Parents fear Crosstown LRT construction is putting students at risk on Eglinton

The TDSB has been slow with school safety measures


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L–R: Lindsey Walton and Michelle Fullerton outside Eglinton Junior Public School near Mount Pleasant Road

Ongoing construction on the Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit (LRT) project next to Eglinton Junior Public School has stirred up some serious safety concerns among parents in the neighbourhood.

Lindsey Walton, whose daughter attends the school, captured some unnerving footage of an excavator bucket passing uncomfortably close to the window of a Grade 1 class during school hours last month.

“The backhoe was scaring the children,” Walton said. “And the piling is coming in a few weeks.”

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) received several complaints from parents shortly after the incident, demanding safety measures be put into place, such as installing shatterproof glass or some kind of caging mechanism over windows. 

Michelle Fullerton, whose son is in junior kindergarten, noted it’s not the first time parents have voiced concerns. Last summer, a school window was shattered when Metrolinx was moving a utility pole with some heavy machinery.

“The school board has been doing nothing and, obviously, nothing proactive,” Fullerton said.

In a letter to parents on April 13, TDSB trustee Shelley Laskin, of Ward 11, said a third-party consultant had identified several  outstanding risks and the TDSB would be working with Metrolinx to implement safety measures moving forward. In the meantime, a TDSB construction manager was hired to monitor the site regularly. 

Jamie Robinson, spokesperson for Metrolinx, said the transit agency is ready and willing to respond to parents’ concerns but has had difficulty working with the TDSB to address the issue. 

“The TDSB is not being responsive to allow us access to the school to look at various mitigation measures,” said Robinson. 

Safety is just one of several growing concerns raised by parents. Noise and vibrations are also issues, with workers and machinery on site throughout the day.

“The kids are fighting over noise-cancelling headphones because they can’t concentrate,” Walton said. “We don’t want to insinuate that we don’t want the LRT, but we don’t want aggressive construction in front of our kids’ faces all day.” 

Although Robinson said the agency is willing to work with the community, he noted the project is on a deadline and crews are under certain obligations. 

“We’re not going to be shifting work to evenings … to deal with the noise issue, but we’re prepared to work with folks to mitigate the noise levels if practical,” he said. 

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