Metrolinx, please give us …..........A people friendly Finch streetscape for the next 100 years (click on this print for story)
Although Metrolinx prefers the all industrial design for the LRT's maintenance facility (above), the York West Advocate and many Jane and Finch residents prefer the streetscape vision of Architecture Unfolded (below).
Eduardo Ortiz Jr., a student of Westview, is one of the principal partners of Architecture Unfolded.
The architectural vision drawing (above) was composed by Olena Kobets-Singkh.
FACT SHEET on
Finch West Maintenance and Storage Facility
Call to action: Let’s make more out of a maintenance facility
The Community Action Planning Group-York West (CAPG) is organizing an engagement process to get the broader community’s input on an industrial facility that will be built in the heart of Jane and Finch.
- We need to identify our community’s aspirations and priorities for the maintenance and storage facility (MSF) that will be developed by Metrolinx, the province’s regional transportation agency.
- Your participation is critical to maximizing the community benefits of this major investment and ensuring that Metrolinx follows through on its commitments.
- Now is our opportunity to organize as a community and build consensus, so we can more effectively advocate on the MSF and other future changes along Finch Ave.
What is the Finch MSF? The Finch West Light Rail Transit (LRT) is an 11-kilometre rapid transit line that will run along the surface of Finch Ave. from the new Finch West subway station at Keele St. to Humber College. By replacing the 36 Finch West bus, it will significantly improve public transit service for local residents and workers, making it faster, more reliable, and more convenient. Construction is estimated to begin in 2017 and be completed in 2022.The Finch MSF is required to store and maintain the vehicles for the Finch LRT. It will be located on the vacant land on Finch Ave., between Norfinch Dr. and York Gate Blvd., just west of York Gate Mall. Metrolinx’s initial design for the site includes a repair shop and two operations/maintenance buildings, along with tracks and employee parking.Given its central location in the neighbourhood, the maintenance facility could bring a number of opportunities for local residents, organizations, and businesses. CAPG has been leading the charge to secure the most community benefits and the highest design quality possible. What are community benefits?The concept of “community benefits” is simple: leverage money already being spent on major infrastructure or housing developments to provide real social, economic, and environmental benefits to local residents and small businesses. A “Community Benefits Agreement” (or CBA) was negotiated with Metrolinx for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT to ensure that the project offers training, apprenticeship, employment, as well as local supplier and social procurement opportunities for historically disadvantaged communities and equity-seeking groups along the line. This framework agreement will also apply to the Finch LRT and the future Sheppard East LRT in Scarborough.With the Finch MSF, we have an opportunity to expand the scope of Metrolinx’s community benefits program to include more environmental and neighbourhood improvements for our area, like community facilities, green space, and renewable power generation. Who is CAPG?CAPG is a group of local residents, workers, and supporters that aims to educate, engage, and mobilize communities, in order to influence planning and development projects in the Jane-Finch area. We have been meeting with Metrolinx, city officials, and area politicians for more than a year to first secure the Finch LRT and then press the case for community benefits for Jane and Finch.Our members actively participated in the environmental assessment of the maintenance facility this past summer and provided detailed feedback on Metrolinx’s initial design. CAPG also submitted its own set of seven principles for the MSF that focused on shrinking its overall footprint to leave space along Finch Ave. for other land uses, creating a more active street frontage, and improving connections to the surrounding neighbourhoods.In October, we received funding through York University’s TD Community Engagement Centre to engage a broader group of residents and organizations in negotiating a community benefits agreement for the Finch MSF. Where are we in the process?The next few months will be critical to ensuring that our community’s needs and expectations will be met through this major development. Metrolinx expects to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) on the project in early 2016 to select the contractor who will design, build, and maintain the entire Finch LRT line, including the MSF.For the Eglinton Crosstown, Toronto City Council approved nine community principles to be included in the RFP for building its maintenance and storage facility in Mount Dennis. There have been solid results in that community as a result of the winning construction consortium including those principles in its plans. Thanks to CAPG’s advocacy work, a similar set of principles will be going to council on December 9th with the hope that Metrolinx will then adopt them for the Finch MSF.But the fight is not over yet – We need to continue to make our community’s vision and priorities clear to Metrolinx and the bidders before the RFP is released and an agreement is signed. How can I get involved?CAPG’s first workshop will focus on reinforcing the design principles that have been developed and confirming our specific aspirations for the maintenance facility. These priorities will be given to Metrolinx, city staff, and local politicians and act as our rallying point.A second meeting in February will focus on building the resident power and strategies needed to carry out the negotiation and implementation of a community benefits agreement for the MSF and other developments related to the Finch LRT.In summer 2016, we will have the chance to present our concerns and ideas to each of the proponents bidding on the project.