How to complete Ottawa’s next phase LRT or any major project on time

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture

Oct 10

Every year since I can remember MTO (ministry of transportation for Ontario) has been doing work somewhere along the Queensway–highways 417 and 174.

You’ve heard the joke before: There are only two seasons in Ottawa–winter and construction.

It’s one of the prices we’ve paid for not embracing light rail a lot earlier than we did (and being the only G8 capital without light rail or subway or metro) plus also not finishing the (bus) transitway either. Ottawa has done a lot of that–not finishing projects over the years.Think about construction of the Ottawa Civic Centre, for example, in the 1960s–city council of the day decided to lop off one side of the stadium/arena (for a relatively low cost saving of $1 million) making the place available to just 10,000 fans instead of 15,000, meaning that when the Ottawa Senators arrived in town in the early 1990s, they couldn’t stay downtown because the arena seating capacity was too low.

I am not an expert in highway design, but one thing I do know–we need light rail to Orleans, Kanata, Barrhaven, and the airport, as soon as possible to ease congestion. Plus, we need to get it completed on time and on budget. It’s bad enough to put up with all the hassle–delay just makes it worse. Once it’s completed, it will be really important to make sure that the local bus schedule ties into those LRT (light rail transit) stations so that people make maximum use of it and reduce congestion as much as possible. To get LRT completed on time and on budget, it’s my belief that the city needs to appoint a project facilitator who works for the city not the contractor. You’ve heard the expression, “One throat to choke?” The city needs ONE person who is ultimately responsible to council to ensure delivery of this key piece of infrastructure, and who also has the power to sweep away obstacles that lead to cost increases and delays.

Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (civil), M Eng-Sci, PhD
Real Estate Investment and Business coach
Century 21 Explorer Realty Inc broker
Ottawa Senators founder
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Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.

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