By Rob Elbertsen
The Rouge Hill GO station will soon be undergoing significant changes as part of the Lakeshore East Rail Corridor Expansion Guildwood to Pickering Project. To obtain feedback from community organizations on certain design elements of the proposed new station, Metrolinx hosted a focus group on Nov. 8 at the Port Union Library. CCRA representatives were in attendance at this group discussion along with representatives from other area community groups. In addition to Metrolinx personnel, there was also representation from MPP Tracy MacCharles, Parks Canada, City of Toronto Parks, and the Toronto Region Conservation Authority.
As part of the upcoming changes to the station, the Chesterton Shores level crossing directly east of the GO station will be closed. Metrolinx will be building a new tunnel and pavilion, which will allow access to the Port Union Waterfront Trail. Metrolinx had committed during the Environmental Assessment process that community associations would be engaged to obtain feedback on some design elements of the new pavilion, as well as on other aspects of the new GO station such as landscaping and lighting.
During the focus group session, feedback pertaining to the following design aspects was discussed:
- Exterior landscaping
- Art strategy (general location and approach)
- Light fixtures
- Historic information on walls
The community groups were in general agreement with their feedback. In addition to the obvious comments regarding safety and low maintenance, the consensus was that the new Rouge Hill GO station and the surrounding area should present the appearance of a gateway to the Rouge. The emphasis should be on the natural wonder of the park, and the station’s design should blend in so that it is seen as an extension of the park.
Additionally, CCRA strongly advocated that the history of the area be significantly presented in the integrated art and art panels of the new station. CCRA recommended that Metrolinx staff familiarize themselves with the Port Union mural, which depicts some of the history of the area. It was suggested that Metrolinx could engage other groups such as the Scarborough Historical Society for guidance. Significant recognition must also be given to the history of the First Nations people in the Port Union area.
Upon their review of the focus group feedback, Metrolinx will report back on how the recommendations will be addressed, or provide an explanation of any project constraints. CCRA will keep Centennial community residents informed of the focus group evaluation from Metrolinx regarding the Rouge Hill GO Station project.