An open Letter To Mayor Jim Watson: The Kanata Line
One great aspect about this first municipal election campaign for me running in College Ward is the opportunity to discuss the many great ideas and different visions people have for the future of this great city.
This has happened to me a few times since the election started on August 13th. I have heard it from a number of candidates and from voters at debates. But, most notably, it happened last week when Mike Maguire launched his transit vision for the City of Ottawa as an option for all media and political pundits to consider.
One thing became very clear to me when I studied Mike’s proposal: We need to do a better job of utilizing the $300 Million of existing rail infrastructure we have in the City of Ottawa. It is a tremendous asset that is being under utilized. For instance, do you know that we have five $40 million bridges and a rail line that is used only twice a week by one freight train? This is not an effective use of over $300 million in infrastructure.
The City’s LRT plan does not meet the needs of Ottawa residents living in the west end of the city. Communities in Stittsville, Carp, Kanata and Bells Corners where I live, need a rail solution now, not in 30 years.
The existing rail line that runs through Bells Corners can connect with the City’s Phase I LRT when construction is completed in 2018, by connecting to the O-Train line. Here is an excellent example of existing rail infrastructure that can be better utilized for the public’s benefit at a fraction of the cost of building a new LRT line and in a faction of the time—4 years not 30 years.
Because fiscal responsibility is a big part of your election platform, I know that you can see the benefit of utilizing our existing rail assets to augment the City’s LRT plan. Especially to deliver a service to communities who will not directly benefit from LRT, despite paying taxes to build it, for many years to come. And, it makes imminent sense when you consider DND’s future move to the former Nortel Campus on Moodie.
Taking advantage of this existing rail corridor means a resident could take a train from Kanata to Blair Road with one transfer at Bayview, in approximately 45 minutes. Far less time than it would take to drive it now during rush hour.
The establishment of a rail transit hub in Bell’s Corners would attract investment and drive its revitalization through redevelopment. If properly timed with the arrival of DND in 2018, such a project will create an economic BOOM in Bell’s Corners. It will set a domino effect in play for employment and retail space occupancy. A rise in real estate values will surely follow. This is good planning.
Bell’s Corners was never thought of in any phase of Ottawa’s transit plans. With this solution, we can have one in four years. Lets make it happen Jim. Let's make the Kanata line part of your legacy.
….THE KANATA LINE IS A WINNER.
Candidate for Ward 8 College