Background: The first major work on the North-South Light Rail Transit corridor, or LRT, began in 2004

when the City of Ottawa initiated an environmental assessment process with the intent to address existing and future transportation demands between Riverside South, the Ottawa Airport and downtown, including other points in between. In 2005, continued discussions between the Authority and the City involved developing the plans for a North-South LRT as a common interest between the two parties. Following the identifiable alignment of the future LRT, negotiations began concerning the lease for the corridor, park and ride and maintenance yard. In consideration of approximately 30 hectares that the City would require, additional service capacity would be added at the airport at no cost, and airport lands south of Leitrim Road would be brought into the City’s urban boundary on its plans and land use designations would be harmonized. Throughout the process, the airport’s endorsement and commitment were clearly stated. Additionally, throughout the conversations, the Authority’s concern for protection of an area that is required for future runway expansion was identified. This concern still holds true today. In other words, the Authority did not support the construction of any infrastructure that would need to be demolished along the CP rail line to accommodate runway extension or construction.
Remarks to City of Ottawa Senior Transportation Staff Delivered by: Mark Laroche, OMCIAA President and CEO Friday, October 18, 2013

Final lease documents were negotiated with City officials and prepared in 2006 and circulated to Transport Canada for their review, as required by the terms of our Ground Lease with our federal landlord. The discussions were halted in December of that year when City Council voted to cancel the project due to lack of funding as well as other downtown constraints. Back to discussions in 2008, and both the 2008 Airport Land Use Plan and the 2008 Ottawa Transportation Master Plan identify an airport spur, with the airport’s documents showing reserved land with conceptual representation of the spur and the City’s documentation showing the corridor and spur – both in keeping with the 2004 LRT EA. In further documentation and studies, including the Authority’s 2011 Landside Transportation System Framework and the 2013 Urban Design Plan, both the airport rail link and the municipal transportation corridor to Bowesville are identified, planned for and protected wherever those areas are within the scope of airport planning projects. The City’s public consultation process concerning the Official Plan and TMP began with an Open House on January 29th, 2013. Formal submissions to the City were submitted by the Authority on April 12th and again on September 5th, the same date a meeting to review and comment on the proposed transportation schedules to the TMP and Official Plan was cancelled. Comments mirrored those submitted in our 2006 negotiations
Remarks to City of Ottawa Senior Transportation Staff Delivered by: Mark Laroche, OMCIAA President and CEO Friday, October 18, 2013

with the City, including land use plan harmonization, redesignation of airport lands, acknowledgement of the land the City requires for the LRT corridor and related facilities, and the ongoing need for a widened Airport Parkway. Current Situation: So here we are today, with a new, affordable vision for the City’s transportation plan, some of which was a surprise to the Authority and others due to the removal of any spur or rail link to the airport from the City’s plans. In fact, the discussed link has been deferred for many decades. The Authority would be remiss if it did not say that it was pleased to see the proposed widening of the Airport Parkway from Brookfield to Hunt Club. It is felt that the addition of high occupancy vehicle lanes will do much to relieve the current congestion for our passengers, while still facilitating access to the south urban neighbourhoods that continue to grow. The other improvements to roads that are adjacent to the airport are also welcome. The Authority was not pleased, however, to see that the much discussed LRT spur to the airport was not a part of the affordable recommended path forward. We have studied the options in the context of the previous reports, past discussions with the City and feedback that has been received since the TMP was announced.
Remarks to City of Ottawa Senior Transportation Staff Delivered by: Mark Laroche, OMCIAA President and CEO Friday, October 18, 2013

