Metrolinx announces it won’t pave over the Don Valley for new facility after all

A grassroots effort to protect the natural space in the Don Valley from a intrusive new Metrolinx layover facility has been successful. Metrolinx announced that it has found a new location.

The Metrolinx plan was part of its move to expand service on the Richmond Hill Go line. According to a city report, Metrolinx stated its requirement for a new facility at that the Don Valley location to reduce the congestion currently experienced at Union Station and to provide a location for storage and light maintenance of trains during day-time off-peak periods.

The provincial agency had planned to locate the facility north of the Prince Edward Viaduct at Bloor Street East, between the Don Valley Parkway and Lower Don Trail, along the Don Branch Rail Corridor (currently not operational), and within Toronto’s park network.

Not surprisingly, there was a large chorus of people who protested the move to pave over park and natural space for a Metrolinx facility when other suitable locations could be found.

“Metrolinx has moved the proposed Don Valley Layover facility out of the Valley,” wrote local city councillor Paula Fletcher, on Twitter. “Thank you to all the advocates who’ve spoken up to protect this important natural area.”

The new proposed location is on the Richmond Hill GO Line, near York Mills Road and Leslie Street, and is in a light industrial area. According to Metrolinx, “this location is within the required proximity to Union station to accommodate train movements, has available space for the facility and minimizes service impacts on GO operations. The location also meets TRCA flood requirements and has less community and environmental impacts,” read a Metrolinx press release.

“Moving forward, engagement with Indigenous Nations and stakeholders about feasibility and due diligence work will continue to be carried out on the new location to finalize design, property requirements, schedule and operations for the On-Corridor Works Project,” it continued.

Local advocacy group Don’t Mess with the Don called the decision”big news,” in a statement on its Facebook page.

“This means thousands of trees will be saved, the Don Valley remains a park and wildlife habitat! Thanks to the mounting pressure from to various concerned citizens, groups and councillors over the past years, Metrolinx listened and did the right thing. We all support public transit, and this proves it doesn’t have to be done at the expense of our parks and green spaces. We cannot thank enough those folks who tirelessly worked to research, question, and challenge Metrolinx, raise awareness and inform the public,” read the statement.

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