640 Lansdowne Ave Update February 2016

Further to my December 2015 update regarding the 640 Lansdowne Ave site, I asked the TTC to provide me with more information to share with the community on past actions taken by the TTC as it relates to this property. I have included this information below. Also included below are public notices and fact sheets that were distributed in 2005/2006 to properties near the 640 Lansdowne Ave site.

Currently, Build Toronto commenced environmental investigations in early December 2015 as part of their due diligence with respect to establishing future development potential of the property. These environmental investigations include the drilling of boreholes, installation of monitoring wells, and soil testing. Once I have more information I will be sharing it with the community. 

Background Information from the TTC

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) holds title to 640 Lansdowne Avenue (north of Paton Road, on the west side of Lansdowne Avenue) which it acquired in 1924 through the amalgamation of three private transit companies to form the TTC. The property is approximately four acres in size. The western portion of the property is designated as an Employment Area.

A garage was constructed on the property in 1920. It was later used by the TTC for storage and maintenance of streetcars, trolley buses, and diesel buses. In 1992, diesel fuel impacts in the soil were identified by the TTC.

The garage was decommissioned in 1995. The garage was subsequently demolished in 2004; the maintenance pits were filled in, but the foundations of the building were left in place. The property is currently vacant land used by the TTC for the storage of track maintenance material, vehicles, and equipment.

In 2002, to prepare the property for sale, the TTC undertook its own environmental investigation. Trichloroethylene (TCE) and its degradation products including Vinyl Chloride, a known carcinogen, were identified in excess of the then Ministry of the Environment (MOE) guidelines in shallow groundwater onsite and offsite on the east and west sides of Lansdowne Avenue. TTC provided notice of these findings to the MOE, the City of Toronto Medical Officer of Health, City of Toronto Works and Emergency Services, Councillor Giambrone and the area MPP and MP. After considerable investigation, the extent of the impact on 640 Lansdowne Avenue was defined and it was concluded that the source of the TCE was 224 Wallace Avenue, formerly owned and occupied by General Electric (GE). The MOE requested that GE Canada undertake an investigation to determine the extent of the subsurface contamination with TCE in this area.

In 2005 and 2006, Toronto Public Health issued notices to the residents and businesses in both the Ward Street/Wallace Avenue and Lansdowne Avenue/Paton Road areas. These notices provided additional detail about the investigations that were being conducted by GE. The notices also included Fact Sheets which provided additional information about TCE and associated health risks. Examples of these notices and Fact Sheets are attached to this Briefing Note.

In 2005, TTC issued a Statement of Claim against GE and Bilnia (the then owner of 224 Wallace Avenue) claiming damages.
TTC’s environmental consultant advised at the time legal action was commenced that the clean-up of 640 Lansdowne Avenue to an appropriate level to allow for redevelopment of the property to its highest and best use would take approximately 5 years with ongoing monitoring. The cost of the TCE clean-up was part of the legal action against GE. The clean-up would involve the following:

  • installation of underground up-gradient and down-gradient barriers
  • excavation and disposal of impacted soils and soil impacted groundwater
  • pumping and treatment of impacted groundwater

TTC subsequently entered into mediation with GE and then into settlement discussions in 2013. A settlement was reached between GE and TTC and agreements entered into the first quarter of 2015.

While TTC remediated the site for hydrocarbon impacts in the area formerly used for fuelling vehicles in 2002, the TCE impacts have not been addressed.

To download the Public Notices and Fact Sheets that were distributed in 2005/2006 please click here.

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