By Charlie Senack
It could be 2026 before light rail transit is rolling through Westboro.
In August, city council received official word that construction on Phase 2 would be delayed by at least a year. The news isn’t surprising with supply-chain shortages, labour strikes and construction delays caused by the pandemic.
“The time frames were never as defined for Stage 2 as they were for stage one. That is one of the key lessons that were learned from the first phase,” said Kitchissippi ward Coun. Jeff Leiper. “Construction delays are inevitable, and rather than raise expectations around a certain date for service, it’s a much better general timeframe that has been described, which I think was the right move.”
Phase 2, which will take the Confederation line from Tunney’s pasture to Baseline Station and Moodie Drive in the west, will run directly through Westboro Village. The launch date has been pushed from 2025 until 2026.
The Trillium Line, which begins at Bayview station on the border of Kitchissippi ward, will travel south to Limebank Road. Construction was supposed to wrap up this year, but is now expected to finish in summer 2023.
Leiper says while he is glad Phase 2 won’t be rushed to completion — hopefully avoiding the issues seen with Phase 1 — he understands the frustrations local residents face with constant construction noise.
“At the local level, this has been disruptive,” he said. “There is the construction noise associated with it because this is being built in very close proximity to people’s homes. The longer it goes on the more disruption it causes, the more serious quality of life impacts it imposes.”
The Kitchissippi ward councillor says noise measures will be implemented whenever possible to avoid any further disruption.
“When they are breaking rock there are things like echo barriers that can go up on construction fencing in order to try and minimise the amount of noise,” noted Leiper. “I also push back at every overnight noise exemption the builder requests to make sure that it is truly important. Residents need a break.”
Construction for the new Kichi Sibi and Westboro stations began late this summer. It included structural rehabilitation and preparatory work.