Seven trees on the grounds of the historic Osgoode Hall building are slated for removal early Saturday.
The Law Society of Ontario had said Thursday it would seek an injunction to stop the trees from being cut down so that Metrolinx can construct an entrance for a new Ontario Line subway station. But an injunction had not been attained by late Friday.
An area around Osgoode Hall, which houses Ontario’s Court of Appeal, Superior Court of Justice and the Law Society of Ontario, has been fenced off and work was expected to start this weekend. Metrolinx says it needs to fell the trees for a “laydown site” for the station work.
In a statement Friday, a coalition of residents groups called Build Ontario Line Differently (BOLD) said “(communities’) interests have taken a back seat to Metrolinx’s agenda, and we are angry and frustrated.”
The group said that Metrolinx has shown a “reluctance to meaningfully engage with communities” affected by its transit construction projects across the city.
In a statement to the Star on Thursday, Metrolinx said it has “been engaging with communities on the project for over two years and can’t afford to delay getting this much-needed project built.”
“The Ontario Line alone will see almost 400,000 passengers every day, reduce crowding on existing subway lines and put nearly 50,000 more jobs within a short walk of transit.”
Metrolinx has remained adamant that the Osgoode site is the best location for the station building. On Thursday the agency cited a new independent review commissioned by the city that reached the same conclusion.
Parsons, a private infrastructure engineering firm, examined 10 potential locations and determined the northeast corner of the Queen Street and University Avenue intersection “would appear to be the most suitable” site.
The company reached that conclusion in part because the Osgoode location provides a direct connection to the nearby westbound TTC streetcar stop, and would minimize construction impacts on surrounding sidewalks.
None of the other sites scored high on passenger access, ridership, impact on built and natural heritage, traffic closures and other criteria.
However, the review stated a second location, at the Campbell House site on the northwest corner of the intersection, is a “potentially feasible alternate location” and “may benefit from further analysis.”
That option would require temporarily relocating the Campbell House building, which houses a museum.
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