Council wants monthly LRT update
Councillors could phone the bosses at city hall to receive more information about the Confederation Line LRT rather than writing opinion pieces in the newspaper complaining about being in the dark, Mayor Jim Watson said Wednesday.
Coun. Tobi Nussbaum called for more transparency on the $2.1-billion project in a Postmedia article after council learned details about the nearly sixmonth delay and potential costs.
“I know councillor Nussbaum has never asked to meet me or my office on this issue. I’ve confirmed with (city manager Steve Kanellakos) he has never asked for a briefing,” Watson said after a council meeting.
“Every member of council has every right to ask for more information and it’s really up to them to go and pick up the phone and call me or call the city manager. I’m not sure an op-ed actually is the right approach. You’re entitled to write what you want but if you’re serious about wanting more information, you should pick up the phone and ask for a briefing. That’s really the responsibility of all members of council to do that.”
Nussbaum, however, joined Coun. Jeff Leiper in sending a letter to the city manager on Dec. 19 asking for clarification on issues brought up in a Dec. 15 briefing on LRT construction and the transit budget. The councillors asked 10 questions in that letter and received a response from the city manager’s office.
There were more questions this month when council members learned the LRT handover date would be pushed from May 24 to Nov. 2 because of the 2016 sinkhole on Rideau Street and that the Rideau Transit Group won’t have to pay a $1-million penalty for missing the contracted deadline.
Perhaps the bigger question is how much more the city will have to pay to keep buses running on detours through the core and operate an LRT construction office.
Council members received memos Wednesday morning with a bit more information on the financial impact of the LRT delay, but it could take several months, possibly more than a year, until taxpayers learn the full extent of the extra costs.
An unfinished tunnel that is part of the new Confederation Line LRT. Several city councillors have asked for greater transparency and monthly updates on the progress of Ottawa’s long-delayed project.