Save Our Greenspace

Ottawa Communities Fighting to Preserve Our Greenspace / Updates on the LRT Project

February 26, 2006

City Council Update

Light Rail Transit Public Information

Council was informed of the launch of the City's new comprehensive Light Rail Transit Web site at This is the place to go for anyone looking for information on Ottawa's future public transportation system. It contains timelines for the construction project and links to other Light Rail Transit Web sites around the world. As the project moves forward, the site will grow to include project schedules, construction updates, information on Ottawa's future Light Rail Transit lines, and more.

Council was presented with an inventory of all the information, reports and documents on file with the City concerning the North-South Light Rail project. This includes background information on existing conditions, structures, features, utilities and properties as well as the design parameters as provided by the Environmental Assessment for the project. It also includes supplemental information; reports and related material developed to further assist the project proponents in their preparation of their submissions. The inventory included an indication from the project's Fairness Commissioner as to the appropriateness of public release of the information. The Fairness Commissioner elaborated on the rationale for the retention or release of information to the public. To speed up public viewing of the information, files of the material will be made available in a data Web site linked to the City's Light Rail Transit Web site. The data site should be operational by 1 March 2006.

This was posted originally on Also mentioned is the City of Ottawa's share of the provincial gas tax revenue: $27,404,852. Expect this to be consumed by the ever-expanding LRT project budget.

Alex Munter's comments on LRT project

As reported in "The News EMC", the Ottawa-South community paper, and on his own website, Alex Munter has announced his plans to run for Mayor in the upcoming election. He kicked off his campagin on Feb 13 and had this to say about the LRT project:
The costs are already excalating and even the most ardent supporters of light rail are worried about what's going on.

The people of Ottawa deserve to know that everything about this project will be decided in the sunlight of public scrutiny.
But, the secrecy continues, and questions regarding the city's favouritism towards the Lester site is evident. More on that to come...

February 25, 2006

Sports Park would integrate well - Ottawa Citizen article

Author: Elizabeth Le Geyt
Ottawa Citizen, Feb 25, 2006

Excerpt from the article:
"A proposal for an Ottawa sports park, now before the Airport Transit Authority, Transport Canada, and the City of Ottawa, intends to create a sustainable development that will integrate soccer facilities into the existing natural area and will include a nature preserve in the traingle of land between the north end of Bowesville Road, the eastern end of Armstrong Road and High Road. The northern end of the park will have trails for winter skiing and bird and nature walks in the summer.

The sports park proposal suggests locating the new O-Train corridor along the old rail line that has been in disuse since the rails were torn up in 1999.

Moving the O-Train line and associated park and ride lots further south along Armstrong Road would reduce the financial and environmental costs of the rail line. This simple alteration would save the woods and allow the bluebirds to continue nesting there.
Click the pic or here for the full article.

February 21, 2006

Ridership and Return on Investment Questions

Stephen Fanjoy has something to say about this project. I hope with more people making such comments, that Mayor Bob wakes up and gets a clue. Someone has to grab the reigns here.

Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 10:16 AM
To: 'Rainer.Bloess@'; ''; 'Royal Galipeau'
Subject: FW: Transit truth jumps the track

Hi Rainer, Phil & Royal,

I am forwarding the article below in case you did not get a chance to read it over the weekend. Denley does an efficient job of showing how the city's North-South business case does not exist (in much the same way the current East-West business case is also MIA).

There are many reasons why the current NS plan does not make sense (maintenance yard location, O-Train closure, etc...) but surely the most fundamental reason must include the fact that $725M+ buys the city virtually nothing towards increased transit ridership:
"The $725 million north-south train will only reach one area that is not already well-served by transit. Riverside South, assuming it increases in size tenfold, will generate 1,400 riders in the morning rush by 2021. That would be less than half of one per cent of all morning rush hour trips."
If you disagree with this analysis and conclusion, please help me understand why it may be wrong. If you agree, then you must be obligated to do whatever is necessary to set it right. You each have all the tools to do so at your disposal.

