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Pitfield derides Miller's train pledge

Says airport link to harm Weston

Safeguards possible: Mayor

Oct. 20, 2006. 01:00 AM

Mayor David Miller can’t deliver on his promise to ensure a proposed rail link to the airport won’t harm Weston, Councillor Jane Pitfield told residents of the historic community last night.

In a mayoral debate at Weston Collegiate, Miller said he favours building a stop in Weston that would slow trains heading between Union Station and Pearson International Airport.

Slower trains would also eliminate the need to close three streets in Weston, a possibility that has residents alarmed.

Good luck, rival candidate Pitfield said of Miller’s vow, noting a Weston stop is not in the plans.

Pitfield said Miller can’t influence the shape of the project — a brainchild of the federal government, with involvement from GO Transit and a private group that would operate the airport service, dubbed Blue-22.

When she said she would work to kill the project outright, Pitfield drew applause from the 150 residents who turned out — including several wearing anti Blue-22 T-shirts.

“I’m opposed to the Blue-22 and as mayor I will ensure it won’t happen,” she said. “I don’t like anything about the Blue-22.”

Miller, who sits on the GO Transit board, said he supports improved GO service on the line and the proposed airport service — but not if it carves Weston in two.

“I don’t agree with the plan to close streets,” he said. “That’s not acceptable.”

Candidate Stephen LeDrew said he supports an airport link but the route design must not hurt Weston.

“We need a made-in-Toronto solution,” LeDrew said. “We need a route that does not divide neighbourhoods.”

When asked about building an electrified train line with no diesel exhaust, Miller said GO has deemed it too expensive.

LeDrew said: “Great idea, but we’ve got to have a guarantee of enough electricity.”