NEWS September 7th, 2016

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Working group saves a few North Toronto trees

Number lost to LRT construction cut from 25 to 16

The neighbourhood around the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre will lose fewer trees than initially feared.

At a contentious public meeting on June 21 it was revealed LRT construction near the 200 Eglinton Ave. W. community centre might result in the removal of about 25 trees. A working group set up after the meeting has now reached agreement to reduce the the number to 16.

To accommodate the reduction, two westbound traffic lanes on Eglinton Avenue West will be closed and converted into a construction staging area.

The working group included Ward 16 and 22 staff, the Eglinton Park Residents’ Association, Eglinton Way BIA, and developers Metrolinx and Crosslinx

“I think it’s great that everyone was able to come up with a better solution than what was originally proposed,” said Ward 16 councillor Christin Carmichael Greb, who served on the working group. “[Metrolinx and Crosslinx] are still going to be taking up part of the park. But I think the fact that we can save some trees and have less of a footprint there is great.”

During the June 12 meeting, representatives said Metrolinx wanted to use the park as a staging area to reduce traffic congestion on Eglinton Avenue, where small businesses have been complaining of reduced foot traffic since last year.

Many residents, however, argued traffic in the area would be congested anyway and favoured using the road as a staging ground.

To accommodate business owners, a 60-metre stretch of Eglinton that lies east of Avenue Road will converted into three “drop-off” locations to replace the parking spaces lost.

It”s “so that people can get in and out of businesses as well, and they won’t have to suffer as much,” Carmichael Greb said.

Metrolinx did not respond to requests for comment.