CLEAN TRAIN COALITION TRANSIT FOR A HEALTY CITY
Below is a brief update on our continued advocacy work for the electrification of the Georgetown rail corridor.
THE CURRENT STATUS
As most of you are aware, Metrolinx’s proposal to expand rail service along the Georgetown Corridor was approved last October, subject to some conditions imposed by the Minister of the Environment. Briefly, those conditions require Metrolinx to use low-emissions, Tier 4 train technology “when commercially available” and they require Metrolinx to develop and implement a monitoring program to measure air quality adjacent to the corridor.
On October 5th, the Ontario Minister of the Environment, John Gerretsen, approved Metrolinx' plan to run over 450 diesel trains through west Toronto despite urgent requests from the Clean Train Coalition, the Toronto District School Board, the Medical Officer of Health, and thousands of concerned citizens for electrification of the corridor before any expansion of rail traffic is allowed. The Minister has attached some conditions, notably that Metrolinx use Tier 4 diesel trains.
Diesel exhaust is a known health hazard and any further pollution in Toronto's already overburdened airshed is not acceptable. Furthermore, while electric technology is available and would entirely eliminate the local heatlh risks, Tier 4 diesel trains do not yet exist. It is disappointing that the Minister didn't require Metrolinx to electrify the rail corridor, but the struggle is far from over.
UNACCEPTABLE HEALTH RISKS
The Minister's stipulation that Metrolinx use Tier 4 diesel technology confirms what we've been saying all along - there are unacceptable health risks associated with Metrolinx's proposal. It is unfortunate that, although the Minister recognizes the health risks associated with diesel, he still did not require Metrolinx to electrify the line, an alternative which would protect exposed communities from those risks.
The Clean Train Coalition is not satisfied with the Minister's decision and we are not giving up our demand for immediate electrification of the Georgetown rail corridor.
The Coaltion has filed a formal complaint with the Provincial Ombudsman in response to Metrolinx's recent campaign of misinformation which attempts to mislead the public regarding the Medical Officer of Health's position on their proposal for the Georgetown corridor. Dr. McKeown continues to advocate strongly for electrification of the corridor. Metrolinx has grossly misused our tax dollars to misrepresent Dr. McKeown's position and mislead the public.
We are also planning further actions to protest the Minister's decision. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, please continue to send emails to or telephone Premier McGuinty and James Bradley, Minister of Transportation or your other local politicians and let them know how you feel about their government's plans to pollute your city and your community.
Thank you to everyone who has already made a financial contribution towards our efforts in fighting this battle. Unfortunately, the battle is still waging and we still need your help!! We are planning a fundraising event in the near future but you don't have to wait until then to help. All contributions are welcome and can be mailed to: Clean Train Coalition, 1974 Weston Road, Weston ON M9N 1W2. For more information, please email