January 18th, 2022

NDP MPPs respond to Eglinton Crosstown advisory committee

TORONTO — NDP MPP Jill Andrew (Toronto—St Paul’s) and MPP Faisal Hassan (York South—Weston) released the following statement in response to news that Metrolinx and the City of Toronto will establish a joint committee to address the needs of local businesses impacted by construction on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT as the project continues:

“For years, businesses and residents along Eglinton West and in the Midtown area have been tremendously impacted by ongoing construction and delays to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. Many local businesses have been doubly hit—and a number forced to shutter altogether—by ongoing construction, flooding, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The transit improvements that the Crosstown LRT will bring to our communities and city are very much welcomed. But the reality of prolonged disruption to businesses along the Eglinton Corridor means business owners need direct financial support to pay their staff and keep their doors open.

The formation of a joint advisory committee with Metrolinx, the City, the Toronto Association of BIAs and the Eglinton BIA Alliance is a key step towards ensuring that the needs of local businesses are met, and that funding from the province is allocated appropriately.

We urge Metrolinx to be accountable to the public when it comes to tracking and reporting where the remaining $1 million from the province will be spent. Further, we renew our calls for transparency regarding where the previous $2 million from the province was spent. Given the immense disruption to businesses with a project that’s taking far longer than it was supposed to, window washing, cleaning and supports for marketing are only a miniscule part of what is needed to save businesses and save these communities.

As both of us have raised multiple times in the legislature, affected businesses on Eglinton West and Midtown need and deserve direct and targeted financial support from the Ford government. In December, Andrew re-tabled her motion for the government to immediately implement a “Little Jamaica” Small Business and Community Economic Health and Wellness Strategy, to include:

  • Needs-based financial compensation for Eglinton West and Midtown businesses impacted by COVID-19, flooding, and LRT construction
  • Mandated transparent and timely communications between Metrolinx, the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and “Little Jamaica” small business and local community members
  • Commercial and residential rent relief with a moratorium on evictions for the duration of the pandemic
  • Heritage designation of Little Jamaica accompanied by an arts and culture plan
  • The construction of real affordable housing in the community, prioritizing inclusionary zoning in all new builds

Further, the necessary establishment of a joint advisory group should include political representation at the provincial level, inclusive of all impacted geographic areas. Having spent years working with local businesses, community members and BIAs on this very issue, we believe that we should be at the table working with Metrolinx, the City and the BIAs as the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project moves forward.”