Prolonged overnight work on the Gardiner Expressway - Statement
Our downtown is made up of vibrant neighbourhoods. 240,000 people currently live downtown, a number that is expected to reach 500,000 in the next 25 years. It is also the economic engine of our city, home to more than 500,000 jobs, expected to grow to more than 900,000 by 2041. We work hard together to manage the needs of our communities, but also to manage the needs of a diverse downtown core. We work hard to find an appropriate balance.
For weeks now, tens of thousands of people living along the eastern Waterfront have been subjected to consistent, loud, extremely disruptive overnight work being done every night on the Gardiner Expressway. Thousands of residents have not slept in weeks. And, this ongoing overnight work is scheduled to continue until 2021.
Following extensive conversations with senior City staff and the Mayor's office, I am pleased that an agreement has been reached between the City and contractor to immediately cease overnight work and to discuss a new approach. Going forward, I will continue to work with the Mayor's office, senior City staff, and the contractor on a new and more appropriate construction program.
Since I learned of the intention for continuous overnight work earlier this year, I have called for this decision to be reversed. I have held meetings, written formal letters, and more. However, the power to make this decision does not rest with a local Councillor.
Earlier this year, I was assured that the noisiest, most disruptive work would be restricted to daytime hours. Later when a contractor was brought on board, I was again assured that this type of work would be restricted within the contract signed by the city and third party contractor. When the continuous loud and disruptive work began, I continued to call for this work to be limited to daytime hours. Before the holidays, we were assured that new techniques and other mitigation efforts were being put in place to address the issue. However, the loud overnight work continued.
So much of our city's infrastructure finds itself in the downtown. While we must ensure that necessary work on this important infrastructure can take place, we must find a balance to ensure that this can happen without sacrificing the liveability of our downtown neighbourhoods.
Conducting continuous, prolonged non-emergency overnight work in residential neighbourhoods is not acceptable. We cannot sacrifice the well-being of residents simply to avoid closing lanes of traffic during the day.