NCC rejects Brian Coburn extension
By Fred Sherwin
Oct. 3, 2019
Plans to extend Brian Coburn Boulevard to Anderson Road suffered a major setback last week when the National Capital Commission rejected the proposal saying it ran counter to the Greenbelt Master Plan and could potentially have a negative impact on the nearby Mer Bleue wetland.
The NCCâ€™s decision has angered the east endâ€™s four city councillors who say the decision is just another example of the federal agencyâ€™s vice grip on OrlÃ©ans in limiting itâ€™s ability to address its transportation needs.
|The NCC recently rejected Option 7 of the Brian Coburn Extension Environ-mental Assessment which called for the roadway to be extended along Renaud Road to Anderson Road. FILE PHOTO|
â€œThe NCC plays a major role, and has for a long time, in keeping OrlÃ©ans down. They have a vice grip around OrlÃ©ans because of where the Greenbelt is,â€ says Cumberland Ward councillor Stephen Blais. â€œThey basically told OrlÃ©ans residents that youâ€™re going to be stuck with what youâ€™ve got,â€
The extension proposal was one of seven options to link the south part of OrlÃ©ans to the Blair LRT station that were being studied as part of an Environmental Assessment being carried out by the City of Ottawa.
In July, the seven options were narrowed down to four. Two of the options include the Brian Coburn extension to Anderson Road, while the other two options call for Brian Coburn Blvd. to be linked to a widened Blackburn Bypass using either a widened Navan Road, or a new road to run parallel to Navan Road.
The prospect of all four options moving forward to the next phase of the EA depended on their receiving the blessing of the NCC, which many outside observers considered suspect at best, given the federal agencyâ€™s past reticence to support any project that would increase traffic within the Greenbelt.
The four east end councillors pushing for the Brian Coburn extension were hoping that the NCCâ€™s support for the future Innes-Walkley-Hunt Club parkway which will run along the east side of Hwy. 417 and is technically within the Greenbelt, would reflect positively on their own plans. That didnâ€™t happen and now the four councillors are up in arms.
OrlÃ©ans Ward councillor Matt Luloff, Innes Ward councillor Laura Dudas and Beacon Hill, Cyrville councillor Tim Tierney have joined Blais in penning a letter calling on the various candidates running in the ongoing federal election in OrlÃ©ans Ward to take their fight to the NCC should they get elected.
Blais admits that the eventual MP-elect would have to be a member of the government for any lobbying effort to be effective. In the meantime, the city is moving forward with the EA, which will now focus on the two options left on the table.
Option 1 would see Brian Coburn Blvd. extended past Navan Road and then link up with the Blackburn Bypass using a new road running parallel to the existing Navan Road. At the same time, the Blackburn Bypass would be widened from four to six lanes.
Option 2 would see Navan Road widened from two to four lanes from Brian Coburn Blvd. to the Blackburn Bypass, thus avoiding the need to build a new road. It also includes plans to widen the Bypass to six lanes.
All of the options include plans to build a bus transitway from the Millennium Park and Ride to the Blair LRT Station running along the hydro corridor through Avalon and then following Navan Road, the Blackburn Bypass, Innes Road and Blair Road.
According to the EA timeline, an Open House is supposed to be held sometime this month to allow area residents to provide their input on the remaining options. As of press time, the date of the Open House has yet to be made public.
(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)