fairbank park toronto

Toronto neighbourhood outraged their local park will be closed until 2026

A massive subterranean tunnel is being constructed across four Toronto wards, and locals of one affected community are angry that the project will deprive them of much of their neighbourhood park for years in order to accommodate the lengthy construction window.

The first section of an enormous 270-tonne tunnel boring machine launched from a 40-metre-deep shaft inside Fairbank Memorial Park, at Dufferin Street south of Eglinton Avenue West, back in May.

The majority of the park's greenspace is being used as a launch site for the tunnelling of the Fairbank Silverthorn Storm Trunk Sewer System project, which is constructing a three-kilometre long, 4.5-metre-diametre storm sewer relieving a large portion of the city from potential basement flooding.

fairbank park torontoPreliminary work on the new trunk sewer began in 2021, and construction is currently expected to continue until 2026, during which time the entire north end of the park will remain off-limits to the public.

More than 12,500 people living in 4,645 homes are expected to benefit from the $380 million project's mitigation of basement flooding, and the reduction of a projected 40 million litres of annual combined sewer overflows into Black Creek and other local waterways.

Despite its obvious benefits to area residents, the project's lengthy closure of Fairbank Memorial Park has ruffled the feathers of locals.

blogTO reader Sahil Khan reached out in frustration, explaining that "Residents in the Fairbank Park community continue to be locked out of their park during another bout of construction near Eglinton."

After years of disruption due to the protracted construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, Khan and other locals are fuming over the lengthy period that they will be without their beloved neighbourhood greenspace.

fairbank park toronto

"The city has locked off all greenspace, and former Mayoral candidate Josh Matlow's office isn't doing anything to address it," says Khan.

"There has been a local campaign to give residents access to the diamond that has been locked with chains even though the park is closed until 2026."

Khan is concerned that "many residents have reached out to the councillor's office since 2022 but were put on hold due to the mayor's race."

Councillor Matlow's office tells blogTO that "The loss of park and recreation space for four years is a tough pill to swallow for our community, which is still dealing with the construction of the repeatedly delayed Eglinton Crosstown."

"While this is a necessary infrastructure upgrade that will help prevent basement flooding in a large portion of Toronto, Josh is not satisfied that all avenues have been explored to reduce the impact on local residents."

"That's why we have repeatedly advocated for portions of the park to be kept public during construction, including the baseball diamond, and will continue to look for opportunities to open up park space for the neighbourhood."

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City of Toronto

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