Our understanding is that the City’s preferred affordable option is Scenario 8 of the TMP Update Study/report by IBI Group, or the O-Train from Greenboro to Bowesville at a cost of $99 million. This solution does not provide direct access to the airport or the E&Y Centre. As the E&Y Centre continues to attract larger events, the potential to affect traffic flow to the airport grows. Further, the North-South O-Train extension that the City is proposing results in a terminus, transfer facility, and station in an area that is designated ‘General Rural’ in the proposed Official Plan Amendment. In order to facilitate the very livable communities that the City is encouraging though transit-oriented development (TOD), we feel that the airport lands adjacent to the proposed transit infrastructure should be included within the urban envelope (or boundary). The item of most concern, however, is that the solution would use a right of way corridor on airport land. This land is earmarked for a future runway extension, or potential construction of a third runway and this solution does not account for the cost that would be incurred when runway construction occurs. For example, the report mentions that a tunnel will be required, but indicates that funding will come from others. Who are these others? The Authority believes that Scenario 6 of the IBI report, or the O-Train extension with Terminus at the Airport, at a cost of $70 million, most closely resembles the solution that we had anticipated. This solution would involve
Remarks to City of Ottawa Senior Transportation Staff Delivered by: Mark Laroche, OMCIAA President and CEO Friday, October 18, 2013

construction of a new station at South Keys, and would service the southern communities with a Bus Rapid Transit along the existing identified corridor, and it would serve the airport and the E&Y Centre by O-Train. While the access to Riverside South would not be rail, and there would be construction requirements at the airport that we would have to bear such as a covered walkway or moving sidewalk from the terminus to the terminal, the good news is that this solution would not interfere with the airport’s ability to grow and expand its runway infrastructure. Furthermore, the overall cost appears to be much more affordable than the other scenario. It is agreed that the original LRT solution that is included in the very costly and far-reaching ultimate network plan is our most preferred option but we understand the limitations – primarily the price tag. As previously mentioned, the Authority isn’t convinced that the price tag that is associated with the City’s preferred option is all-inclusive. There are costs associated with grading that have not been included. There are costs associated with facilitating runway extension and/or construction on our property that aren’t included. There are other impacts to airport greenfield property that haven’t been accounted for, and so on. For these and other reasons, the Authority urges the City to further examine the options to ensure that the best one is indeed chosen and is affordable. The fact that Airport Authority has a legislated duty to protect the
Remarks to City of Ottawa Senior Transportation Staff Delivered by: Mark Laroche, OMCIAA President and CEO Friday, October 18, 2013

airport’s ability to expand to meet the needs of air transportation in the future can’t be overlooked. Needs will grow over time, and the Authority must be able to meet the demand through growing its infrastructure in an unimpeded manner on its property. The airport’s success has a direct and meaningful economic impact on this community. We all want Ottawa to be a world class city. A key element of achieving that status is having an airport that can welcome visitors, provide outstanding customer service and get people into the city and back using a world class transportation infrastructure. We believe the City needs the Authority at the table if it wants to use parts of our land in its proposed plan – whatever form that may take. We negotiated it in the past, but we need to ensure, now more than ever, that the needs of the entire community will be adequately met. Dispelling Myths: There have been several myths associated with the announcement of the affordable TMP, regarding the Authority’s support of a transit solution, or more specifically, its lack of support. The Authority is and has always supported a solution that brings rail service to the airport. Some believe that we are opposed because of the potential impact on our parking revenues. It must be said that while revenues may be affected, they are not a consideration since the airport’s main raison d’être is to provide air travel service and not parking. Furthermore, if the airport grows as expected, the
Remarks to City of Ottawa Senior Transportation Staff Delivered by: Mark Laroche, OMCIAA President and CEO Friday, October 18, 2013

impact will be negated through increased use. And, there will always be a need to accommodate passengers who arrive by car. Summary and Requests: In summary, the Authority extends the offer to Mayor Watson, City Council and the Transportation Committee to continue to work together to further examine the options. We ask that the planned O-Train environmental assessment consider both scenarios put forward in the TMP before discarding either. We also ask that the EA consider the costs to the airport in the short term and the costs associated with future planned runway expansion, and the potential impact on potential airport land. Finally, we ask that the City consider including the lands that are adjacent to the planned Bowesville transit complex in the urban envelope. With this inclusion, we can ensure that transit-oriented development facilitates the livable communities that the City has made a priority in its Official Plan Amendment. The bottom line is that the City needs a comprehensive solution that brings the transit system right to the airport, sooner than what is being proposed, so that we can collectively serve the city and our visitors in a world class way.

Remarks to City of Ottawa Senior Transportation Staff Delivered by: Mark Laroche, OMCIAA President and CEO Friday, October 18, 2013

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful