The tunnel boring machines that will carve out the Crosstown LRT are about to rumble through the earth under Eglinton Ave. W.
And that means the deserted Kodak lands in Weston-Mount Dennis will spring to life in the next couple of years.
The massive 23-hectare industrial “brownfield,” empty since the film manufacturer closed in 2005, will get a second chance when it’s redeveloped as the maintenance and storage facility for vehicles on the new LRT line.
Infrastructure Ontario — the provincial agency tendering the contracts — and Metrolinx will ask qualified consortiums to bid on the massive $6.4-billion LRT contract this summer.
The contract includes constructing and maintaining the storage facility, building stations and track, and converting the Scarborough RT to light rail. A $300-million contract to tunnel the west end of the Crosstown has already been parceled out.
Community activists in Weston-Mount Dennis want to make sure at least some of that money is used to create a job pipeline for residents, many of whom are unskilled. They’re working with Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario to ensure that a so-called “community benefits agreement” becomes one of the bid requirements.
And they’re encouraging other at-risk neighbourhoods intersected by the LRT to do the same.
“Our emphasis on getting jobs could, in fact, begin to change the thinking of people in other communities along the line,” said Marabelle McTavish, a retired school teacher and chair of the Mount Dennis Community Association.
Read the rest of the Toronto Star article: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/crosstown/2013/05/06/westonmount_dennis_residents_look_to_metrolinx_to_create_jobs_when_it_builds_crosstown_lrt.html