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This information was sent by Suri Weinberg-Linsky from the Weston Community Coalition, regarding the huge expansion planned for the rail corridor.
I wanted to introduce myself and touch base with regards to the Air Rail Link and GO Transit upgrade that will be taking place along the Georgetown Corridor which is just west of your location. As you may or may not be aware, the announcement of the link to Pearson from Union Station was made back in 2003 and in 2005 was scheduled to go forward and be built along with the GO upgrade. Our community of Weston, one of the oldest villages in Toronto, found out how it would devastate our neighbourhood: closing all our level crossings effectively cutting the residential side off from the business main street including our Farmers' Market and by increasing the train traffic from the current 65 or so trains per day to over 200. Based on the announcement and potential devastation, we formed a community group called the Weston Community Coalition. We made some inroads into the Environmental Assessment process back in 2005 but that all changed last year with the new EA's for all transportation projects which will fast track these two projects and not allow for full assessment. Now, in 2009, we have found out that it won't just be the 140 diesel trains (which we object to) plus a few extra GO trains but will end up being over 350 trains per day by the time they do the Air Rail Link and the full upgrade to the GO service. It will effectively become the most heavily used corridor in all of North America and we believe the world! All trains will use diesel locomotives, not electric. We have been told that electrification is not possible and to move on. We keep pressing to find out why. Which leads me to why I am emailing you. While Dufferin Grove is not directly adjacent to the track line as we are, your [neighbourhood] will suffer during the season due to the extra diesel fumes and particulate matter hanging in the air. With over 200 diesel trains per day as an immediate projection, we can only imagine what our air will look like and smell like on a daily basis and what affect it will have on our 30 year old market not to mention our daily lives. The Georgetown Corridor is heavily populated by people from all walks of life, rich and poor and all deserve to know what kind of environment they will be living in in the years to come. By 2014, 5 short years from now, if Metrolinx has built the 2 systems they are insistent on proceeding on, we will have somewhere between 364 to 414 trains per day all running on diesel -- currently, we have under 70 trains daily.
We have begun to study, ourselves, how many children will be affected by these trains along the corridor as we have more than 75 schools within the catchment area. This is not including the Catholic, private or daycares. We have asked TDSB for asthma studies for each of the schools as well.
Why diesel, you might ask? Because they are cheaper than installing electrification and having to purchase new rolling stock. So our provincial government, who claims to be 'green' and 'environmental' would have all of us believe that by adding more diesel trains to service the GO Transit community, we are taking cars off the road and therefore are 'greening' our public transit. The Air Rail Link (ARL) is not public transit, however, and will be run by a private consortium similar to that of the 407 highway and in fact is the same company. They will charge whatever they wish and only a few stops will be made along the route -- not as public transit but as a private, for-profit elitist rail link for business class travellers. The ARL is expected to run between 140 to 160 trains per day -- the cars to be used are retrofitted 55-year old Budd cars with newer Tier 3 engines (6 engines per set of trains).
Please visit our website and get the details on this situation. We are asking all the communities, the ones that surround you, to also get involved and on board, so to speak. We have met with a variety of people in Brockton Village, Roncy, Parkdale and Liberty Village. All will be devastated if this rail corridor becomes as heavily travelled as we expect.
I can be reached at this email or at 416-241-5801. Our website is www.westoncommunitycoalition.ca and our Chair can be reached via this website. We would be very happy to meet with your group at any time or send you information that you could send out if that is better for you. We are hoping to get more people especially from your catchment area to become involved as we are concerned that they are unaware of the situation. The Councillors and MPP's in your ridings are aware of what is happening but have been silent because their constituents have been so.
With best regards,