LRT station move would force strip mall out

Businesses in a west end strip mall will be forced to move if Ottawa city council approves a proposal to change the location of an LRT station.

Plan to realign track, move Cleary station entrance proposed in March

Gabriel and Nadine Khater have owned House of Pizza at 747 Richmond Road for 22 years. (CBC)

Businesses in a west end strip mall will be forced to move if Ottawa city council approves a proposal to change the location of an LRT station.

In March, the city announced plans to realign the underground track approaching the Cleary stop, and to relocate the station's entrance. The move would require the demolition of a strip mall located at 747 Richmond Rd., home to seven businesses.
Christina Thompson owns consignment shop Treasures Anew. She has been in business for seven years and says she was shocked to hear about the city's new LRT proposal. (CBC)

Gabriel Khater owns House of Pizza, one those businesses. He said he was never consulted about the proposal. "We live in a democracy ... We should at least be notified and they should at least take our opinion about it."

Christina Thompson, whose consignment store Treasures Anew has been in the strip mall for seven years, said she too was surprised by the news.

"We were all shocked because our landlord had not informed us. When I did call the landlord, he was as shocked as I was and [he] asked me to send the press release," Thompson said.

Initially the city planned to tunnel under the property of the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa. But church supporters worried about possible noise and vibrations criticized that design.

Tenants will have time

Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper said the plan wasn't altered because of that opposition. 

"This has been a good outcome for the Unitarian campus but ultimately, it was the advantages of station placement and the infrastructure route that led me to support the city's proposal that they could go through the 747 property," Leiper said.

We should at least be notified and they should at least take our opinion about it.- Gabriel Khater, House of Pizza owner

Leiper said it makes more sense to have the entrance to the LRT station at Richmond Road, which is busier than Cleary Avenue.

Leiper said if the expropriation goes ahead, tenants of the shopping plaza will have time before they're forced to move out. 

"The earliest construction would begin would probably be in 2019," Leiper said.

Thompson said tenants have sent a letter of protest to the city's finance and economic development committee. Members of the public will get a chance to voice their opinions at the committee's next meeting on May 3 before city council gives the proposal final consideration on May 11.