The issue concerning the Western LRT extension is not elected versus un-elected officials. Sometimes, there are disagreements between the two and this is healthy. I want public servants giving and defending their best advice, not doing what they’re told.
The issue here is whether or not the western parkway is the right extension of the Centretown tunnel. If Mr. Chiarelli had not been defeated by Mr. O’Brien in 2006, there would be no debate today, the Carling Ave line would be built as would the north/south line.
Mr. Chiarelli and I did not advocate for the western parkway because it serves too few people and is too distant from the city’s principal institutions, hospitals, airport, commercial centres to justify billions of public investment. Byron Avenue makes even less sense as it is now pure parkland and its loss would result in immense community disruption. Carling Avenue is a direct route to Kanata; is eight lanes wide along much of its length, is , underused and desperately in need of renovation and better public access for the communities and institutions which border it.
I’ve always found that the best test of public purpose is to ask the question – who benefits?
Who benefits the most from Carling Ave are the 300,000 people this line would serve and the pocket books of Ottawa taxpayers as surface rail is always cheaper.