Stage 1 LRT reaches substantial completion

I have been advised that the City and Independent Certifier are in agreement on Stage 1 LRT reaching substantial completion. The update below highlights the criteria for a successful testing period, as well as the remaining activities in this project. I am pleased to hear of the progress made to date, and look forward to Innes ward benefitting from the long-awaited transit system upgrade.

Public consultation essential regarding Groupe Lépine development proposed for 3490 and 3484 Innes Road

Recently, the Groupe Lépine proposed a development for 3490 and 3484 Innes Road. This project would bring a level of density to Innes Road that is unprecedented in the area and would be a significant change to the existing design of the neighborhood.

While I recognize that rental accommodations geared towards older adults are needed in our community, and this project would help ensure that many seniors are able to stay in the community, a large-scale development such as this would nonetheless put massive pressure on our already overburdened road infrastructure. While many neighborhoods have grown or been added along the Innes Road stretch, there has not been matching growth in substantial arterial roadways and alternate routes to support them.

A project of this magnitude requires a significant amount of community input and a chance for residents to share their thoughts and concerns.

Right now, the City is asking for public feedback on the developer’s request to rezone the land to allow for more density. City staff will take this initial round of comments and share it with the developer after August 13, 2019.

Based on those comments, the developer will be asked by the City to make changes to address the community’s concerns, and to come back with an updated plan.

Residents will then continue to be asked for comments well into the fall, as City staff prepare their report.

This is a significant development being suggested for our community. Although the City does not require the developer to hold any public meetings in addition to the online consultation, I ran on a platform of ensuring smart infrastructure planning becoming the norm, and communities having a greater say in how future developments will shape their neighborhood. With that in mind, I will be organizing a meeting in early September for our community to pose their questions directly to the developer. It is important that we as residents have the most accurate and up-to-date information as possible, in order to provide an informed and honest response to the developer and the city.

I will be sharing details about the public meeting as soon as I have them. In the meantime, I ask that residents continue to send comments, whether good or bad, to the city planner, at Michael.Boughton@ottawa.ca.

Chateau Laurier Heritage Designation

Today, Ottawa city council voted on a motion to revoke the heritage designation for the Chateau Laurier’s extension. I share the intent behind the motion, the planned rear addition by the owners of the Chateau Laurier is atrocious. It is the 5th design, each one a marginal improvement, yet completely tone-deaf to the concerns raised by councillors, residents, and anyone who appreciates the beauty of the existing landmark.

With all that said, I did not vote to support this motion. While I despise the design, it would result in a legal battle paid for by taxpayers and could ultimately even lead to one of the previous dreadful designs being built.

The hotel owners notified the city in a letter that they would immediately pursue legal action, either by taking the city to Superior Court or to the Province’s Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. The city’s own lawyers have determined that in both instances the hotel’s owner would be successful, and the city is all but guaranteed to lose in court.

During those proceedings, the owner, Larco has indicated it will argue that the city acted in “bad faith”. They would then have the option to ask to revert to any of the previous design versions, all of which were worse than the current version. As a reminder, the initial version was 12-storeys and towered over the existing heritage building. Both the city’s lawyer and the General Manager of Planning have indicated that this would be an option available to Larco.

The cost of a legal battle would be borne by the taxpayer. The city’s lawyer has told us to expect fees between $150,000 and $200,000, and the city likely having to pay the legal fees for the hotel owners. At a time when budgets are tight, both for the city and taxpayers, this is money that would be taken away from other city priorities and services.

The previous City Council approved the Heritage Permit with three conditions on July 3, 2018. Council gave city staff the authority to determine whether the owner and their architect had met those three conditions.

While I have no interest in finger-pointing, the authors of the original motion that set out the conditions, should not have authorized this blank cheque on design, allowing the private owner to unambiguously meet council’s vague requirements in a way that was not supported by residents.

The motion that was before council today, while admirable in intent, was misguided and misled the public as to the level of authority council has at this point in the process. In an attempt to have meaningful input over the future addition, act in good faith, and have a constructive dialogue with the private owner of the Chateau Laurier, I have joined with my colleagues: Councillors Gower, Sudds, and Luloff in sending Larco an open letter expressing our strong desire and hope that they will revise the design and heed the very real concerns of Ottawa residents.

