National Capital Commission
Attn. Dr. R Mills
Re: Proposed route of Ottawa LRT, Dominion to Cleary Section.
We have some concerns with the proposed plans for the LRT route from Dominion to Cleary Ave, as discussed at the Open House held by the City of Ottawa on Monday June 17.
Given that the City is adamant that they will not consider any other route for the western portion of the LRT, all parties need to consider every option to ensure that as much of the parkland as possible should be conserved for the enjoyment of the residents and visitors to the National Capital.
One major concern is with the siting of the proposed new Dominion Station directly on the street, at the bottom of a loop formed by the east-west portion of Dominion Ave, between Berkeley Ave and the north-south portion of Dominion. This would involve the destruction of a small NCC-owned woodlot immediately west of the proposed station, in order for the trains to proceed westward. If the station were moved back (slightly north) to the present location of the Transitway trench, the line could be run so that all or most of this woodlot could be left as is. This would mean that some adjacent more open NCC land would need to be sacrificed.
A member of the City’s Forestry section who was also at the June 17 meeting, told us that the forest would die anyway, as it was largely ash and elm, both threatened with death from disease and insect attacks, Our local City councilor, Katherine Hobbs, denigrated it as “scrub”. While this may or may not be true for some other parts of the proposed line, examination of our section of several hundred metres showed that about 70 to 75% of the trees were maples (5 species, mostly Box Elder and Norway maple- Acer negundo and A. platanoides, with some Red, Sugar, and Amur maple – A rubrum, saccharum and ginnala). While there were several ashes and elms, all affected and dying or dead, there were also some cottonwoods (Populus deltoids), white spruce (Picea glauca), Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris), and a couple of fine specimens of Bur Oaks (Quercus macrocarpa) which are native to the Ottawa valley and are near the northern limit of their range. The understory was largely European Alder-buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula), an introduced weedy species. This small woodlot, while not of great quality from an ecological point of view, is aesthetically pleasing and has over the years provided many people with pleasant walks along a well-used path in a shady woods while also providing cover for various species of small mammals and birds.
The woodlot also would provide a screen and partial sound barrier for the LRT trains, as it does now for the present transit-way. The Barklay Condos, where we have lived for the past two years, will be extremely close to the line if it is situated as currently planned, eliminating this small woods. The parkway Towers, next door west of the Barkley will also be affected.
We are also concerned about the plan to leave the tracks open to the air, with possibly only a berm to partly hide the trains. This plan seems incompatible with a park.
We would be happy to have the line completely underground, which would alleviate the problems of noise and ugliness of an above-ground train track.