Councillor submits motion to scrap the Valley Line West LRT expansion
EDMONTON -- An Edmonton councillor attempted to table a motion Wednesday to reconsider moving forward with the $2.6-billion Valley Line West LRT expansion.
Mayor Don Iveson ruled Ward 9 Coun. Tim Cartmell's motion “out of order," but it still found its way to the table.
The motion was ruled out of order because Cartmell voted against the project in April, and a councillor who votes against a passed motion is not allowed to bring it back.
Ward 3 Coun. Jon Dziadyk was able to table it, as he voted for it, saying he’s receiving a lot of questions about all of the city’s projects and wants “to leave no stone unturned."
Cartmell has been clear from the beginning that he does not want the city to move ahead with the construction of the Valley Line West LRT expansion. Instead, he wants the city to examine the use of bus rapid transit (BRT) instead.
BRT is used in cities like Ottawa, and Cartmell says it would deliver similar service at a better price.
“When you add those numbers up, based on projects that we’ve done or are doing, I get about $850 million. But even if I’m wrong by half, even if it’s $1.2 billion that our new system or that BRT system could arrive at, that’s still 50 per cent less than what we would spend on an LRT project,” said Cartmell.
Ward 1 Coun. Andrew Knack says he wasn’t surprised to see the issue revisited, but doesn’t think BRT is the best option for the west leg of the LRT.
“The issue we found, what came to in the last report the last time we looked at it, is that [it’s] cheaper in terms of capital cost, more expensive in operating costs. Because to move the same amount of people, you’ve got to run at least five buses for every one, two-car LRT,” said Knack.
Knack says that a BRT system would be good in other areas of Edmonton, but would impede traffic flow in the west end. He says the city has addressed the concerns of those that oppose the project, and unless there are new issues brought to the table the project should go forward.
“We’re not talking about a decade since this decision was made, we’re talking about decades since we should’ve done this in the first place,” said Knack.
“I guess we can keep revisiting every decision we make, every large decision we make, but then are you ever going to move forward with any project in this city?”
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Joey Slattery