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Citizen-Z Cavan Young's 2004 film about the zamboni crisis





March 24, 2009, 1 e-mail

L. D. wrote:

Hi everybody,

You may be wondering what is going on with the Metrolinx rail project that was the topic of so much discussion on the listserve for a while. A few of us who were concerned decided to meet and discuss the issue further and see what we could do about it. We think it is a serious issue for our community, especially because of the potential pollution from diesel trains, the noise, the disruption of the plans for the railpath(bike path that is planned for the tracks). We are hopeful that some good might come out of it, maybe a stop near us, maybe electrification of the trains instead of diesel- but we know that in order for that to happen we need to continue to make our voices heard. There are lots of community groups alongside the rail tracks that are organizing now and we think we should be part of those efforts.

So after a couple of meetings, we are at the point of updating everyone on the listserve of what's been done so far and seeing if there are some more concerned people who want to get involved. We have organized two meetings- one is a small meeting with metrolinx to gather more information on what they are planning. Below this email is a list of questions that we plan on asking metrolinx, if you don't see the question you want answered there, please email me with it and I'll make sure it is on the agenda. The minutes from the metrolinx session will be emailed out to this listserve afterwards. The second meeting we have planned is a public community meeting with Adam Giambrone, our city councillor and the chair of the TTC. The purpose of the meeting with Adam Giambrone will be to inform us (Brockton triangle) of what is going on with the project and to give him a chance to respond to some of our concerns. The public meting with Giambrone about Metrolinx will be on April 15th at Mary McCormick so pencil it in now- flyers will soon follow!

So, as you can see, things are starting to happen, if you are interested in getting more involved with planning and organizing around this issue- please email me and let me know. If you are concerned about the issue but don't have the time or energy to be organizing but would like to help out with flyering for the Giambrone meeting- email me too. If you are wondering what all the fuss is about.. come to the meeting with Giambrone and find out. Expect updates to come along to the listserve frequently and of course email at any point with questions, comments etc.

Thanks, L. D.

(questions for the small info gathering session with metrolinx are below)

• General Overview of Air Rail Link/South Georgetown Go Expansion 1. What are the goals of this project? 2. What is the planning process and timeline for this project? 3. What is involved in an Environmental Assessment? 4. What is the total estimated project budget? How much of that is for the Rail Link alone? 5. What new tracks are being built? How many? Who is paying for those tracks? 6. How will the Rail Link work? Who will own the tracks? Who will own the trains? And who is running them? 7. Has a contract already been signed with a private partner, SNC Lavalin? How was that private partner chosen? And how will the EA affect that contract? 8. What is the business model for the Rail Link? What will be its cost to the traveler, and how has this been justified? 9. How many trains will run a day on the rail link, and how often will they run? How many passengers do you expect to be on each train, on average?

• Electric vs. Diesel 1. Metrolinx' plan to use diesel trains has raised a great deal of controversy. What is the rationale for going with diesel rather than electric? 2. Who has chosen the electric trains, Metrolinx? Or SNC Lavalin? Have any contracts been signed with SNC Lavalin that bind it to either diesel or electric trains? 3. What are the cost savings you expect going with diesel vs. electric? Where are these savings gained? 4. Is Metrolinx considering starting the Rail link with electric trains? 5. If not, how can we ensure that electric trains are used immediately on the rail link? 6. Why is there an intention to go electric in 15 years? 7. What is the estimated cost of electrification in 15 years? Where will this budget coming from? What about the waste of diesel cars that are still operable? What contractual/legal assurances do we have that these tracks will be electrified? 8. How does this project benefit the environment? 9. What data are you using to estimate the health impact of the diesel trains? 10. How are you comparing the benefits of removing cars vs. adding these trains? 11. What are the expectations re noise? 12. In a recent letter to the Roncessvales Macdonnel Residents' Assocation, you mentioned some pollution and noise mitigation strategies that you are considering. What are those? 13. The Weston Coalition has produced numbers arguing that the total number of diesel trains running through this rail corridor will not decrease pollution even if they remove many cars from the roads. In stead, they will shift that pollution to the rail corridor and the homes and schools which line it. What is your response to the Weston Coalition's numbers?

  • Our neighbourhood

1. This plan calls for well over 300 diesel trains a day to run through our neighbourhood. How has the health and vitality of our neighbourhood factored into your plans? 2. How can we help you consider the health and vitality of our neighbourhood into your plans?

  • Train stops in our neighbourhood

1. On what basis are the decisions made re stops? 2. Has there been any consideration for a stop at Queen/Dufferin? 3. How do you know that this is the best approach for the GTA? 4. How do we best advocate for a stop in our neighbourhood?

  • Bike Path

1. How are bike paths factoring into the plan in the Brockton area? 2. Is the Rail Path going to be built from Dundas to Strachan? 3. On which side of the railway is the Rail Path planned? 4. How would it be accessed from our neighbourhood?

  • Safety and noise abatement

1. What are the current safety standards for building new rail way lines through residential communities? How far must homes be set back from the tracks? 2. What are the standards you are working with on this project with regards to the safety of adjacent residential neighbourhoods, particularly when it comes to rail accidents? 3. When and at what times during the day will construction take place? How long do you expect construction to take? 4. What type of disruption do you expect for our neighbourhood during construction? What efforts have you made to mitigate the impact of construction?

  • Metrolinx's consultation process

1. What are the legal obligations of Metrolinx with regards to public consultation on this project? 2. Have you met those legal obligations? If so, how? 3. Do you think you have done an adequate job of informing the neighbourhoods lining the tracks about this project? 4. What proportion of the population along the railway is aware of the initiative? 5. Are you satisfied with the numbers that have attended? 6. Are you satisfied with your outreach on the topic? 7. How can Metrolinx assist us in raising awareness about this project in our local neighbourhood and beyond?

Content last modified on March 25, 2009, at 09:36 PM EST