People in a west-end Toronto neighbourhood are
demanding GO Transit stop using loud diesel
piledrivers in building new tracks until the company
can find a quieter way to do the work.
For three weeks, residents on Hook Avenue in the city's Junction neighbourhood say they have been putting up with the percussive pounding from the CN Rail lines near Dundas Street and Dupont Avenue.
GO is using the piledrivers to ram steel caissons into the earth for its rail improvement program. Residents say the noise routinely ranges from 80 to 104 decibels, along with vibrations that feel like a small earthquake.
The residents, who are planning a rally to protest the noise, say the pounding between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. every weekday has made it unbearable to be in their homes.
They say they have been told the project is expected to last 16 months and that GO never consulted them about what to expect from the construction.
"I'm losing it," resident Jon Brooks told CBC News. "It's kind of like being in the base of a Viking ship and you are rowing while you are listening to the repetitive pounding."
Bill Peterka, who also lives on Hook Avenue, said the transit company provided him with some protective headphones.
"But that doesn't stop my house from shaking or me from losing my mind," he said.
Business owners in the area said the noise has been devastating to their operations. Some are considering moving.
"We can't have creative meetings because we can't hear each other speak," said David Dider, who develops new lighting units and furniture at a studio in the neighbourhood.
"Basically, I'm out of business until this thing's resolved."
Cheri DiNovo, the New Democrat member of the legislature for the riding, accused GO of dragging its heels by refusing to meet with affected residents.
She said the transit company could use newer, quieter technology to do the work.
"We are demanding that GO stop immediately until something can be negotiated and resolved," DiNovo said.
GO said it is looking at ways to reduce the noise and is open to meeting with people in the neighbourhood.