Transit board approves options for Greenwood and Donlands 2nd exits
(Written July 15 for Town Crier.)
The TTC has agreed to adopt a community’s proposal for a new exit planned for Greenwood subway station.
But there’s one caveat: It could still involve home expropriation.
The neighbourhood near Greenwood and Donlands station got up in arms in July after the TTC announced plans to build new exits for both subway stations involved expropriation.
The transit commission’s original plan was to buy or expropriate a pair of homes on Strathmore Boulevard including 247, which is owned by Danny and Grace Calia. They have lived there for 51 years, and don’t want to move.
After outcry from the family and neighbours, the community presented a new option at a July 12 public meeting. The TTC has now adopted the option as the go-ahead plan: expropriating property on Linnsmore Crescent instead.
The emergency exit would be located on Linnsmore across from Greenwood station’s current exit/entrance.
Though residents on Strathmore were pleased with the new plan, it seems the frustration has landed on someone else’s doorstep.
Gus Vagenas owns 9 Linnsmore, which is one of the homes the TTC now wants to buy or expropriate. He only found out about this new plan July 13 through the media and has since met with TTC staff.
“I feel like a second-class citizen in this city and a second-class citizen in this community,” he told the TTC board.
His daughter Soula Vagenas added, “We received no message, no letters from the TTC. Not until 9 a.m. (July 14) did we learn about today’s meeting.
“We are saddened and disappointed with the TTC and disappointed with the community that proposed this.”
Vagenas’s Linnsmore house has been under construction for about four years and had been vacant for about four years prior, according to a neighbour.
It is currently vacant, TTC chair Adam Giambrone confirmed.
If Vagenas chooses not to sell, the TTC could purchase a different Linnsmore home. If no one wants to sell on Linnsmore, the TTC will revert back to the plan to expropriate 247 Strathmore.
Danny and Grace Calia’s daughter Bruna Amabile has asked the TTC to take her parents home off the list of options, but that didn’t happen.
“I would have liked to leave today so that my parents can finally relax. They have been put through enough,” said Amabile, who lives at 243 Strathmore.
And troubles don’t end there.
Over near Donlands station, Lisa Dymond isn’t happy with the TTC’s plans for a new subway exit.
Dymond, who spoke on behalf of several neighbours at the TTC board meeting, wanted a deferral, but the board voted to proceed with several options to build an emergency exit for that subway station.
“We’re very disappointed…The commission and TTC didn’t hear us,” she said after the July 14 vote.
Residents in Dymond’s area started getting form letters on June 17 notifying them that their homes could be expropriated for a planned Donlands subway exit. Two public meetings followed, and the TTC vote was less than a month later.
In the end, the TTC voted to try another option and build a second Donlands subway exit on part of the existing roadway on Dewhurst Boulevard. That would make the street one-way.
That would have traffic implications and requires consultation with city staff. If it’s not feasible, the TTC will revert to its original option of buying homes at 1 and 3 Strathmore. This option also requires partially expropriating a dozen front lawns.
TTC staff will report back to the board’s August 23 meeting on the plan and promises public consultation and a construction liaison committee.
It’s all too rushed for Dymond, who lives on Strathmore.
“We are concerned about the implications long-term,” she said. “It’s the process that’s wrong and the (solution) that’s wrong.”