Re: Councillors to vote on rail plan despite NCC objections

Re: Councillors to vote on rail plan despite NCC objections
Posted on July 3, 2013 | James O'Grady | Written on July 3, 2013
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Ottawa Citizen

Its a waste of taxpayer money for the City to continue with this plan despite the NCC's objections. The City is behind their timeline because they haven't, from day one, approached this properly. You don't work on a project or make announcements about it before you secure access to the land. Can you imagine a business spending this kind of money without a guarantee the project will be permitted? They have put the cart before the horse once again, throwing away good money after bad. At the end of the day, if this route doesn't end up working out, the City will have a lot to answer for.

If good relations with the NCC were important to the City, it wouldn't pursue this line because proceeding with committee and council votes will only serve to aggravate the relationship. It can be interpreted as an attempt to bully the NCC. Bullying is not an effective negotiating tactic, something a mediator like Councillor Egli should know. It tends to have the opposite effect, encouraging the other party to dig its heels in, even deeper...

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About The Author

James OGrady's picture

I am a social media entrepreneur, communications professional, part-time school teacher and community leader living in Nepean, Ontario. I am also a hockey goaltender, political hack and most importantly, an advocate... More


Klaus Beltzner

Further to James' article, it appears crystal clear that the city is not at all interested in fostering good relations with the NCC given its stance on the NCC Interprovincial Transit Study as well as the NCC Interprovincial Crossing Study, both studies in which city staff fully and actively participated.

In both cases, the city said NO to the NCC's fidings and recommendations based on expert technical studies and very inclusive public and agency consultations to which the NCC paid much attention.

So now the city has its knickers in a knot for failing to understand that it must respect the NCC's stance on protecting a mandate given to it by the people of Canada. Such behaviour may be acceptable for a 2-year old having a tantrum but it is not acceptable behaviour for a lower level of government towards its senior.

And, let the city reflect on its own less than stellar behaviour regarding study recommdendations arising out of an open and transparent NCC study process when the city dismissed the above mentioned NCC interprovincial studies out of hand.

Thanks for pointing our the obvious link between the two issues. The underlying message from the City seems to be that the NCC should toe the line coming from City Hall even to the point of letting the City use NCC property to save money, regardless of whether that makes good sense.

There are a number of infrastructure improvements that this City and the National Capital Area urgently need. One is effective light rail serving the areas of greatest need and where it would provide the most benefit, which in my opinion would be Carling Avenue.

The other is at least one more bridge across the Ottawa river to Gatineau, which makes sense to be at Kettle Island. Trucks can be diverted from King Edward by prohibiting through truck traffic along the present route, and there is plenty of room along the Aviation Parkway to install buffers and other appropriate sound mitigation to protect adjacent neighborhoods.

A third improvement, which unfortunately has fallen off the radar, would be extending the O-Train to Gatineau. This requires some common sense on the part of the City of Gatineau as well. However, no amount of inter-provincial transit or improvements to cycling or pedestrian infrastructure is going to replace the need for a new inter-provincial truck route.

It's Deja Vu all over again. The City did this before with the abortive north-south line. While the principle of an extension to the O-Train was sound, extending it to approach Barrhaven from the south-east was not. Nor was the associated intent to route the east-west LRT to meet the north-south line at Hunt Club instead of at Bayview. For some reason, transit planners at the City seem never to have learned some basic concepts like routing rail through areas with the highest number of potential users or trying to follow a reasonably direct route. The attitude seems to be that people will ride light rail because they should, not because it is particularly convenient or direct.