Toronto city council has successfully passed a motion that calls on Mayor John Tory to request an emergency meeting with the province and Metrolinx to come up with a plan to help the small businesses impacted by the Eglinton Crosstown LRT construction.
The motion was set by councillor Mike Colle, Ward 8 Eglinton-Lawrence, and asks for a compensation plan to help small businesses on Eglinton Avenue keep their doors open over the next two years as construction for the subway project continues.
Following Wednesday's council meeting, Colle tweeted Mayor Tory will now ask the Ford government to financially compensate the affected small businesses.
Colle's motion came after Metrolinx announced the Eglinton Crosstown project will be further delayed until “well into 2022″.
"This adds to an extraordinary burden on small business owners on Eglinton Avenue where the Crosstown has been under construction since 2011,” said Colle.
The area has been a headache for residents and businesses in the area since construction began nearly ten years ago, with some 140 small businesses being forced to close on Eglinton West because of the impact of unprecedented levels of heavy construction
The construction has caused road and sidewalk closures and construction trailers and heavy equipment to obstruct store visibility and access.
As a result, Colle said there has been millions of dollars in lost income and hundreds of job losses for the affected small businesses.
The motion, which was seconded by Councillor Josh Matlow, provided a 3-point plan for the city to help sustain the Eglinton West neighbourhood so businesses can keep their doors open during the rest of construction.
As part of the motion, the councillors asked Mayor Tory to request an emergency meeting with Caroline Mulroney the Provincial Minister of Transportation and Donald Wright, the Metrolinx Board of Directors Chair.
The purpose of the meeting is to “request that the Province of Ontario and Metrolinx immediately implement an Eglinton Avenue Small Business survival plan.”
“We have over 100 shops and small businesses that are closed now and we’re worried that without compensation for the small businesses that remain, we’re going to lose all of them,” said councillor Colle. “We’re asking for the provincial government to compensate the owners that are still trying to stay in business financially so they can pay their rent, pay their bills, and keep people employed in their stores.”
Colle has also called for an immediate construction equipment clean-up to remove as much of the heavy equipment trailers as possible from public sidewalks and roadways, so the small businesses will no longer have their storefronts blocked and obstructed.
Additionally, Colle has requested a report on the feasibility of phasing in the opening of the Eglinton Crosstown by separating the portion of the Eglinton Crosstown from Mount Dennis Station to the Cedarvale Station (Eglinton West), so that at minimum one section of the Eglinton Crosstown line is operational at an earlier date.
However, Colle later tweeted that while the motion was passed, key parts of his plan are being overlooked, including the fast-tracking of the western section of the project from Mt. Dennis to Eglinton West.
Toronto Storeys reached out to Metrolinx for comment but had not heard back by the time of publication.