• WLRT Corridor Recommendation

    I am writing to update you on the work undertaken by the NCC-City Working Group regarding the western light rail transit (LRT) corridor.

    I am pleased to inform you that the Working Group has reached an agreement in principle, which was announced at a joint press conference with the NCC this morning.

    This agreement meets all of the City of Ottawa’s objectives in its unanimously-approved Transportation Master Plan and will remain within our affordability plan for the project. We would also be able to keep our long-standing commitment to the community to protect the Byron Linear Park and Rochester Field while providing even better access to the waterfront.

    Background

    In late November 2014, I met with then-Minister John Baird to discuss our Stage 2 LRT project. At that meeting, we had a very constructive discussion about this important project. We agreed to a 100-day dialogue between the City and the NCC to find a mutually satisfactory solution for the western extension of the Confederation Line between Dominion and Cleary.

    In December, the City of Ottawa and the NCC formed a joint Working Group to address this issue. The City representatives on the Working Group were Transportation Committee Chair Keith Egli, Transit Commission Chair Stephen Blais, Bay Ward Councillor and Deputy Mayor Mark Taylor, and City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick.

    I want to thank Councillors Egli, Blais, and Taylor for their hard work alongside our City Manager and our partners at the NCC. This was a very intensive review process which was supported by technical and urban planning expertise, and one that led to a historic outcome today.

    I also want to thank Minister Pierre Poilievre for his leadership. He was named Minister Responsible for the NCC during this process and brought the same constructive tone as his predecessor to this important partnership.

    The solution

    The Working Group has recommended a solution that would allow the western LRT extension to be fully buried under realigned Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway lanes between Dominion and Cleary stations. You will be pleased to learn that this solution would remain within the City of Ottawa’s project budget envelope.

    This solution would bring many benefits for the City of Ottawa, the NCC, local residents, and indeed all Canadians:

    – Protection of the Byron Linear Park and Rochester Field;

    – Minimal visual impact on the landscape and experience by users of the corridor

    – Continuous access to the corridor lands and 38% more usable shoreline parkland

    – Improved cycling and pedestrian access via two new crossings under the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway

    – Retention and enhancement of the mature forest, lands and landscaping elements

    – An eventual reduction of nearly 500,000 bus trips annually on the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway

    Of course, these highlights are on top of the city-wide benefits of our larger Stage 2 LRT project, which includes 30 kilometres of rail and 19 new stations. We hope to break ground on this world-class project once the Confederation Line is operational in 2018, which will help us deliver reduced commute times, cleaner air, and a stronger economy.

    Into the future, this recommended route would perfectly complement the NCC’s vision to create a new linear park of national significance along the waterfront.

    Moving forward

    Residents will be able to provide public feedback as part of the public outreach activities planned for the Confederation Line west LRT extension Environmental Assessment (EA) process:

    Monday, March 30
    Evening (time to be announced)
    Ottawa City Hall
    Jean Pigott Place

    This will be an open house to review the 100 Day Working Group Solution between Dominion and Cleary Station.

    The NCC will discuss the solution and the results of the public consultation session at its Board of Directors meeting in April.

    The Transportation Committee and Council will have the opportunity to review and discuss the results of the EA processes for all Stage 2 projects, including the Confederation Line west extension in June. The EA report will provide a recommended alignment for each of the corridors based on a technical review and results of the public consultation sessions for these extensions.

    The materials presented today, including a visual of the proposed alignment can be found online at ottawa.ca/stage2.