Metrolinx plans to build a Layover and Service facility in our accessible ravine parkland, turning a dream into a nightmare. 1100 trees will be cut, sensitive wetland and habitats destroyed, to make way for the reintroduction of polluting industrial operations.
Since February 2020, Don’t Mess with the Don has been analyzing their plans and researching alternative locations. The lack of (accurate) information provided by Metrolinx is worrisome, which is why we hosted this webinar to inform the public on what they need to know. Watch Floyd Ruskin and Chris Williams as they discuss Metrolinx’ plans and alternatives, followed by a Q&A below.
Download Slides here Metrolinx Don Valley Complex Slides [PDF]
Metrolinx and the Struggle to Protect
As a key part of our mission to protect, DMWTD has been front and centre since Metrolinx quietly announced its plans in late February 2020 to construct and operate a GO train service and storage facility in the Don Valley. DMWTD has led this struggle to protect our natural heritage from re-introducing industrial operations in the Don Valley. We have written frequently, been interviewed in all media, held webinars, engaged our elected officials from both sides of the valley, provided deputation to Toronto’s Executive Council, and have been part of and led site tours for interested community members.
As environmentalists and transit advocates, we recognize the need for improved public transit to get cars off the road to reduce the contribution to greenhouse gasses in the struggle against the ravages of the climate crisis. But improved transit shouldn’t come at the expense of the environment.
Along with us, our elected officials, joined by transit experts, have repeatedly asked that the project be relocated to a more suitable and less ecologically destructive location that still meets the stated needs of Metrolinx. We have all presented these alternative locations and have been turned down without Metrolinx providing reasons or documentation that they have reviewed other sites.
Metrolinx plans for the location in revitalized, accessible ravine parkland will turn back the clock by over 70 years of careful restoration by city staff, TRCA, community volunteers, and school children. If the project goes ahead, there will be a significant loss of up to 1,100 trees, half of which are in a designated protected Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA), and disruption to surrounding meadows and wetlands. Possibly even worse, allowing this new construction and development will set a dangerous precedent for future intrusions by developers into not only the Don Valley but any other ravine or protected green space.
Wherever there is opposition to transit lines, there are also cries of “not in my backyard,” but this is different. The Don Valley is not a neighbourhood in the traditional sense as very few reside within it, but a constituency of an abused urban river valley with trees, meadows, wetlands, and abundant wildlife, with the communities surrounding it.
It is, however, a neighbourhood of frogs, toads, snakes and turtles, rabbits and hare, resident birds along with migrating waterfowl and visiting eagles, meadow voles and mice, predator birds like red-tailed and Cooper’s hawks, deer, coyote, beaver, fox, muskrat and maybe even a river otter or two.
The Don Valley is also a constituency of walkers, bike riders, bird watchers, dog walkers, and an inner-city child’s dream of outdoor adventure. It’s also the only green space that so many downtown Torontonians rely upon to escape from the stress of urban living without driving for an hour or more. So the Don Valley was undoubtedly a much sought-after location and safe outdoor spot during Covid.