If you will excuse the graphic metaphor, in my opinion all three levels of govt will have political blood on their hands if cooler heads do not prevail. The city for shooting Ottawa taxpayers & commuters, and the provincial & federal governments for providing the $400M inducement & ammunition to do it. The North-South project must be stopped and thoroughly reviewed and recast until a sane and feasible plan for public transit is provided.


Steve Fanjoy

P.S.: It is a stunning commentary on the failure of the city's planning and consultation process that such an irresponsible project could proceed so far. However this is another topic for another day.

Transit Truth Jumps Track - Ottawa Citizen, Sat. Feb 18

Transit truth jumps the track

Randall Denley
The Ottawa Citizen

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Isn't it time for the truth about transit? City councillors missed another opportunity this week when they sent the provincial government a transit ridership growth plan that omits the two most relevant points. The city transit expansion plan isn't remotely affordable and it won't come anywhere near meeting the target of 30 per cent of commuter trips on transit.

The report to the province is the 49-page Reader's Digest version of stacks of documents that underlie the big transit plan. About the only one left out is the ridership study, which makes the unpleasant point about how little all this expansion will achieve.

Despite that omission, the latest report does contain some interesting facts.

Although the north-south light rail line is called the biggest construction project in Ottawa's history, it's just a relatively small part of the overall scheme. The transitway now has 30 kilometres of exclusive bus lanes. The expansion plan adds 42 kilometres more. The north-south rail line is but 28 kilometres of a planned 110-kilometre system. Fourteen new park and ride lots will also be required.
Total capital cost of the rail and transitway expansion and all the new buses and trains required comes to $4.4 billion by 2021. The light rail plan, set at $725 million is less than 20 per cent of the total scheme.

The north-south line is really just the beginning. It's supposed to open in 2009. Over the next eight years, the bus fleet will increase 40 per cent while the rail will go up 225 per cent to reflect extension of the north-south line and creation of an east-west system.

Despite more fares coming in, the operating bill for taxpayers is projected to increase by $2.1 billion over the same time period, an average of $121 million a year. Even with more provincial gas tax money in the future, the city report says it's "uncertain" if property taxes could pay for the rest. Actually, it's certain they couldn't. That kind of annual increase, if paid from property taxes, would amount to something like 15 per cent a year, just to pay for transit.

By 2021, Ottawa city staff say our whole transportation network will be four times as large as it is today.

Per capita transit ridership in Ottawa is the third highest in Canada, but it has only increased 4.4 per cent in a decade. The city's current plan calls for increases of six per cent a year. The city's latest report describes the 30 per cent target number as "a
real challenge" that would mean Ottawa had the highest percentage of transit use in North America. It also says the goal can be achieved.

No, it can't, according to the city's own ridership study. Even with the planned construction and spending, transit's share of the daily commute will only increase to 21 per cent by 2021. Without all the expenditure, it will decline below today's levels. The 30 per cent target is only achievable if the 2021 cost of operating a car increases by 50 per cent, after inflation. Sound likely?

The $725 million north-south train will only reach one area that is not already well-served by transit. Riverside South, assuming it increases in size tenfold, will generate 1,400 riders in the morning rush by 2021. That would be less than half of one per cent of all morning rush hour trips. This model community, which has train transit as its central reason for being, will have 21 per cent of its commuting trips provided by transit, well below the city's overall target figure.

If Riverside South doesn't develop as planned, the train will be even more useless because most of the rest of the people it will carry are already well-served by bus transit.

The ignored ridership study also reminds us that projecting big transit increases based on population and job growth is a bit simplistic. The increasing number of jobs in the suburbs won't be easy for transit to serve and the aging population calls into question Ottawa's ability to actually fill all those projected jobs.

A proper executive summary of this latest report would have told us Ottawa's grand transit expansion plan costs way, way more to build than we can afford, has insupportable operating costs and won't meet the commuting-share goals city staff keep citing.

The truth probably does not constitute a compelling sales pitch to the provincial government, which will be asked to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to the transit dream. But what about the taxpayers? Don't we deserve the truth?

There's a fine line between a sell job and a con job, and the city has crossed it.

February 15, 2006

Public Working Group takes shape

Consultant firm Marshall Macklin Monaghan (MMM) has begun assembling 30-35 people to make up the public working group that will assess all 3 sites under consideration for the maintenance yard. The working group will be comprised of residents and business owners in the community, and relevant agencies.

