Toronto

GO parking lot expansion has some residents thinking 'about moving for sure'

Some homeowners in Streetsville are speaking out about a plan to expand the parking lot at the local GO Transit station, saying Metrolinx hasn't given them enough information about the impact the project will have on their properties.

Metrolinx not doing enough to inform homeowners near lot in Streetsville, residents say

Resident Jeff Cooper says he didn't expect the train station to expand so much, so fast over the 15 years he's lived in Streetsville (CBC News)

Some homeowners in Streetsville are speaking out about a plan to expand the parking lot at the local GO Transit station, saying Metrolinx hasn't given them enough information about the impact the project will have on their properties. 

Metrolinx announced the addition of 250 new parking spaces at the station in August, which will bring the total number of parking spots close to 1,700. 

But the expanding lot is getting a little too close for comfort for homeowners who live near the lot on Princess Street.

"I've really thought about moving for sure. It's going to change the appearance of my yard," said Jeff Cooper, who says he didn't expect the train station to expand so much, so fast over the 15 years he's lived in Streetsville.

"So they're going to clear-cut all my trees that I've had there for 15 years because it's not my property," said Cooper.

Although announced mid-August, construction notices weren't distributed until late November. (CBC News)

Homeowners who live closest to the lot received notices in November warning of vibrations during construction and offering to arrange house inspections at no cost to them. The inspections would make sure the homes are stable enough to withstand the vibrations. 

Joseph Limbo said he too would have appreciated more detail and more time to go over the impacts of the new lot.

"Every time my wife called, we haven't been given the proper information ... that we want before we agree to have an inspector come and look over our property." 

Limbo is also worried about the safety of his family.

"I have young kids. If they're going to be playing around amongst people fighting over parking spots, driving though here to get to the GO train, I can only imagine how it's going to be." 

'They're not the nice little warm and fuzzy partners we're looking for'

Coun. George Carlson says he has yet to see any designs for the expanded parking lot. (CBC News)

Mississauga city councillor George Carlson is taking the duty of informing the public into his own hands, saying an announcement and photo-op four months ago didn't cut it. 

"Not everybody follows rail activity that closely," he told CBC Toronto.

Carlson, like other residents, says he was left with scant details about the plan. They came in the form of a flyer in late November. 

I have yet to see any of the designs for it," said Carlson, who is most concerned about the setbacks should Metrolinx decide to build a parking structure, like a garage, to accommodate the remaining 150 spaces promised in the project.  

"I'd like to get the details before they start digging ...  I noticed they're down there trimming trees already."

The trees on site of the future parking lot started coming down Monday. (CBC News)

With rail running from one end of Streetsville to the other, Carlson has dealt with federal and provincial projects many times before. Whether it's a CP Rail or Metrolinx project, he says, they have the same way of doing things: have engineers distribute flyers and call it due diligence. 

"God bless them but sometimes they're a little shy on the public outreach. They're not the nice little warm and fuzzy partners we're looking for."

Since Metrolinx doesn't need municipal permission to go ahead with a project, Carlson says he'll do everything he can to be a part of the design conversation — something he thinks requires local knowledge. 

'You can't get quieter neighbours than parked cars'

Announcement with Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca on Aug. 18 about the additional parking spaces at the Streetsville GO station. (Office of Bob Delaney, MPP Mississauga-Streetsville)

The Liberal MPP for Mississauga-Streetsville, Bob Delaney, tells CBC Toronto his office hasn't received one public complaint.

Delaney says he understands the concerns of the residents closest to the lot but, with the addition of two new trains on the Milton line, the demand for transit wins. 

"The thing that drives the 905 is growth. Besides, you can't get quieter neighbours than parked cars." 

In a statement to CBC Toronto, Metrolinx says it has been fielding the residents' concerns.

"As part of the project and in response to issues residents have experienced, we are replacing wood fencing behind some properties with a pre-cast concrete wall to reduce noise from the corridor," wrote Alex Burke,
Metrolinx's senior adviser of media relations​. 

Metrolinx also insisted it will providing updates throughout the project, which is scheduled to wrap up in 2018.