Minister McIver denies pushing for Green Line RFP delay

Artist’s conceptual image of the newly-added 9 Avenue N LRT station. CITY OF CALGARY

Alberta’s Transportation Minister Ric McIver “flatly denies” that he’s asked for delays to the city’s Green Line RFP process until after Calgary’s municipal election.

This comes after a Global Calgary story citing multiple unnamed sources that the minister suggested delays on the Stage 1 request for proposals.

“I’ve never said, to anyone or to any effect or interpretation, that we’d wait until municipal elxn before #YYC Green Line starts to be built, or that the LRT’s timeline is in any way related to the elxn [sic],” Minister McIver wrote on Twitter Tuesday evening.

“Any statement by anyone that I did is absolutely & unequivocally false.”

The city has been in a back and forth with the province after an October letter from Minister McIver. In that letter, McIver reaffirmed support for the Green Line, but said a review exposed several concerns for the province. He said they’d hoped to address those with the city.

The contents of the review have been discussed directly with the Green Line project team, the province said. According to the minister’s office, weekly meetings have been held with the city.

“The Green Line LRT will move forward once the Province and the City complete the required due diligence,” read an email response from Mckenzie Kibler, press secretary to Minister McIver.

“We will not be held to an arbitrary timeline at the expense of a functional transit project.”

In a follow up, Kibler said the delay claim was false.

“Minister McIver has never said – to anyone or to any effect – that he would wait until the municipal election before the project begins construction. The Minister flatly denies this claim.” Kibler wrote.

Details of the Green Line review

In a letter dated Nov. 20, Ward 12 Coun. Shane Keating, who chairs the city’s Green Line committee, said they needed to see the provincial review.

“It is unfortunate, that to date, the Green Line Team have not received Mr. (Nick) Hann’s report. This makes it difficult to address any issues without actually seeing what was reported,” Coun. Keating wrote.

“Six weeks have passed since we received the Honourable Ric McIver’s letter, and while there is a lot of discussion, there is very little action being taken.”

Keating asked for a list of specific concerns so they can be addressed.

When asked, the province said that with an active procurement for the Green Line already underway and the commercially sensitive information in the review, they and the city agreed the report shouldn’t be shared publicly.

In response to Minister McIver’s evening tweet, Coun. Keating said the city’s asked for specific information so they can address provincial concerns.

“The City has not received one word or one number on paper to clarify concerns,” he wrote, adding that the city has sent them scads of data and no reply has been provided.

“Can not [sic] continue on discussions that never go into detail.”

Keating said he’s never stated they want to delay the project. They just need answers to move forward.

Potential delays are concerning: LRTOG

Transit advocate LRT on the Green was copied on Coun. Keating’s correspondence to the province.

They said the results of the review are “shrouded in mystery.” Any hiccups with the timeline could jeopardize a 2021 start.

“Given the fact Green Line Stage 1 will create over 12,000 jobs and provide a $4.5 billion stimulus to Alberta’s economy we are left to wonder why the provincial government isn’t working day and night with the City of Calgary to find solutions to outstanding concerns so that shovels can go in the ground as scheduled next summer,” said Jeff Binks, president of LRT on the Green.

The city put out the stage 1 RFP in July this year. Construction was set to begin in 2021.

Source: https://livewirecalgary.com/2020/12/09/minister-mciver-denies-pushing-for-green-line-rfp-delay/