Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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O-LRT report released today

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Good afternoon, Kitchissippi.

A couple of hours ago, the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Commission released its public inquiry report. You can find the full report and an executive summary here.

I’ve taken the past couple of hours to carefully read the executive summary. It is damning.

As a city councillor, I’m particularly concerned with the findings with respect to the conduct of Mayor Jim Watson and senior City staff, and also profoundly disappointed reading Justice Hourigan’s assessment of RTG’s dealings with the City.

Bluntly, I’m angry. I know that Kitchissippi residents will want my detailed thoughts on the report, but I’m going to hold off on addressing this in-depth today. I want to talk to my colleagues, new and returning, about next steps – to reflect soberly on the very raw feelings most of us are likely experiencing this afternoon.

Residents have been clear that they want answers, and now they have pages of them. Residents will also want to know what happens next. Justice Hourigan has made no fewer than 103 recommendations which will require careful consideration. I write today cognizant that while the headlines are understandably damning, this report is written in the spirit of public service – to ensure residents can count on a safe, reliable train that we absolutely need.

I encourage residents to take very seriously Justice Hourigan’s findings and my colleagues to be open-minded to his recommendations and the opportunity this new Council and Mayor have to not just put LRT back on track, but to build a better Ottawa government.

We should all be mindful of Justice Hourigan’s exhortation:

[Over] time, structural problems can be resolved through good faith, communication, and co-operation. However, until such time as the private and public entities involved in the OLRT1 project understand that their first obligation is to the public, there is reason to be concerned that the project will continue to suffer problems.

That public interest will be my sole consideration as I contemplate my own actions in the coming days.

Posted November 30, 2022