The City of Toronto's plan to turn parts of Yonge Street into pedestrian-only will be "especially damaging" for local businesses, according to a letter from the CF Toronto Eaton Centre.
The letter was addressed to various members of the Toronto City Council, who decide today whether to approve the yongeTOmorrow project and transform a major section of the city's downtown core.
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Now is not the time to create additional challenges for local businesses.
CF Toronto Eaton Centre
The yongeTOmorrow plan would turn Yonge/Dundas Square into a pedestrian-only zone and would turn sections of Yonge Street into one-way roads.
Changing the street will "damage the community and vitality of business in this neighbourhood," says Martin Wray, the VP of Operations for the Eaton Centre, who wrote the letter.
"Permanent street closure, even for scheduled hours, is not acceptable," says Wray.
"Eliminating vehicular traffic would be catastrophic for business, significantly curtailing the number of customers and their interactions in the area."
In the letter, Wray says the Eaton Centre supports closing the square for specific events, but it doesn't support getting rid of cars or introducing bike lanes.
The project has had multiple rounds of consultations and public events with Torontonians and has support from city councillors like Kristyn Wong-Tam.
"This is a new beginning for Toronto’s great street and our once-in-a-generation chance to build a new main street for the 21st century," Wong-Tam tweeted on January 11.
If approved by City Council on Tuesday, February 2, construction of the yongeTOmorrow project is estimated to start in 2023, last for two years and cost approximately $70.5 million.*
*This article has been updated.