Calgary, Alberta – March 19th, 2021 –
The possibility that construction will begin on Stage 1 of the Green Line in 2021 is quickly entering into the realm of fantasy as the deadline passes on the three month Green Line procurement pause that was announced late last year. The pause was announced to accommodate a provincial review into the project and allow everyone involved time to try and resolve a list of concerns that was delivered to the City of Calgary in early December.
“It now seems extremely unlikely we will see shovels in the ground on Green Line in 2021. We are told talks continue but after three months there should be a workable solution to any good-faith concerns that were raised,” said Jeff Binks, president of LRT on the Green. “The powers that be need to be reminded that the Green Line is not the City of Calgary’s project and it’s not the Government of Alberta’s project. This project belongs to the citizens of Calgary. We fought for it, we’re paying for it and we are tired of being left in the dark waiting for it. We are owed an explanation as to why this project can’t ever seem to overcome the obstacles that keep popping up to get shovels in the ground.”
The latest procurement pause was due to concerns being raised by the Government of Alberta as part of their review process on the project however it is simply the latest in a long list of delays to begin construction. Last year, the project went through a contentious debate at Calgary City Council to revise the downtown portion of the project as well as the procurement process. Prior to that, the Government of Alberta used legislation to insert a 90-day ‘without cause’ cancellation clause into the funding agreement which created a large amount of uncertainty amongst the companies looking to bid on construction. Last but not least, the Government of Alberta also cancelled $400 million in annual transit funding to Calgary and Edmonton that had been announced by the previous NDP government and was a critical financial component to continuous construction and building the remaining stages of Green Line.
“It is time for the City of Calgary and the Government of Alberta to put their cards on the table and show Calgarians what’s going on. Is this actually about addressing valid concerns or is this about the Province simply wanting things done their way? If the concerns are valid what are the solutions that can get things started this year? The folks involved in these discussions may feel they have all the time in the world, but for the Calgarians that are desperate to pick up a hammer and collect a paycheque building the Green Line we are way past any reasonable deadline. Stop talking and start building.” concluded Binks.