In a planning committee meeting today Brampton City Council voted to proceed with an Environmental Assessment (EA) process to study new LRT extension alignments from Steeles to Brampton GO, using either Kennedy or McLaughlin Road.
In the past few months, residents along a proposed Etobicoke Creek alignment have argued against it, pointing out that the route would cut through Meadowland Park in the Main and Nanwood area. They cited concerns over loss of privacy and destruction of the creek and parklands.
Eloa Doner, a local resident, said:
“Two other alternatives remain on the table however; both with huge concerns that are not being addressed with the people of interest. People can be displaced, there are conflicts with other rail lines, potentially rail freight contracts will be in breach and last, but not least, there is the costly and lengthy EA/TPAP studies that will need to be done on routes that have already been studied and that we have no provincial funding for: it is a waste of our taxpayer money.”
Janina Brooks, another local resident, asked why the Etobicoke Creek LRT alignment was even considered. She was concerned about adding to the municipality’s growing capital debt. Brooks also questioned whether council is seeking to serve elitists on Main Street who were against the route that would run past their houses. This question sent murmurs through the chambers.
In May, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority board, which owns all lands in the Etobicoke Creek, rejected unanimously any bid to extend a LRT up the lands. Some board members even said they would never sell the land to Brampton, and as a regional agency, the city cannot expropriate lands from them.
Several members of the public who argued against the Etobicoke Creek LRT expressed the desire to have council go back to the Main Street alignment. Many of them made statements about voting out councilors in 2018.
Chris Bejnar and Doug Bryden from Citizens for a Better Brampton also spoke, stating their disappointment with the staff report. They wished that the report was more detailed. Several councilors decried their characterization and criticism of city planners.
Councilor Elaine Moore spoke against misinformation that she says has been spread about the alignments. She supports an EA study because the province will want to fund shovel-ready projects.
The committee voted unanimously to eliminate the Etobicoke Creek as a potential alignment. However, they were split in proceeding with the other two alignments. A vote to stop the process altogether lost 5-6.
Last October, council voted against proceeding with the Main Street alignment north of Steeles. They further asked city staff to study new alignments.
In March, staff came back to council with their best alternative: an LRT subway under Main Street. Council rejected it, and then re-emphasized they wished for staff to study alignments on Kennedy, McLaughlin, and the Etobicoke Creek.
Which of the proposed LRT routes for Brampton do you support?