The first of 4 meetings will be held on February 22, and the final meeting will be on March 22, when a preferred site will be chosen and recommended to city council. I'm happy to be a part of this process, representing residents of Windsor Park.

February 14, 2006

New Ottawa Sustainability Fund

Planning and Environment Committee approved on its consent agenda today the creation of an Ottawa Sustainability Fund. This was a proposal from the Environmental Advisory Committee.

The Fund would be an "Advised Fund" within the Community Foundation of Ottawa. The City would transfer $10,000 from its Community Environmental Project Grants program to get the Fund started. The idea is to attract Outside donations, with a long term goal to have a $5-10 million capital base.

The purpose would be to "provide financial support to initiatives and organizations that enhance the sustainability of the City of Ottawa from a source other than the municipal tax base. Initiatives that enhance sustainability, for the purpose of the Fund, are defined as any initiatives that improve environmental integrity, economic stability or growth, and social well-being in the City." Its focus would be on:

"- Reducing Ottawa's impact on climate change,
- Improving Ottawa's air quality,
- Addressing water issues, both urban and rural,
- Promoting sustainable land use in the City of Ottawa,
- Promoting waste reduction and sustainable waste management in the City of Ottawa,
- Other projects or initiatives that enhance the sustainability of the City of Ottawa."

The staff report notes that "The financial resources needed to fulfill the goals put forth in [the Ottawa 20/20 plan and its Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan] exceed the City's ability to fund initiatives to meet these goals."

Only registered charities (or corporations such as municipalities) can be the beneficiaries of disbursements from this Fund.

An Advisory Team will be assembled to develop a fund raising strategy and to allocate grants.

For more information, contact Mary Hegan, the new EAC Chair (and Greenspace Alliance member), at mhegan[at]

February 09, 2006

Track Sharing with the O-Train

One issue that has driven up the costs of the LRT Project is the city's insistence that the entire North-South line must be double-tracked, and even triple tracked, where freights would share the corridor. Many people knowledgeable on the subject think this is not necessary, and that some areas can be single tracked with switches and signalling in place to control the flow of trains. In those sections where freight trains would share the corridor, double track would suffice, but only one of the two tracks would need special treatment to allow freights to pass, as described below.

Timothy Lane explains:

First one, is a photo I took of an O-Train about to depart from Greenboro, on Oct 31, 2002.
A freight locomotive in the distance is waiting for the O-Train to leave, and the Rail Term worker beside the platform, to flip up the platform extenders.

The locomotive is returning to Walkley Yard, with a car that has undergone testing, from the NRC's Centre for Surface Transportation Technology, near Lester Rd.

Coincidentally, it's the same car that the CSTT has on their website, as an example of the work they do: Link

This one shows the Ottawa Central locomotive passing the Greenboro platform on its way back to Walkley Yard, with a car that has been tested at the NRC's Centre for Surface Transportation Technology, near Lester Rd.

Notice that the platform extenders have been folded back, to give more clearance for the freight train, which is wider than the O-Train.

Notice how the lady in the picture is scrunched up against the bench, to get as far away from that monster as she can!

This one shows a freight car, towed by an Ottawa Central locomotive, passing the Greenboro platform on its way back to Walkley Yard. The car had been tested at the NRC's Centre for Surface Transportation Technology, near Lester Rd.

The Rail Term worker is putting the platform extenders back down again, to be ready for the next O-Train to arrive.

Total elapsed time from when the O-Train left, extenders up, freight train passes, extenders back down to receive next O-Train: Four (4!) minutes!

Now, to be fair, when the O-Train is extended farther south, this wouldn't work anymore. The freight train would occupy the O-Train track for too great a distance, and too long a time, on its way from Walkley Yard/Greenboro to Lester road.

The freight car moves would probably have to be done at night, when the O-Train isn't running. However, that's quite an improvement over what "They" (City planners) were telling the NRC, "Oh, by the way, freight train access to your Centre for Surface Transportation Technology is to be abandoned."

