Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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LRT and 747 Richmond Road tenants

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As has been related in the press, the re-location of the Phase 2 LRT alignment through the property at 747 Richmond Road would mean the commercial tenants in that building would face upheaval. The tenants have written to me, asking why the City is proposing to locate a station there, and whether the City and I have taken into account the impact on their business. I dropped in last week to speak with just about all the tenants at length. The process has moved quickly, and those tenants have very understandable concerns. I enjoyed my sit-down with each, and believe they are getting a much better idea of the responsibilities the City has to them.

It's important to note that the City has successfully worked with around 20 businesses so far affected by LRT-related acquisitions. I will be working to ensure that, if this change is approved, they work closely and quickly with these businesses to provide them every assistance. The tenants have rights, and the legal principal at play is that they will be “made whole” financially.

I absolutely acknowledge the contribution those businesses have made to Kitchissippi. There are no easy choices in this discussion. On balance, I’m comfortable that proceeding with this route is the right thing for the ward and for the majority of residents not just of the ward, but of the City.

The business owners and others have posed an interesting question about locating a station at Cleary that I would like to address. First of all, it should be noted that the re-routing alone will require the acquisition and demolition of the building at 747, station or no. For the reasons that the City has stated, the new route poses significantly less risk to the major civil works located underground in this corridor, and I’m comfortable supporting that.

But, I am also supportive of locating a station here. As currently planned, the stations would be an average of 1.2 km apart from Dominion to Lincoln Fields, which is a comfortable walking distance from any mid-point. I’ve heard over and over how much residents in the area of this proposed station are looking forward to being able to use it.

It’s also important to keep in mind that this station will serve a community that will likely look very different 50 years from now. There will be growth and development (hopefully sensitive and balanced). There are shifts in how people get around cities that will be profound, not just in Ottawa, but across North America. I believe that having a station within comfortable walking distance of the McKellar Park community is critical to ensure a sustainable long-term future for our community.

It’s not without hesitation that I’ve decided to support the City’s proposal. Each step of the way on LRT there have been pros and cons, and none of the decisions are easy ones. Each has real impacts on people’s quality of life. On balance, I’ve decided to support this direction after seeking assurances from the City that we can mitigate the legitimate concerns raised.

The proposal will be debated May 3 at the Finance and Economic Development Committee, at which I'll be participating.

Posted April 29, 2016