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Some Ottawa city councillors feeling left in the dark on LRT issues

More problems are only fueling skepticism surrounding the light rail launch date.
LRT Water Tunnel
Flooding in the LRT tunnel. October 2, 2018/Submitted

When it comes to the trains running on time and on budget along Ottawa's new Confederation Line, some members of city council feel they are always last to get updates, especially when there have been issues. 

This comes after a scathing report from the CBC about the negative effects snow and cold have on the new light rail system. 

College ward's Rick Chiarelli explained to 1310 NEWS that council needs to know if the system is going to work and if it's going to be safe. 

"Phase 1 isn't even running yet and now we find out part of why it's not running yet is it can't run," Chiarelli said. "It can't operate in the snow. Snow is common here in Ottawa." 

Chiarelli wants to know what was behind all the other issues - including water in the tunnels - and wonders what else is being hidden from councillors. 

"There are too many things that come out in the media before they're told to council. How many other things aren't being told to council that just haven't come out in the media yet." 

Bay ward's Theresa Kavanaugh shares Chiarelli's concerns. 

"I'm worried about the fact that we're getting information at the last minute, or weren't not getting information at all, except through sources like the media," she noted. "That concerns me a great deal that the information was not directed towards us. We're the ones that make the decisions and somehow we're not getting that information." 

Kavanaugh said there is a concern among some councillors that if they don't ask the right questions, they won't get the answers. 

On February 12, City of Ottawa General Manager of Transportation Services John Manconi told the Finance and Economic Development Committee that he was 'highly skeptical' that the Rideau Transit Group would make the March 31, 2019 deadline to hand the keys to the light rail system over to the city. 

Manconi will be giving an update on the $1.2-billion project on Tuesday morning. He is expected to address the reports of trains not being able to handle the cold and snow. 

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