The Future: Track Sharing with the O-Train

Here is a less labour intensive way to do track sharing between passenger trains & freight trains. The photo (by Normand Levert) is taken at an AMTRAK high level platform at the New Carrolton Station outside of Washington, DC.

The station is also used by commuter trains.

A gantlet track is installed in front of the platform, to give freight trains the needed extra clearance with the platform edge.

Longer ties are put down, say ten footers instead of the standard eight foot ties.

A second set of rails is placed on these ties, two feet away from the rails the passenger trains use.

A set of switch points at each end of the gantlet sends the freight trains onto the outside set of rails, keeping the wider freights away from the platform.

The switch points are controlled by a remote control electric switch motor, thus eliminating the need to have a worker there to throw the points.

This arrangement is now standard on CSX railroad, one of the biggest eastern US railroads, wherever their freights have to pass a passenger platform.

It is used, or will soon be used, at many other locations around the U.S.

This method would work equally well on our new, improved, LRT system, both south from Walkley Yard to the NRC, and north to the Prince of Wales bridge to Gatineau.

Of course, the overhead wire will have to be 23 feet above the track, to clear the latest, largest freight cars.

Not the 20 feet that "They" are specifying. "Their" design will prevent the new LRT system from not only sharing track with freight trains, but the LRT won't ever be able to cross another rail line at grade.

Grade separations would be required EVERYWHERE, which will make any further LRT expansion east, west, or anywhere, much more difficult & expensive.

Only one of the two LRT tracks would need gantlet track, since there should never be a need for TWO freight trains to be on the line simultaneously.

Unless, of course, the coming Hubbert Peak in world oil production REALLY forces a lot more freight back on the rails!


About Ottawa's Greenbelt

The Greenbelt features a mix of farms, wetlands and forests that offers a range of outdoor recreation, learning opportunities and provides a unique rural setting for the Capital. In addition, federal and major research institutions that need open spaces to operate have been located in the Greenbelt.
Read More

February 08, 2006

Lack of clarity on LRT process divides council - OBJ

The Ottawa Business Journal reports on Monday, Feb 6:

The foggy secrecy surrounding city hall's light rapid transit project has exposed a fractured and divided city council, with some councillors defending the process and others openly condemning it.

The $725-million project, weeks away from a contract application deadline for bidding consortia, has been under fire recently by residents unhappy with what they say has been a lack of public consultation by the city. And now, some councillors have joined the rising chorus of concerned voices demanding more openness from city officials.
Read the complete article

February 07, 2006

Disconnect between city planners plagues LRT in Ottawa

From Tim Lane:

I have the following concerns with this Environmental Assessment Revue:

Section 2.3 Page 8
The list of Federal Agencies (Responsible Authorities, or RAs) does NOT include Industry Canada, which is the Federal Dept responsible for the National Research Council.

The National Research Council operates a laboratory on MacDonald Cartier Airport property south of Lester Road, west of the Canadian Pacific Railway Prescott Subdivision, which is the line to be used to extend LRT south from Greenboro LRT station to Riverside South.

This laboratory, the Centre for Surface Transportation Technology, (CSTT) is a world class facility for the study of railroad wheel-rail interaction. Their expertise was used to solve wheel damage problems on the existing Ottawa O-Train vehicles.

This facility, as part of their rail car testing work, receives deliveries, by rail, of various types of rail vehicles, both the latest new designs, and also existing designs requiring further testing. These deliveries occur approximately once per month, throughout the year.

The current O-Train system allows for the passage of freight trains on this line, from the Ottawa Central Railway's Walkley Yard, sharing the LRT track past the Greenboro O-Train station platform, and south to the Lester Road laboratory.

It was made very clear, by former Director of O-Train operations for Capital Railway (OC Transpo's rail division), Mr. Mario Peloquin, to his superiors at OC Transpo and the City of Ottawa, that under no circumstances would any new design for an expanded O-Train system interfere with the continued ability of the NRC's Centre for Surface Transportation Technology, to receive deliveries, by rail, of rail equipment.

Now we learn that City of Ottawa staff have informed the CSTT that the freight line to their laboratory is to be abandoned, thus severing their connection to the North American rail network.