Let me make clear again: I hate the design; I think it is ghastly and insults one of Ottawa’s most iconic landmarks. However, while I appreciate the desire for a “principled stand”, I cannot in good conscience vote in favour of a motion that I know will cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars and produce the same or worse results.

Provide input on new park name in Chapel Hill South

The community has an opportunity to name a new park which connects Chapel Hill South to the new development by Caivan. While this park is currently named after the Caivan development where it is located, residents have until July 29th to suggest potential new names and may do so by filling out the form below.

Following the close of the survey, suggested names will be vetted by the City.

Update on LRT Stage 1

Based on news received at this morning’s Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO), I am cautiously optimistic that the LRT Stage 1 will be ready for transfer to the City of Ottawa in early August. I will continue to take RTG to task and hold them accountable for their performance and delivery on this project.

I am sharing the presentation received at FEDCO, which includes information about the remaining project timelines, and steps for transitioning to LRT from bus rapid transit.

As the city prepares to launch LRT service, I encourage riders visit OCtranspo.ca to understand the upcoming changes to their daily transit routes.

I look forward to having Innes ward residents on board the train soon.

Stage 2 LRT Project Update

June 24, 2019 to July 7, 2019

Overall:

  • Preparatory activities (borehole drilling, silt fence installation, site office mobilization, pre-construction surveys, etc.) are currently underway on each O-Train extension to facilitate the commencement of Stage 2 construction activities in 2019.

O-Train Trillium Line South Extension

  • Uplands Structures Yard set up
    • Spreading of gravel, temporary road construction, and fence installation has been completed at Uplands Structures Yard Drive (north of the EY Centre, east of Uplands Drive)
    • This yard will be used for the coordination of Airport Link construction activities
  • Laydown areas will be established within close proximity to the Trillium Line near the Bowesville Road and Uplands Drive. Crews will begin with the installation of temporary concrete barriers (TCBs) at each location.
  • Silt fence installation
    • Crews have commenced the installation of 30,000 metres of silt fence along the perimeter of the Trillium Line O-Train south extension from Greenboro Station to terminus stations (Airport Station & Limebank Station). To date, approximately 40% of the work has been completed.
  • Stump pulling and grinding along the Trillium Line South extension between Hunt Club Road and Limebank Road/Uplands Drive is anticipated to be completed in mid-July
    • Once complete, crews will begin stripping lands (i.e. topsoil removal) later this summer to further prepare for the construction activities
  • Noise and Vibration monitoring
    • Baseline noise and vibration monitoring is taking place at properties near the Trillium Line alignment to ensure that construction and rail activities comply with applicable regulations and requirements
  • Ongoing works at the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport
    • Hydrovacing near future guideway structures is now complete.
    • In coordination with the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority (OMCIAA), crews will begin fencing off the Airport lands where work is occurring.

O-Train Confederation Line East Extension

  • Borehole drilling is currently underway at the following locations:
    • Montreal Road & OR 174 Interchange
    • Montreal Flyover
    • OR 174 median lanes (night work) between Blair Road & Trim Road
  • Borehole drilling is anticipated to begin near Trim Road
  • East day-to-day work yard set up
    • Work to commence in early July to construct granular pad near Montreal Road and OR 174 to support temporary modular trailer complex, parking spaces and a day-to-day yard
    • This site will be used for the coordination of Confederation Line East construction activities
  • Pre-construction surveys
    • East-West Connectors (EWC) have retained DST Consulting Engineers to carry out a pre-construction survey of the homes and buildings located within close proximity of construction activities in the zone of influence. They will be documenting properties to establish the existing conditions of the interior and exterior of buildings near the alignment, prior to construction.

