7 Days For Your Voice To Be Heard for Clean Trains!

We Want Clean AirWe Want Clean Air

There are 7 days left for the public to submit their comments directly to Metrolinx about how they feel about plans for dirty diesel trains and to promote electric trains now. The Deadline is July 30.

Like most locals you support a better idea, a greener, cleaner idea that will promote public transit and a healthy environment. This is your opportunity to easily make your views part of the public record as part of the EA process. The EA is one part of the process but one where direct public comments are invited. Lets not waste this chance to change Metrolinx's out of date thinking for the benefit of everybody. This is a chance to be FOR something; clean electric public transit. Thats cool. Please take the time to email comments. Here is how easy it is....

1. Write your views and make reference to the Georgetown EA in your subject line

2.Include your name and address, and if you wish, phone number, in the email so they know you are a real person.

3. Send you email to: info@metrolinx.com
Metrolinx has promised in writing to register comments send via this email.

4. You can also post a copy here if you wish so others can read what your views are.

Two last things....

If you need more information www.cleantrain.ca has everything you need to know including on the right hand side a copy of "The Better Move" which spells out CTC's modern healthy vision; doable now.

Invite YOUR Facebook and email friends to join in as I can tell you after 3 handouts at my local subway station I cant find any member of the public who think Metrolinx's plan makes any sense. THey need to know how much on the wrong side of the public expectation and how far behind the curve they are.

Thank you for your support. We will post some reminders over the next week. Go Green.


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Excellent Letter

The letter pretty much says it all - excellent work Scott!

As for Tony, no elections on the horizon so hes in hibernation. At least he reuses his election boards which show pictures of him 25 yrs ago. The man should retire, he is not relevant in this day and age. Hes been in the drivers seat for way to long, maybe no capable challengers - who knows. Same ol same ol.


Tony 'Invisible' Ruprecht

Ranajit I would not mind another Liberal or NDP MP, my main request would be that they take an active role in the community. Sadly Tony was Mr. Invisible 20 years ago when he was my MP in Parkdale too. He is the kind of MP that gives the "term limit" people ammunition.

The Georgetown EA is Morally Wrong and Technically Wrong

Seriously, lets hope Metrolinx can find a way to save face and get with the plan.
Dear Robert Pritchard

Please include my comments as part of your documentation.

The Metrolinx EA for the Georgetown/airport link expansion is a fraud as it fails to consider existing technology that is greener, cheaper, and longer lasting.

Further the continued argument by Metrolinx that diesels trains represent the best that can be offered is a symptom of a moral failure on the part of all those at all levels including consultants.

The Moral Issue with the EA

1.Metrolinx and its consultants have waged a PR campaign to discredit immediate electrification of these routes using a changing list of excuses and half truths that even some of its own consultants have told me privately are not true. This is a blatant disregard for the truth and the respect of the communities Metrolinx is supposed to serve. The EA process is a fraud because Metrolinx has not truthfully answered residents questions about why electrification cannot be done now and presented answers that seem vary week by week. In fact I went to 3 open houses and heard 3 completely different stories, and they were stories not facts, about why electric would not work. What a professional embarrassment for the people in charge of this EA.

2. During the EA process consultants refused to tie all the results together into a complete cumulative picture with residents at open houses. It was impossible to discuss the entire project with anyone as consultants just said ”its not my department”. Given that this is the only opportunity for citizens to talk about the EA it fell short of being a true public consultation process and was an exercise in technical buck passing.

3. The “compartmentalization” continued in that the larger cumulative effect of additional traffic on the Newmarket line which is in GO’s public documents and part of the south end of this EA was deemed to not be part of the EA and in most cases Metrolinks senior executives like James O’Marra claimed to know nothing about it. Nothing, even though there were other public consultations going on at the same time. How the top part of the rail expansion that is 1802 feet away from lines that come from the same Georgetown expansion cannot be part of the same EA is a great mysteries. There is no reasonable conclusion here except that Metrolinx is hoping by omission to play down an aspect of future expansion and its dirty diesel health effects as seen on Map 24 of their plans. This is dishonest plain and simple. Even a highschool student can see through this deliberate attempt to hide the impact. I would also add that Greg Ashbee of GO suffers from the same professional and moral amnesia but the other way around.

