By Councillor Carol Anne Meehan
Why is it necessary for Councillors to pressure the Mayor and Transit Commission Head to hold an emergency meeting about Ottawa’s problem-plagued LRT?
On August 25th, a group of eight city councillors, myself included, rallied outside City Hall with members of the public to demand an open meeting to discuss axle-bearing problems on nine LRT cars – discovered only after an axle derailed from a car on August 8th.
The next meeting of the Transit Commission isn’t set to meet until September 20th, despite the fact, the service was down for five days, and the Transportation Safety Board is reviewing the incident. Councillors who want information are being told memos from staff are sufficient and no special meeting is necessary.
This isn’t good enough and is another example of City management controlling information that elected officials and taxpayers are entitled to.
There is a history of secrecy around Ottawa’s most expensive infrastructure project. It’s only after detailed questioning by councillors and the independent work of local journalists that we have learned of contracts that should never have been awarded and shoddy work.
I fear train axles breaking after only two years is indicative of more significant faults yet to be uncovered. And how is it that if RTM is inspecting the trains, as it says it is, that the axle problem wasn’t discovered before one failed? I guess I’ll have to wait until September 20th to ask management.
Warehouse Site Plan goes to Planning Committee
The campaign to stop a massive truck depot in East Barrhaven is not over just yet. City Council approved an application for a zoning bylaw amendment to allow a warehouse as a primary use in the South Merivale Business Park earlier this summer. Residents who oppose that decision are appealing it to the new Ontario Land Tribunal.
In the meantime, a site plan submitted for the same parcel of land for a truck depot will have to be debated by Planning Committee. Ordinarily, a site plan is simply rubber-stamped at Planning Committee if the application meets all of the existing zoning requirements– but not this time! As the Councillor for the area, I withdrew my delegated authority from staff.
It means that we have one more chance to convince the committee that a massive seventeen thousand square foot warehouse with one hundred loading bays with four hundred transport trucks a day driving on Merivale, Prince of Wales, Fallowfield and Woodroffe is not suited for the area.
Pre-pandemic, those two-lane roads were always congested. No one who lives in the surrounding residential areas can imagine what all that new truck traffic will mean to local roads and their quality of life.
Thirty years ago, the South Merivale Business Park was designated Light Industrial; a truck depot made sense. Today just doesn’t make sense. Road infrastructure has not kept pace with development, and one hundred thousand new residents live in the south end of Ottawa. We must convince committee members to factor that in their decision making – that this is one site plan that can’t just be given the green light.
Have concerns? The Planning Committee meeting is on September 9th – there’s still time to register to speak. Contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org.