The proponent's original design for maintaining access, was to build a new connecting track, southwest of Walkley Diamond, to connect to a new third track, for freight trains only that would be built west of and parallel to the two LRT tracks, from Greenboro station south to Lester Rd.

It now turns out that the City of Ottawa is building a storm water retention pond, west of the Greenboro O-Train station, that will occupy the land that would have been needed for this connecting track, and the third right of way for freight.

This is what probably precipitated the announcement that the CSTT would have to lose its rail connection.

This fiasco shows, at best, an appalling lack of co-ordination amongst various City of Ottawa engineering departments.

The basic problem, however, arises from the Proponent's insistence that the sharing of track between light rail (the O-Train) and heavy rail (freight service to the CSTT), something which the O-Train currently features, is to be abandoned.

The claim is that it is "Too onerous" to be under the regulation of the Federal Transport Canada rail safety regulators.

This, of course, is nonsense, since it was the Federal regulators' permission to have LRT share the general rail network, which made the O-Train one of the most successful, safest, and lowest cost light rail systems to be built anywhere in the world.

The above arguments I make, also apply to:

Table 2. Public Comment Summary Table. page 15

There must be an evaluation for continued use of rail freight in corridor to maintain Ontario-Quebec connection.

The proponent's response is that "freight operations have ceased in this corridor".

As I pointed out above, that is definitely not the case at the southern end of this corridor.

The proponent goes on to say,
"The city ... has purchased the rail corridor for its current O-Train operation and future development of LRT."

To which I reiterate, the current O-Train line is built to allow the passage of freight trains.

The proponent then says,
"In accordance with Transport Canada regulations, the city has posted a 2005-2008 operating plan that states its intention to close the corridor to future freight operation. To date there have been no expressions of interest for freight operations in this corridor communicated to the City."

So, the City is apparently not aware that freight operations are ongoing to the CSTT in the south.

The city is apparently not aware that the final version of the NCC's Greber Plan for the National Capital required that this link between the freight rail systems in Quebec and Ontario be maintained.

Has the City solicited any rail freight operations from other operators in this corridor?

Has the city taken into account, that when King Edward Ave. is being torn up for rebuilding in the near future, and bridges such as the Alexandra and MacDonald-Cartier are being rebuilt soon, that it may be essential to have and alternative method of getting freight between the two cities?

The City hosted a Peak Oil conference on January 28, 2006.

Is the City not aware, that with diminishing petroleum supplies, it will be absolutely essential that a method of moving freight that uses one third the fuel that trucks use, i.e., rail, will become of ever increasing importance? Or is this yet another example of various City departments not communicating with each other?

There are other problems with this EA, such as the insistence that double tracking is required everywhere, even where a service frequency of only ten minutes is planned. For ten minute service, with closely spaced stations, single track with passing sidings is sufficient.

Twinning of the tunnel at Dow's Lake is not necessary, unless a service frequency of three minutes in both directions is needed. The current plan is for five minute headway.

The choice of greenspace land near Blossom Park for the service & maintenance facility is wrong, when the existing Walkley Yard is already used to house the O-Train. It has sufficient tracks to hold over two hundred LRT vehicles. It is already a brownfield site, which would not need much rehabilitation, if it continues in use as a rail yard.

A few weeks ago, the City was patting itself on the back for having bought some land from a developer near Stittsville, so it could remain as green space.

For the LRT project, the city wants to wipe out a greenspace, rather than buy an existing rail yard, to use as a rail yard.

Is there a disconnect here? I could go on, and on, but I believe this project needs to be put on hold and a major rethink is required.

Other submitters, I am sure, will detail other shortcomings of this project.

Thank You,
Tim Lane

Comments on the LRT project

To: James O'Mara, Director
Environmental Assessment & Approvals Branch
Ministry of the Environment
Province of Ontario

By Fax: (416) 314-8452

Dear Mr. O'Mara:

Re: North-South Corridor LRT Project - Ministry Review, December 2005

I wish to comment on two aspects of the Ministry's Review.

1. This document should have been made more readily available. It should have been published on a web site. I spoke with Mr. Michael Harrison on January 24 and was promised two copies in the mail. I have yet to receive them. Also, the Ministry should, in this and any other request for comments from the public, provide an e-mail address to submit comments.

