BIA demands compensation during Eglinton Crosstown LRT delay

Jill Andrews and Nick Alampi

The York-Eglinton Business Improvement Area (BIA) was disappointed to learn that the opening of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT will be delayed until well into the year 2022 and insists that the remaining small businesses along the Eglinton Crosstown route will now experience even greater hardship due to the extended length of disturbance is much longer than they had originally planned for.

“Supporting small business must be a priority if we want to ensure that businesses that have experienced disruption get to experience the benefits once light rail services start. That’s why we are demanding action and compensation to assist our small businesses that are experiencing financial hardship.” says Nick Alampi, Chair of the York-Eglinton BIA.

The impact of years of construction on the small businesses along Eglinton Avenue has been devastating many of our small businesses, which have been directly impacted by barricades, disruption in pedestrian foot traffic; this has resulted in a severe loss of customers and revenue. The physical and mental wellbeing of many small business owners have been negatively affected.

The York-Eglinton BIA is calling on the Province of Ontario and Metrolinx to act in good faith by providing a financial assistance program to the small businesses affected by the unfortunate delay of this project.

The proposed Small Business Assistance Program should include payment to assist businesses with their rent and other bills for eligible small businesses that are directly being impacted by the light rail construction. This program needs to be launched immediately on Eglinton Avenue, and should be implemented as part of all future major infrastructure transit projects in Ontario.

The Province and Metrolinx should also provide ongoing mental health support to affected business owners and their families at no cost to the recipients.

Jill Andrew, MPP for Toronto-St. Paul’s, called on the Doug Ford government to put a plan in place to support local business owners who are suffering because of the challenges that come from the Eglinton Crosstown. Andrew’s call comes after local business owners and the BIA learned that construction on the Crosstown has been delayed yet again for another year.

Andrews says that the Eglinton Crosstown project is sidetracked again and “Businesses in vibrant communities like Little Jamaica, Yonge and Eglinton, and Dufferin and Eglinton, right here in my riding of Toronto-St. Paul’s, are already paying the price, and they simply can’t afford to keep hanging on by a thread, wracked with debt and stress, for two more years.”

“Small business owners in Toronto-St. Paul’s bring a distinct sense of culture, identity and heritage to our community, and they deserve better. I am urging this government to come forward with a plan to support business owners who are struggling until the Crosstown construction is finally complete.”