Chianello On LRT: Whopper Watch


light railCitizen scribe Joanne Chianello weighed in on the troubled Ottawa light-rail project in a disjointed column on Saturday.

Here is one of the worst parts of the piece:

“But the light-rail system doesn’t just need money — it needs support from us, and a willingness to compromise. Few transit systems are perfect, and our LRT won’t be either, whether it’s a station that should have been here rather than there, or trees saved along the parkway versus trees on the Byron linear park. It will not be possible to please everyone.”

So Chianello seems to be saying that even if you have grave doubts about the efficacy of this project, we should all get together, sing kumbaya and build it no matter what. The fact that the Macdonald Parkway has few people along it (certainly not enough to warrant mass transit), no one secured the western exit from the first phase before starting construction (an astonishing oversight or an act of supreme arrogance), and that the line is too short, too expensive and has too many transfers … that doesn’t matter because, well, we all must get along and the rail must go through, wrong as it is.

And that we should all pipe down about these hideous major errors (readers to this website came up at least 20 significant SNAFUS in one post) and should just get it done despite major woes on a $2.1 billion project, the largest in city history.

All these people should just clam up on a horrendously executed project while on one of the biggest pulpits in the city, Chianello speaks loudly about anything that pops into her head. Chianello is in no position to be talking down to anyone.


Furthermore here is Chianello all over the First Unitarian Congregation, an organization that performs more good deeds in a month than she and I have done in our collective lifetimes.

The Congregation is worried about the effects of running light rail under their property. The good people at the church are concerned about vibration and their ability to expand their seniors home, children’s centre and possibly a senior centre for those with mental disabilities. For this Chianello brands them NIMBYs.

The city says the Congregation could build four-to-six storey structures over the tunnel and that vibrations won’t be a problem. Sure. Perhaps a little critical investigation might be undertaken. This from a city that couldn’t construct light rail through downtown without the roof collapsing under Waller Street holding up just a load of asphalt and dirt. No four-to-six storey building brought that down.

As for city credibility, this from a staff that so torqued a report against light rail on Carling Avenue that even the Stepford Councillors, that cabal of the most bobbleheaded of the bobbleheads, sent it back to the authors because they couldn’t swallow the conclusions of that whopper.

Frankly, I wouldn’t build a tree fort over that line given the city’s record on this (and that is if there are still trees left in the city of “scrubland” after this administration).

So in conclusion, the First Unitarian Congregation is not a bunch of NIMBYs (a horrible word), there are real doubts about the church being able to expand its good works with light-rail beneath it and the city’s credibility and trust on this project and other developments is non-existent.

This isn’t some piddly little $100-million unnecessary central library. It’s $2.1 billion. That’s BILLION. It deserves every bit of scrutiny from experts and citizens alike. Certainly more than the City of Ottawa has given it.

And one more thing Joanne Chianello.

Debate is good.

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