The public inquiry into Ottawa’s problem-plagued LRT system is now on its way.
And its first stop are the public meetings that will take place on Wednesday, May 25 and Thursday, May 26.
The meetings are hosted by the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Commission at the Shaw Centre, and take place between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Kate McGrann, co-lead counsel for the Ottawa Light Rail Public Inquiry, said the commission has been asked to look at the commercial and technical circumstances that led to Stage 1 breakdown and derailments of LRT.
The meetings on Wednesday and Thursday will give the public the chance to have their say on the LRT, how they’ve been affected by the breakdowns and address any concerns they have.
“The commission really wants to hear from those who have been directly impacted by the breakdowns and derailments at Stage 1,” McGrann said. “The public hearings are taking place from June 13 to July 8, 2022. They are there to elicit evidence before the commissioner in response to the questions posed in the terms of reference. So commission council and the participants will lead witnesses through their evidence under solemn declaration before the commissioner to provide him with the information he will need to write his report and answer the questions posed in the terms of reference.”
The commission can be attended in several ways.
The first is in person, in which people must register ahead of time on the OttawaLRTPublicInquiry.ca website.
A second option is to watch it live streamed through the commission’s website and Rogers 22, or Rogers 23 to watch it in French.
To have a moment to speak with the commission in person, those interested must register on the website before.
Anyone wishing to make a statement while attending in person is asked to register before the meetings on the website.
Pre-recorded statements are an option, again, through pre-registration.
The commission can also be contacted via email or reached at 1-833-597-1955.
“We’re certainly hoping members of the public really engage with the commission through the public meetings. There is no set maximum [number of people allowed to speak]. So for anybody who's considering registering to attend or to make a statement, please don’t be concerned that we will run out of space.”
However, some folks have been able to speak with the commission ahead of the Wednesday and Thursday meetings, including Ottawa’s mayor Jim Watson.
As McGann explains, the commission was established on December 16.
Since then, members of the commission have been collecting information and evidence to prepare for the hearings — that is why Watson, as well as other key witnesses, have been able to speak with the commission earlier.
Justice William Hourigan was appointed as the commissioner of the inquiry.
Hourigan will present his findings in a report by the end of August. However, he may request an extension, in which case the report will be ready — by the latest — at the end of November.
For more information and updates about the commission, visit the website here.