Today, the Mayor announced a new policy that will force all non-emergency utility work south of Dundas Street in the downtown to take place overnight. This decision was made without any consultation with local residents or Councillors – myself included. Our vibrant downtown neighbourhoods are home to many and we must work to make them more liveable, not less. There are over 240,000 residents who currently live in downtown Toronto and that number is expected to reach 500,000 in the next 25 years.
This policy change is insensitive to residents who live downtown. It is unacceptable to unilaterally make a decision of this nature without first consulting the community or local Councillors. Every day, we work to build a healthier, more liveable downtown – to provide the services, infrastructure and amenities that people need to call their neighbourhood home. I work with residents associations, community groups, business operators and constituents from across downtown make smart, informed decisions that will improve the lives of all inhabitants.
For years, I have heard about noise complaints from downtown residents. Noise levels have tremendous impact on quality of life. Together, we pushed for a complete review of the Noise By-Law, which is still under-way. Residents in the downtown deserve to be consulted and any policy changes that impact construction noise should be referred to the Noise By-Law review. Moving traffic should not be prioritized over the quality of life for residents living in our downtown.
Downtown Toronto is not a monolithic area that empties out after traditional work hours. Downtown Toronto is made up of dynamic, mixed-use neighbourhoods and vibrant main streets. While we support accelerating important infrastructure work, it cannot be at the expense of residents who live here. There needs to be an intelligent and strategic street-by-street approach to review where overnight work can take place, as well as meaningful consultation with community groups and residents who call downtown Toronto their home.