The provincial government says it will be contributing an additional $3 million to compensate the local businesses and areas affected by the ongoing Eglinton Crosstown LRT construction.
This move comes after Metrolinx CEO, Phil Verster, announced the project was going to be delayed another 15 months with an opening date expected for mid-2022.
The news had many local councillors, including Mike Colle and Josh Matlow, pushing for compensation from the provincial government, through Metrolinx, for the small business owners impacted on Eglinton Avenue along the construction route.
Councillor Colle, Ward 8 Eglinton-Lawrence, has previously referred to the project as “Crosstown Construction Hell” that has caused over 100 shops to close since construction began nearly 10 years ago.
However, on Monday evening, Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney said the provincial government would be contributing an additional $3 million, which will go toward marketing, promotions, and clean-up assistance.
“We acknowledge these delays have real and severe impacts on businesses and the families and the people who operate them,” she wrote in a public letter to Mayor John Tory.
Minister Mulroney said the funds will be provided as soon as possible to further support the local businesses to mitigate the impacts of construction beyond the initial September 2021 deadline.
Mulroney said the money is in addition to the $6.6 million given to business improvement areas for promotions, parking discounts, window cleaning, and local procurement.
“We recognized, in response to the recently announced delay, additional support is needed.”
The transportation minister added that Metrolinx will now work with the province to "explore the feasibility of opening portions of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT sooner so that businesses and residents can reap the benefits of the line as soon as possible."
However, it remains unclear as to what that may entail as no other details were provided.
In response, Mayor John Tory said the financial assistance is "welcome news," but reiterated that businesses along Eglinton “need this finished, need support, and commuters need the transit.”