Light Rail: Get Safety Right



We appear to have a failure to communicate.

Unnamed employees in the light-rail tunnel hole say that the working conditions are not good. That the portable toilets are so filthy that employees are relieving themselves in the tunnel (which, if we follow Mayor Jim Watson’s suggestion that pay toilets should be the rule in the LRT stations, might be the chosen method of future passengers for passing whatever).

On the other hand, Rideau Transit Group and the City of Ottawa say everything in the hole is hunky-dory (Watson can’t say enough times that the project in on-time and on-budget). That said the project isn’t on-budget because oversights (such as a fare system … really … did someone miss that?) were put in a package subsequent to the $2.1-billion budget. And on-time? Well the city is not sure, what with the sinkhole with its subsequent flood and all, that it is on-time. If the city says the project might not be on-time (and this city would call hell tepid), count on it, this puppy is late.

So here’s a bit of advice absolutely free from The Bulldog. If the city can’t be on-time and on-budget and it is paying more than twice as much as is necessary for the first two phases of this project and giving taxpayers less than the first project and has had one major sinkhole on Waller and another on huge one Rideau and a little one after the first two, at least keep the workers and the public safe.

Video above: The failure to communicate from Cool Hand Luke. Video below: That ‘safe’ sinkhole.

Given the tendency to fib at the city and the fact we’ve seen three sinkholes appear, one would be tempted to agree with the workers on safety. You’d think that after the first sinkhole, the city would be extra-cautious about having another one … except it had one plus a flood. Then another little one. Many, many workers and garden-variety residents could have been killed. The city got off extremely lucky.

Then, astonishingly, the city wouldn’t release the cause of the Rideau sinkhole until it was forced to by freedom-of-information legislation. The city said it was releasing the information, when forced to, in its usual spirit of openness.

Yes, that pretty much is the city’s spirit of openness.

Almost forgot the advice. The city can’t undo what has already happened in terms of atrocious safety. Witness the sinkholes and tunnel flood.

But keep workers and Ottawans safe now and in the future.



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7 thoughts on “Light Rail: Get Safety Right

  1. Perhaps the workers who are using the LRT tunnel for purposes other than hosting an LRT train are on to something. After all, when you get right down to it, a sewer is just a tunnel. Now that we know that the LRT will be neither on time nor on budget, perhaps Laird Jim will come up with another catchy campaign phrase – perhaps something to do with his LRT tunnel being dual purpose.

    1. Ron:

      Good one.

      Maybe the slogan could be: “Light rail: It’s flushable.”

      No wonder they flooded the tunnel at Rideau Street.



  2. The City attitude re the safety of workers and future transit users is callous.
    Is there nobody (who is non-partisan) who could put on a hard hat, check out the tunnel work unannounced/in-noticed, then report with photos?

  3. Ken:
    Points for the Mayor:
    1) It is not on time nor is it on budget.
    2) Sandy Hill had that name for a reason.
    3) “The safety of workers is our priority”, BALDERDASH … demonstrated by the rush to meet deadlines and the large increase of employees working on this exercise.
    4) To yourself and Manconi, the images of the toilets overflowing, were not old photos, as the city stated. The reporter on CBC local said the photo was taken within a week of their presentation made on Wednesday.
    I could go on and on however, you Bulldog, and your regular followers are well aware of the many questionable statements that have been made.
    I can assure you, I will never be found riding in a tunnel on this line. I do believe I am not alone.
    Safety is not a priority and thus far, more by good luck than good management, there have not been deaths.
    Let’s keep it that way. Smarten up.

    1. Manconi was interviewed by CBC reporter tonight. The point of interest was the eyes of the person as Manconi spoke, situated to the right of the reporter.

    2. Anne Marie,
      As you, I will do everything to never travel via that tunnel. While I do not find the local assurances believable, I do not understand why nothing is being said or done by the Ontario Ministry of Labour or the Ottawa District Labour Council.


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