Will Ottawa move forward with Phase 3 LRT?

Ottawa city council will be tasked with deciding whether or not to fund Phase 3 LRT or not. Councillors' reactions are mixed…

Hello Ottawa Lookout readers!

It’s nice to see you all again. It’s certainly been a busy news cycle since we last checked in. I’ve had the real pleasure of getting to meet many of you who’ve stopped me on the street or in coffee shops over the last few months. 

I’ve been in journalism for the last few years, but think I’ve most been recognized for my tiny role with this great publication.  For those of you who might not know me, my main job is as editor of the Kitchissippi Times newspaper. You may have also seen my bylines in the Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa at Home magazine, the Barrhaven Independent or Manotick Messenger. I am happy to fill in for Robert over the next four issues as he takes a much-earned vacation. 

It’s been a slow news weekend in Ottawa — a rarity I haven’t seen in quite some time — so in this issue I’m taking a deep dive into two topics I’m passionate about: Whether or not to fund Phase 3 LRT out to Kanata, Barrhaven and Stittsville, and the future of Carling Avenue.

— Charlie Senack


Monday: 9 🌡️ 1 | ☀️

Tuesday: 16 🌡️ 1 | 🌦

Wednesday: 4 🌡️ -4 | 


Planning: A motion is coming to Ottawa’s planning committee to crack down on landlords who are kicking tenants out for renovictions. The motion to be brought forward by Somerset ward Coun. Ariel Troster May allow the tenants to return under the same rent as before. [CTV]

Zoning: A new potential zoning shift could remove mandatory parking space limits for developers, allowing for more trees and denser housing. Four units could then be built on one lot, helping the provincial and federal governments reach their housing targets. [CBC]


Ottawa city council mules over funding Phase 3 LRT

Phase 3 LRT

City of Ottawa drawing

What happened: As Ottawa gears up to launch Phase 2 of its light rail transit system later this year, according to Kitchissippi Times. City council will need to mull over whether or not to fund Phase 3 out to Kanata, Stittsville and Barrhaven. 

Steep price tag: It won’t be an easy decision. OC Transpo has stated that 25-year projections are down $3.7 billion — more than $100 million per year. Pre-pandemic ridership won’t return until at least 2030, as the transport organization had to dig into its reserves to cover its budget gap, running a $40.8 million deficit, according to the Barrhaven Independent. 

City staff have stated that funding a Phase 3 system would cost an estimated $64 million per year to operate. Ridership would only increase two per cent as a result, bringing in $5 million in funds annually. 

A hopeful mayor: Ottawa mayor Mark Sutcliffe has stated multiple times he believes the system needs to be built in full to benefit the most residents possible. He’s optimistic provincial and federal governments will chip in funding to get the tracks built. 

  • “I still believe in light rail as a long term solution for the residents of Ottawa. I think one day when the problems with Phase 1 are fixed, we will have the reliable and safe service that the residents of Ottawa expect, deserve [and] paid for. When we do, I don’t think it should stop at Moodie and at Algonquin College. I think it should go well beyond that and serve the residents of Barrhaven, Stittsville and Kanata. Those residents have been paying for light rail along with everyone else for 10 years,” he told the Barrhaven Independent.

Sutcliffe also campaigned in the 2022 municipal election to get Phase 3 built. Ontario Premier Doug Ford has previously stated funding would not come until issues with Stages 1 and 2 were sorted, according to CTV. During a recent funding announcement in Ottawa, Ford reiterated that no transit funding would be coming down the pipeline until ridership increased, according to CTV. 

Mixed reaction: City councillors are mixed over whether to shelve its Phase 3 LRT dreams, but most agree other alternatives need to be explored to provide the greatest benefit to residents. 

The Lookout asked a number of city councillors for their thoughts:

“I think Stage 3 is dead in the water. We need provincial and federal funding for it. (Bus rapid transit) BRT is needed and it ruins in gaps the current train does not cover like for Baseline road, Kanata North the east end. I think the benefits not only on costs but also service is evident,” - Shawn Menard, capital ward. 

“The cost of bus rapid transit is a fraction of light rail. It starts to look like a more compelling option now, especially since the city has gone in with both feet on electrification of the bus league. I think the environmental considerations of getting people out of their cars and into our transit has always been a key consideration. BRT could be a very interesting way to drastically increase the reliability of connections to the Stage 2 stations from suburbs like Stitsville and Kanata, and further south into Barrhaven,” - Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi ward. 

“Our transportation network is reliant on multiple modes. The extension of it is necessary in Stage 2 to bring value to Phase 1. What I’d like to see is we continue to have the conversation with provincial and federal partners about funding Stage 3, but at the same time we look at BRT and on-demand transit which could be a game changer,” - Laura Dudas, Innes ward.

