Feedback from the community, including Environmental Assessments, is vital to the development of new rail lines. It allows transit companies to pitch their proposals and gives the public a chance to voice their concerns in return. Community consultation has increased in recent decades compared to the post-war years of the 1950s and 60s, when a top-down approach paid little attention to impacts on neighbourhoods and the environment.
However, there remains a tension between the community’s priorities and those of the developers, whose experts usually seek efficiency. For example, recently the provincial government has tried to streamline and speed up the Environmental Assessment process, but this has led to community concerns. Some participants doubt the effectiveness of the limited consultation process altogether, despite efforts by developers to hold town halls and implement the community’s concerns, thus most projects remain controversial.
“The opportunity to influence some decisions was very beneficial for our community.”
- Georgene MacDonald, Eastern Ontario
“I have attended many GO Transit consultations related to grade separation projects and electrification. They were informational, and prepared me for local disruptions, but the lack of follow-through on electrification is frustrating.”
- Commuter, Central Ontario
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