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Kanata, get ready: city doing the prep work for LRT extension

Light rail is a little closer to coming to Kanata.

The City of Ottawa – fresh off the Ontario government's $1-billion commitment for the second phase of the LRT system – has begun the planning work needed to extend light rail from Bayshore to Kanata.

City staff will now work on preparing the first stage of an environmental assessment for Bayshore Station to Palladium Drive and expect to have a statement of work ready for the transportation committee by September.

“After the North-South LRT project was cancelled a decade ago, many residents thought they wouldn’t see LRT in their lifetime," Mayor Jim Watson said in a statement.

"But, since that time, successive councils have made light rail transit the city’s number one priority – and we have made sure that our federal and provincial partners know that Ottawa is ready for rail."

The EA will cost between $2 and $3 million, to be split between the city and the federal government. It will take two years to finish, starting in early 2017.

After that, it could still be years before funding is secured and shovels are in the ground, but Mr. Watson said he'll push for a seamless transition from the end of stage two in 2023.

Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley asked staff last June to start a feasibility study for bringing LRT to Kanata before 2031.

But it became clear right away there was little point in such a study without details like cost and preferred routes, he said.

Only the EA can offer that. Mr. Hubley said "it's an exciting feeling" to finally feel confident in telling his residents they'll be able to take a train from Kanata in their lifetime.

This article originally appeared on on June 8.

Source: Ottawa Business Journal, Emma Jackson, 8 June 2016