Ontario pledges $3 million to support businesses impacted by delayed Eglinton LRT construction

Mar 10 2020, 6:47 am

Local businesses to receive $3 million “in support” due to the impact of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT construction.

Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney granted Mayor John Tory’s request for the funding on March 9.

After Metrolinx postponed the end date for construction of the Eglinton LRT — the projected finish is now well into 2022, it was originally September 2021 — local residents and businesses affected by the construction for the last 10 years were feeling the impact.

In Mulroney’s letter to Tory, she thanks the mayor’s advocacy work of the situation and the leadership of Robin Martin, the MPP for Eglinton-Lawrence, “on behalf of the people and families affected.”

“$3 million will be provided as soon as possible to further support local businesses to mitigate the impacts of construction beyond the September 2021 deadline,” the letter read. “This additional support will consist of marketing, promotion and clean-up assistance.”

According to Mulroney, Metrolinx and CTS have provided funding of over $6.5 million to Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) for promotional initiatives, parking discounts, windows cleaning, and local procurement. But she did recognize with the recently announced delay of construction, “additional support is needed.”

The minister also noted that Metrolinx will work with the Ministry of Transportation to explore the feasibility of opening portions of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT sooner so that businesses and residents can use the line as soon as possible.

Tory called the commitment by the province “welcome news.”

“I have been clear throughout the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown that we want this project finished as quickly as possible,” Tory said in a statement. “I have made it known that businesses along Eglinton Avenue need this finished, need support, and commuters need the transit.”

On February 26, Toronto city council passed Ward 8 Councillor Mike Colle’s motion which asked the city to seek financial assistance from the province and Metrolinx to support local businesses. According to Colle, 140 businesses have shut down since the start of construction.

The motion recommended financial compensation for local businesses, opening sections of the Eglinton Crosstown for residents to start using and an immediate clean-up to remove heavy equipment from the sidewalks.

Colle showed his appreciation for the $3 million in funding on social media, saying, “We did it! Minister Caroline Mulroney announces money for small businesses on Eglinton and possible fast track opening of Eglinton Crosstown.”

While Colle showed his gratitude for the funding, he said he will be pushing for more long term financial help for businesses along Eglinton.