Colle pitches aid for busi­nesses

Free park­ing, loans would help off­set losses due to Eglin­ton LRT

StarMetro Toronto - - TORONTO - May War­ren

Nuit Blanche stops, more restau­rants on Uber Eats, even free park­ing — these are just a few of Coun. Josh Colle’s ideas to make life eas­ier for busi­nesses dur­ing con­struc­tion of the Eglin­ton Crosstown LRT.

The Ward 15 coun­cil­lor’s mo­tion rec­om­mend­ing the city study such mea­sures was ap­proved by coun­cil last week. The city man­ager will re­port back on fea­si­bil­ity in De­cem­ber and reach out to Metrolinx and Crosslinx Tran­sit So­lu­tions on ac­tions that would in­volve them.

“We’ve got to get the mes­sage out there to every­one — to the world, so to speak — that Eglin­ton’s still open,” Colle told Metro.

Colle’s pitch in­cludes ev­ery­thing from small loans for im­pacted busi­nesses to of­fer­ing free or sub­si­dized reg­is­tra­tion for Win­ter­li­cious and Sum­mer­li­cious events to restau­rants on Eglin­ton Av­enue.

The Crosstown LRT is ex­pected to open in 2021; Colle pre­dicts that means at least two to three years of street-level con­struc­tion.

He hopes some of the mea­sures to off­set busi­nesses losses might also work in other ar­eas grap­pling with big in­fra­struc­ture projects in the city.

“I think we need to look at con­struc­tion im­pacts dif­fer­ently,” he said. “It’s im­por­tant to make sure there’s still good will for ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects by putting in place tools that help sup­port busi­nesses.”

John Fer­rari, owner of Eglin­ton cloth­ing store Latina Ltd., ap­plauds Colle’s ini­tia­tive. He called the con­struc­tion “ex­ces­sive” and lamented a lack of ac­ces­si­bil­ity for cus­tomers with wheel­chairs, scoot­ers and walk­ers.

York-eglin­ton BIA co-or­di­na­tor Aadila Valial­lah wrote in an email to Metro that she was very happy to see the mo­tion, as busi­nesses are suf­fer­ing.

“More than any­thing, I hope it brings peo­ple to Eglin­ton be­cause peo­ple are cur­rently avoid­ing Eglin­ton,” Valial­lah wrote.

Con­struc­tion on the Eglin­ton Crosstown LRT at Eglin­ton Av­enue and Mount Pleas­ant Road. METROLAND FILE

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