. Now they propose the same thing and it's a 'victory'. I understand that there is a date now - June 8, but if it was seen by the community as not a solution, why is it a victory now? It's not enough. Unless there is an strategy on how to deal with it, it seems more like stalling on the part of GO. I heard Cheri on CBC this morning and I appreciate her saying we have reason to be skeptical, but that means we have to wait until June 8 to say it's not enough and then listen to GO grandstand again.

Anyway, the interviewer on the CBC was good at describing how bad the pile drivers are. I hope there is a strategy on how to deal with the piledriving after June 8 because we all know and have already said it's not enough.

S. A. wrote:

I'd like to confirm for everyone affected by the West Toronto Diamond grade separation project -- the noise, vibration and, increasingly, dust and dirt -- that this is not over.

We applaud Cheri's efforts in meeting privately with GO to affect change but the mitigation she was promised -- five months after the community began to complain publicly and loudly -- is not nearly enough.

It's a bandaid on a gaping wound to our community.

The West Diamond Leaders Group -- which represents the entire community -- is filing a formal complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency which has the power and authority to enforce whatever it deems reasonable to protect the community, including an injunction to stop construction.

There's a community meeting East of the Tracks on June 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Davenport Perth Neighbourhood Centre, 1900 Davenport Road, M6N 1B7. Please attend for more information and the chance to make an impact statement.

There will be a community meeting west of the tracks the following week but anyone may attend the East of the Tracks meeting. Stay tuned for more information about the west of the tracks meeting.

Meanwhile, be aware that, as a community, we are benefiting from the support of not just Cheri -- who has worked hard on our behalf -- but many others, particularly Gerard Kennedy, MP for Parkdale High Park. Our municipal representatives, including Gord Perks, Adam Giambrone and Cesar Palacio, are also interested and aware.

S. R. wrote:

Thank you for this email and we missed you at our meeting held at our Consitituencey Office last night. Those who met in my office last night saw it as a victory no matter how small (50% less noise is something).

The date and the promise in writing is something we can hold them to on June 8th remembering as I said that it may very well not be enough.

The Press is to hold GO’s feet to the fire. If no one knows about the promise they most certainly won’t keep it. CBC has been our ally in this and we need to use them to continue the demands. I’m sure they’ll be interested if GO doesn’t reduce the noise by 50%.

I have received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from the community and I will continue to monitor this and will continue to pressure GO to make this as satisfactory to the community as possible.

We’re having another Community Meeting planned for June 10th. Please call Susan at my CO to discuss venue etc.

N. A. wrote:

I would say getting GO to budge at all has been a tremendous victory.

At the 'open house' at the library a couple of months ago, I asked some questions about noise mitigation techniques and at the time, GO seemed very hesitant about even looking into that.

No, it's not everything that was asked for. But as someone who works from home every day, this is still great news. These concessions look a whole lot better than no concessions. And who knows, maybe 50% less noise will actually make a huge difference -- I don't know.

This isn't to say that we shouldn't continue to pursue every option on the table, including whatever is available via the CTA.

M. F. wrote:

I'll only add one important point. Our office met with GO several days ago where they shared these same noise mitigation plans with us. They advised that up to 50% of the noise could be reduced. Although we all want to be optimistic, it would probably be prudent to keep the cork on the champagne until these measures are implemented and we hear the actual results for ourselves.

G. S. wrote:

I’ll add my bit, as I’ve done a lot of the noise research for the Leader’s Group. I hope this provides some insight into a situation where the perception of 50% is probably not the same as the perception of ˝.

The 50% number is a bit misleading. It is certainly a start. However, if the noise was at “10” prior to June 8, it will not be at “5” after June 8.

Our ears react to sound pressure in an exponential, as opposed to linear, way. You are all probably aware, sound pressure, and hence loudness, is measured in decibels (dB). As sound pressure increases by 10 dB, our ears hear that sound as 2X as loud.

Currently, the sound right at source (ie. the pile drivers) is ~ 115 dB. That is 8X more sound pressure than is considered non-harmful, the safe level being < 85 dB. A person with unprotected ears can be exposed to an 85 dB environment for 8 hours before hearing loss may start. With unprotected ears, a person can be exposed to a 115 dB environment for 30 seconds before hearing damage may begin. You can see the exponential nature of our ear’s response just by considering those two times.

It is universally accepted that sound levels of 75 dB and less are completely safe.

If the noise mitigation stuff all works, they hope to shave off a consistent 10 dB at the source. That would be a decrease of 50% of the current sound pressure, although it would still leave a 105 dB environment, 4X louder than the relative safety of 85 dB. For reference, hearing loss to unprotected ears may begin in 4 minutes at 105 dB.

So, the noise mitigation can actually reduce the current sound pressure by 10 dB, which can be fairly said is a 50% reduction, and still leave us with a 100+ dB noise source. What does that translate to? It won’t be as loud but it will still be damn loud. The sound mitigation efforts will have no effect on the vibration caused by the pile drivers.

The Environmental Assessment for this project refers consistently to an 85 dB environment. If the project had been undertaken as an 85 dB environment, as promised and signed off in the EA, GO would likely never have had the pleasure of meeting all of us, nor us them.

K. W. wrote:

Thank you G. for correcting the supposed hopeful announcements of GO Transit with facts about noise levels. They must think this community only needs to be fed sweetened lies in order to be satisfied. I am very grateful for Cheri's commitment to this issue, but I think she declared a victory for way too little....even if they did meet the deadline.

Please still fill out those impact statements. The CTA formal complaint is our only hope --- not the community newsletters that haven't brought us anything significant.

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Content last modified on May 29, 2009, at 08:58 PM EST