It’s a common problem in the GTA, but it’s climbing to new heights.
The escalators at the College Park courthouse have been out of service for weeks, and won’t be repaired until at least January.
Christopher Pluch, GWL’s property management director explained that the escalators were installed in the 1950s, and that minor repairs would not be sufficient anymore. Pluch believes the major repairs to the escalator should be completed by sometime in January 2018.
But it’s been a problem for years. Frequent College Park visitor Gerrard Martin says it’s been going on for at least two years and that it forces “people with strollers and canes to climb two flights of stairs.”
The escalators take people from the lower, subway level to the ground floor — where they can access the road and start to make their way to the courtrooms above.
“This is ridiculous.” says Rose-Mary Orbane. “There is a lot of traffic. Christmas is coming. There is a lot of people using this plaza or this shopping centre.”
The plaza boasts two grocery stores, several banks, a Service Ontario centre and dozens of restaurants and shops.
“I have to get my walker instead of me walking by myself down the escalator,” says Frank Orbane.
Infrastructure Ontario rents space in the building to house courtrooms and services.
It also leases space for holding cells. “Infrastructure Ontario manages multiple leases within the privately owned 444 Yonge St. building. I, and our service provider have reached out to the landlord with regards to the status of repairs on these escalators,” spokesperson Ian McConachie writes in an email to CityNews.
He notes that there are “alternative escalators in the building as well as elevators for those who require them,” however, they are considerably out of the way, and not easy to find for those not familiar with the building.
Broken elevators and escalators have become so commonplace that earlier this year Liberal MPP Han Dong (Trinity-Spadina) introduced a Private Members’ Bill — the Reliable Elevators Act — in an effort to set mandated repair times. Under the law, elevators in most buildings must be repaired within 14 days, those in long-term care and retirement homes must be repaired within a week.
The bill has made it past second reading and is currently in committee. It’s not clear if those same time limits would be enforced for escalators.