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





February 2010, 22 e-mails.

February 1, 2010
D. C. wrote:

Dear Tony et al.,

Thanks Tony. Your quick response to my email is greatly appreciated, however, handing us a petition is hardly the 'representation' that your constituents are looking for.

Ontarions are looking for a hero - someone who will stand up for what is right.

Every resident along the railway corridor understands how important economically this rail expansion is to the Province and to the city of Toronto. We just don't want our health and our quality of life to suffer.

Electrify now. Be that hero.

J. W. wrote:

Thanks for following up on this

V. G. wrote:

That petition doesn't even have anything to do with the Davenport Diamond grade separation nor the Newmarket/Barrie line exspanion EA. I don't think he even read your email before replying.

E. L. wrote:

Re: Community Feedback regarding Air Monitoring Stations in the GTA

Dear Minister Gerretsen, Minister Wynne, Councillors, Mayors, and MPs,

I find the very idea of air monitoring stations, situated next to inner city parks, schools, hospitals, and homes, to be morally reprehensible, unnecessarily expensive, and scientifically illogical. Therefore, I support that no air monitoring stations be built, and that the rail corridor be electrified, for the following thirty reasons:

1)Tier 4, ‘clean diesel’ has not been developed yet for commercial use, and our taxpayers’ money is going to fund expensive research and development for ‘clean diesel’ rather than toward the electrification of the rail system, in which there is no particulate matter given off by the locomotives in the immediate rail corridor.

2)The ultrafine particulate matter of diesel is of growing concern by epidemiologists as it travels farther in the air shed, to spread over greater surface area.

3)Also, ultrafine particulate matter from diesel has been proven to be particularly toxic, as it penetrates deeper into the organs to accumulate directly in the lungs, kidneys, and liver as a highly toxic burden.

4)Tier 4 ‘Clean diesel’ has even a greater concentration of ultrafine particulate matter than Tier 2 diesel, and so is of great concern to the scientific and medical research communities, as it appears to be absorbed directly into the body, with no possible, physical filtration by the upper respiratory system.

5)Metrolinx is not employing the Precautionary Principle of Environmental Planning when designing this project as diesel, as the burden of proof should not rest with monitoring the affects of air quality after the damage has been done to the adjacent community.

6)Metrolinx is incurring multiple costs to use diesel at any measure so that it can re-employ its Lakeshore Tier 2 diesel trains on the Georgetown corridor, after the Lakeshore corridor is electrified due to election promises by Dalton McGuinty. This violates the rights of taxpayers’ to use their funds in their best public interest.

7)This additional cost potentially includes platinum catalytic converters on the trains, switching them from Tier 2, to Tier 4, which doubles the cost of the diesel locomotives. What is the cost of a new electric locomotive in comparison to these additional costs for retrofitting diesel locomotives?

8)Has there been a cost-benefit ratio done of diesel to electric, including operational costs? The cost of electric trains will be recouped within 10 years.

9)The Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health estimates the cost of air pollution to be $2.2 billion per annum to the Toronto taxpayer- why is this corridor going to add to the cost of OHIP, when there is a tried and true solution of electric trains?

10) The Georgetown corridor has the potential for three times the amount of traffic of the Lakeshore corridor, and when the Newmarket corridor is factored in, four to five times. Therefore, the Lakeshore/Newmarket corridor should be electrified first.

11) The pollution from the hybrid UPRL diesel-electric multiple units should be added to the air monitoring analysis, as SNC-Lavalin has not committed to electric trains. These trains are not designed yet, so the data of their emissions have not been included in the Environmental Project Review.

12) Air monitoring stations will be located close to children’s playgrounds, including Sorauren, MacGregor and Krickahn Parks, and the playing field of West Toronto Collegiate, and directly beside the West Toronto Railpath.

13) Children’s lungs are particularly vulnerable to particulate matter, and scientific research has shown that their lung capacity is impeded by diesel emissions.

