BIA seeks to keep impact of construction to a minimum 

Businesses belonging to the Scarborough East Village Business Improvement Area will have an ongoing role in helping keep the impact of the Sheppard East Light Rail transit line construction project to a minimum, the Toronto Transit Commission decided Wednesday, Dec. 16.

The commission voted to formalize the relationship between the BIA and engineers working on the surface rail system, after hearing from Sheppard East Village BIA chair Mark Bozian. He told the commission that businesses were not trying to stop the line.

"I want to be clear that we're not delivering any lawsuits or any lawyers or burning anybody in effigy," he said. "We're here as pragmatic business people."

Bozian came with a list of requests about construction management for the massive project that will stretch 13.7 kilometres from Don Mills station to Meadowvale Road. It is the first project in Transit City, and will cost $944.5 million.

It will also be the first new dedicated light rail project to take flight since the St. Clair right-of-way, and Bozian said the businesses in the BIA are keen to see that the same issues don't arise on Sheppard as arose there.

TTC staff overseeing the project said the commission has learned lessons about communication and scheduling. Among other things, the commission will have staff dedicated to dealing with issues along the line. And there will be a 24-hour hotline for problems.

"We have to communicate our plans so that when we get into an area, people will know exactly the plan," project manager Sameh Ghaly said. "And also, we will make sure that we get in and get out."

For his group's part, Bosian said the main thing is to try and keep at least two lanes open along Sheppard as much as possible, and minimize open pits along the lines.

"There need to be incentives for construction companies to get things right," he said.

"But most importantly, the Sheppard East BIA would like an ongoing role to continue advocacy on the part of our members."

Commissioner Ron Moeser, a Scarborough councillor, moved a motion to that effect at the commission.

He said the BIA is doing everything a partner should.

"They don't want to stop the LRT they want a voice to what's happening on Sheppard," he said. "I think if we formalize it, we'll give emphasis to the fact that we're working them."

By David Nickle
December 17, 2009
Neighbourhoods: Sheppard East