The Green Line transit project could be paused until 2020 after an urgent notice of motion is set for council review on Monday, July 22.
Coun. Evan Woolley is proposing the city press the “reset” button and review potential alignment changes between North Pointe and Seton to “reduce overall project costs and risks.”
Last week, city council heard from administration on ways to potentially trim costs on the $4.9 billion project. Four Calgary businessmen also took the podium to express their concern over a budget that could spiral out of control with the current alignment and commitment to tunnelling under the Bow River.
Woolley is suggesting the city work with an independent third party for the review of both the contracting strategy and to review the risks associated with alignment decisions that could negatively affect downtown real estate.
Downtown Calgary property values have plummeted, leaving the city with a gaping hole in its finances. It’s a burden that’s been passed along to small businesses across the city.
“I worry the Green Line may be reduced from an investment in Calgary’s global future to a project that is a burden to taxpayers, doesn’t serve the downtown and is a train to nowhere,” Woolley said in a prepared statement.
Green Line downtown portion must be set
Woolley said he wouldn’t support administration’s suggestion the southeast portion of the Green Line go forward without a set plan for tackling the downtown alignment and Bow crossing.
“I will not risk our city’s stressed finances, or the fragile recovery of business in thedowntown, without assurance that we’ll get an end result that serves Calgarians,” Woolley said.
Beltline Neighbourhoods Association (BNA) president Peter Oliver said they’re happy to see Woolley step up to make sure city council is going forward with the right plan.
The BNA put out a plea earlier this week for citizens to contact their respective city councillor to tap the brakes on the project until a review could be done – one that included revisiting the southeast leg to find efficiencies there.
“In the face of uncertainty with further cost reductions and alignment changes in this area it would be irresponsible to proceed with construction in southeast,” Oliver told LiveWire on Thursday.
“We support Councillor Woolley’s motion to reset and refocus on the original priorities of the Green Line, including maximizing this investment with good connectivity where ridership is highest downtown and in the north, reexamining the need for a gold-plated transit facility deep in the southeast and bringing us closer to airport LRT in the future.”