Leading Scarborough Subway Champions Now Want a Different Route, Because Of Course
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Leading Scarborough Subway Champions Now Want a Different Route, Because Of Course

Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38, Scarborough Centre) and MPP Brad Duguid say the proposed route is unacceptable, as it would affect too many residents.

Source: Media Briefing, p 27 [PDF]

The transit network including the one-stop subway route, which De Baeremaeker and Duguid now oppose. Source: Media Briefing, p. 27 [PDF].

The most vociferous political supporters of the Scarborough subway now oppose the proposed route for the $3.56 billion one-stop extension.

Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38, Scarborough Centre), who John Tory named his “subway champion” on City Council, and Liberal MPP Brad Duguid opposed the current route at a local community meeting, as reported by Inside Toronto. De Baeremaeker called the route “a horrible imposition on our community,” because of five years of construction that would include dust, noise, and other difficulties.

The proposed route, which would go east from Kennedy Station and along McCowan to Scarborough Town Centre, would involve expropriation of local residences and businesses. In July, De Baeremaeker successfully moved a motion that would also protect the Frank Faubert Wood Lot during the construction phase. This move could add millions to construction costs.

Neither De Baeremaeker nor Duguid is willing to give up on the subway, with the MPP saying that seeing it cancelled would only happen over his dead body. They favour an alternate route proposed by a retired Scarborough planner, which would see an elaborate bend west of McCowan before swerving back east. The plan has not been studied by city staff and costs have not been analyzed.

There are two things we know about this plan:

  • This was entirely predictable
  • This can’t be good news, and it won’t be the last of it

Council was repeatedly told by the likes of De Baeremaeker that Scarborough deserves a subway, and residents won’t settle for anything less. Over a series of multiple contentious and questionable votes, he got his wish. But that kind of transit development comes with construction costs too. As the so-called subway champion, he should have communicated these in advance to his residents, or he should have been honest with himself about short-term local disruption.

Will another change in plans, or a delay to the current proposal, cost more money? We don’t know the answer to that yet, but if history is a guide, projects of this size and scope typically don’t find savings with these changes.

And let’s add another thing we know about this plan:

  • Brad Duguid and Glenn De Baeremaeker are not responsible transit planners, and they should not be empowered to make further changes