Industry groups form coalition to save the Gardiner

TORONTO, Feb. 28, 2014 /CNW/ - According to a newly formed coalition of diverse industry groups, tearing down the eastern Gardiner and replacing it with any option that increases traffic congestion is not acceptable. Maintaining the Gardiner's capacity and improving its connection to the waterfront is the best option in order to meet current and future needs of downtown core business operations and ensure mobility, safety and quality of life for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

A report released by the City of Toronto is recommending that Council support removing the eastern expressway that serves over 100,000 trips per day. While removal is the recommendation, the report summarized all four options, only one of which maintained its current lane capacity. The report is part of the broader objective of improving Toronto's waterfront.  

An industry coalition including CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO), Canadian Courier & Logistics Association, Ontario Trucking Association, Redpath Sugar, Ontario Motor Coach Association, Toronto Industry Network and the Toronto Financial District BIA has been formed in order to address the issues and impacts of the recommendation to remove the eastern Gardiner.

"Our coalition members all support the Waterfront Revitalization Project. We are in agreement that the Gardiner Expressway can be improved without being removed. However, reducing capacity on the Gardiner would force more commuters and trucks on to Toronto's arterial roads putting the safety of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians at risk. This would have an enormous impact not only on the GTA's economy and road congestion, but also the quality of life for residents," said Faye Lyons, Government Relations, CAA SCO.

Congestion is costing the GTHA economy $11 billion per year, according to the C.D. Howe Institute, and both industry and the people of Toronto will be negatively affected if lanes on the Gardiner are removed without providing access to new transit options. The coalition is concerned that the broader impacts on the existing Greater Toronto Area's transportation network is not being given the level of consideration it should. 

The recommendation to remove the Gardiner also assumes that a Downtown Relief Subway Line and additional transit lines including the Waterfront East LRT, the Yonge North Subway Extension and Broadview Avenue transit extension are imminent. However, none are currently funded. The competitiveness and vitality of Toronto's downtown core must be a high priority, according to the coalition. "Toronto's congestion, if not improved, will continue to discourage businesses to locate in the city, and will contribute to the frustration of those trying to get around," said Lyons.

About CAA SOUTH CENTRAL ONTARIO
As a leader and advocate for road safety and mobility, CAA South Central Ontario is a not-for-profit auto club which represents the interests of more than 1.9 million members. For over a century, CAA has collaborated with communities, police services and governments to help keep drivers and their families safe while travelling on our roads.

About CANADIAN COURIER AND LOGISTICS ASSOCIATION
The Canadian Courier & Logistics Association (CCLA) represents global delivery networks employing or using more than 100,000 Canadians and generating more than $10 billion in sales per year. The CCLA's mission is to represent and advance the interests of couriers and time sensitive logistics service providers operating in Canada. The CCLA undertakes advocacy, research and education on matters impacting our industry and its contribution to the global competitiveness of the Canadian economy. 

About ONTARIO TRUCKING ASSOCIATION
The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) was founded in 1926, and provides services and public policy advocacy for trucking companies hauling freight into, out of and within the Province of Ontario. OTA member fleets operate over two-thirds of all commercial tractor-trailers on Ontario roadways and employ over 70,000 men and women who work in the trucking industry. OTA is the only trucking association in Ontario that represents all segments of the industry.

About REDPATH SUGAR
An employer located on Toronto's waterfront, Redpath Sugar Ltd. is a part of ASR Group, the world's largest refiner of cane sugar. Redpath Sugar provides sugar products to consumers, food service outlets and food manufacturers throughout Canada.

About ONTARIO MOTOR COACH ASSOCIATION
OMCA provides high value opportunities for their members to grow their business. OMCA is a strong inclusive network of interdependent businesses producing results greater than the sum of their individual parts. OMCA is an organization that cares deeply about providing the highest level of value and personal service for its members. It is the heart of OMCA that embraces the road to sustainable and progressive development of the industry by providing advocacy and education with the aid of technology to members across North America.

About TORONTO INDUSTRY NETWORK
Made up of a number of Toronto's large manufacturers and industrial associations, the Toronto Industry Network (TIN) provides a voice at City Hall for the manufacturing community. TIN wants Toronto to remain a competitive city to invest and work in. Manufacturing accounts for more than 110,000 direct jobs that create real wealth for Toronto. Issues important to TIN include the new Official Plan and Zoning By-law, transportation, tax ratio, water rates, electricity reliability and regulations that effect competitiveness.

About TORONTO FINANCIAL DISTRICT BIA
The Toronto Financial District BIA represents Toronto's premier business centre, an area that includes Union Station, the PATH underground walkway and Canada' s five major banks and most prominent firms. With a mandate to promote economic development in the area, initiatives include improving public spaces, showcasing the daily activity of our thriving businesses at www.MyTOFD.com and @MyTOFD, and identifying collaborative opportunities that ensure the Financial District and PATH are well-maintained, integrated, connected and accessible.

SOURCE CAA South Central Ontario

For further information: Faye Lyons, Government Relations, CAA South Central Ontario, 416-708-3919, fl1@caasco.ca; David Turnbull, President and CEO, Canadian Courier & Logistics Association, 416-449-2860, dturnbull@canadiancourier.org; Andrew Judge, Manager of Logistics & Customer Service, Redpath Sugar - ASR Group, 416-933-8374, andrew.judge@asr-group.com; Doug Switzer, President & CEO, Ontario Motor Coach Association, 416-229-6622, doug@omca.com; Marco Beghetto, VP of Communications & New Media, Ontario Trucking Association, 416-249-7401, marco.beghetto@ontruck.org; Paul Scrivener, Director of External Relations, Toronto Industry Network, 416-444-8060, info@torontoindustrynetwork.com; Grant Humes, Executive Director, Toronto Financial District BIA, 416-908-3657, ghumes@torontofinancialdistrict.com