2. The Review sets out a process for selection of the location of a Maintenance Yard and would require only an after-the-fact report on the outcome. This is less than an Addendum process proposed in the Environmental Assessment report. The Ministry should exercise more oversight in this matter, in conformity with section 6.2 (3) of the Environmental Assessment Act. Moreover, while the process set out in the Review allows for public involvement, this is being subverted by City staff. The Ward Councillor informs us that Step 1, the formation of a Public Working Group, will not take place until the end of February, while the contract for the project is expected to be awarded in April. Clearly, staff wants to do its work without the nuisance of public involvement and then just go through the motions of conforming with the Review.

This is particularly unsatisfactory because the preliminary evaluation of
the three alternatives set out in the EA is incomplete in significant
respects. Nor is it a secret that staff wants to proceed with the Lester
Road site.

Gaps in the comparison of sites found in the EA include:

- insufficient documentation of the amount and variety of wildlife that is
found on the Lester site;

- failure to recognize the significance of the milkweed field, feeding ground for Monarch butterflies;

- insufficient appreciation of the recreational use made of the open space east and west of the rail line next to the Airport Parkway;

- failure to recognize that there will be much activity in the Yard during the night, making it impossible to respect the City's noise by-law;

- insufficient appreciation of the ecological significance of the Medeola Woods east of the rail line at the Lester site;

- lack of detailed assessment of the wetlands on and around the Lester Road site and absence of recognition of the federal policy on wetland conservation;

- incomplete appreciation of the assets available at the Walkley site, including storage capacity for at least 200 light rail cars, a facility to turn trains and a location suitable for serving both the north-south and future east-west LRT.

I urge the Ministry to exercise closer oversight over the selection of a Maintenance Yard for this project.


Erwin Dreessen, Ph.D.

Sign the Petition

Thanks to everyone who has signed so far - I like reading your comments as well. For those who haven't yet signed it, have a read and sign!
To: Ottawa City Council

We, the undersigned residents of Ottawa, are deeply concerned about the City of Ottawa’s preferred site for the construction of a railway maintenance yard as part of the North-South corridor of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project.

City staff has recommended that the maintenance yard be located on the Airport Parkway site. This site is a natural greenspace located alongside the scenic entranceway to the city. A more suitable option is the Walkley Yard, a brownfield site that currently operates as a railyard.

THEREFORE, we petition City Council to reject the city staff’s recommendation and instead to select the Walkley Yard as the location for the maintenance yard rather than destroy the urban greenspace located alongside the Airport Parkway.

Sign here

February 02, 2006

This letter says it all

(thanks to David Gladstone for this.)

Dear Mr. O’ Meara,

Further to your letter of December 29, 2005, replying to my letter of October 26,2005, (attached), I am writing to describe substantial concerns that I and others in Ottawa continue to have with the subject proposed light rail transit project in general, with the City of Ottawa’s Environmental Assessment of it, and with the draft MOE review of the EA.

The bald reality is that key project decisions have been taken – such as planning to replace the diesel trains used by the current O-Train with electric trains, placing the proposed train maintenance facility in what is currently greenspace when a brownfield site is available, having trains use already congested downtown streets instead of having an underground railway line, and simply ignoring the need for rapid transit service between Ottawa and Gatineau – with no documented engineering rationale, and without effective community consultation.

I’m sure you will agree – in fact that is the reason EAs are required – that decisions on municipal infrastructure projects must be based on documented technical analyses. Conspicuously absent from the City of Ottawa’s EA report are names of authors and/or Professional Engineers prepared to take responsibility for the work, as well as references to the professional literature and web-sites. Instead many assertions are made anonymously without any traceable references. While this may be ‘legal’ under the Professional Engineers Act, the EA Act, and the Municipalities Act, surely citizen-taxpayers have a right to see the bases for major investments of public funds being based on sound analyses by qualified professionals. From this perspective, I cannot accept that the MOE staff, also anonymously, can simply accept anonymous assertions by City of Ottawa staff, whose sources aren’t traceable.

That my concerns with the current process are generally shared was confirmed this week in an informal poll conducted by Radio Station CFRA. As described in the attached report of the poll results over 90% of those who responded agree with the statement: “No, there is too much secrecy about cost, and the route is questionable.”

