With Stage 1 of the LRT expected to come into service in 2018, construction on its extension in Stage 2 is planned to start in 2019. This will take the LRT through the Greenbelt and beyond and so raises concerns for its impact on greenspace and wetlands along the way. Due to an unforeseen budget surplus, the City saw an opportunity to extend the western terminal of Stage 2 beyond Bayshore, as originally planned, out to Moodie Drive. This called for additional Environmental Impact Studies and public consultation.
The Greenspace Alliance participated throughout the process. The major issue that arose from a greenspace perspective was the location of a Light Maintenance and Storage Facility, essentially a large train garage taking up to 16 hectares of land. At the second public consultation meeting, the results of an evaluation of eight different potential sites were presented, with the preferred option being an area north of Highway 417, on the east side of Moodie Drive. However, this would have caused the destruction of a large woodland area, located in the Greenbelt and widely used by the local community. This was strongly resisted by the local community, ably represented by the Crystal Beach/Lakeview Community Association, the Ottawa Carleton Wildlife Centre and the Greenspace Alliance (our written comments here).
Remarkably, our views were heard and acted upon. The final plan, recorded in the Notice of Completion of the environmental assessment, now calls for the LMSF to be located on the west side of Moodie Drive, on WTO land adjacent to Highway 417.
There are still a few issues to be addressed from an environmental perspective, in particular the protection of the Stillwater Creek corridor and preservation of the wildlife corridor that runs through it. The Greenspace Alliance raised these points in its response to the Notice of Completion, as did the Ottawa Carleton Wildlife Centre and the Crystal Beach/Lakeview Community Association.