Gardiner neighbours upset with overnight construction noise
Torontonians who live near the Gardiner said they heard construction still happening early Saturday morning.
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Despite living next to the Gardiner, Andreia McLean and her boyfriend Dayo Adebowale said their home is normally quiet. But on Friday night, they were caught off guard when their condo on Lower Simcoe was “shaking” from all of the construction noise.
The pair, who have lived in their condo for two years, said the noise because of the demolition of the eastbound off-ramp to Yonge, Bay and York Sts. began Friday night and lasted until 9 a.m. the next day.
“It was all night. I woke up at 4:30 a.m., 6 a.m., 6:45 a.m.,” McLean said. “I’ve never heard anything that loud before, especially from indoors. It was absurd. I can’t even compare it to anything that I’ve experienced.”
The extension of working hours to involve an around-the-clock operation throughout the weekend was permitted in order for the work to meet the aggressive construction schedule, according to Steve Johnston, a spokesperson for the Engineering and Construction Services Division of the City of Toronto. Work on the expressway, he said, is exempt from the City’s noise by-law.
“A lot of the work had to be done on a Saturday because of safety concerns because it was overtop of Simcoe Street,” Mayor John Tory said on Monday.
A new ramp is scheduled to be completed by early January.
McLean and Adebowale, who said they had been informed about construction in the area but not about the overnight aspect, called 311 at around 1:30 a.m and were forwarded to a non-emergency police line.
“He sounded very apologetic and said they had gotten a number of calls but could do nothing about it,” Adebowale said.
To inform the community about the upcoming work, Johnston said, the city mailed notices to residents via Canada Post, emailed those who have subscribed to updates provided by the city, and hand delivered notices to property managers.
Alexander Zamora, who lives in the area on Queens Quay West, was also angered by the noise. He said the construction began at around 10 p.m. and lasted well past 5 a.m., when he finally fell asleep.
“It was continuous. It was driving me crazy. I could hear jack-hammering through my window even though I had my windows shut,” he said. “My whole Saturday was ruined. I usually go out by 8 a.m. to the gym but I couldn’t do anything. I was so tired, I had to stay in and sleep.”
Lower Simcoe Street between Queen’s Quay and Harbour Street was temporarily closed in order to safely remove the overhead section of the old expressway ramp over Lower-Simcoe Street as part of the demolition of the entire ramp, according to Johnston.
Construction halted on Saturday night, Tory tweeted, as they were “ahead of schedule” and work started up again on Sunday at 7 a.m.
As of now, Johnston said, from April to July the City’s work schedule planned for only two overnight weekend 24/7 operations. But on Saturday during a tour of flooding at Woodbine beach, Tory said “it may happen again in the context of work we just have to get done.”
“We’re trying to find every possible way we can to speed these things up so that we can get the city back to normal,” Tory said.
Councillor Joe Cressy, tweeted on Saturday that this work shouldn’t happen overnight. He told the Star that construction is never easy, especially in downtown Toronto, but he thinks it’s important to strike a balance.
“We recognize it’s a necessary part of lives and it’s critical to do the work but you cannot maximize disruption for residents to minimize disruption for commuters. We need to find a better balance for everybody.”