Ottawa

LRT route to Barrhaven changes so homes won't be demolished

Ottawa city council has changed the path of the future light rail line to Barrhaven to avoid tearing down rental homes, but the new plan could also cost up to $50 million more than the initial plan projected.

Tenants along Woodroffe Avenue had fought original route

Stage 3 of Ottawa's light rail transit system still doesn't have any funding from upper levels of government, but city staff are trying to plan out the extension to west and south ends. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

Ottawa city council has changed the path of the future light rail line to Barrhaven to avoid tearing down rental homes, but the new plan could also cost up to $50 million more than the initial plan projected.

After council approved the original route in November 2020, staff went back and looked at a different plan to put the elevated tracks in the median of Woodroffe Avenue, in an area they call a 600-metre "pinch point" between Knoxdale and West Hunt Club roads.

That option hadn't been recommended at the time, staff said, in part because of utilities such as a trunk watermain underground there.

But tenants currently living in homes in Manor Village and Cheryl Gardens have fought against the idea of having to move so their homes could be demolished.

Stage 3 of light rail to Kanata and Stittsville and to Barrhaven still has no funding secured from upper levels of government.

Staff say there is a need for those low-rent units given a shortage of housing. They also point out real estate prices have risen quickly, and so too have the costs of the city obtaining those privately owned lands for the train system.

They now propose sending the raised tracks down the median, adding anywhere from $35 million to $50 million to the project's price.

In total, the City of Ottawa estimates it will now cost $3.52 billion in today's dollars for the Barrhaven leg of LRT, from Baseline Station to Barrhaven Town Centre, which is south of Strandherd Drive.

The City of Ottawa plans to change the alignment of the future light rail line to Barrhaven to avoid requiring residential, privately-owned land along Woodroffe Avenue. (City of Ottawa)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Porter

Reporter

Kate Porter covers municipal affairs for CBC Ottawa. Over the past two decades, she has also produced in-depth reports for radio, web and TV, regularly presented the radio news, and covered the arts beat.

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