'Poor' public outreach in subway project: ombudsman
Toronto Ombudsman Fiona Crean speaks to CTV Toronto on Thursday, May 3, 2012.
Published Thursday, October 25, 2012 2:19PM EDT
Residents of a Toronto neighbourhood weren’t properly informed about the TTC’s plan to tear down their homes to accommodate two new subway exits, the city’s ombudsman says.
In a report issued Thursday, Ombudsman Fiona Crean says the transit commission did “a poor job of communicating” plans for second exits at the Donlands and Greenwood subway stations.
The TTC began looking into the project in early 2004, but residents in the affected east-end neighbourhood weren’t told about the second exits until mid-2010, the report said.
Construction, at that point, was slated to begin within months.
"The TTC did such a poor job of communicating," Crean said in a statement, "that it left many residents with the feeling that the TTC had already made up its mind.”
TTC CEO Andy Byford responded to the report shortly after its publication, saying that construction of the second exits for Donlands and Greenwood Stations has been put on hold.
“The TTC, however, has committed to meet with residents in the vicinity of Greenwood and Donlands stations to provide them with a project status update and next steps.”
Crean’s report found that residents on affected street -- Strathmore Boulevard -- were informed about the project via a flyer, which bore the address “To Occupant.”
The flyer made no mention of expropriation.
Some local homeowners still aren’t sure whether the TTC will need their property, the report said. One family learned from a reporter that their house might be expropriated.
The TTC said Thursday that it has acknowledged “without reservation” that staff failed to reach out to the community, conduct consultations and communicate with residents adequately.
Local resident Lisa Dymond, whose home would be affected by the project, said Crean’s report proves that the TTC was trying to “railroad” through the second exit project.
“There is no way that the TTC should pursue this project given the findings in this report. It would be a complete failure of civic government,” she wrote in a statement.