Ottawa councillors livid about LRT upkeep fee to Rideau Transit Group



A lightweight-rail practice at Blair Station. There have been issues once more on the weekend.


Jean Levac / Postmedia Information

Information that the Metropolis of Ottawa paid Rideau Transit Administration $four.5 million after saying earlier that every one month-to-month funds had been being held again has poured gasoline on smouldering public resentment concerning the problem-plagued light-rail system.

Town said in early November it was holding again funds till RTM improved service in gentle rail — which had damaged down trains once more each Saturday and Sunday on a bone-chilling Winterlude weekend.

However metropolis officers confirmed a CBC report that the town did make one fee of $four.5 million in September, as a result of its contract solely permits fee cancellations from October onward.

That was information to many on metropolis council, and to transit riders, who had been vocal on Twitter.

Metropolis supervisor Steve Kanellakos issued an announcement clarifying that transit boss John Manconi had informed some reporters of the fee in a scrum, although not till December. Manconi mentioned on the time: “So the concession simply began. They’re not going to get October. They’re not going to get November. And now we’re into December. They’d a fee for I imagine for the tail-end of September, which that’s the best way the fee mechanism works and then you definitely modify from that time on.”

Councillors, nonetheless, mentioned they knew nothing of the early fee till now.

“The factor that we’ve been informed is that we’ve got been withholding funds from RTM,” mentioned Coun. Carol Anne Meehan from Gloucester-South Nepean. “Why didn’t they inform us that? Why didn’t Manconi say we need to maintain again however the contract says that we’ve got to pay this in September?

“It’s baffling. I’m annoyed and lots of us are annoyed.”

Councillors had been speaking forwards and backwards concerning the information on Saturday, she mentioned. “We’re all: ‘What will we do? What will we do?’ ”

The eventual metropolis clarification didn’t make Meehan any happier.

“Sure, (I) learn the memo,” she wrote in an electronic mail. “They need it to be clear as mud. ‘Gee, nobody is at fault right here. Sorry should you didn’t hear the reply or misunderstood.’ ” She referred to as the reason “flimsy and unacceptable and par for the course on the entire contract.”

Meehan and Capital Coun. Shawn Menard have a movement going to council this Wednesday calling for an outdoor audit of the best way the LRT contracts have been dealt with.

“They don’t have the correct reply,” Meehan mentioned. “You realize that film the place (somebody says) ‘You’ll be able to’t deal with the reality?’ That’s precisely what we’re getting right here on council: ‘You guys can’t deal with the reality. We’ve written the procurement guidelines in such a technique to shut you out of this.’ ”

“This has eroded the belief that lots of councillors have in our senior managers.”

“Each week we appear to get hit with one thing new.”

Menard accused metropolis officers of “half-truths and evasion.”

Sarah Wright-Gilbert, a citizen transit commissioner, was additionally stunned by information of the fee and upset even after the town’s clarification.

“This newest revelation relating to the fee to RTM is additional proof that the Metropolis of Ottawa and OC Transpo battle with transparency,” she wrote. “Public belief in OC Transpo and the Metropolis of Ottawa is at an all time low and utilizing semantics corresponding to ‘no lies had been informed, you merely weren’t absolutely knowledgeable’ do little to restore misplaced belief.

“As soon as OCT grew to become conscious that they had been contractually obligated to pay for the month of September, clarifications ought to have been issued to media and the Transit Fee.”

She added on Twitter that “what the memo doesn’t inform us is why we weren’t informed about this contractually obligated fee as soon as it was made. The messaging from the town had persistently been ‘we aren’t paying RTM a penny’ which, as we now know, wasn’t true.”

At the very least two councillors — Scott Moffatt and Jeff Leiper — posted the total Kanellakos assertion on Twitter.

Moffatt mentioned it “confirms no one lied,” however the metropolis ought to have communicated higher.

Somerset Coun. Catherine McKenney tweeted that council should act or it will be “wilful neglect:”

This newspaper requested the communications official for Mayor Jim Watson whether or not the mayor knew of the fee, and what needs to be finished to maintain council knowledgeable. We had been informed: “Mayor Watson is just not out there in the mean time however I invite you to learn the memo from the Metropolis Supervisor, shedding gentle within the state of affairs.”

Transit riders had been upset as properly.

In the meantime, LRT service was disrupted and changed by R1 buses Saturday morning. There have been additionally delays Sunday morning, not recognized by OC Transpo, however riders mentioned there was a practice caught at Parliament or Rideau. Transpo introduced a return to full service by mid-morning.

Extra to come back.

tspears@postmedia.com

twitter.com/TomSpears1

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