The collaboration between the NCC and City to revise the Western LRT design is great news. Unfortunately concerns raised by the community (and several other community groups in the area) have still not been addressed. The revised plan calls for 300 meters of tracks (from Berkley to Rochester Field) to be either at grade or in a shallow trench with high fences, overhead electrical wires and 7/24 lighting.
Prior to the recent announcement several community groups in western Ottawa agreed that the following principles should be maintained in the Western LRT design:
- If the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway route is ultimately chosen, the engineering design must be fully compatible with the NCC’s on-going efforts to develop and implement its long-term vision for an accessible and more animated water-front park adjacent to the Ottawa River.
- In our view, the best, and likely the only way to respect these principles, is to fully tunnel the LRT to ensure that the entire line from Berkley Avenue to Skead and beyond would be fully underground and allow for mature trees to again grow in the park lands.
The Westboro Community Association is concerned that a trench potentially as long as 300 meters west of Dominion Station would obstruct access to the park lands and represent a major visual blight on them. Both impacts are inconsistent with the important NCC conditions.
The new proposal states: “Cleary Station to be covered and designed to blend into the landscape”. We ask that the NCC and city of Ottawa provide a response to the following questions:
- Why are the principles of “blending the Cleary LRT station in the landscape” not being applied to Dominion Station?
- Why has the NCC not been consistent in applying their conditions of managing the visual appearance and accessibility of the Ottawa River Parkway?
- If the intent of exposing the Dominion reach is to give LRT riders “a view of the river” (which we believe would be inadequate); how does that priority exceed the principle of the NCC’s original conditions of managing the visual appearance and accessibility of the Ottawa River Parkway?
The last two years have produced productive dialog within the community leading up to the recent agreement between the NCC and the City of Ottawa. We are optimistic that continued dialog and consultations will lead to the best solution.