Businesses impacted by Eglinton construction will finally get some relief
Small businesses that have been struggling in the midst of the ongoing construction of the Line 5 Eglinton Crosstown LRT have finally had their plight recognized by the province.
The storefronts along Eglinton Avenue, led by the York-Eglinton BIA, have cited significantly lower foot traffic since work on the new transit line began debilitating the area years ago. And, now that the timeline for the transportation project has been delayed, they're not sure how they'll be able to keep operating under the circumstances.
Fortunately for local businesses owners, Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney yesterday offered up an additional $3 million to assist those who have been impacted.
Thank you @C_Mulroney and @KingaSurmaMPP for responding to the concerns of our community, and in particular our local businesses on Eglinton. This is an important step forward as we work to get the Crosstown running.@FairbankVillage @YorkEglintonBIA @EglintonWay @UpperVillageTO https://t.co/vem0YYYeEL— Robin Martin (@RobinMartinPC) March 9, 2020
As Mulroney notes in her statement on the matter, Metrolinx and Crosslinx Transit Solutions have already provided $6.6 million worth of services to help merchants along the thoroughfare in the form of promotional campaigns, cleaning blitzes, parking discounts and the promise of future community programming.
She and Mayor John Tory recognize, though, that more funding is needed while work continues on the 25-stop east-west line for another two years.
Though residents are thankful for the new funds from the province and call it a "step in the right direction," some worry it may not be enough to keep all of those who have been affected afloat.
Local city councillors are among those continuing to advocate for stores along the Eglinton strip, demanding more direct compensation.
...to the businesses on Eglinton is whether $3 million will be sufficient and if they’d be eligible to receive compensation. They don’t want a hand out, they simply need a life line to survive the construction.”— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) March 10, 2020
Metrolinx representative Anne Marie Aikins told the CBC last month that the regional transportation authority feels merchants' key complaints, like congestion and business access, were things that already existed in the area and have simply "been exacerbated now that construction is underway."
She also added that "You cannot build massive projects through urbanized areas without causing pain."
2/2 Our demands to the Province and Metrolinx continues to remain the same. The time is now to provide direct financial assistance to small businesses along Eglinton Ave. Much more $ is needed!— York-Eglinton BIA (@YorkEglintonBIA) March 10, 2020
Though there is no way to quantify the benefit that the community will see from the project once it's finished, hopefully it will be enough for Eglinton businesses to make up for lost time — and that they are able to get by until then.
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