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LRV storage facility location is still being investigated

by David Nickle

The planned light rail vehicle storage facility at Ashbridges Bay could be getting a second look by Toronto Council in the wake of Rob Ford’s election as Mayor of Toronto.

When Ford was a councillor, he sided with community members who opposed the decision to locate the $345 million facility at Lake Shore Boulevard East and Leslie Street.

Residents worried the traffic on Leslie Street would be bottle-necked around the new light rail vehicles as they moved between the facility and Queen Street East.

Toronto Council approved the facility over the community’s objections.

Now, according to Ford’s brother Doug, who managed his campaign and also took over the mayor’s old seat in Ward 2, the matter could be up for reconsideration.

“I think we should keep our eyes and ears open to everything,” he said. “Everything should be opened up, looked at to see if it’s feasible.”

Meanwhile, Ward 30 Councillor Paula Fletcher is calling for a Ministry of the Environment review of the project.

The accelerated environmental assessment of the plan is currently in Environment Minister John Wilkinson’s hands for a 35-day review.

Fletcher is asking that review be enhanced. She said the soil on the site is likely contaminated and will have to be removed and the land around the site should be made available for future sewage treatment needs.

She welcomed the idea of a council-led review.

“I think that’s very interesting. Let’s have that review and make sure that actually is the best location in the city and that actually is the best route and maybe there should be a peer review,” she said. “But it can’t be the TTC peer reviewing itself.”

Slowing down, or possibly stopping the project, could have implications for the TTC’s plans to take delivery of 204 new low-floor light rail vehicles to replace their existing stock.

The current plan sees the TTC issuing its tender for the construction in the spring of 2011 with construction to start in the fall of that year and the entire facility to be ready in December 2013.

The TTC will start taking delivery of the new light rail vehicles in 2012, but about 104 of the 204 vehicles can be stored at other sites. Eventually, the TTC hopes to store and maintain 100 vehicles at the new site.

In 2013, the TTC will have taken delivery of 33 of the vehicles, with three per month arriving after that.




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