Meeting #1

 Wednesday, September 26, 2017 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Blessed Pope Paul VI Catholic School | 270 Laughton Ave

Meeting Summary

Participants

Deborah Annibalini, Corso Italia Business Improvement Area
Matt Park, Davenport Village Community Association
Sam DeCaria, i2 Developments
Laura Zeglen, Options for Davenport
Claire Andrews, Police Community Partnership, 11/12 Division
Rose Capocci, St. Clair Gardens Business Improvement Area
Eric Francis, St. Clair Gardens Business Improvement Area
Moni Molla, St. Clair Gardens Business Improvement Area

Observer

Anthony Ferrari, Councillor Cesar Palacio’s Office

Project Staff

Stella Gustavson, City of Toronto
Michael Hain, City of Toronto
Ed Presta, City of Toronto
Robyn Shyllit, City of Toronto
Laurence Lui, TTC
Richard Borbridge, Metrolinx
Manuela Istrate, Metrolinx
Shannon McNeill, Metrolinx

Project Consultants

Brendan Agnew-Iler, Argyle
Betty Kim, Argyle

1. Opening Remarks and Overview

Brendan Agnew-Iler welcomed participants to the first St. Clair Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the proposed St. Clair-Old Weston SmartTrack Station and the St. Clair Avenue West Transportation Master Plan (TMP). Stella Gustavson, Shannon McNeill and James Francis presented an overview of the new St. Clair-Old Weston SmartTrack Station and Ed Presta presented an overview of the St. Clair Avenue West TMP.

2. Facilitated Discussion

A summary of the discussion is provided below. Questions are noted with Q, responses are noted by A, and comments are noted by C. Responses were provided by staff from the City, Metrolinx and TTC.

The following questions were posed to the group for consideration.

What issues or challenges may be encountered with the introduction of the new stations?

C: St. Clair is the most multi-ethnic area in the country. It has become more developed and gentrified over the years. Neighbourhoods have transformed over the last 10 years. More young families are coming in. Needs of the community are changing. This project will serve them well.

C: The development of this project will be difficult. The last construction project took 3 years. It was a nightmare.

C: Davenport Village is massive now. New condo developments are happening. With new homes, more people are walking on the streets.

Q: Will there be property acquisitions? Will there be property incentives for those whose property will be taken? Is there a clear picture of which properties are going to be acquired?
A:
Property needs for the new station have not yet been finalized. Design work, which will give a clearer understanding of property needs, is underway.

C: In the Davenport area, there are going to be a large number of commuters. You must understand the scale of development that is occurring. I strongly encourage you to reach out the community to understand this reality. You’re going to have a few thousand people there, and they are going to want transit access.
A:
This is being considered as part of the station area planning which includes gaining a full understand the existing and future conditions in the community.

C: We want the infrastructure done ahead of time.

Q: Is SmartTrack different than the GO train? Is this a dedicated different train? Will the UP Express train stop at this station? What is the travel time from this station to Union station?
A:
SmartTrack trains will be same as the GO trains. St Clair-Old Weston Station is not planned to be a UP Express stop. The travel time to Union station is expected to be about 15 to 17 minutes.

Q: The GO train from Kitchener would stop there?
A:
Yes.

C: This area is ripe for gentrification – this project would be a catalyst. Accessible, pedestrian-friendly transportation would be a huge plus for developers. To them, this would be an opportunity for redevelopment of the entire area. But what developers need is a specific concrete timeline – when things are happening.

C: Look to the future. What you are building now, make it better. We need to be sure that things are moving forward. It is great time to be in this community, but it needs it to be positively moving forward. If this is not built within 10 years, this will not be appropriate for the area and who we are.

What will the new stations mean for the future of your community and the transit network?

C: Good things to come if it goes according to the plan. Hopefully it will cut down on the congestion that the St. Clair area currently experiences.

Q: Has the environmental assessment been completed for this area?
A:
Environmental assessments are being conducted for both the new station and the TMP. Environmental studies are now being undertaken for the station, with the official Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) anticipated to commence in mid-2018. We are nearing the end of the environmental assessment process for the TMP. The next steps of the TMP will be property consultation. For this process, we will be sending letters to impacted property owners, who will all have an opportunity to meet with the City to discuss the impact on their property and how to move forward.

C: Please find a way to avoid operating in silos. For our community members, we have been dealing with the Davenport Diamond project. Get it done simultaneously with a timeline.
A: Work on the new station and the TMP is being coordinated so support this objective. The intention is to allow for delivery of both projects, including construction, to be integrated.

What issues or challenges may be encountered with the introduction of the new station in your community?

C: People will not want to come to the area to shop because of the impact on local business because of construction.

Q: How far away is the nearest streetcar stop from the new station?
A: Approximately 50 metres.

Q: Why is the station north of St. Clair?
A: There is a grade separation to the south of St. Clair and a bridge over St. Clair, limiting where the tracks and station can be placed.

Q: Will the tracks be widened?
A: Track widening will be done south of the station. The intention is that while the bridge is being expanded, train traffic will continue and road traffic will continue under the bridge.

How can stations best be integrated into existing communities?

C: We would like bike parking.

C: Make it great – an “iconic” building. Something similar to the station being built at York University. Make it a gathering place. Give it a modern design, and make it a focal point. Parking should not be a focus – most people will walk to it, take the streetcar or bike.

Q: Will there be elevators on St. Clair to the track level? What about accessibility for those with handicaps?
A:  Station design is still underway. The station will be fully accessible. We are working to explore accessibility options, including a ramp from St. Clair.

Q: Will it be similar to the ramp at Weston and Lawrence?
A:  It has not yet been designed. We are reviewing options for ramps at this station.

C: Some people cannot figure out the new streetcar payment system. For the first month, someone should be there to guide passengers.

 3. Wrap up and Next Steps

Participants were informed of the other ways to give feedback – including a dedicated email address and project website. Participants were encouraged to share the information presented at this meeting with their organizations.

Three public meetings will be held – all meetings run from 6:30-8:30 pm, with a presentation at 7:00 pm:

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Drive

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 11, Riverdale Collegiate Institute, 1094 Gerrard Street East

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12, Bloor Street Collegiate Institute, 1141 Bloor Street West

The next round of public and stakeholder consultation will be held early next year, including another meeting with the Stakeholder Advisory Group. The focus of the next round of consultation will be refined station designs and an update on the environmental assessment process.