Save Our Greenspace

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

May 29, 2006

Contamination Questioned

Is the site contaminated or not? And to what degree?
The city claims a huge cleanup is required at Walkley, but CP claims the contamination is no worse than any other railyard across Canada, noting that two old trainyards in Montreal are being transformed to make room for new hospital and a university expansion.

Metro news has more, click the image.

May 28, 2006

Citizen 3-part LRT series

Looking at Ottawa's LRT Replacement (not expansion) Project, the Citizen has a 3 part series looking at the $725M project.
In an era of tight budgets, Mr. [Tim] Lane, a self-confessed "skinflint," believes light rail to be the cheaper public transit option. He says the city doesn't have to spend so much.

"For $325 million, the city's share of the north-south project, we could have 80 kilometres of diesel light rail on existing rail corridors in the city. It irks me that we are not using them," he said.

"We had rail before and we let it go. We should be using what we have."

Instead, the city is opting for a more expensive system that runs on urban roads and other corridors that require large investments in bridges and tracks.

Mr. Lane said he fears that the city's approach will make light rail so expensive that it would be difficult to win public support for the east-west line.

"If the idea is to get more people out of cars and into transit, you can do it cheaper and faster than the city is doing," he said.
Read the series here, under Editor's Picks.

May 24, 2006

5 voted to save greenspace

City council voted today to use a greenspace field instead of re-developing a Brownfield - Walkley yard location.

The votes were 16 - 5 for Bowesville.

Councillors who voted to re-use Walkley yard were:
1) Councillor Legendre
2) Councillor Cullen
3) Councillor Bellemare
4) Councillor Thompson
5) Councillor Hunter

Congratulations and thank you for promoting sustainable development.

Council sent a clear message to the citizens of Ottawa today.

Mr. Rejean Chartrand, claimed staff knew about the contamination since March 2005, but chose not to share this knowledge with council, until today. Unexplicably that was acceptable to all but five councillors.

The MOU which was signed in April 2005, secured $400 M in Provincial and
Federal funding. The MOU outlined in the Project Definition where the Maintenance and Storage Facility will be placed, (at Walkley yard).

The Public Working Group used over 70 hours of their own personal time to contribute to this process outlined by the MOE. 100% of all participants clearly identified the site to use as Walkley yard.

The people from the Greenboro, Fairlea, and Heatherington communities supported this decision. Louise B. from Heatherington came out on May 16th, to speak for 5 minutes to the committees. Louise tried to convince council to help her, clean up the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, only a few councillors heard her speak.

Those wonderful insightful "Walkley yard" individuals showed us they cared more for the environment than council did today.


Council votes 16-5 in favour of Bowesville

Rejean Chartrand was at his best today, saying all the right things to lead councillors and the public down to Bowesville.

Now I'm convinced: The PWG process was a complete sham. From the beginning there were members who thought the site was pre-determined before the PWG even got started. Ann Coffey even quit for this reason.

We see the MOU project description stating Walkley as the site for the maintenance yard. The city introduces two other sites for the EA and indicates a preference to the Airport Parkway site. Through the PWG proces yet another additional site, Bowseville 4C was identified for which no EA was done. Then the Mayor strikes a sweet deal with the Airport Authority for the Bowesville lands. The PWG is still meeting at this point, yet no decision or recommendation has been made.

I believe that the information on which today’s vote was determined was already known when the Public Working Group met but was deliberately witheld. It was a complete waste of my time and taxpayer money.

I sincerely hope the Ontario Minister of the Environment steps forward and puts this city in line for breaking the rules that govern the Environmental Assessment process. $200 million in provincial taxpayer money is on the line, and I expect an answer.

Ron Rancourt

May 23, 2006

May 24 - vote day

Wednesday, May 24, Council is to vote on the Transportation and Economic Development committee's recommendation to use the Bowesvile Site for the maintenance yard. It looks like they're about to choose to pave over greenspace land despite lots of criticism, including:
On Brownfield Redevelopment, the city says:
"While costs to develop brownfields are greater than greenfields, positive experience and results in Canada and the U.S. have shown that the challenges to brownfield development can be overcome to produce a profit for the developer and significant economic, environmental and social benefits for the community." (link)

May 18, 2006

Letter to council

Dear Mr. Mayor and Councillors,

As you deliberate on the site recommendation for the LRT maintenance
yard, please ask the following questions...


Choosing to put the maintenance facility at the end of a runway is
asking for trouble. Electrified overhead lines increase the chance of
fires and loss of life to passengers and LRT maintenance staff should
a plane make impact. The entire LRT line would be put out of

Remember the over-run at the Toronto Airport? It happens. Does the
city want to take on that risk? Can the facility even be insured?


Why wasn't there consideration given to the E-W line, since the
facility would have to service trains on that line as well? Why
wasn't the incremental deadhead cost for the E-W line included in
staff's analysis?

Why is a 3-5 minute service interval being used to calculate
operational cost and determine where to locate the facility, when a
10-15 minute interval would be more appropriate? How was the 3-5
minute interval arrived at? Calgary gets along fine with a 15 minute
interval for their LRT. Want to reduce cost? Reduce the service

Contamination of Walkley: It's minor, according to the current owners,
CPRail. Cleanup would be minimal.

Contamination at Bowesville: Requires special water mains to shield
from a toxic plume flowing in a West-East direction just north of the
site. This 4C site was not part of the EA and would need to have that
done before building could start.

Answers to these questions will further point to Walkley as being the
true winner of the site selection process.


Ron Rancourt
N-S PWG member for Windsor Park Village

819-934-1905 (days)
613-521-1272 (home)

May 03, 2006

Ottawa Loves Its Buses

The Ottawa Citizen

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Re: Nothing rapid about train plan, April 29.

Columnist Randall Denley is right on track pointing out the folly of the City of Ottawa's approach to light rail, using trains where buses would work best while maintaining a bus transitway for the heavy commuter traffic that is best suited to trains.

The only thing missing from his analysis was the root cause for this impending white elephant -- namely the continuing infatuation that OC Transpo planners have with the existing Transitway and the notion of buses as rapid-transit vehicles.

For genuine rapid transit you need trains, not buses. The city made a penny-wise, pound-foolish mistake when it decided to use buses for the Transitway instead of going straight to light rail for rapid transit. Despite all the hype about the Transitway, buses will never be as efficient or effective as trains for moving large numbers of commuters quickly and in comfort. The best transit systems in the world rely on trains and buses working together in a hub and spoke system, with buses connecting to the rapid transit rail system, providing local service and serving the relatively low ridership routes between suburbs.

Ottawa has a chance to finally get transit right by introducing light rail to eventually substitute for the present bus Transitway as the heart of Ottawa's rapid transit system. Yet our transit planners are designing routes for the new trains that would relegate them to being little more than streetcars doing suburban milk-run service.

This makes no sense whatsoever, except as a strategy to ensure that light rail will never seriously threaten Ottawa's dependency on buses. By refusing to see beyond their beloved Transitway in its present form, the planners are ensuring that Ottawa's experiment with light rail will be a failure and that Ottawa commuters will be stuck with buses as their only viable alternative to automobiles for decades into the future.

What a waste of taxpayers' dollars, and what a shame to miss such a golden opportunity to finally get transit right in Ottawa.

Phil Brown,