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Fuckin' A. I'm glad they nixed that inital Barrhaven -> Ottawa U. train plan. That was a terrible route that would have served a relatively small portion of the population, and would have been slower than the bus!

Even though I didn't vote for him, I glad O'Brien was elected mayor for his drive to get a tunnel through downtown. Chiarelli didn't have the testicular fortitude to build a tunnel.

Good luck on the $900 million budget though. I bet the final tally will be double that.

Hmmm I don't see a Scotiabank Place stop on that map. I'm sure it's only because it will have a different name by 2017!

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I'm still waiting for there to be some way to get from Osgoode to Manotick, to catch the one bus they've got running that far south (and it doesn't seem any better serviced with this plan - and there are plans in full play to double the population of Manotick with the addition of a huge new subdivision).

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I'm still waiting for there to be some way to get from Osgoode to Manotick, to catch the one bus they've got running that far south (and it doesn't seem any better serviced with this plan - and there are plans in full play to double the population of Manotick with the addition of a huge new subdivision).

I find your ideas intriguing and I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter...especially if it helps me see you (in any milieu, up to and including The Tad Hackish Band) perform in Osgoode and make it home safely after the show.

Aloha,

Brad

Edited by Guest
The word 'milieu' only has one 'l.'
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Speaking of a wrench in the plans, along with no costs presented yesterday, here's a bit of an issue...

Ownership in way of using former Union Station for light rail

Maria Cook, The Ottawa Citizen

Published: Thursday, June 07, 2007

Converting the former Union Station into a grand terminal for light rail? Great idea. Only one problem. The building isn't for sale.

"We plan to continue to use the facility," Mario Baril, a spokesman for the federal Department of Public Works, said yesterday in an e-mail.

"The Government Conference Centre is fully utilized. There are approximately 900 bookings each year -- 41,000 delegates attended conferences last year."

Mayor Larry O'Brien's task force on the future of transit in the city tabled its proposals yesterday.

The group's recommendations include a light-rail network and rejuvenation of the old train station to serve as one of five downtown stations and the terminus for the system.

"In terms of heritage consideration, this is one of those wonderful ideas that you never see -- converting a heritage building back to its original use," said Mark Brandt, an Ottawa architect and heritage consultant.

"That's fantastic."

Opened in 1912 in conjunction with the Chateau Laurier, Union Station is an impressive building in the Beaux Arts style featuring massive columns, a vaulted ceiling, domes and arches. The station was in use until 1966, when the National Capital Commission moved the train station to Tremblay Road.

If the city wanted to buy the building, it would first need to be declared surplus to the needs of the federal government and then "circulated through the normal priority process," said Mr. Baril.

Retrofitting the building is feasible, said Stuart Lazear, co-ordinator of the City of Ottawa's heritage planning division. He noted Toronto's Union Station serves a variety of train and commuter rails.

"Assuming it's an underground tunnel that connects to the conference centre by means of escalators and elevators the way the Montreal Metro does, there are lots of opportunities to do things at multiple levels," he said.

"It could be used as the place to surface from the east-west underground subway/LRT tunnel and connect with other transportation modes on the surface (buses etc.), a place to buy tickets, get tourist information, connect with taxis and shopping."

However, there is the issue of ownership.

Mr. Lazear pointed to the Canada and the World Pavilion, which is owned by the federal government and coveted by the Ottawa Art Gallery.

"When buildings are in the federal domain, it's hard to take them out of the federal domain and put them into a different use," said Mr. Lazear. "It's okay for us to say the conference centre would be a good station, but it's really like us telling someone else their house would be a good place for us to store our automobile."

In 1998, there had been an agreement in principle with the city and a consortium that wanted to locate the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in the centre. Public Works at the time was prepared to lease the facility to the city for 40 years at $1 a year.

However, the project fell through because the building needed $13 million in repairs, in addition to the $65 million to develop the hall of fame.

"It does need work in terms of climate-control systems, waterproofing, roof and windows," said David Jeanes, vice-president of Heritage Ottawa and president of Transport 2000, a public transport advocacy group.

"The building doesn't have proper storm windows. It uses summer windows all year around. The roof leaks. It has ramps and elevators, but no escalators. The washrooms are basically the original 1912 vintage marble fittings. It would need a fair bit of of work to turn it into a public-use facility, particularly to handle the flow of large numbers of people."

The Sports Hall of Fame would have put a glass extension on the Colonel By side of the building containing new washrooms, elevators and escalators.

Since the former rail lines were at ground level, putting in underground tracks and platforms, as envisioned by the task force, means digging. "That's putting the foundation in jeopardy," said Mr. Brandt. "You need major engineering to stabilize the building."

Cost? "It's hard to say," said Mr. Jeanes. "They could spend $100 million and not be finished or $25 million and do a lot of good. It depends on how many problems they try to solve."

Last weekend, during Doors Open, 1,700 people toured the building.

"They're blown away by the great architecture," says Mr. Jeanes. "Many people say why don't we still have trains here. Why not a public purpose instead of just government meetings?"

It's a beautiful building, I took a tour last weekend during Doors Open. Pretty cool if it were back in the public domain.

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