Ottawa’s Barrhaven LRT project passed its first test Monday with approval by the City of Ottawa’s Transportation Committee.
As part of the $3 billion project, bridges will be built over the Via Rail lines at Fallowfield Road, Woodroffe Avenue and the South Transitway.
The project calls for 10 kilometres of twin track and seven stations along a route from Baseline Road to Barrhaven Town Centre. It would come in two phases. The first costs $2-billion and would extend light rail from Baseline Station to Fallowfield Station and would include the three bridges over the Via Rail line. The second $1-billion phase would extend the LRT out to Barrhaven Town Centre, which would include a new Park-and-Ride.
In order to build the Knoxdale station, the city would need to demolish 120 homes in the Manor Village and Cheryl Gardens neighbourhoods for route alignment.
Several residents told councillors they want to stay put in their homes, especially because of affordable rents.
"You are not just tearing down buildings, you are tearing apart homes and families," resident Lisa Bilow stated at committee. "It’s not just houses, it’s three to four hundred people or more. These are families. We want to stay together. We want to stay here and we have made this community our own."
Coun. Shawn Menard called on the committee not to approve the route alignment through Manor Village just yet.
"There is not a rush on this. We felt rushed on other decisions on LRT and that has come back to haunt us,” said Menard.
Menard’s motion to pause on the alignment through Manor Village failed.
The committee instead passed a motion to set up a working group to help find solutions for the tenants.
The working group would include several City departments, Ottawa Community Housing, representatives from the affected communities, the ward Councillor, Keith Egli, and the Council Liaison for Housing and Homelessness, Catherine McKenney.
As the city is still in the midst of construction on Stage 2 LRT, there is still uncertainty on if and when senior levels of government will be ready to throw billions on the Barrhaven project.
The plans approved at Transportation Committee will be voted on by city council on Nov. 25.