Metrolinx is reassuring dozens of Toronto homeowners after letters were sent out raising fears about expropriation to make way for the Ontario Line— a subway project proposed to run between Ontario Place and the Ontario Science Centre.
East York resident Ramin Faraji is one of the property owners who received the letter. He bought a century-old home on Hopedale Avenue last year. His backyard borders a ravine and has a large oak tree he said is 300 years old.
“[It’s] everything I’ve got. Plus some. Everything I have, everything I could borrow to have this, and I’m going to fight tooth and nail to keep this,” Faraji told CTV News Toronto Thursday.
This is not a notice of expropriation, but it's possibly worse than that. Letting a homeowner know that their house is being targeted for expropriation is a HUGE amount of uncertainty and stress put on the residents. They can't sell. They can't move. They know a clock is ticking pic.twitter.com/Q2geRBJMER— PACCT (@PACCTinfo) October 6, 2020
The letter states Metrolinx is contacting owners early in the process to ensure they are aware of the project and implications it may have on their property.
Some sections of the Ontario Line will be tunnelled, others are above ground.
“You just can’t build those lines without needing property and so it does have an impact,” said spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins.
“So you may see construction. We may need a piece of your property, we may need your property, but we don’t know yet. We’re still assessing.”
Aikins said only about a handful of properties could be expropriated.
Karen Urban is with Pape Area Concerned Citizens for Transit, a local advocacy group, which supports the need for more transit.
Urban however said she’s hearing from homeowners who are not satisfied with the way they learned about the project coming to the neighbourhood.
“Show us the options prior to pre-determining a route. And that is what we are talking about,” said Urban.
She said while this instance in the Hopedale Avenue area is a very personal one right now, the overall messaging is not ‘don’t take our houses’.
She said people in the area hoped to see more alternatives before receiving Metrolinx’s letter.
The concerns come as Toronto-Danforth City Councllior Paula Fletcher and Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns hosted a virtual meeting Thursday night about the updates on the Ontario Line.
The politicians were joined by three community groups — Save Jimmie Simpson, East End Transit Alliance and the Lakeshore East Community Advisory Committee.