The Yonge-Eglinton intersection is poised to become as important as Bloor and Yonge as a high-density, mixed-use, modern urban hub of business, living, shopping and entertainment. And its future will be guided by our own Toronto and East York Community Council.
Its huge potential lies in the fact that virtually the whole southwest block from Yonge to Duplex south of Eglinton is TTC property slated for redevelopment by Build Toronto, the city’s development agency.
While Midtown councillors and those representing the old City of Toronto were virtually excluded from Rob Ford’s cast of committee chairs (with the exception of Karen Stintz, who was flagged as TTC chair), residents are not left without representation on so-called issues of local interest. Thus, the amazing future potential of the southwest corner of Yonge-Eglinton is in the hands of your reps, unless council decides it is a matter of city-wide importance.
The value slayer for this site could be of course Mayor Rob Ford’s plan to kill Transit City and with it the Eglinton light rail line. By joining the Spadina and Yonge subways, it would make the Yonge-Eglinton hub as important as the Yonge-Bloor interchange.
Lost in the senseless arguments of subways versus light rail transit is the fact that the Eglinton LRT line would run underground from Black Creek in the West to Laird drive in the East — so, a subway by any other name. The project is well underway. In July, tunnel boring machines for the 11-km underground section were ordered.
If the line is killed, the promise of the intersection goes with it, and more importantly, a critical and much-needed reliable fast rapid transit solution to backed-up bus service across Eglinton into the inner suburbs.
The more activist councillors on the Toronto and East York Community Council — including Joe Mihevic, Josh Matlow, Kristyn Wong Tam and former Chair Pam McConnell — will meet shortly to vote in a new chair.
I have met several in the last week, and they are a somewhat dispirited lot. Ford’s inner suburb allies got all the plum council committee jobs. One told me that while most opposed Ford in the elections, they will not act like an official opposition and simply block his plans for the sake of making his life difficult. Most think he will “fall on his face” at some point. One told me at that time he would “not help him up”!
Whatever, we should pay attention to our own community council and support it in its city-building mission particularly as it relates to Yonge and Eglinton. They have every reason to insist on the value to our community and the whole of the city of the Eglinton line, so much of which is underground. If we let them do their work we can have a world-class urban centre at the core of our community that we can all be proud of.
Political pundit Patrick Gossage writes on the issues facing the city and its neighbourhoods.
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