I am pleased to announce that yesterday my council colleagues and I unanimously voted to approve the next step in our plans for Stage 2 of Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit system.
The completion of that system will see more residents connected to Light Rail in the East, South and West of our city.
Stage 2 will expand upon what is already the largest infrastructure undertaking in our city’s history since the building of the Rideau Canal.
The Light Rail Transit system will connect residents from Bayshore to Orleans to Bowesville Road through the downtown core.
Yesterday’s decision represents the culmination of years of work.
My colleagues Councillor Stephen Blais, Councillor Keith Egli and I were members of the 100 Day Working Group which included members of the National Capital Commission Board and collaborated on a solution for the proposed route for the western portion of light rail transit.
We were able to set aside assumptions and differences to reach a solution that is not only the best for our community but also the best for all of Canada and for those visiting Ottawa. This solution also sets aside green space along the Ottawa River for preservation as a National Park for the enjoyment of Canadians for years to come.
Yesterday’s unanimous decision at council also sets out a path for the work we have yet to do together.
That work includes the direction for staff to move ahead with formal requests for funding from both the Federal and Provincial governments.
As a City we will be seeking approximately $2 billion in funding from each of these levels of government in order to make this project a reality.
The federal government has announced $53 billion for a New Building Canada Plan. The province is investing $130 billion over 10 years in public infrastructure. With these two programs in place we feel we can secure the necessary funding.
As this is a city-wide project it is important that all councillors stand united in support of this initiative, especially as we work to convince the provincial and federal governments of the viability and sustainability of this project.
At community meetings across Bay Ward I have heard from many of you about the Western extension of Light Rail Transit in Ottawa. Much of that feedback has been generally positive. We need transit services that connect the residents of this ward to the downtown core in a safe, efficient, effective manner.
Having LRT in Bay Ward will also free up buses for use on smaller feeder routes and residential routes. This will mean faster and more effective service to bring people to hub stations like Bayshore Mall, Queensway Station and Pinecrest Platform, among others.
As we have seen with the building of the Confederation Line, you will find that there is some short term pain to exchange for long term gain.
In the end, however, Ottawa will have a world-class transportation system that will connect its residents from east to west and from north to south.
I am very proud to have played an integral role in making sure that we reached yesterday’s unanimous decision and I promise to continue working hard to make sure that council continues to make the right decisions for what is ultimately best for our city.
Deputy Mayor of Ottawa
Councillor for Bay Ward