Council approves Stage Two of Light Rail Transit

Ottawa city council has voted unanimously to proceed with Stage Two of the light rail project.

The $3.6-billion project would see light rail extended to Riverside South, Moodie Drive, and Trim Road; a link to the airpor; and infrastructure work on sewers, water lines, roads, and the like, during construction of the light rail extension.

The provincial government has already committed to pay one-third of the original $3-billion cost of Stage Two, as well as half the cost of the extension to Trim Road and to the Airport.

The federal government is expected to make a similar contribution, and Mayor Jim Watson says he expects "positive news" from them beore the end of May.

Watson told council that the city has come a long way in the past six years.

"We're voting on a plan that will bring modern, efficient, environmentally-friendly LRT to all parts of the city, and we're building farther and faster than anyone believed possible six years ago," Watson said.

"When we engage with our partners, we engage with a strong, credible plan."

Several suggestions from councillors will also be explored, including

- constructing a park-and-ride lot at the new western terminal on Moodie Drive

- exploring a link with Gatineau over the city-owned Prince of Wales Bridge

- improving the transitway from Baseline Station south to Hunt Club Road.

Stage Two is to be fully operational by 2023.

Council also approved a 25-storey condominium tower to be built on Preston just south of the Queensway, and new patio outdoor rules for restaurants and bars.

The new rules make "Streetside Spots" permanent, and allow for year-round outdoor patios.