The Environmental Issue With the EA

1. Diesel propulsion is an obsolete toxic methodology that is quickly being passed by electrification. The world knows this but for some reason Metrolinx’s designers are stuck in the the 1990’s (the 1890’s actually). Putting in any system that pollutes the air and then the soil in residential areas makes no sense when a clean alternative exists now. Citizens have been given a false choice and that is not a fair EA.

No private company could add the amount of concentrated pollution into the air that Metrolinx and Lavlin (hiding behind Metrolinx) are. Period. Why is that? Why is that acceptable?

2.Diesel pollution will remain in our air and soil long after dirty diesel trains stop running. Not a year, BUT years and years. Haunting the community and its soil and water table invisibly with no train or Metrolinx employee to be held accountable. It may be a nice PR move to say one day there will be electric trains but the legacy will live on. Nobody should feel this is acceptable in the year 2009.

3. The toxicity released by Metrolinx’s trains is worse than the cars it will take off the road. This is an accepted scientific fact backed backed even by our own Board of Health. How is this better for the environment? I did not see one inch of data as part of the EA that reconciled this fact: Metrolinx is taking pollution from cars and spreading a far more serious pollutant into residential areas. I don’t see how concentrating this toxic brew next to homes and schools for the ENTIRE west end of Toronto makes any sense. If the EA is about finding acceptable levels and tradeoffs and mitigation then where is the comparison to cars? And more importantly where is the comparison to electric?

4.It makes no environmental sense to spend a whack of money on a toxic dirty diesel system and then say that you are going to electrify it down the road. Considering that electric systems are all over the world including here in Canada why waste the money and the carbon footprint building something that you in theory are saying you don’t actually want. Either say you want diesel for 40 years or you want electric now. Any hybrid response is at best a PR move and at worst a giant waste of resources and human capital. Build it once and build it right and then spend all the money that would have been wasted on a down the road conversion on developing more green transit green energy supplies. Or how about on schools or hospitals?This seems like economics 101 to me and every person I have talked to in Toronto about this topic gets it. Why doesn’t Metrolinx get it?


I could go on and on because this diesel proposal is so dead tech and technically retarded that I find it hard to believe that any organization in 2009 could possibly publicly propose this without being laughed out of town. I would laugh too but it is my lungs and the lungs of my community that will suffer. And they will suffer long after all the consultants and project leaders have retired and in fact will suffer and be impacted until the day I die. Should I even bother planting the backyard vegetable garden? Should I care about this any more when my own government doesn’t care anymore and its agents don’t care enough to present fair and balanced information to me? Is that the plan, to stop people from caring?

GO used to be something I was quite proud of but I can see that it is becoming the giant corporate entity that citizens fear and loathe just like Hooker Chemical or Dupont. Metrolinx started with the promise of getting transit on track, something we all agree on, but nobody thought they would come to the table with technology worthy of a Dickens novel and then present a diesel PR campaign in place of a true informed EA process. It is very upsetting when institutions that you believed in lose site and become unable to admit their mistakes or to re-evaluate positions: actions that in the end would earn respect and renewed trust.

How is it possible that you can be in opposition to huge amounts of residents who embrace public transit and railpaths and natural gardens and energy conservation? How can you spend so much money on consultants and yet be on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of informed public opinion? How come the public has the answers that Metrolinx don’t? Why do we feel that it is we who are trying to teach you Metrolinx but you wont listen? Will you ever?

The immediate electrification of the Georgetown and other rail expansions is doable, is affordable, environmentally sound and a good business decision. There is not one single reason to not do it.

Metrolinx needs to take time out and engage more with the affected communities and re-evaluate whether dirty diesel is the best that it can do. Overwhelming evidence says there is a better way in which nobody has to lose face but everybody gains. The public will wait while Metrolinx catches up with the times and support that green public transit 100% .

