News & Opinion

Adam Vaughan’s report on the February 16th community meeting with Royal St. George’s College

In Royal St. George's construction on March 3, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Meeting with Adam Vaughan, the West Annex community, and Royal St. George's College on February 16, 2011*

By West Annex News | On Wednesday, February 16, 2011, Councillor Adam Vaughan convened a meeting between the West Annex community and Royal St. George’s College. On February 22, 2011, Councillor Vaughan issued the following report.

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Dear Neighbours of Royal St. George’s College 

Thank you for attending the meeting regarding construction at Royal St George’s College (RSGC) on February 16th.  It was important for the College, my office, and city staff to hear and understand your concerns.

I’m writing to summarize the information and discussion, and to provide information for moving forward.

Construction Plan
Andy Whiteley, Assistant Headmaster of RSGC and Project Manager for the construction at the college, presented an outline of the plans for the site.  These include underground parking, additions to “See House”, which is the middle building on Howland Ave, additional physical activity space, and landscaping.  This plan is available on the RSGC website at click “About Us”, then “Campus Redevelopment” for more information. Preliminary construction is expected to occur for 10 days in March for excavation work.  Construction will then begin again in mid-June, and continue for 16 weeks.  In spring 2012, the landscaping work will occur.

The Portable
As discussed at the meeting, the portable which was used for judo lessons was removed Friday.  The portable was removed in two parts, which will be taken to Mississauga.

Our office received a call Friday morning with concern about the truck going over the sidewalk on Barton and being without escort. We spoke with the college about these concerns, and reiterated the importance of following through with promises.  RSGC responded that the truck was with an escort on the streets (not a police escort, which may have been a misunderstanding), and the truck may have gone on the sidewalk while turning due to the tight corners.  However, the college is aware that these concerns were raised so they can consider them for the future.

At the meeting, RSGC's Andrew Whiteley issued his standard promises to respect bylaws, which were received with widespread skepticism by the audience. RSGC has a long and shameful record of breaking bylaws and promises. Adam Vaughan assured the community that this time, bylaw enforcement "will be vigorous."*

Interruption of Services
Residents raised concerns about interruption of services.  Royal St George’s College confirmed at the meeting that no service disruptions are expected to take place.  The utility companies or City of Toronto contractors (for water and sewer) will make the connections live.  If RSGC becomes aware that there may be an unforeseen interruption, they will provide as much notice as possible, but have no ability to control the occurrence as the connections are done by the utility companies or the City of Toronto contractors.  To be clear, the service providers have indicated that they do not foresee any interruptions.

Noise
Questions were raised about construction noise, and how this can disrupt peace for everyone, and in some cases impact people who work from home.  Royal St George’s College plans to do construction from Monday to Friday, 7am to 7pm.  This is the standard by which all construction in the City is set (see the noise by-law at http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/municode/1184_591.pdf).  In their Construction Management Plan (available here: http://www.rsgc.on.ca/site/royal_st__george_s_college/assets/pdf/Construction_Management_Plan.2011.02.16.pdf), which was created as part of their approval process, RSGC indicate that in addition to working within the by-laws, they will not be doing exterior work on Saturdays.   If any construction activity occurs outside of permitted hours, enforcement will be vigorous.

A resident on Howland, across from RSGC, requested that the College ask their workers to be respectful of neighbouring properties when taking a break. The neighbour used the example of smoking on her property. RSGC indicated that they would speak to their contractors about respecting the community.

Traffic Plan
At the meeting, RSGC said that approximately 900 dump trucks will be needed to remove soil from the site. This is radically different from the original number of 500 trucks. When questioned about this difference, RSGC responded that there was a miscalculation as they hadn’t taken into account that soil expands when unsettled from the ground.

The community then discussed five options for truck routing, to decide which streets these trucks should take in March, when excavating, and from June onward.  After discussing the options, with information from Ron Hamilton, a Manager of Traffic Operations at the City of Toronto, a vote was taken and Option 1 was decided on for the March work, and Option 2 was decided on for the rest of the construction. Option 1 is south on Howland to RSGC, exit on Albany, South on Albany to Barton, West on Barton to Bathurst.  Option 2 is east on Barton then north on Albany to RSGC, and exiting using the same streets.

Space for three trucks will be on the site, and the staging area will be at Bridgman and MacPherson.  Trucks will be radioed in when needed so there are no trucks on the street.

The Construction Management Plan is part of the RSGC’s tendering process, meaning that contractors have to agree to adhere to this truck routing and the rest of the plan in order to get the job.

Construction Management Committee

Councillor Vaughan said the community--not RSGC--gets to choose the community representatives to the various committees that will oversee the construction. RSGC must provide contact information to the community for everyone who serves on the committees.*

A Construction Management Committee is being finalized.  Their membership includes Andy Whiteley of RSGC, Rudy, the Construction Manager, several community representatives, and a City of Toronto representative.  The group plans to meet for the first time March 3.

As I said at the meeting, the community should choose its own representatives on the Construction Management Committee.  An important principle for this to be an effective, accountable, transparent process is the contact information for the members needs to be public and accessible.  At the meeting February 16, it was decided that at least three more members from the community are joining the committee to ensure interested groups have a voice.  The Neighbours of St Alban’s Park will put forward a member to be added to the Committee.  Ko Van Klaveren will represent the Annex residents Association on the committee.  The community was asked if anyone else would like to join, and James Jacobs volunteered to join the committee.  Other neighbours on the committee include Bruce Twining, Michael Low, and others.  When the membership is finalized in the coming days, the contact information for the members will be made public.  You will be able to contact your neighbours with concerns so issues can be raised at future meetings.

Contact information
If there are any problems with work being done outside permitted hours, or other construction related concerns, there are several routes you can take:

– RSGC has now posted a 24-hour emergency cell phone number, which is 416 533-9481 x 230.
– You can contact the Assistant Headmaster of RSGC and Project Manager, Andy Whiteley, at 416 533-9481, or awhiteley@rsgc.on.ca.  The Construction Manager, Rudy, will be on site the entire time, and Andy will be able to reach him if a problem arises.
– You can contact the Construction Management Committee, whose contact information will be available once finalized shortly.

– Municipal Licensing and Standards can send a by-law officer to the site to investigate if by-laws are not being followed.  You can request an MLS officer by calling 3-1-1 or emailing311@toronto.ca.

– My office can be reached at 416 392-4044, or email Rebecca Hewitt of my staff at rhewitt@toronto.ca.  She can contact the appropriate people on your behalf.We will be watching this project closely and ensuring there is a public process in place.  Thanks again for attending the meeting and sharing your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Adam

Councillor Adam Vaughan
Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina
416-392-4044
Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West
2nd Floor, Suite C50
Toronto, ON      M5H 2N2
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*Note: the captions under the photographs are by West Annex News, and not Adam Vaughan.

Further notes: We’ve learned that the first meeting of the committees convene tonight, March 3, at 7:00PM at the See House.  Royal St. George’s College has not publicized this information, nor have they provided any agendas to the community.

Notwithstanding the resolutions reached at the February 16 community meeting:
  • Royal St. George’s College continues to insist that the four neighbours it hand-picked as community representatives for the committees–Michael Low, Fabian Rucker, Greg Vogt, and Patrick Thompson–will serve on the committees.
  • Royal St. George’s College has yet to provide the community with contact information for any of the committee members.

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For further articles and information about Royal St. George’s College construction, visit the RSGC Construction home page and RSGC Construction Archive.

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