Time To Clean House On LRT Planning Staff


It’s hard to imagine what goes on in the minds of Ottawa’s light-rail planners.

No date has been set for the line to Kanata and Stittsville except that it will be beyond 2031 … sometime. Except no money is available for the project. Lots of money around for the gold-plated Phases 1 and 2. Nothing for the critical high-tech community of Kanata. Such is economic strategic planning in Ottawa. No doubt Amazon noticed that when they blew off Ottawa as the site for that company’s huge second headquarters.

Despite having no money and no construction date, our busy planners have designed the route to Kanata and Stittsville. Even got it approved last week by transportation committee. Only thing missing is money the city doesn’t have and a construction date when many of us will be dead. If our esteemed planners didn’t blow the bank on the first phases of the project, maybe there’d be some cash available to go to Kanata.

But the plan looks good during an election year for all those city council incumbents. Look what we planned, they will tell the citizens of our community. No money? No construction date? Those are details they can overlook while telling the public, we got rail to Kanata. This exercise in ridiculousness is abominable.

Phase 1 and 2 costs are stripping Kanata of  critical infrastructure.

Billions of dollars are being spent on the Mercedes of light-rail lines … Phases 1 and 2, and now the Kanata line is being estimated at $1.85 billion. Obviously city staff didn’t weigh the costs of Phases 1 and 2 correctly. In fact, this extension, if it every gets built, will be horribly over-priced. Didn’t staffers learn from the first two phases?

That has crippled any hope of a Kanata link in the foreseeable future.

This is absolutely terrible planning and the people behind these decision should be ashamed. This is bad budgeting and planning of the first order.

It’s time to clean house of the people behind these multi-billion projects of excess.

The top city staffers responsible for these ghastly decisions should be sent packing.


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7 thoughts on “Time To Clean House On LRT Planning Staff

  1. Cleaning house should include the councillor from Kanata South who thinks he’s a big-shot politician.
    So influential that Kanata will not get LRT for years to come. His residents will hopefully clean house if he registers to run for that third term he promised he would not seek. Then again, promises only apply during campaigns don’t they?


    1. Pierre:

      Kanata won’t get LRT for decades to come.

      And interesting that the planning committee chairwoman Jan Harder couldn’t get light rail for Barrhaven.

      She’s quick to tell people how she knows more than some other politicians but how did the planning chairwoman fail to get LRT for her own ward?

      Strangely, one of the councillors she says she is so much smarter than has LRT in her ward.

      Go figure.




  2. In fairness to the city’s existing LRT management team, many of the senior members of the original LRT band, the ones who had a direct hand in the initial planning of the LRT, and in the negotiation of that infamous iron clad fixed price contract, have retired or moved on.

    The long time City Manager at the time that the high priced, short line LRT plan was put into motion, including the decision to proceed with construction before securing the right to the land at the western exit, was Kirk Kirkpatrick. He retired more than two years ago. Daniel Farrell, the manager of the contract management group, left in 2013, as did Janice Marks, who was the manager of the rail business services group.

    As a consequence, the current senior management team, including City Manager Steve Kanellakos and Steve Cripps, the Director of O-Train Construction, find themselves saddled with the having to execute on a poorly conceptualized, over priced, short line, but world class, project. I feel sorry for them. They are taking the heat for the failures of their predecessors.

    The one remaining original “architect” of the LRT fiasco is Jim Watson. One can only hope that the voters of Ottawa add him to the list of departed employees come October.


    1. With respect Ron (always), how do you explain that bone-brained pronouncement on LRT to Kanata which is only missing a building date and funding.

      We do know it will be past 2031 by which time your agent could be … let me see, how do I put this delicately … dead.




      1. Ken, I acknowledge your concerns with respect to the lack of concern from Laurier Avenue on how and when to get LRT services to the suburbs outside of the Greenbelt. This was a concern from Day 1 of Jim Watson’s LRT plan. I have asked various and sundry (Mayor Watson, Councillor Chiarelli, Director of O-Train Construction Cripps) the same question from the beginning “What is the objective of the LRT?”. No one has offered an answer, likely because the city doesn’t have an answer.

        What is clear is that IF the objective was to move a relatively large number of people relatively long distances in relatively shorter travel times (a relatively common objective for LRT’s), this project is an absolute, abject failure. On the other hand, as you have opined from time to time, if the objective is to win awards such as Tunnel of the Year, then success has already been achieved.

        As for your life expectancy, well, let’s hope that the LRT reaches Kanata/Stittsville before that becomes an issue. Along those lines, suffice it to say that between the time that Bob Chiarelli first proposed the LRT (2004-5’ish?) and the current time lines of not earlier than 2031 to reach the eastern edge of Kanata, a Sociology major could have graduated from university, joined the Planning Department, and be in the last decade or so years of her career as a senior manager of an engineering group (yes the sarcasm is intended), before she could catch the LRT from within five kilometres (the stated standard per last week’s illusionary planning exercise) of her home in Kanata. Glaciers recede a greater distance in less time.


        1. Ron:

          They’ve won sinkhole of the year as well … a rare combination given that it is tunnel of the year. Congratulations.

          The CPR took five years to build two centuries ago.

          Defence rests.




      2. Ken,
        Just a tiny side note. One can never be sure how long one will live. You may, indeed, be around to see that choo-choo to Kanata. That 2031 is only 13 years away. I thought I was dead back in 2005 and guess what – I am still around spending my kid’s inheritance.


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