LRT extension in south Edmonton, rising in cost, opposed by some residents
The City of Edmonton is trying to rein in spending on the extension of the Capital Line LRT to Ellerslie Road, but as discovered during an executive committee meeting Wednesday, some residents living near a future station don’t even want the train to stop near their neighbourhood.
The plans for the extension place a station beside the neighbourhood of Twin Brooks, at 111 Street and 9 Avenue.
A number of residents are now showing opposition to the station, including Darvin Puhalski, who has lived in Twin Brooks for 20 years.
“Twin Brooks essentially doesn’t want that station,” said Puhalski.
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A survey in 2018 found 65 per cent of Twin Brooks residents supported the station. Four years later, that number is only 11 per cent, according to a survey done in December.
“We don’t want the station, we’re not going to use the station,” he said.
He added the city could save money by cancelling the Twin Brooks station and putting the funds towards the Heritage Valley station, as one of the cost-cutting measures being debated is to make the station and nearby crossings at street-level instead of elevated.
Puhalski said he and his neighbours are considering next steps if the station is built, including moving to a different city or withholding tax dollars.
“How would the city like that? That’s a bunch of money coming in the door that’s not coming in the door anymore,” he said.
Ward Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi Coun. Jennifer Rice said she is open to the idea of removing the Twin Brooks station, which was approved before she was elected in 2021.
“A majority of the Twin Brooks residents told me they do not want (the station). I will try my best to address that,” said Rice.
For cost-cutting measures, Rice said she does not support street-level crossings at Ellerslie Road.
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Ward sipiwiyiniwak Coun. Sarah Hamilton said the extension project might be stuck with the Twin Brooks station.
“That station has been worked into the overall funding agreement, so removing that might mean that we lose funding from other orders of government — that’s really important to know,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton said while she hears the concerns, council needs to look at the long term transportation network in the city.
“Does it make sense to have a stretch of track there with no stop, and what kind of impact would that have on the transportation network?”
The other scope changes proposed are to defer expanding a parking lot at Heritage Valley Park and Ride, reduce the number of LRT vehicles ordered and to build a smaller operations and maintenance facility for the extension.
City council is scheduled to discuss the scope changes and make a decision on May 16.
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