Statement from Gord Hunter, outgoing Councillor for Knoxdale-Merivale Ward
At the start of the municipal election campaign I expected that I would not take sides favouring one mayoral candidate or another. With several days to go until voting day I am getting off the fence. All polls seem to indicate that the race is decided and Jim Watson will emerge as the winner.
Now is the time for all who are concerned about the light rail short line and expensive tunnel to speak with their votes and send a strong message opposing the $2 Billion project by casting a vote for Andy Haydon.
The LRT project from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair does not come close to meeting the needs or providing better service for our commuting transit users. The forced transfers for thousands daily at these two stations and Hurdman as well as the loss of express bus service will be a major step backwards for transit service in Ottawa. The disruption to bus service and to local streets during the several years of construction will only add to the commuters’ woes. The Haydon BRT proposal avoids all these problems.
There is also an ‘elephant in the room’ with the LRT tunnel project: financing. The BRT tunnel project is estimated in today’s dollars to be $841Million less expensive than the LRT proposal. The debt servicing charges for LRT will leave the city with no money for other capital works for many years to come. Either that or we’ll face a series of large tax increases to pay for the debt. The panel of experts that ‘peer reviewed’ the LRT proposal expressed surprise that there had been no cost benefit analysis done. It still has not been done.
Andy Haydon is considered a long shot in this election. Jim Watson seems to have it in the bag. Votes for Mr. Haydon will tell the new council that there are many in the public who do not accept the line that Ottawa needs an expensive LRT tunnel. By voting for Andy Haydon we can tell Jim Watson and the new council to abandon the expensive service-deficient idea that the outgoing mayor has been promoting.