Current Overnight Work on the Gardiner Expressway - Update
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.
Over the past few weeks, I have heard from many people in our community along the eastern Waterfront, who 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. Currently, this ongoing overnight work is scheduled to continue until 2021.
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.
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. Clearly, this is not the case.
Over the past three weeks, I have reiterated my call for this work to be limited to daytime hours. I have met with the Mayor's office and senior City staff, and asked for the situation to be addressed.
This morning, senior City staff informed me that the contractor is immediately implementing a new technique – called "coring" – that they believe will address the extreme noise overnight. City staff will be onsite to monitor the impact of this new technique. My office will also be monitoring and assessing the impact of this new technique. I will continue to work with senior staff on adequate mitigation measures, but I will also continue to call for this incredibly disruptive overnight work to be conducted during daytime hours.
Over the holidays, the contractor's overnight schedule is as follows: December 22nd and 23rd, and January 1st. Metrolinx – who is conducting work (outside the City's control) along the rail corridor in a similar area – will be working on the following nights: December 20th to December 23rd, with the slight possibility of work on the 29th. Information on Metrolinx construction dates and types of construction is available through a weekly email update – sign up at [email protected]
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.