To let the Metrolinx diesel freighter continue under its own out of date inertia will be an epic failing of professional and moral responsibility.

Do the right thing.

Cheers, Scott Dobson

Nice Metrolinx Letter!

Nice Metrolinx letter Scott! Thanks for making the effort. I hope that you will forward a copy to the Premier, the Minister of Transport and our Missing in Action MPP, Tony 'Invisible' Ruprecht.

Tony 'Invisible' Ruprecht

Its too bad that Tony cant make a stand considering he uses up a lot of trees creating pamphlets saying how much he cares for the environment. On this issue Tony went to one meeting and claims that he "made a statement" and now says "what's wrong with you people" when citizens ask what he is doing on this issue.. A coward pure and simple.

Less environmentally damaging ???

"Ontario is moving toward less environmentally damaging sources of electricity."

This is an interesting thing to say. The Adam Beck generating station went into service in 1922 and for decades Ontario had very clean power. There have been upgrades since then of course, but it is safe to say that all of the power that Niagara Falls could possibly generate was spoken for a long time ago. The Premier has a vested interest in encouraging people to imagine we are making progress in terms of power generation. He also has a vested interest in us not looking at the facts too closely. It is very likely that when he made a promise to decommission all coal power that he did not understand the significance of 'peak capacity' - generating power that can be used for short periods of time on demand. He is likely now looking for an excuse to break that promise. New power demand might make an excellent excuse.
Outside of Niagara Falls our track record is abysmal. I don't know if you are a fan of nuclear power. I don't mind it. But we've been in the nuclear power business for forty years and do not have a long term storage facility for our waste fuel. That seems to me remarkably irresponsible. Changing that situation will require dealing with a NIMBY situation somewhere.
I love the idea of increasing our use of wind power. The wind turbine at the ex generates about 1000 MWh per year, while Toronto uses 25000000 MWh. I'll save you the math - as a percentage that's zero. The Ashbridges bay proposal was NIMBIED, the Scarborough proposal is being NIMBIED as we speak. Even if it goes through it would be infinitesimal - a good step, but too small to mean much.
Biomass is a dreadful idea that through the use of advanced technology can become a merely bad idea. Like garbage incineration, the idea is that if you use really high temperatures and fancy catalysts you can avoid creating the extremely poisonous emissions. (In practice sometimes the temperatures are allowed to drop resulting in terrible emissions.) However you are still destroying biomass - which should be returning to soil so we can stop losing soil and continue to feed ourselves.
Did you know that we use diesel to generate electricity in Ontario?

Politicians what to take credit for 'clean power' or whatever seems popular. But they will not stand up to defend an important project.
If we want to pat ourselves on the back for good decision making, it seems that we should be prepared to make the occasional responsible decision.

CC: contribution to Georgetown EA

[sent to info@metrolinx.com this afternoon]

To whom it may concern:

I'm a resident of a neighbourhood adjacent to the railway line proposed to carry a train link between Union Station and Pearson Airport. I'm a great supporter of such a link, but I'm worried to hear that Metrolinx is considering using diesel engines.

With what we now know about climate change, atmospheric pollution and their health effects, and the repeated calls from all levels of government to stimulate green industry in this city, province and country, it seems rather out-of-date to be considering such an old and dirty technology. Surely, government's role is to rise above nearsighted business timelines, especially during recessions, and "price in" externalities like pollution and climate change gas emissions, thereby providing the conditions for economic development. In this case, that would mean a modern electric train.

Yes, electric trains might, for the moment, garner some of their power from fossil-fuel run generation stations, but Ontario is moving toward less environmentally damaging sources of electricity. As the province moves, so will the impact of this laudable new train link improve--if it's electrified. If it's diesel, we know it'll keep burning diesel...until Toronto wakes up in a few years and realizes it has to spend a huge chunk more to convert it!

Please, let's make the right decision the first time around. Don't let this be a repeat of the Sheppard subway, which to this day dogs Mel Lastman's already dubious reputation and legacy.