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🏃‍♂️ 4: The amount of hours it took Mayor Mark Sutcliffe to run in the London Marathon. [CTV]

👮‍♂️ 53: The age of a man who died after a shooting at a home on Birch Avenue near Beechwood Avenue. [Ottawa Citizen]

🍱 64: The number of years the popular restaurant Golden Palace has excited. For their anniversary hundreds lined up outside for half-price egg rolls to celebrate. [CTV]


Carling Avenue’s future in question

Carling Sign

What happened: Carling Avenue is facing rapid growth. The streetscape is changing as Ottawa faces pressure to keep up with its intensification targets. Between Merivale and Clyde alone, over 20 towers are already planned according to the Kitchissippi Times.

  • “Long term, Carling will be a mixed residential and office corridor. You’re talking over 20 towers. That could be over 10,000 people in just two blocks. When homes (and buildings) come to the end of their lifecycle, they aren’t going to be replaced with the same size and shape,” said River ward councillor Riley Brockington. 

What does the future hold? Jay Lim of 25:8 Architects and Toon Dreessen of Architects DCA told CBC that Carling Avenue needs to become a more accessible place for cyclists and pedestrians. 

"You know, we need a really robust investment in public transit. Carling is ripe for, at the very least, dedicated bus rapid transit linking Lincoln Fields to downtown, to the Glebe, to Billings Bridge. There's so much opportunity," said Dreessen.

“Think about any big city you've gone to, whether it's San Francisco, New York, Toronto. The opportunity here is the higher buildings to create a skyline, to create something you can see from a distance, to create something iconic people come into. But at the same time on the street level we do need to make it a bit more friendly,” added Lim. 

Better cycling infrastructure: A cycling working group has been started to brainstorm ways to make Carling safer. Members of the committee would like to see the number of traffic lanes reduced, add a long-awaited BRT lane, and the addition of bike infrastructure that already exists like dedicated lanes and concrete barriers, according to the Kitchissippi Times.

In the Wednesday edition of the Lookout we will explore development plans for Carling. Stay tuned for part 2!


Check out the new open positions in Ottawa.

  1. Customer service agent at City of Ottawa

  2. Human Resources business partner at Salvation Army 

  3. Aircraft material handler at Porter Airlines 

  4. Casual office support at Ottawa Carleton District School board 

  5. Web developer at Randstad

Local jobs are selected by the Lookout team and are not paid ads, unless specifically noted.


🏒 Jeff Kyle, who played a large role in bringing the Ottawa Senators to the capital, had died after a battle with cancer. Kyle remained with the team for over 20 years. He was given 12 to 18 months to live after being diagnosed with glioblastoma. [CTV]

🐦 Bird lovers are mourning after a rare western tanager, the first ever recorded in Ottawa, was killed after colliding with a window. Neighbours helped the bird survive the winter in McCarthy Woods near Hunt Club. [Ottawa Citizen]

🏡 A century-old home in Highland Park has been saved from demolition thanks to Heritage designation. It used to be a church manse and community gathering space where many events were held including strawberry socials. [Ottawa Citizen] 

🏥 The Ottawa Hospital will be launching a pilot project in June that will use artificial intelligence (Ai) to record conversations between patients and doctors. The new technology will manually record all notes from the appointment. [CBC]

🐱 The Ottawa Humane Society has cut adoption fees for senior cats. The move was made to help older felines — who typically have a harder time getting adopted — fund their forever homes. [Ottawa Citizen]


What to do this week

🍷 Ottawa Wine Auction, Friday: This evening is a unique opportunity to discover amazing vintage wines and immerse yourself in the realm of fine drinks. It is an initiative of the Music and Beyond festival to support annual programming. At Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, 355 Cooper St. Tickets are $50.

🎥 Mountains on Stage, Wednesday: A film festival that aims to bring the mountains into cities with a selection of the world's best films related to mountain sports such as skiing, mountaineering, climbing and paragliding. At Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank St. Tickets are $25

🥯 Ottawa Bagel Shop turns 40, Saturday: The Wellington West business will celebrate 40 years in the community with a public party. At Ottawa Bagelshop & Deli, 1321 Wellington St. W. Free

🎊 Glow Party, Saturday: Get ready to light up the night at GLOW – Ottawa's ultimate glow-in-the-dark party!  The UV black lights will transform the venue into a neon wonderland! At Preston Event Centre, 523 St. Anthony St. Tickets are $23.70.

  • Will sledding return to the hill at Mooney’s Bay park? Area councillor Riley Brockington is among multiple community members calling for a safer assessment of the winter hotspot. [Ottawa Citizen]

  • Geopolitics in <5 minutes? Get International Intrigue, the free global briefing crafted by former diplomats. [Sponsored]

  • Take a trip back in time by learning about the history of railways that once ran through Hintonburg and Mechanicsville. [Kitchissippi Times]

  • Netflix lovers rejoice! For the next three weeks, residents in Brockville will be unable to access Court House Avenue and surrounding streets due to a movie production. [CTV]

  • Spring has been welcomed in Wellington West through a new art exhibit being held at one of Hintonburg’s newest businesses. [Kitchissippi Times]

  • Treats and Teas has opened a new location on Baseline Road. [Capital Eats]

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