14) As ‘clean diesel’ is hypothetical, there are no predictive analytical tools for its affect on health, and in fact, its analysis may be beyond the scope of current scientific measurement as it is an unknown quantity.

15) Also, there is a direct correlation between learning disabilities, air pollution, and noise, and this rail corridor runs beside 76 schools.

16) The air monitoring stations violates the City of Toronto bylaws for the Pedestrian Charter of Rights, and the Protection of Residential Neighbourhoods, and the Constitutional Right to Enjoyment of Property.

17) As the Minister of Environment views the air monitoring stations as a necessary precautionary measure, there has been validated research providing legitimate concern about the diesel emissions from these trains from the provincial and federal Minister of the Environments.

18) Air monitoring stations have a mechanical intake device to alert Metrolinx when there has been a ‘Bad Air Day’, upon which they notify Metrolinx to have a board meeting, and send a report to the Minister of the Environment to tell the community of their findings well after the fact. This slow response time puts these communities at risk.

19) As the wind blows from west to east, back into the City of Toronto, the emissions will affect the even more densely populated area of the city.

20) The air quality in the west end of Toronto has some of the worst air quality in Canada. It located near the Toronto City Centre Airport, which is attempting to expand by 77%, is within 10 nautical miles of Pearson Airport, and is bordered by the Gardiner Expressway.

21) In fact, the Metrolinx EPR proves that the air quality in the west end ofToronto is already above permissible standards for particulate matter. Ironically, if the air monitoring stations were already in place, they would prove this fact.

22) In addition, the air quality, and noise levels, in the west end are going to become even worse due to the ongoing, documented expansion of traffic at the TCCA, Pearson Airport and the Gardiner Expressway. Porter Airlines has gone from 26,000 to 750,000 passengers in three years.

23) Diesel rail traffic will add significant pollution to an area already under a significant number of smog alerts for air quality during the summer months.

24) By adding polluting rail corridors to the west end of Toronto, Metrolinx is denying the rights of residential neighbourhoods to have environmental protection, and enable 905 exurban growth at the expense of 416 communities. This project also contradicts sustainable principles which protect farmlands from development, and enlivens the downtown core.

25) By increasing the toxicity of air in the 416 corridor, people will vacate the city and move to the suburbs. This contradicts sustainable transit development initiatives to intensify, protect, and positively develop existing, established neighbourhoods, rather than negatively affecting them through noise, vibration and pollution.

26) By electrifying the corridor, Metrolinx will be able to be inclusive of 416 neighbourhoods by servicing their residents, and add value to them through intelligent, transit oriented development, rather than poisoning their air.

27) Electric trains will provide better service for those going to the 905, while not putting the 416 communities adjacent to the rail corridor at health risk.

28) The final cost of the air monitoring stations’ construction, time employed in constant monitoring, and personnel enlisted to provide reports to the Minister of the Environment, as well as the technical development of ‘clean diesel’, and the design of platinum catalytic converters, could go directly toward the electrification of the corridor, to make these costs unnecessary.

29) Ultimately, there is a chance for sustainable expansion in both the 905 and 416 by protecting and servicing all existing and future neighbourhoods by electric transit, thus doubling the efficacy of the transit system to serve a far greater population through access points along the corridor, and also to future subdivisions.

30) These air monitoring stations are a visual reminder to those who live along this corridor that there health is at risk because of diesel traffic, and that their rights are viewed as lesser than the rights of commuters. Parents will be truly irate thinking that these air quality monitoring stations are located near where their children are playing, monitoring air which is damaging their health.

I am genuinely concerned that because of the increasing air pollution in Toronto, particularly in the west end due to the nexus of transit corridors, that Toronto will become like New York and ‘a nice place to visit, but I would never live there’. I am particularly distressed that all of these transit corridors are fossil fuel dependent, and that there is yet another one of these corridors which will be built using obsolete diesel technology, when electric is the obvious choice to protect the health of all those in the GTA.

