Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project
On Friday afternoon, February 22nd, City Councillors were asked to attend a meeting announcing the final contract provisions for this immense project. We were presented with much of the information we expected such as how far the routes would go. There were also many surprises that were not previously known. The biggest surprise was the cost increase of $1.2 billion to the entire project. Another surprise, especially for me as a new councillor, was the location change of the Cleary Station from the 747 Richmond Road plaza to the Byron Strip. This was not communicated to me or to the Carlingwood Community Association. I appreciated the apology received by the Manager of the LRT project who has also agreed to meet with the community on March 4th, 7pm at the First Unitarian Congregation Church.
Bay Ward residents know the importance of the Stage 2 LRT to our area. This project will get Bay Ward residents across the city in a matter of minutes. We have been planning for years to have this transit system embedded in our community.
Involvement from the community has been incorporated into the design factors around the LRT line. Here are some of the changes that were made to some of the features of the Pinecrest corridor that were developed with public input:
- Protection will be provided for the existing large deciduous trees at the east property line, south of Richmond Road (near the western portal), during construction of the alignment.
- Berming and plantings will be provided immediately behind the homes on Edgeworth Avenue.
- Work is included for the design and implementation of the landscape plan for the Lawn Avenue Parkette.
- The existing community garden, shed and auxiliary items will be removed and reinstated upon completion of the work.
- A series of multi-use pathways shall be constructed as part of the Lincoln Fields Station.
- Work will be completed on the drainage network for Pinecrest Creek, including the removal on the Transitway infrastructure.
- Landscaped berms will also be built to the north of the alignment to visually screen the alignment from the residential homes on Connaught Avenue.
Much of the higher price tag is related to add-ons to the LRT system such as the extension of the Confederation West line from Bayshore to Moodie Drive and the south line to the airport. For the full report, please go to the LRT website.
I am not happy about being rushed into a decision, but frankly it is inconceivable that we would not consider this very important transportation infrastructure for our community. I will continue to ask questions and work closely with the Bay Ward community and the LRT team to ensure we have the best system possible within the proposed budget.