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April 5, 2014 Consultation Event Highlights

This concise Highlights Report has been prepared by Lura Consulting to provide the City of Toronto with a snapshot of the feedback collected during a public meeting held on April 5, 2014.


On Saturday, April 5, 2014, the City of Toronto, City Planning Division (Transportation Planning) and TTC hosted a public meeting jointly with Metrolinx as part of the Regional Relief Strategy. The meeting was hosted at the Sheraton Centre Toronto. The purpose of the City/TTC portion of the public meeting was to gather feedback on the proposed study process (i.e., proposed Terms of Reference and draft Public Consultation Plan) for the Relief Line Project Assessment.

Following a presentation by Tim Laspa, Director, Transportation Planning, City of Toronto, participants had the opportunity to ask questions and engage in facilitated discussions about the proposed Terms of Reference and draft Public Consultation Plan. Notes were recorded at each discussion and participants were encouraged to record their individual notes in a discussion guide.

Approximately 85 people signed in at the public meeting, including the following elected officials: Councillors Pam McConnell and Janet Davis, and Glen Murray, Minister of Transportation.


Highlights of Participant Feedback

Questions of Clarification

The discussion captured during the question and answer period following the overview presentation is summarized below. Questions are noted with a “Q”, comments with “C” and answers with “A”.

Q. A long list of ideas was compiled in the adjoining meeting with Metrolinx about the Yonge Relief Network Study (e.g., express service on the Markham GO transit line). This project needs inputs from that one – more work is needed to coordinate them.

A. We are working with Metrolinx to look at how the two studies can be coordinated. You are right that Metrolinx is a little further ahead of us, but their study will definitely feed into the work we are doing.

Q. It appears that the city is limiting the initial consultations to a small area. Is it a mistake to limit consultation to such a narrow area when the outcome of the project affects the whole city?

A. The study area is the actual area where residents and businesses will be directly impacted the most. The intent is to engage people on a much broader scope if Council approves the Terms of Reference and Public Consultation Plan.

Q. How much attention will be given to the design of the new interchange points ? For example, the interchange at St. George station handles large volumes of people much better than Yonge/Bloor station.

A. The design of transit stations will be looked at during later phases of the project.


Small Group Facilitated Discussions

Terms of Reference

1. How can we improve the study process or Terms of Reference?

  • Continue with City of Toronto and Metrolinx collaboration on local and regional transportation planning initiatives.
  • Ensure coordination between local and regional transportation projects.
  • Fast track the study process to improve the current transit system, particularly with the needs of local business and residents in mind.

2. Is there anything missing from the study process?

  • Study the northern and western portions of the relief line at the same time as the eastern segment – completing a cost-benefit analysis of the entire relief line will help inform the study as the project progresses.
  • The study area is too broad and not realistic given physical constraints (e.g. Don Valley).
  • Extend the geography considered in the study area – GO Transit passengers are a key stakeholder group who often live outside the city.
  • Ensure stakeholders (i.e., local businesses, residents, landowners, community groups, etc.) are directly involved as the study progresses.

3. Do you have any other comments or suggestions for the Relief Line project study?

  • Fulfill as many city building objectives as possible – this is also about supporting employment and growth in the region.
  • Ensure the consultation process is genuine and transparent as the options appear to be pre-determined already.
  • Ensure decision-making is evidence-based – do not let NIMBY or YIMBY interests outweigh broader city building goals.


Public Consultation

1. How do you want to be involved in the Relief Line Project study process?

  • Ensure public meetings engage people from diverse backgrounds (e.g. multi-lingual communication options) and are accessible to different audiences (e.g. use plain language).
  • Provide notices of consultation events and project updates to businesses in the financial district.
  • Provide residents and stakeholders with opportunities to provide feedback, not only receive information.
  • Ensure the feedback obtained through consultation activities is shared with the public and demonstrate how feedback was incorporated into the study.

2. Which engagement tools would you find most useful to learn about and provide input to the study?

  • Provide tear-off pamphlets and project materials (e.g., background information, surveys, etc.) on transit vehicles.
  • Advertise the project on regional and local transit systems (e.g., posters, pamphlets, Transit Public Address announcements, etc.).
  • Improve the integration of background information and materials provided to the public to avoid confusion.

3. When (time of day) should public meetings be held regarding the Relief Line Project?

  • Host consultation events during evenings on weekdays or weekends.

4. Where should public meetings be held regarding the Relief Line Project?

  • Host public meetings and consultation events near transit stations – location is key.
  • Host consultation events at the neighbourhood level where people are (e.g., community centres, retirement homes, etc.), preferably over the weekend.

5. What outline and/or social media tools would you use to provide input to the Relief Line Project?

  • Use a mix of consultation tools to promote consultation events and engage participants as social media is self-selective.
  • Engage the public using websites and social media (e.g., urbantoronto.ca, stevemunro.ca and do a tweet up).
  • Consider using crowd-sourcing throughout the project process.
  • Pursue interactive mapping in latter stages of the project (e.g., to obtain collective agreement on where stations would go).


Next Steps

A more detailed report will be prepared for review by the project team and for distribution online. The report will incorporate any additional feedback received through subsequent public meetings and the online participation tool by April 17, 2014, which is the closing date for comments for Phase 1A.