People trying to save Toronto business that could be forced to close after 30 years
The Don Valley Auto Centre, an auto shop that has been operating for over 30 years, is struggling to stay alive during a Metrolinx construction project.
George Kirkos, the owner of the Don Valley Auto Centre, has suddenly been handed eviction notices from Metrolinx throughout this year claiming that there are structural issues in the basement of his shop.
His shop's capacity has been reduced to a large degree, Kirkos stating that he's been locked out of his shop multiple times since Metrolinx came in.
When asked the exact details behind Metrolinx's involvement with the auto shop, Kirkos claimed that Metrolinx has never approached him directly with an explanation and that they have been communicating with him through property management giving him eviction notices.
"33 years of business and now all of a sudden there are issues and they keep making up different stories all the time [about what these issues are]," Kirkos told blogTO.
"Every week it's something different. They’re out here pointing at my shop, taking pictures of the parking spots. I don't know who they are. I don't know what's going on."
Metrolinx is currently expanding transit, and requires the area behind the auto shop's parking lot to build the long-awaited Ontario Line subway.
The parking lot is expected to provide access to expand the rail corridor without impacting surrounding buildings, and is to be used for activities such as construction staging and storage of equipment and materials.
Anne Marie Aikins, a chief spokesperson for Metrolinx, stated in a response that Metrolinx "intends to keep the [auto shop] in operation during the construction and that they will not require any tenant, [including Kirkos], to vacate the building."
After being informed of a leak in the auto shop, Metrolinx had to evacuate two affected units in the building, which has forced Kirkos to reduce many of the operations and work in a significantly smaller area than he was previously operating in.
Though they claim they are working closely with him to reduce his rent and ensure he can operate his business safely, he is struggling to operate efficiently and is worried about the future of his shop.
"I've been here 44 years. I don’t need this the last few years of my life," said Kirkos.
"It's sad, the way we’re being treated. My customers have given me an unbelievable amount of support [during this time]. They are truly unbelievable."
Meanwhile, neighbourhood locals have voiced their support for Kirkos. Nearby residents and customers of the store are urgently attempting to bring awareness to his situation.
The Don Valley Auto Centre is at 388 Carlaw Avenue in Leslieville.
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