A core objective of the EA process is ensuring community involvement and support for infrastructure projects. This has simply not occurred to-date in the subject project: Carleton University staff and students, and other users, have not been consulted on the currently-planned over- one-year shutdown of the successful O-Train service, heritage advocates have not been consulted on the proposed demolition of heritage buildings to build a surface train station, downtown businesses continue to have major concerns, and just about every transit advocate that I know, who doesn’t have a contractual link with the City of Ottawa, has major concerns with what City staff are proposing..

With respect to closing down the O-Train service, it should be noted that City Council has specifically directed that such interruptions be kept to an absolute minimum, that such an interruption is not necessary if the project is planned and implemented as an expansion of the O-Train, and that replacing the current service involves placing buses on already congested roads. And, as noted in my letter of October 26, staff have not proposed to-date a strategy to City Council.

Also, I suggest that it is most important to note that City staff have not to-date demonstrated how interrupting the current East-West buses that transit downtown by an electric street-car line from the south – one that doesn't extend into Gatineau - will increase transit usage in Ottawa.

While perhaps outside the purview of an EA, it should be noted that there are increasing doubts in the community, the media, and City Council with the value-for-money and affordability of what is being developed by City staff. Also worth noting is that City staff haven’t made applications under the Planning Act for any of the structures they are proposing outside the current railway corridor, such the proposed train maintenance facility and the downtown stations.

I could go on, but I would like to end with what I see as a well-founded and reasonable request: please do not have the EA signed-off by your Minister until you see it demonstrated that the City of Ottawa – Council, staff, and residents – have reached a solid consensus on an affordable investment in light rail transit, one that will lead to a system that will be cost-effective, transparently-planned, minimally impact the human and natural environment, and truly does what everyone wants – substantially grow transit ridership in Ottawa.

Yours sincerely,
David Gladstone
Mr. Michael Harrison, EA Approvals Branch
The Honorable John Gerretsen, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
The Honorable Harinder Takhar, Minister of Transportation
Kim Allen, CEO and Registrar, Professional Engineers Ontario
Bob Chiarelli, Mayor of Ottawa
Richard Patten, MPP Otttawa-Centre
Councillor Diane Holmes
Councillor Clve Doucer

The Airport Parkway Greenspace

Fax James O'Mara with comments from Save Our Greenspace at the number 416-314-8452. Mr. O'Mara is the Director, Environmental Assessment and Approvals Branch of the Ministry of the Environment.

Letter to the Ministry of the Environment

James O’Mara, Director
Environmental Assessment and Approvals Branch
Ministry of the Environment
2 St. Clair Avenue West, Floor 12A
Toronto, ON, M4V 1L5
Attn: Michael Harrison, Special Project Officer
Phone (416) 314-8221 or 1-800-461-6290
Fax: (416) 314-8452

Re: Review under EAA for Light Rail Transit North-South Corridor, Train Yard, Ottawa, ON

Jan 30, 2006

Dear Mr Harrison,

I am writing today to further consider the removal the “Lester” site as one of three acceptable sites for a Light Rail Maintenance yard to be erected to serve the North-South bound extension to Ottawa’s light rail system.

This valuable scenic route, which is also the Ceremonial Route taken by all manner of foreign dignitaries upon arrival in Ottawa, is currently zoned Institutional Government (IG). The provisions under IG zoning allow for passive use (ie. Agriculture, horticulture, silviculture, passive recreational use, etc). the City indicates that a zoning change would be necessary in the EA, what right do they have to destroy a significant greenspace for the purpose of constructing a new brownfield, given one of the alternate sites is a reusable brownfield. To do so, violates the City’s Official Plan which dictates this area as a “scenic entry route” and also a “major recreational pathway”. As such it is constantly used by local families, including children (winter and summer) for recreational activities. Furthermore, many local scouting groups leverage the easily accessible biodiversity of the area for their activities throughout the year.

