Ottawa off again

first_imgFOLLOWING AN emotional debate, Ottawa city council voted 13:11 on December 14 to scrap its 29?7?km north-south light rail scheme, risking a legal challenge by the Ottawa LRT Corp consortium.The council had approved the C$880m link between Barrhaven and the University of Ottawa on July 12, and signed a DBOM contract with the Siemens-led consortium in September. The final go-ahead had been due on October 13 but a ruling by the President of Canada’s Treasury Board, John Baird, put the deadline back to December 14. The chain of events leading to the vote began on October 10 when Baird called for the federal government’s contribution to be withheld until after local elections on November 13 (RG 11.06 p710). The new council voted on December 6 to truncate the alignment at LeBreton Flats, eliminating a controversial street-running section in the city centre and the link to the University of Ottawa. City staff were instructed to re-open studies for a cross-city tunnel alternative. Once the project was altered, the provincial and federal governments said they could not guarantee their contributions of C$200m each pending a review. Newly-elected Mayor Larry O’Brien then declared he could not support ’risking taxpayer money’ by approving the construction contract without firm financial commitments.The consortium wrote to the city on December 13 warning that it would ’pursue any and all legal actions available’ should the project be cancelled.last_img