This is transit infrastructure, that once built as diesel, is unlikely ever to be upgraded as electric, and this includes the choice of diesel multiple units for Air Rail Link for the Pan Am Games. The logical time is now to ‘Build it once, right and electric’, rather than incurring additional and egregious costs for air monitoring stations, scientific development of 'clean diesel', catalytic converters, and diesel hybrid engines.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and please work with your constituents in the twelve neighbourhoods along the corridor to protect our present and future health.

February 2, 2010
C. K. wrote:

I've been thinking......I really love the updates........and am really appreciate for them and your work in sending them!

I have a wish......to have a different name for the group....maybe I need to ask some questions before I proceed....

Is it called Hook Ave Pile Drivers because the majority of people on this list are from Hook Ave or because of the pile driving taking place so close to Hook Ave?

Either way, I would love to see a more inclusive name, somehow reflecting a more diverse community. If the name reflects the pile driving taking place so close to Hook Ave, I still wish for a different name, one that reflects what we want. Hmm, something like Quiet Pile Drivers. Or Quiet Pile Drivers Please. Or......

I'm also with the Clean Train Coalition and we want clean trains: electric rather than diesel. My understanding is that this expansion is going ahead one way or another. Eventually, we will get electric trains. Just don't know when. Therefore, the pile driving is necessary to do the expansion. If there is quiet technology, it needs to be used. That is what this group is about, right? So this is what I'd like to see reflected in the name. Incorporating it in the name will help get our message across. What are your thoughts?

February 3, 2010
SRA wrote:

Thanks for your thoughts and wishes....

The mailing list is called Hook Ave Pile Drivers but the complaint which went forward to the CTA was made by Glenn Stalker on behalf of the West Toronto Diamond Community Group -- which is what we're called.

This group is solely concerned, at this stage, with the noise and vibration of the pile drivers, although many of our members also support and participate in the Clean Train Coalition.

SRA wrote:

No kidding!

Thanks for all you've done.

It would be really great to get some coverage of this outcome.... if you can generate any coverage, terrific!

C. S. wrote:

Great news Sharon. Yours, the leader's group and the entire community's hard work has been inspiring! Well done!

Cheri released this immediate statement and forwarded to the press:

A victory for the West Diamond citizens!

Tonight, the federal court denied GO the ability to bypass the federal CTA decision that stated pile-driving was causing undue harm to residents of the West Toronto Diamond.

"GO loses their game of using tax dollars to go after tax payers," says DiNovo.

DiNovo calls on GO to stop the noise all up the line and to settle damage claims without wasting more tax dollars.

More to follow.

Again, congratulations!

SRA wrote:



It's going to be as quiet as it can possibly be -- given that it is a grade separation and there will be some piledriving, of course.

We don't know yet if GO's request for "leave to appeal" will be granted but, for the moment, the news is very very good.

David Baker's costs were also granted by the court, for which we should all be grateful....

As I said -- Yahoo!!!

February 4, 2010
C. S. wrote:

I am attaching Cheri's official release here. It is being sent to local and provincial press,

E. R. wrote:

Dear all, Here is my latest posting on my blog at railroadedbymetrolinx.blogspot.com celebrating your victory. Congratulations, and great work to all!

M. R. wrote:

This is wonderful news, but what impact does it have on the practices of Metrolinx, whose piledrivers are sending shudders through my house on Indian Grove three blocks away from the site.. The china is rattling on the shelves as I type this. Somebody should have these social criminals arrested and prosecuted for flagrantly violating the law..

SRA wrote:

There have been many complaints about noise today, in part, no doubt, because we know that the Interim Stay expired last night at 6 p.m. and that, going forward, GO has to comply with the CTA Ruling.

GO Transit says that they are currently doing the permitted "chasing" with diesel explosion pile drivers.

They say that, because the vibro equipment cannot complete pile installation, they have to finish up each with "about 10 minutes" worth of diesel explosion pile driving. GO says there are three piles to finish up today.

