Ottawa's mayor says an "unaccountable, unelected" National Capital Commission shouldn't be discussing important city issues at "secret" meetings, after the NCC announced Friday that a partially buried stretch of the western LRT line is not an option.

The city hasn't received analysis from the NCC about its decision to reject a proposal for a partial burial of the line along the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, Mayor Jim Watson said in an emailed statement late Friday.

"I am disappointed the NCC would not even permit a city staff member into their building to listen to their announcement," Watson is quoted saying in the statement.

"We were promised a chance to appear before the NCC board in early 2015 to present a progress report. The NCC simply ignored their commitment to this and held a closed-door meeting, jeopardizing our city's transit plans."

NCC says line should run through Rochester Field or deeper tunnel

The NCC's decision, released earlier Friday, said the city should run the line through Rochester Field or dig deeper, the NCC announced Friday morning.


The National Capital Commission met Friday morning to discuss the city's western LRT proposal. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

The NCC said it wants the city to reconsider an option to bury part of the proposed western line underground, and is offering the city a portion of its Rochester Field lands to make that happen.

Last summer, the city approved a proposal to bury only 700 metres of light rail underneath the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway. The original plan was to run that portion of the rail line above ground, but it was scrapped after a public outcry from nearby residents.

The NCC's board, however, passed a motion in June 2013 calling for "unimpeded, continuous access" to both the parkway and the Ottawa River shoreline.

The city had previously proposed a 500-metre below-grade trench that would run along the parkway, but NCC representatives said Friday that wasn't good enough to protect the riverfront.

The city had previously rejected the underground option for Rochester Field, arguing it would raise cost of project from $980 million to $1.7 billion. But the NCC said the cost could be the same if other sections of the line were above ground. 

The NCC said the other option would be to dig a deeper tunnel along the current proposed route.

The western LRT extension would come after the completion of the initial Confederation Line in 2018, which is set to connect the Tunney’s Pasture station in the west to Blair station in the east. The new line would bring light rail service to Baseline Station near Algonquin College.