WCC Update

29 August 2009: The Toronto Board of Health has submitted a fairly scathing condemnation of the Metrolinx plans and the so-called Environmental Assessment. Metrolinx’s only response was to question the Medical Officer of Health’s assertion that many of the residents along the corridor are of lower income status and have lower health outcomes as a result.

The Toronto School Board commissioned a peer review of the study, and it too, found it seriously lacking. The school board is concerned about the health of the 30,000 children who attend one of 76 schools along the corridor. Their review suggested that Metrolinx was seriously underestimating the pollution these trains will cause, and was underestimating the health risks.

In addition, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Toronto Environmental Alliance, Toronto City Council and Transport 2000 Ontario, have all expressed concern over the health impacts resultant from this project’s increase in diesel rail traffic, and its effects on air quality and local residents.

The Clean Train Coalition will be presenting its findings and report to the Minister of the Environment on Monday. A press conference will be held at Queen’s Park to present the report to the press, and show them the thousands of on-line and written petitions collected by the Coalition over the summer.

The Weston Community Coalition will also present its objection to the Assessment to the Minister on Monday. We are concerned about the legality of the process, the failure to properly consult with us, the real stakeholders in the project, the failure to accurately report on the pollution and its effects, etc. We are also making a significant statement concerning the appropriateness of the project itself – the use of a private company to provide an elite service, the failure to connect those west of the airport to the airport, the failure to stop at places the city has demanded in its Official Plan, the failure to regulate the fares, and of course the failure to even consider electric trains, etc. The document will be available on the website after Monday.

The fight is not over yet. The Clean Train coalition, in conjunction with neighbourhoods along the corridor, is planning a major public event for Saturday Sept 26. We will advise you further as plans unfold.

Mike Sullivan
Weston Community Coalition