GO also says that all of the required mitigation measures are in place - shrouds, etc

In other words, GO says it is in compliance with the CTA Ruling.

In spite of the noise and vibration, if GO is complying with the CTA Ruling as they indicate they are, overall things are going to be much better BUT it is a major project and it's just never going to be silent. I think that so long as the CTA ruling is complied with, we're going to be better off than we were or would have been otherwise in the future.

Of course, as far as I know, GO is still asking for "leave" to appeal the ruling in Federal Court.

Someone in the leader's group is going to prepare a "primer" that will allow everyone to understand the ruling and what's allowed and what isn't -- we can all then know what to expect and keep watch on what's happening.

February 5, 2010
K. M. wrote:

Thanks for this clarification and thanks for the offer to create the primer.

I have photo taken yesterday of the pile driver at noon with the shroud hanging off the equipment- that is not properly in place - while the pile driving was happening directly behind the homes on Osler.

I sent a complaint to Tina Melotti with date and times of intrusive driving due to noise and vibration. She chose not to respond.

I APPRECIATE THE MANY EFFORTS OF THE GROUP with a caution that if yesterday is any indication we need to be attentive still

D. wrote:

You'll want to buy today's Toronto Star. There's a great editorial, Relief for the Junction.

The Star recommends that GO abide by the CTA ruling and use quieter methods. This support of the community is important and welcome.

I'd suggest you draw the editorial to the attention of all of your neighbours and to your elected officials and post it wherever you can -- post links online in blogs you know and post hard copies on bulletin boards in the neighbourhood.

You can see it here.

Relief for the Junction

February 6, 2010
SRA wrote:

There were several complaints about piledriving taking place Friday afternoon after 4 p.m.

We checked today with GO Transit and have been informed by the President and CEO of Metrolinx, Mr. R. Prichard, that the Giken Hammer was being used. Under the CTA Ruling, the Giken Hammer may be used until 7 p.m. Monday to Friday.


February 19, 2010
A. S. wrote:

So to be clear, Minister Wynne is ok torturing us with the constant noise and vibration so that her grandchild can have a comfy ride into the City? Maybe she would like to know that my children, who live in the City, would like to be able to play outside without the deafening sound of pile drivers. Maybe she would like to know I wanted to enjoy my comfy kitchen my family worked hard to build and not watch my kitchen floor crack from the vibrations. I am so glad Minister Wynne is so considerate of her family's needs at the expense of mine.

February 22, 2010
D. wrote:

For the community's information, the attached document provides a summary of the pile driving methods and how the ruling requires them to be used.

February 25, 2010
D. G. wrote:

Today the vibration was absolutely unbearable. Are they still using the proper equipment? Our house felt like an earthquake all day. It was actually worse than the diesel explosions.

G. S. wrote:

GO have said on their website that they are starting to install sheet piles using the PTC Vibro. This work has been cleared for this week and next week in Zone D. This may be what you are experiencing.

They have not used any sheet piling on the site prior to this that we are aware of, so none of us know what to expect. The sheet piling is not supposed to last too long. My understanding is that it can’t be easily installed with the diesel hammers.

I hope this is somewhat helpful.

February 26, 2010
From: Clean Train Coalition

The opportunity to make electric trains a reality in the Georgetown South Corridor is still very much alive. Come celebrate the first anniversary of the Clean Train Coalition and find out how you can help bend the rails to electrify the Georgetown Corridor!

When: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 7 pm

Where: Gladstone Hotel Melody Bar, 1214 Queen Street West, Toronto

Music by Kitgut Stringband, Rob Joy, Michael Johnston & The Gentlemen Collars Remarks by Mayor David Miller at 8 pm

L. B. wrote:

I'm actually in the first block of houses on Annette at Indian Rd. I was wondering if the smell I've noticed this winter that permeates the neighbourhood has to do with their construction. It might be just the diesel trains, but it's at the junction of the Junction. Is it safe?

Content last modified on February 27, 2010, at 11:02 PM EST