The Hurontario LRT is coming to Mississauga and Brampton with a completion date set for 2024. But the proposed transit line with 19 stations spanning 18 kilometres is being criticized for providing one neighbourhood with a transformer instead of a station.
A demonstration was held Sunday in the parking lot of 20 Kingsbridge Circle to protest Metrolinx and the provincial transit agency’s plan to build a transformer. Kingsbridge Matters, an advocacy group lobbying for the inclusion of an LRT stop at the Hurontario Street and Kingsbridge Garden Circle intersection in Mississauga, organized the event.
In order to visually represent the transformer and its impact on the neighbourhood, a mural was erected by Mississauga residents. The mural is comprised of 36 shipping containers, only one of which would make up the approximate size of the transformer. As well, the installation was set up in the proposed location for the electrical unit.
“This site is surrounded by nine large condominium buildings,” Grant Gorchynski, a former Mississauga city council candidate, told Insauga.
“It’s insane that Metrolinx wants to construct a hulking, dangerous transformer in the centre of a thriving residential and commercial neighbourhood. We constructed our model to show just how large and overwhelming this monstrosity would be. It makes no sense on any level. We’re determined to stop it.”
Kingsbridge Matters wants the transformer to be moved to the other side of the street. The advocacy group believes the slated location would become a danger zone and negatively impact community events due to “health and safety risks because of electrical and magnetic fields, noise pollution, ‘dirty’ electricity and decreased property values.”
The mural was painted by an artist named Meg — whose Instagram handle is @oldschoolhues — and pictures Kingsbridge Garden and Tucana Court as medieval knights in the ‘Order of Tucana.’ The crusaders are up in arms against an organization called ‘Metrolink’ (aka Metrolinx).
View this post on Instagram
👀 Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on this banner for @kingsbridgematters. Kingsbridge (a community in Mississauga) has been fighting to get an LRT station, while combatting a proposal for an electrical transformer. Happy to creatively support the cause! #kingsbridgematters #kingsbridgelrt #mississauga #mississaugaart #torontoartists
Metrolinx spokesperson Nitish Bissonauth told Toronto Storeys that the placement of the TPSS in its current location predates any extensive advocacy campaign and is based on technical requirements of the project.
“In the development of the Reference Concept Design in 2016, it was determined that the location of the TPSS on the east side of Hurontario was not a suitable location,” said Bissonauth. “It was then determined based on technical merit to relocate the TPSS site to 10 Kingsbridge.”
Bissonauth said that at the request of the owner of 10 Kingsbridge, Metrolinx staff worked to reduce the original property requirement for the Traction Power Substation (TPSS) by approximately 35 per cent to lessen the impact on parking spots, adding that the spacing of the 14 TPSSs planned for the Hurontario LRT corridor is dictated by electrical requirements for the system.
“The decisions on where to place them were made based on technical reasoning and in conjunction with the municipalities. A shift in the placement of one TPSS outside the requirements would impact the placement of the others,” said Bissonauth.
Traction Power Substations (TPSS) can be found in residential neighbourhoods with LRTs across North America, Bissonauth noted, adding that both national (Health Canada) and international health agencies have concluded that TPSSs do not pose any health hazards.
Gorchynski said that this “very large community, medical and disability hub at Kingsbridge would like to have an accessible stop to be part of this great system. The communities noble requests resulted in a retaliatory transformer being dumped in their community.”
There are more than 10,000 people living in the community who could benefit from an additional LRT stop. With the ‘highest’ population density along the proposed route, Gorchynski says, a station could raise property values, take cars off the roads and save households more than $10,000, increase safety and accessibility for residents and see vacant land developed.