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Calgary councillors push for ‘one line’ Green Line transit plan

Four Calgary councillors support a plan to build only one part of the Green Line with no connecting bridge to the north.

The Green Line committee was set to hear the final proposed alignment today, with a final alignment set for council’s approval June 15.

There’s been ongoing debate about funding the $4.9 billion Green Line plan in its current state, given the economic conditions in Calgary and Alberta. Some have also raised issues that people won’t use Calgary Transit into the downtown because of COVID-19 related health guidelines.  

The “one good line” plan was published on the blog of Ward 6 Coun. Jeff Davison and is bylined by Couns. Davison, Peter Demong, Jyoti Gondek and Ward Sutherland.

In it, they are advocating for a single south line from Eau Claire to Shepard. That’s roughly 18 of the proposed 21 kilometres of line. Calls to Coun. Davison for further clarification early Monday morning weren’t yet returned.

“With limited dollars, the current plan to build two unfinished lines is built on hope, which is not a strategy for success. For this reason, we will be putting forward a plan to Council to build one line, and get it right,” the blog post reads.

“In effect, the current plan is to build the foundations for two houses with neither being complete and crossing our fingers for more funding.”

The one-line plan also indicates investment in a dedicated BRT in north Calgary.

Similar to plan from third-party group

This plan is like one put forward by a group of Calgarians operating as greenlineinfo.ca. In that plan, they advocated only for a south portion of the line, but extending it further south to Seton. They’d do this by saving money by putting the downtown portion above ground.

The CBC did a piece in February on Couns. Davison and Sutherland hosting a private meeting with members involved in greenlineinfo.ca

The new plan from the four councillors doesn’t specify their preference for an at-grade or below ground construction in downtown.

That plan has been resoundingly panned by advocates that say the current admin-proposed line reflects thousands of hours of public engagement.

“It’s just the years of work, and we finally saw that all that work culminated into a plan. And now that plan is trying to be derailed by the special interest groups,” said Romy Garrido, who spoke on behalf of the group Project Calgary.

Project Calgary has said that those behind the change to the alignment for cost cutting reasons are the same ones who support public money for a new arena.

“We’re talking about 60,000 transit riders versus other projects that the city has happily funded that really serves just such a small portion of Calgarians,” said Garrido.

“This is a public service project… it’s no small feat.”

Public submissions will be heard through Monday before the committee debates the proposals and gives a final recommendation for council.