I heard a lawyer on the radio the other day talking about trying to get a class action lawsuit certified, seeking $100 Million in damages from the City of Toronto as compensation for losses suffered by St. Clair Ave. businesses as a result of the never-ending St. Clair transit right-of-way project. The lawyer, when asked how many businesses were forced to close as a direct result of the St. Clair streetcar right-of-way project, said it was difficult to know exactly, but estimated the number as being around 200. If true, that is staggering, much worse than I thought.
For those who don’t know the history, the City came up with a two year project to run a transit right-of-way down the middle of St. Clair Ave. Unfortunately, the project has been ongoing for five years now and St. Clair has been the kind of mess nobody has wanted to around.
A Toronto Star article characterizes the suit as being about blockbusting:
In building the controversial St. Clair Ave. W. right-of-way, Toronto was secretly following a policy of “blockbusting,” or gentrification, that would harm existing businesses, claims a $100 million lawsuit against the City of Toronto.
Documents filed Thursday in Superior Court allege the city was “secretly expecting’’ that the new line, and the financial harm done to the neighbourhood while it was built, would lead to “stronger’’ businesses taking over the section of the street stretching from Bathurst St. to Old Weston Rd.
Now that is a very interesting and compelling argument. Could it be our City politicians have hatched a secret plan of this magnitude? Naw. I think it was just a really poorly considered project.