Saturday, January 30, 2010

Irreparable Damage? Whose Irreparable Damage?

On Thursday, January 28th, social rights lawyer, David Baker, of Bakerlaw, represented the West Toronto Diamond Community Group in the Federal Court of Appeal. He was beyond eloquent, he was gracious. He was a force of natural justice.

The opposing argument by the lawyer, representing GO/Metrolinx, maintained that they will have irrecoverable costs, irreparable damage, and that the balance of convenience lies in their favour. 'Public good' was trotted out repeatedly, although GO/Metrolinx's definition of public good is counter to all socially responsible, environmentally sustainable transit planning initiatives.

When GO/Metrolinx boldly proclaimed that they will have irreparable damages, there were exasperated, barely audible chuckles from those who have incurred headaches and respiratory ailments, damage to the structural integrity of their houses, and lost business from the pounding of the West Toronto Diamond diesel hammer piledrivers over the past year. Excuse me- I can't hear you because of my hearing loss - who has had irreparable damage?

Stay tuned for the Federal Court of Appeal ruling next Wednesday at 6 pm, after three judges sit in Montreal to decide whether the previous CTA ruling has legs. This ruling is very important as the verdict will have far reaching implications for the cessation of noise in the West Toronto Diamond, the quality of construction methods used for the Davenport Diamond at Dupont and Lansdowne, and the future design of the overpass, or trench, on Wallace Avenue, east of Campbell.

May Natural Justice win out. What a guy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

When will they learn?

"When justice is gone,
There is always force."
Laurie Anderson from 'O Superman'
250,000 lbs of force, 40 times a minute, an explosion of atomized diesel at the drivehead, which pounds a 36” diameter steel pipe 22 meters straight into the ground to produce 130 decibels of sound energy for rolling, continuous vibration and noise.

This is diesel hammer piledriving for the West Toronto Diamond, enabling a grade separation and underpass for the Metrolinx GSSE/UPRL corridor. This incessant pounding has induced headaches, cracked building foundations, covered homes with toxic dust, and disrupted school years. At any given time, three piledrivers could be working concurrently. There are 2,338 piles to be installed with diesel hammers.

Lucy McCormick Senior School, a special needs school for students with exceptional developmental disabilities, is located very close to the West Toronto Diamond. If you place a glass of water on a desk there, it will vibrate and shake. Try holding a year end exam for students, many of whom have ADHD, and are particularly sensitive to noise.

See for yourself the impact of this construction.

Tomorrow, on Thursday, January 28th, at 9:30 at the Federal Court of Appeal, 180 Queen Street West, suite 200, Metrolinx is challenging a Canadian Transit Authority ruling that ordered them to use the less intrusive, but more expensive, Giken vibratory piledrivers. Residents were delighted by the CTA ruling on December 7th. After the ruling, schools became quiet again, the elderly, caretakers, children and those who worked at home had the fundamental, constitutional right to enjoy their property, and heaven forbid, work, sleep and convalesce during the day in their homes.

This peace was short lived. Metrolinx did not like using the unobtrusive vibratory piledrivers. It forced them to take time, and precautionary measures, to think about each stage of the project, and the residents. Metrolinx does not like thinking about the impact of this project on the surrounding community, so Metrolinx circumnavigated the CTA ruling, and asked for an interim stay from the Federal Court of Appeal. It received this interim stay, and is approaching the Federal Court for a permanent stay tomorrow.

The definition of bullying "is repeated acts over time that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power with the more powerful individual or group attacking those who are less powerful". A bully is someone who knows how not to harm a community, yet contests the right to do so at $750 an hour, bankrolled by the residents' taxes. A bully is someone who chooses not to learn, and chooses to harm the learning process of others.

Draw your own conclusions. Speak up, and hold your hand steady, though, because the blackboard is shaking and your students can barely hear you.

Please come and support the CTA Ruling at the Federal Court of Appeal tomorrow. If this ruling is overturned, it will give Metrolinx carte blanche to pound through this corridor, without any environmental or social responsibility.

Also, post feedback on Minister of Transport Kathleen Wynne's site at She should care, she used to be Minister of Education.

Laurie Anderson 'O Superman'
Lucy McCormick Senior School
Banging in Toronto. GO Transit Pile-driving. Spring 2009.
Property Rights and the Constitution