Meeting Date: January 12, 2005

Subject: Spadina Subway Extension Environmental Assessment Study - Communications Plan

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Commission:

1. Receive this report for information; and

2. Forward this report to the City of Toronto, the Regional Municipality of York and the City of Vaughan for information.

Funding

While there is no funding implication included in this report, sufficient funds have been included for work related to the Environmental Assessment in Project 3.9, under Environmental Assessment for Spadina Subway Extension to Steeles, as set out on pages 871 to 874 - category expansion, in the TTC 2005-2009 Capital Program as approved by the Commission on November 17, 2004.  The Environmental Assessment is jointly funded by the Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto and the Regional Municipality of York.

Background

The Commission, at its meeting of June 16, 2004, received the staff report “Spadina Subway Extension – Terms of Reference for Environmental Assessment”.  Subsequently, the Terms of Reference were submitted to the Ministry of the Environment on June 17, 2004 and approved by the Minister of the Environment on September 13, 2004.

URS Canada Inc. was retained at the October 20, 2004 Commission Meeting to conduct the Environmental Assessment Study.    The Study, which involves the development and evaluation of alternative alignments and station locations, is now underway.

Discussion

A comprehensive communications plan has been developed for the Environmental Assessment Study to:
 
1. Receive public input in advance of key Environmental Assessment Study decisions; 

2. Build consensus among key stakeholder agencies as the Study progresses; and

3. Ensure that the Commission, Toronto City Council, City of Vaughan Council and the Regional Municipality of York Council are informed of key issues arising during the Study and the rationale for Study recommendations and conclusions.  

The Environmental Assessment study will be conducted in three phases, as follows:

1. Phase 1 – Development of alternative subway routes and evaluation criteria.

2. Phase 2 – Analysis/evaluation and selection of the preferred subway route and development of alternative subway alignments.

3. Phase 3 – Selection and detailed Environmental Assessment of preferred alignment and study recommendations and conclusions.

Public Information Centres (PIC’s) will be held during each phase of the Study to seek public input in advance of key decision points.   The PIC’s will consist of an open house, a staff presentation and a facilitated workshop.

In advance of each PIC:

1. The general public will be notified by newspaper advertisements, the TTC and York University web sites and flyers delivered by Canada Post to approximately 40,000 homes, businesses and institutions in the Study Area. 

2. Mailing list registrants (including members of the general public, business and property owners, special interest groups, utility companies and federal, provincial and municipal agencies) will receive direct invitations by email or Canada Post.

3. The Technical Advisory Committee, which consists of senior staff from key stakeholder agencies (including TTC, City of Toronto, City of Vaughan, Ministry of Transportation, GO Transit, and York Region Transit), will review the draft PIC presentation materials.

4. The Commission will receive advance notice of the Public Information Centres and a preview of the presentation materials via memo from the Chief General Manager.

5. Lastly, Toronto, York Region and Vaughan Council members will receive invitations from the TTC Chair.

Following each PIC, Commission staff will report to the Commission on the PIC results, and key issues, findings, recommendations and conclusions of the Environmental Assessment Study.  The PIC results will also be posted on the TTC web site.

Subject to Commission approval, the Commission Reports following PIC #1 and #2 will be forwarded to the City of Toronto Planning and Transportation, City of Toronto Council, City of Vaughan Council, the Regional Municipality of York Rapid Transit Committee and the Regional Municipality of York Council for information. 

Following PIC #3, staff will prepare a Commission Report which will request approval of the preferred alignment and station locations as well as key EA study recommendations and conclusions.   During this final phase the Study, the Report will be forwarded to Toronto Works Committee, Toronto Planning and Transportation Committee and City of Toronto Council for approval.

The recommendations of the Environmental Assessment Study may include the provision of some Steeles Station facilities, north of Steeles Avenue, within York Region and will also affect the long-term extension of the Spadina Subway north of Steeles into York Region. Therefore, City of Vaughan and York Region staff will also submit reports to their respective Committees and Councils for approval of project elements that are under the jurisdiction of Vaughan and York.

A schedule of the foregoing is shown in Exhibit 1.

Justification

A comprehensive public consultation program is required during the Environmental Assessment Study in order to satisfy the requirements of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act.

December 16, 2004

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