O-Train Confederation Line West Extension

  • Borehole drilling currently underway in the following locations:
    • Lincoln Fields Station
    • Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway (nearby Cleary Avenue)
  • Borehole drilling is anticipated to begin near New Orchard Station in early July
  • Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway Cut and Cover Tunnel Preparatory Works
    • The Sir John A. Macdonald (SJAM) Parkway is shifting north to accommodate the space required to construct a cut-and-cover tunnel between Dominion Station and Cleary Avenue
    • Tree clearing north of the SJAM and within the median (phase 1) is now complete. Further tree clearing activities will take place south of the SJAM (phase 2) after Oct 1 (start date TBD)
    • Crews will start preparatory activities to realign the SJAM the week of July 2 (including fencing, installing temporary concrete barriers, stripping topsoil, etc.).
    • From Tuesday, July 2 to October 2019, Sir John A MacDonald Parkway will have off-peak lane reductions between Dominion Avenue and Cleary Avenue. Eastbound and Westbound traffic will be maintained at all times.
    • The City of Ottawa continues to coordinate with the NCC’s Public Affairs Office to provide appropriate public notification (PVMS, resident notices, web updates, etc.)
    • Crews are targeting to have the east bound lanes completed by this fall and the west bound lanes complete by spring 2020
  • West day-to-day work yard set up
    • Work to commence in July to construct granular pad near Baseline Road and Navaho Drive/Transitway to support temporary modular trailer complex, parking spaces and a day-to-day yard.
    • This site will be used for the coordination of Confederation Line West construction activities.
  • Building demolition
    • Building demolition is scheduled to occur in September 2019 within project limits:
      • On the east side of Connaught Avenue between Severn Avenue and Hanlon Avenue (three houses)
      • On Richmond Road, east of Cleary Avenue (one strip mall).
  • Pre-construction surveys
    • East-West Connectors (EWC) have retained DST Consulting Engineers to carry out a pre-construction survey of the homes and buildings located within close proximity of construction activities in the zone of influence. As indicated in the east update, DST will be documenting properties to establish the existing conditions of the interior and exterior of buildings near the alignment, prior to construction.

Communications & Stakeholder Relations:

  • Confederation Line East & West Corridor Wide Notices
  • East-West Connectors (EWC) have distributed corridor wide notices to properties near the Confederation Line East and West extensions
  • These notices provide an overview of all Stage 2 LRT implementation activities taking place in 2019 between July and December. The notices are available online by visiting stage2lrt.ca/news.

Champagne Park Grand Opening

After much anticipation, it is finally time to enjoy the newly revitalized play structure at Champagne Park!

Councillor Laura Dudas, in partnership with the Chateauneuf Community Association, invites you to come celebrate the grand opening this Saturday, July 6 from 10:30 am – 11:30am. The celebration will take place in Champagne Park, located at 1861 Markwell Crescent.

There will be popsicles and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.

Rink Chalet FAQ

I would to thank residents who shared their thoughts with me about the rink/community chalets proposed for Bradley Ridge Park and Patrick Dugas Park.

Based on questions and comments posed by the community, I’ve compiled responses to frequently asked questions below. There will also be a second pop-up event on Thursday at Patrick Dugas Park from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. for residents to learn more about the chalets and to speak to myself and city staff. You can also provide your feedback by emailing Laura.Dudas@ottawa.ca until June 28.

Next steps for Innes ward in light of LRT delay

Laura Dudas Quartier Innes Ward

The update received today from OC Transpo today indicating that the light rail train will not launch by July 1 is utterly disappointing and completely unacceptable.

The consortium building the train have not met the requirements set by the city for handover, specifically in relation to vehicle completion, and have once again, caused the delay of launching the system.

The city will continue to withhold payment to the RTG consortium and will be deducting the costs incurred by the city due to the delay.

However, as a Councillor and as a transit rider, I recognize and also feel the pain this is causing bus riders in Innes Ward and across the city. Accepting a train that is not perfect is not an option, but as a city we need to find ways to provide relief to residents in the interim.

I will be:
• supporting a motion to continue to freeze transit fares past July 1
• working with OC Transpo to determine any route improvements that can be taken immediately to reduce issues caused by detours and delays
• working to ensure 174/Innes detour is the first detour removed once LRT Stage 1 is up and running

I will continue to speak with bus riders and residents about what this delay will mean to our current service and will provide updates as they become available.