Damage to parkland feared from Metrolinx’s Don Valley Layover Facility

By the bridge reporter

Metrolinx’s proposed Don Valley Layover Facility for GO trains continues to raise concerns about its impact on the Valley’s ecology. Both the public and the city remain wary of the planned facility below the north side of the Bloor-Danforth Viaduct and east of the Don River.

Part of the GO Expansion Program, the project is intended to maintain and store GO’s diesel-powered trains. According to Metrolinx, the province’s transit agency, existing infrastructure and proximity to Union Station makes the Don Valley site an ideal locale.

However, the 200-acre Don Valley Park, from Pottery Road to Corktown Common, acts as a vital ecological network and recreation route for Toronto’s growing downtown population.

Much skepticism stems from Metrolinx’s lack of transparency. As a crown agency, it is exempt from the Toronto and Region Conversation Authority’s permitting process, and therefore has no need to conform to normal detailed design expectations. Even with its exhaustive Environment Review
Report released in early 2021,
much is still to be desired.

All of Metrolinx’s conceptional illustrations of the proposed Don Valley Layover Facility are depicted as “not to scale” and “subject to change,” giving rise to concern that the design and scaling can be altered without input from the public and municipal authorities.

At an April 26 meeting of Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee, Catherine Berka, member of the South Rosedale Residents’
Association, stated in a deputation, “The moment this diesel facility gets built, Torontonians will be shaking their heads and wondering why we didn’t stop it. But by then it will be too late.”

Discussions are set to continue as the city seeks further information from Metrolinx and supports alternative layover sites. City staff are expected to report back to the committee’s May 25 meeting.