Calgary's Green Line storage barn will be so big it may need federal environmental assessment

Calgary already has several storage facilities for its light rail cars, but the soon-to-be-built Green Line maintenance and storage yard is the first to draw federal interest.

Facility will include 17.5 kilometres of track and will have capacity to store and service 99 vehicles

The proposed track layout of the maintenance facility and storage barn for Calgary's Green Line, which will be located at the yet-to-be-built Shepard Station. (City of Calgary)

Calgary already has several storage facilities for its light rail cars, but the soon-to-be-built Green Line maintenance and storage yard is the first to draw federal interest.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is taking comments from the public and Indigenous groups to decide whether or not an environmental assessment is required for the facility.

It's weighing an assessment because of the proposed facility's size — 17.5 kilometres of track for heavy and light duty maintenance bays. It will cover a 226,700-square-metre area, approximately double the size of Southcentre Mall.

The storage yard will be located near 128th Avenue S.E., just north of Shepard Station which will mark the southernmost end of the LRT line's first stage, and will be big enough to store and service 99 vehicles.

Right now, the city is looking to purchase between 40 and 45 vehicles for the Green Line.

Renee Summers with the City of Calgary said the federal agency also recommended Indigenous consultations be done, so the city has sent letters to 21 groups — eight of which have responded.

"They had no specific concerns [that were] project-related," Summers said.

"A couple of them asked about archaeological finds, so if there were any artifacts found they wanted to make sure they would be protected … there's no previous historical findings that relate that property to any Indigenous groups, so there was nothing found historically that connects it."

A map shows the proposed location of the maintenance and storage facility for Calgary's Green Line. (City of Calgary)

She said any artifacts that are found will be recovered during construction.

The site is an industrial area that used to be farmland, dating back to the 1940s, and isn't near residential communities.

The city's environmental assessment suggests the facility will likely have a minimal environmental impact.

The $4.65-billion Green Line will use low floor cars, so it will require a different rail line and separate maintenance facility than the current high-floor light rail cars.

Renee Summers is the leader of community relations for the Green Line for the City of Calgary. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

The facility will house:

  • Maintenance bays.
  • Light rail vehicle servicing areas like a cleaning platform and wash bays.
  • A body repair and paint shop. 
  • A test track.
  • A light rail vehicle storage barn.
  • An admin building and staff area.
  • Parking.

The agency is accepting written comments by email or mail until March 3, and will then decide whether or not further review is needed.

Construction on the facility is slated to start next year and the Green Line will begin service in 2026. 

The public transit line will ultimately stretch 46 kilometres across 28 stations from 160th Avenue North to Seton in southeast Calgary.

With files from Scott Dippel


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