Why Ask for Information That is Coming Out in Two Weeks?

I’m meeting this news of a Notice of Motion to be put forward by Councillor Farkas with some puzzlement, but I’m not surprised. In my ten years on Council, I have seen tactics like this, creating a parade when there is no circus. Simply put, this may be packaged to look like a brightly wrapped present to our citizens, when in reality it’s an empty box that will only negatively affect The City’s progress in becoming a world-class city.  

This pandering does not represent the needs of Calgarians, only the impatience of those who cannot wait for answers already on the way. So I ask, why bother?

Here’s the break down.

  1. We are already presenting and discussing these things on the June 1
  2. The Key dates and public participation have been widely shared and promoted.

A press release about putting forward a surface level Notice of Motion might generate some headline clicks, fails to acknowledge that Council is already set to have a great debate regarding the possible alterations, and impacts of a global recession and pandemic on the June 1, 2020 Green Line Committee.

If we were to rush this to a sooner date, it had better be for good reasons. We would only be depriving citizens with the opportunity to engage. Wouldn’t it be disrespectful to tell the public that submissions are due on May 25, and then pull the rug from under them, especially after 2 or 3 months of fair notice? This is not empowering our citizens to engage in city-building.

The Green Line team is scheduled to provide additional information on the updated stage 1 alignment starting May 12. Which will include

  • The recommended Stage 1 route
  • Updates on items the team was still exploring
  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • What we heard during public engagement

Also, the Green Line Team is hosting a virtual presentation on the update stage 1 alignment on May 20th and May 21st.

The financial catastrophe as Councillor Farkas puts it would only be if we were to entertain pointless delays.  Our construction industries continue to be vibrant and successful during the pandemic.  

Investments in transit service like the Green Line is made because of affordability.

  • Building the Green Line will provide transit service for families that cannot afford to purchase another vehicle for their driving-age children to get to school or their part-time job.
  • Building the Green Line will provide transit service for parents who work $15 an hour and cannot afford to pay $10 an hour for parking.
  • Building the Green Line will provide transit service for seniors who live on a fixed income, whose health may not afford them the ability to drive.

There are always lower cost options that can be constructed, but they will not provide the long term City building opportunities.

  • Data shows that transit ridership grows over time, through economic ups and downs.
  • Investments in transit infrastructure is for the long-term. Green Line is planned for long-term city building opportunities.
  • Green Line will spur redevelopment and investment opportunities in Calgary’s communities. This will in turn create local jobs for Calgarians and keep more people employed through the economic recovery.
  • Stage 1 of Green Line would be finished in 2026, plenty of time in a post COIVD-19 world. Green Line will be ready to serve the needs of Calgarians when Calgarians are ready for recovery.

Now is the perfect time to invest in infrastructure and prepare for the future.

  • The recommended plan is focused on the long-term development of the City, and addresses many of the stakeholder concerns that we have heard.
  • We’ve heard from stakeholders that Green Line is important for connecting people to jobs, places, and for improving mobility.
  • High quality transit is a necessity for cities to grow, for cities to be attractive to a talented workforce, and for cities to be a competitive economic centre with others. This is necessary for the long-term recovery of Calgary.
  • As long as there’s a need for new developments and new communities for new Calgarians, there will be a growing need for transit.

Continuing drastic inquiries and ad hoc questioning when many have been already answered, or are being answered is a disservice to the Calgarians with a dire need for efficient and reliable transportation.

Recessions do not last. Pandemics do not last. Calgary’s vision of being an excellent city that provides an effective transit system to its citizens, and with it the ability to be connected to jobs and opportunities will.