In the City’s Official Plan, Section 2.3.1 Transportation, Policy 35 states (in part) “it is recognized that the parkway network in the city, primarily developed by the NCC, contributes greatly to the distinct open space character of Ottawa.” Policy 36 states “In recognition of the importance of preserving and enhancing the visual and aesthetic appeal of the main scenic and entry routes in Ottawa, the City will require additional development controls for lands along these routes, as identified in schedules I and J, and detailed in section 4.6.4.” According to the EA and City planners, this direction is to be discounted, why?

There are most certainly other stakeholders, beyond the National Capital Commission, that need to be consulted on this activity. It has become evident, for example, that the current planning for the project undermines the train testing facility owned by the National Research Council. The city plans to abandon the freight rail connection from Walkley yard to the NRC Institute for Surface Transportation at Uplands. This could cause shutdown or impose massive costs on a world-class research facility which is a recognized leader in analysis and testing of rail vehicles and interaction between rail vehicles and their tracks. While I am liaising with them to inform them of what is transpiring, all levels of government have a responsibility to ensure that this world class facility remains accessible.

The communities of Emerald Woods, Emerald Gate and others implore the Ministry of Environment remove the Lester site as an alternative for the Maintenance yard for the North-South Corridor Light Rail Transit Project.

Peter J. Hillier, CD
2727 Wyldewood St.

February 01, 2006

A letter to Mayor Chiarelli

Mayor Chiarelli,

Frankly, I am absolutely agast!

There is so much evidence that the City is reneging entirely on the commitments noted in the Offical Plan, the Greenspace Master Plan and it's 20/20 Environmental Plan that our communities should not be the ones spending countless hours of personal time asking why, the City should be telling us what right they have at all to even consider the use of the Lester Site in it's proposal for the North South LRT Project. You can find some of this evidence below.
First off, the City's commitment to protecting the environment through the Greenspace Master Plan which indicates:
"Developing Ottawa's Greenspace Network serves to: Recognize the National Capital Greenbelt as a distinguishing feature of Ottawa that separates the core urban area inside the Greenbelt from the urban communities beyond it; Create a physically connected system of greenspaces, from urban parks and woodlands inside the Greenbelt, through the Greenbelt and into the larger natural features outside the Greenbelt and beyond the City's boundaries; Sustain natural systems by maintaining natural features and natural functions; Provide linked migration routes for other species; Contribute to the protection of cultural heritage landscapes such as the Ottawa River and Rideau Waterway System and to the health and viability of the Greenbelt; Provide greater access to public greenspaces within the network and more options for outdoor leisure and recreational activities; Help structure and define communities. "

"Now the challenges are to: Ensure that future development preserves Ottawa's Greenspace Network and extends it by identifying new natural features and linkages and securing a variety of open space and leisure lands; "

And don't forget the policy direction to reinforce this commitment:
"Pending completion of the Greenspace Master Plan, the City will consider premature any application filed after adoption of this Plan to amend the zoning by-law for urban and Village properties zoned park or open space, leisure, waterway, conservation, natural environment, wetland or other zone used for conservation or recreation uses. Following approval of the Greenspace Master Plan, applications to amend the zoning by-law for these lands can be assessed in terms of their contribution to local greenspace and the Greenspace Network, and opportunities to secure public access or ownership. The lifting of a holding zone provision on an area where a public special study has been conducted will be done by City Council in a public process but will not be considered a zoning by-law amendment, for the purposes of this policy. "

Building Liveable Communities
"The basics of a liveable community are straight-forward. In the urban area, a liveable community has appropriate housing at a price people can afford. It is built around greenspaces and has places to shop, socialize and play nearby."

"This Plan (The Official Plan) proposes that Ottawa's communities be built on the basics: good housing, employment, ample greenspace, a sense of history and culture."
I guess the City dictate's which communities get to continue enjoying the privelege.

The more I read the rhetoric that appears to be the City's commitments to protecting the greenspaces, wetlands and urban forests that surround our community, the sicker my stomach gets. I am completely at a loss as to why our residents need be worried at all, in fact I wait for a reply as to how City staff saw fit to even consider the site. Can you explain it?

I would appreciate it if you in conjunction with the City Councilors sitting on both the environmental and transportation committee's had an opportunity to address this issue, as well as the project implementation teams responsible.

Peter J. Hillier, CD