The controversial new streetcar storage facility in Leslieville got a makeover in name and community impact at Wednesday’s Toronto Transit Commission meeting.
Commissioners voted to rename the facility at Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard the Leslie Barn — and also approved an employment strategy that will help under-employed Torontonians find training and work.
The employment plan has been developed by the TTC and the city’s employment and social services division.
The plan being implemented so far involves the contractor for the facility, Pomerleau Inc., that is looking at finding employment opportunities for the project.
As well, the city’s working with the Hammer Heads Program, which is run through the Central Ontario Building Trades and its affiliate unions, providing apprenticeship training for young people.
The move came at the behest of local councillors Mary-Margaret McMahon and Paula Fletcher.
McMahon, who represents Beaches-East York, and the actual site of the streetcar storage facility, had tried at the beginning of the term to have council relocate the facility, which will house Toronto’s new fleet of streetcars starting in 2014.
At issue for both councillors was the traffic jams that would result on Leslie Street as streetcars from across the city turned from Queen Street East down to Leslie in the morning and at night, as well as the impact the facility would have on the parkland and recreation trails heading down toward the Leslie Spit.
Fletcher told the commission that both measures were an important goodwill gesture from the TTC.
“I want to thank everybody for this very exciting employment plan,” said Fletcher. “They’ve put together an exciting and important platform from which to do local hiring and train ahead for youth to gather the necessary skills to go forward.”
Commissioner Glenn De Baeremaeker said that the plan and renaming should be a model for other TTC developments in different parts of the city.
“We have to show ourselves to be a net benefit tot he community,” he said. “It’s one thing to This is one step of many we’re going to have to take to ensure that the billions of dollars we’re going to be accepting from the province is well-spent.”