In 2007 an excellent plan and design was developed for a Yonge Street North Subway Extension from Finch Ave. to Richmond Hill that would greatly benefit all existing residents and the anticipated future growth. At the time, other provincial priorities meant that the project was postponed.
Finally, in 2020, it reached priority status. Unfortunately, Metrolinx, an agency of the Ontario Government, decided to revise the perfectly practical and sensible original plan with what they have termed Option 3 (Option 1 and 2 representing the original planned route). Their plan under Option 3 makes a number of critical and incomprehensible changes that are of particular concern to the communities directly affected but also to all taxpayers of the 3 funding governments (Federal, Provincial and York Region Municipal). The Option 3 changes, which are entirely unacceptable and impractical and mean that almost all the benefits that were originally contemplated from the very significant capital expenditure will not be realized, are as follows:
a). the line will swing east from Yonge Street north of Royal Orchard Blvd., rather than simply proceeding straight north, thus making it a longer route, and taking it directly beneath many houses in a long and well established community, with clearances of as little as 11 meters;
b). it allows for just 4 stations over the 8 km extension, rather than 5 in the original plan;
c). even more importantly, 2 of the 4 stations in the Metrolinx Option 3, are a mere 400 meters apart, at the north end termination of the extension, which means that there will actually only be 2 community stations for the entire 8 km length.
The Metrolinx response has been that Option 3 is a less costly one. This stretches the bounds of credibility in that it is a longer section of tunneling and which will have to take into account going beneath Pomona Creek and dealing with all the related environmental issues. Furthermore, even if it is less costly, with the result that virtually all the benefits disappear, it has to be questioned whether the capital costs should be expended at all. Given the $5.6 billion projected capital cost, this project has to be done with the correct routing and design to achieve the benefits to justify that capital cost; and just as importantly, the route cannot be allowed to deviate from the sound and practical original design such that it results in massive disruption to long standing residents and taxpayers.
A steering committee has been established within the Royal Orchard Ratepayers Association to “Stop Option 3”. This is an important initiative, not just for these affected communities, but also for citizen’s rights everywhere, with a number of similar ongoing issues. Funding is required for Media and Communications campaigns, Advocacy and lobbying initiatives and Legal assistance and action, if determined necessary and appropriate.
Your funding support will provide us with the means to persuade the government that the original Option 1 and 2 plan is the correct way to complete this subway extension to get the maximum benefit from the significant capital expenditure and ensure that all the affected communities will continue to be healthy, safe and nurturing environments for families.
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