Con­struc­tion be­side John Fisher to be­gin

Con­cern over mon­i­tor­ing at Yonge and Eglin­ton school

Midtown Post - - News - — Sa­man­tha Peksa

The de­vel­oper of a 35-storey tower pro­posed for next door to John Fisher Ju­nior Pub­lic School has reached an agree­ment with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) that will al­low con­struc­tion to be­gin this sum­mer. But par­ents ar­gue cer­tain el­e­ments of the re­cent risk as­sess­ment have been ig­nored.

“The par­ents are very con­cerned that the TDSB … is wa­ter­ing down the clear rec­om­men­da­tions of the risk as­sess­ment to jus­tify their pre­de­ter­mined out­come,” said Eti­enne de Vil­liers, a par­ent whose child at­tends the school.

The risks iden­ti­fied in the as­sess­ment by En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­sult­ing Oc­cu­pa­tional Health (ECOH) in­clude diesel ex­haust, air qual­ity, noise, traf­fic and fire.

At a pub­lic meet­ing on May 3, Om Ma­lik, CEO of ECOH, said the as­sess­ment also took learn­ing haz­ards into ac­count.

“Small chil­dren are more vul­ner­a­ble to cer­tain risks. They are devel­op­ing. Their health and safety is not only af­fected, but [also] their at­ten­tion span and their learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment,” he said.

ECOH rec­om­mended 14 mea­sures to mit­i­gate risks re­lated to the con­struc­tion, which in­clude the hir­ing of a cred­i­ble third party to mon­i­tor con­struc­tion each day. If a third party is not on site daily, the as­sess­ment stated the risk would fall within an un­ac­cept­able range and ECOH would not rec­om­mend oc­cu­pancy of the school dur­ing con­struc­tion. Al­though ECOH found the mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures pro­posed in the new agree­ment to be ac­cept­able, De Vil­liers claims the lan­guage leaves too much room for in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

“The agree­ment has a TDSB third party mon­i­tor the site ‘ as fre­quently’ as daily,” he said. “They could at­tend one time only with the lan­guage that was adopted.”

As part of the agree­ment, the de­vel­oper KG Group will erect a 12-foot hoard­ing wall be­tween the con­struc­tion site and the school be­fore ex­ca­va­tion; use safety net­ting; and in­stall dou­ble-height guards across build­ing open­ings.

The TDSB will also put some of its own safety mea­sures in place.

An­ge­los Ba­copou­los, as­so­ciate di­rec­tor of fa­cil­i­ties with the TDSB, said the play­ground will be moved to the east end of the school, and the win­dows on the west side of the build­ing will be re­placed by the fall of 2017. The TDSB will also put up a sec­ond hoard­ing wall be­tween the site and school.

The TDSB board ap­proved the plan on May 24.

In the mean­time, par­ents must de­cide if their chil­dren will at­tend the school next year. De Vil­liers, for one, said his child will not be re­turn­ing.

Par­ents and stu­dents protest the con­struc­tion plan for the 35-storey tower in front of John Fisher P.S. on May 24

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