Comment 90249

By Noted (anonymous) | Posted July 17, 2013 at 13:55:54

OTTAWA — Council unanimously approved its proposed route for the western leg of Ottawa’s light-rail line Wednesday even though the National Capital Commission has said it won’t approve of the proposal’s use of its land.

Commission board members have twice rejected the city’s plans for the $980-million Richmond Underground line that would cut through more than a kilometre of NCC land along the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway near McKellar Park.

The proposal calls for the construction of a 500-metre trench through which rail track would run just west of Dominion station over to Skead Street. However, NCC board members insist any LRT line must not impede people’s access to NCC land, meaning the city would likely have to bury the line to satisfy them, incurring additional costs.

Council members at a transportation committee meeting last month said they will not simply cave to the NCC’s demands. They suggested moving ahead with the proposed western route while continuing talks with the commission. The unanimous vote to do so passed council Wednesday without debate.

“We will continue to gather public feedback and work with the NCC as the project goes into detailed design and approvals stages,” Coun. Keith Egli, chairman of the transportation committee, said in a statement from the city.

The current proposal stretches from Bayview station to Baseline station, and will connect to the 12.5-kilometre Confederation Line now being built through the downtown. Construction on the western leg is not anticipated to start until 2017 or 2018.

City staff and councillors believe that will leave them time to hammer out a deal with the NCC.

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