An­nex trains a dis­as­ter wait­ing to hap­pen?

New study to ad­dress lo­cal con­cerns about Dupont de­vel­op­ment and chem­i­cal spills

Annex Post - - NEWS - by Jo-Anne Craine

In light of two train de­rail­ments near Dupont Street and How­land Av­enue in the two years, safety con­cerns have prompted the City of Toronto to un­der­take a new study that may im­pact fu­ture de­vel­op­ment along the CP Rail cor­ri­dor in Toronto.

Guide­lines for de­vel­op­ment around rail lands were put in place for Dupont Street in 2014, and a new study may re­assess those guide­lines and ex­tend them city­wide. Five pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion meet­ings were held in Novem­ber for Phase 1 of the City Plan­ning Rail and Land Use Study.

Ward 20 coun­cil­lor Joe Cressy said de­vel­op­ment in the city is “boom­ing,” so avail­able rail lands next to the tracks look more de­sir­able to de­vel­op­ers, mak­ing this study of the rail­way cor­ri­dor all the more crit­i­cal. He said that rail com­pa­nies, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and the city all have a role to play.

“I think the de­rail­ment a lit­tle over a year ago at Dupont and How­land shows more is still needed,” said Cressy.

Stephen Bou­jikian, of the Dupont by the Cas­tle busi­ness im­prove­ment as­so­ci­a­tion (BIA), owns two busi­nesses on Dupont that abut the tracks.

“The rail­way through Toronto is dan­ger­ous be­cause of the ma­te­ri­als that are on it, the lack of se­cu­rity and the con­cen­tra­tion of peo­ple close to it, large num­bers po­ten­tially. It’s a dis­as­ter wait­ing to hap­pen,” said Bou­jikian.

He also noted his con­cern about pos­si­ble soil and wa­ter con­tam­i­na­tion.

“The toxic chem­i­cals that come off the de­rail­ments go into the soil and stay [there],” he said. “That’s never been re­moved and tested. And it still hasn’t been.”

How­ever safety con­cerns haven’t dis­suaded de­vel­op­ers who re­main keen on the area. Tridel al­ready owns one prop­erty on Dupont Street and Jim Ritchie, ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of sales and mar­ket­ing at Tridel, said the com­pany is look­ing at pur­chas­ing another.

“We like the area, and we are pur­su­ing a sec­ond lo­ca­tion,” he said. “With the ap­pro­pri­ate pre­cau­tions put in place, we be­lieve it’s safe and vi­able. We think there’s a great op­por­tu­nity on this cor­ri­dor.”

Cur­rent guide­lines call for a min­i­mum set­back of 30 me­tres from the rail­road and one de­vel­oper on the Dupont strip has also pro­posed adding a noise-re­duc­ing con­crete wall be­tween a de­vel­op­ment and the tracks.

Cressy said the study is look­ing at more de­vel­op­ment guide­lines for over 200 rail­ways cor­ri­dors and yards in the city. “Just as we put in place clear pa­ram­e­ters … [and] es­tab­lished our plan for Dupont, there is a need to do the same right across the City of Toronto,” he said.

The train de­rail­ment at Dupont and How­land in 2016

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