Ottawa MPs ask for LRT station at Confederation Square
Published Friday, May 11, 2012 5:43PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 8:17AM EDT
Ottawa MPs from across the political spectrum asked the City of Ottawa to reconsider moving a planned LRT station, although one member of the trio is backing off his request.
Liberal Mauril Belanger of Ottawa-Vanier, Conservative Royal Galipeau of Ottawa Orleans and NDP Paul Dewar of Ottawa Centre said they have concerns about how decisions have been made on a downtown station.
"We regret the decision to scrap plans for a key downtown LRT station at Confederation Square," said the trio in a letter, dated Friday.
"Given the concentration of important sites, landmarks, business areas, cultural and government institutions in the vicinity of Confederation Square, we urge Council to review options for a station at this location."
The letter also reminded council of the federal government's contribution to the LRT project.
"$600 million is no pocket change," said Belanger. "We would hope that within the envelope there would be some capacity to look at the alignment of the stations."
As CTV Ottawa first reported in February, city council voted to move a station originally connected to the National Arts Centre to the Byward Market, citing savings from not digging under the Rideau Canal.
Businesses in the area of the National War Memorial have been protesting the move, with the owner of the Lord Elgin hotel promising $2 million of his own money to help pay for a fourth LRT station in the downtown core.
However, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has repeatedly said the cost of an extra station in the square would be around $50 million, instead looking at moving another station one block closer to the square.
"Three members of Parliament who have not come and asked for a briefing, who frankly don't know where the stations are because they didn't come to that briefing, who have proposed adding $50 million to the budget with no money," said Watson of the group.
Galipeau backs off after meeting with mayor
As Watson said, Galipeau said he's satisfied with moving a station from O'Connor Street east to Metcalfe Street after meeting with the mayor.
"The mayor explained to me there is one close to Metcalfe Street," he said, apparently unaware of the change in plans in March. "Frankly, I'm satisfied with that."
Dewar said he's sticking to his stance, wondering if the owners of the Rideau Centre were pushing the city for a station.
"What's the contract? How much is it really going to cost? What are the benefits?" he said. "None of these questions have really been answered, and we have the same question with the (federal) government about things like the F-35."
"I think Mr. Dewar is being completely ridiculous, he's been away for the last year running for the leadership of the party," said Watson. "I doubt very much if he understands very much of what's going on."
Watson added that no discussions with Cadillac Fairview led to the change in stations and that LRT is for getting from point A to point B, not grand vista views.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua
Read the full text of the letter here.