From the blog...


Posted on: May 11th, 2018 by Colin Raines


Keller Williams often describes itself as a training and consulting company, thinly disguised as a real estate brokerage. We’re always bringing expert educators and speakers to keep our training current, and our knowledge of where Ottawa is headed as a city, as up-to-date as possible. I recently had a chance to attend a superb information session, hosted by Damon Berlin from the City of Ottawa, about the ongoing- and future goals and plans for- Ottawa’s move to Light Rail Transit (LRT).

Damon’s job is to help explain what the Light Rail Project is all about, how it will work, and what to expect from Stage 1 when it is completed (the plan is to have trains running sometime in November). He also talks to the upcoming Stage 2 project that will take the City’s long-term vision even further towards the goal of 95% of all Ottawa’s within 5kms of public transit, upon completion in 2023. Damon did a fabulous job of pointing out many great features of the City’s equipment, systems, and anticipated outcomes, but there is 1 big takeaway that I got from this presentation that I think is worth highlighting- a broad, but simple concept.

The attitude that the City of Ottawa is bringing to this project is one of inclusion and progressiveness and is the driving force behind many of its decisions. While some may think that Light Rail will merely replace buses with trains, the vision from the City involves an entire culture shift. Aside from enabling riders to travel from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair (the entire length of Stage 1 rail) in under 25 minutes, with trains that carry 11,000 passengers/hour and arrive every 5 minutes or less in peak times, Stage 1 has the potential to remove 110,000 tonnes of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) from the air every year- not to mention the reduction in noise pollution! Fewer buses on the road also mean a shift in where traffic flows through the city centre and gives the City the opportunity to add flowers, plants, trees, and even benches to the sides of streets to encourage more time spent outdoors. There will even be some streets that will become much more pedestrian friendly, with widened sidewalks and more greenspaces.

Even the architectural designs being used for stations and community areas are not without thought. Pimisi Station, located beneath the new Booth Street Bridge, has been designed to incorporate an Algonquin cultural theme, reflecting both the historical and contemporary cultural significance of the Algonquin people. “Pimisi”, means “eel” in the Algonquin language, and the Algonquin-Anishinabe people and culture play a significant role in the station look, design, and feel. Stations are designed to become spectacular landmarks, and this emulation of a more “European” approach to city planning is intended to catapult Ottawa from a “big small city” to a “small big city” in the eyes of the county, and dare I say, the global community.


What does this mean, if anything, to your real estate investment plans in Ottawa? The important thing to note is that wherever we find new and easier access to public transit, we also find new-found opportunities for growth. Commercial destinations, community centres, restaurants, and parks spring up nearby, as the new concentration of residents requires new and more convenient amenities. This can often mean an appreciation in your property value but could also transform your route home from work into a construction nightmare or take away your previously unobstructed view. Taking some time to explore the City of Ottawa GeoOttawa website, and speaking with a professional Realtor are just 2 great tools you can use to see exactly how close your property may be to the new LRT facilities and lines, where you might be most happy purchasing a new property, and how these changes might affect your current investments. A city is always growing and changing with the times- just remember that like Ottawa, the plans for Stage 2 and other future Light Rail endeavours are still under development, and any proposed hubs or activity centres are just that. The new LRT system is innovative technology and thinking, and it gives each individual community a chance to do something different and to grow along with it. Like most things related to real estate, this project will take some patience and forward thinking if it is to realize it’s potential and further entrench Ottawa as a world-class city in which more and more people choose to invest. We have some great material available if you’d like to get started. All aboard!

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