on March 19, 2015 by test_editor in Archive_2015, March, Print Articles, Comments Off on March 19, 2015: Church Wants Shift in Planned LRT Route; Senior’s Residence, Award Winning Garden at Risk.

March 19, 2015: Church Wants Shift in Planned LRT Route; Senior’s Residence, Award Winning Garden at Risk.

March 19, 2015: Church Wants Shift in Planned LRT Route;
Senior’s Residence, Award Winning Garden at Risk.

By Michael and Maureen Cassidy, Unitarian House residents.

First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, children and staff at River Parkway Daycare, and the 130 seniors living on the church campus at Unitarian House face serious and long-lasting disruption from the City of Ottawa’s proposal to send the western Light Rail Transit (LRT) route through its church campus on Cleary Ave., off Richmond Road.

The congregation, of 500 people, has filed a strong objection to the routing, despite its generally supportive stance regarding a nearby LRT station, stating that users of its property would greatly benefit from a station within walking distance. At issue is the city’s proposal to locate the proposed open air station on Cleary Ave., a narrow street that is the only access to the church grounds,rather than on Richmond Rd., at the junction with Cleary Ave. Cars exchanging passengers would have no place to turn around except by driving past Unitarian House to circle around the church parking lot in order to return to Cleary A ve.to exit.

Earlier proposals had the LRT turning from the Western parkway to a tunnel under Richmond Rd., before it reached the church property. The proposed Cleary Station would be located on the site of the existing strip mall on Richmond with its main access from Richmond.

The strip mall was recently rezoned for two new high rise condominiums by the Ontario Municipal Board, however city planners failed to reserve the site for the LRT station. No effort has yet been made to include the LRT station at the base of the proposed high-rise structures, as occurs in Toronto and other cities.

As detailed in a letter to Mayor Watson and local councillors, the congregation finds the proposed routing unacceptable and calls for further dialogue with the city. Its concerns include safety for seniors, noise and ground vibrations from construction and train operations, the long-term impact on award-winning gardens on the church campus which have taken 20 years to develop, and the problem of cars entering church property after dropping off passengers, or parking there illegally. The congestion could also affect ambulances and emergency vehicles reaching Unitarian House or the church.

The letter notes that the single lane Cleary Avenue would be the access for the Unitarian Church, Unitarian House, River Parkway Day Care, the Continental (a condominium high-rise at the corner of Cleary and Richmond), two proposed new towers and the Cleary Transit Station, creating significant traffic congestion and an increased risk of accidents.

The LRT route would travel beneath an area that the church has designated for future development, for example housing developments for adults living with mental health conditions. “It will not be possible to build this type of construction over the LRT, denying the realization of this asset,” the letter also states.

small garden on both sides of a winding path

A Cherished Corner.

Photo Caption: Among other things, the congregation of the First Unitarian Church is concerned about the long-term impact on award-winning gardens on the church campus which have taken 20 years to develop. Photo by Renee DeVry.

Tags:

No Comments

Comments are disabled.