Since our inception in May of 2014, the LRT on the Green Foundation has been involved in several initiatives to try and further the construction of the Green Line LRT. Looking back to the time of the Foundation’s incorporation it is important to remember that the Green Line was still only a concept. The City of Calgary had committed $520 million over ten years to move forward with the construction of the South East Transitway (SETWAY) and studies were ongoing to re-align the North Central LRT away from the Nose Creek Valley to allow it to be connected to the SETWAY through the downtown. The City of Calgary hadn’t even formally decided to rename the LRT lines after various colours… we launched our name and logo with the hopes that the combined LRT lines really would be called the Green Line as anticipated.
– 2014 –
- Community Support Campaign Launched – Over the summer of 2014, we reached out to various community organisations along the Green Line to ask them to write letters explaining their support for Green Line and why it was important to their community.
- In the fall of 2014 we launched our postcard campaign. We attended various community events and asked Calgarians to fill out postcards addressed to their MPs and MLAs telling them why Green Line was important and asking for funding to be made a priority.
- In December of 2014 we launched our ‘$52 Million Challenge’ campaign. The letter writing campaign focussed on advocacy towards the municipal, provincial and federal governments. The community support letters that we had assembled over the course of 2014 were included as attachments to our advocacy letters. The campaign focused on several main themes:
- We asked Calgary City Council to extend their ten year $52 million annual commitment to thirty years for a total municipal contribution of $1.56 billion
- We asked the Government of Canada to commit to either $520 million by 2020 to fund construction of the Green Line LRT from 4th Street SE to Douglasdale Station or to commit $990 million by 2022 (an amount that was equal to a recent federal funding commitment to extend a subway line in Toronto) to allow for construction of the Green Line LRT from 24th Ave N to Quarry Park.
- We asked the Government of Alberta to match our asks of the Government of Canada and commit either $520 million or $990 million towards the Green Line.
– 2015 –
- In February of 2015 we teamed up with Councillor Shane Keating and took word of the Green Line on the road. While it may be hard to imagine now, back then very few Calgarians had heard about the Green Line and the same could be said for most provincial and federal politicians representing the city. We made it our mission to try and educate as many people as possible about the significance of the Green Line for Calgary.
- By May of 2015 the Government of Canada had announced its intention to create a national public transit fund. The Foundation began a media blitz advocating for the City of Calgary to extend the ten year $52 million annual funding commitment to thirty years to signal to the Government of Canada that the Green Line was the infrastructure priority for Calgary.
- In July of 2015 the Government of Canada announced its intention to fund up to one third of the then total estimated cost of the Green Line LRT. The Foundation was invited to attend the announcement. With this announcement, total funding for the Green Line reached $2.1 billion.
- In September of 2015 the Foundation hosted our Green Line Community Conference. The conference was attended by members of almost 20 community organisations from along the Green Line and featured presentations by Mayor Nenshi and staff from Calgary Transit and the City of Calgary Transportation Department. The conference was a way to try and highlight areas of mutual interest between Green Line north and Green Line south east communities as well as a way to introduce and connect community leaders who shared mutual areas of interest. It was also a ‘gut check’ moment to verify that the City of Calgary had been living up to community engagement expectations.
- In the fall of 2015 the Foundation launched our ‘Bus Stop Blitz’ campaign. Volunteers spent time speaking to Calgarians at BRT stops along the Green Line corridors and encouraged Calgarians to write the Government of Alberta and the City of Calgary and ask them to match the Government of Canada’s $1.53 billion in Green Line funding.
- In December of 2015 Councillor Shane Keating along with nine other Councillors brought forward a notice of motion to extend the $52 million in annual funding for the Green Line from ten years to thirty years. The notice of motion passed and funding for the Green Line was officially at $3.09 billion.
– 2016 –
- In the spring of 2016 the Foundation turned its focus towards the Government of Alberta to try and get matching funding. Members of the Foundation met with various MLAs to inform them about the project and advocate for its funding. Members of the Foundation also met with representatives of Alberta Transportation to inform them about the project and try and encourage them to connect with City of Calgary Transportation staff.
- In October of 2016 the Foundation began our ‘Train in Ten’ advocacy campaign. The media and letter writing campaign encouraged the Government of Alberta to use revenue from the provincial carbon levy to commit funding of $1.53 billion for the Green Line over a period of ten years, allowing construction to begin on the LRT line.
– 2017 –
- In June of 2017 the final design alignment of the Green Line was brought forward to Calgary City Council. The Foundation spoke in favour of the final design plan. Part of the design plan was the official announcement that Green Line would need to be staged and that stage 1 of the Green Line would be 16th Ave N to Shepard. The Foundation launched our advocacy campaign to accelerate detailed design and land acquisition along Green Line N as well as requesting that an official staging plan be revealed to Calgarians as soon as possible.
- In July of 2017 the Government of Alberta announced $1.53 billion of funding for stage 1 of the Green Line over a period of 8 years using funds from the provincial carbon levy. The Foundation was invited to speak at the announcement alongside Premier Notley and Mayor Nenshi.
- In the fall of 2017 the Green Line became a contentious topic during the Calgary municipal election campaign. The Foundation commissioned an online poll to judge whether or not Calgarians still supported the project. The poll came back with results that showed that Green Line still had a large amount of support amongst Calgarians even if it was required to be staged.
- In the fall of 2017 the Foundation also began an advocacy campaign asking the Government of Canada to commit to an accelerated funding timeline that would closely match that of the Government of Alberta. An accelerated funding timeline would reduce the amount of interest required to be paid due to financing charges and would open up the possibility a greater length of track could be built for Green Line Stage 1.
– 2018 –
- In spring of 2018 the Foundation launched our advocacy campaign asking the City of Calgary to commit funding for land acquisition along Green Line North as well as to commit to a staging plan for the rest of the Green Line
- In May of 2018 the Government of Canada reaffirmed its pledge of $1.53 billion towards Green Line Stage 1 and committed to an accelerated funding timeline.
– 2019 –
- In spring of 2019 the City of Calgary announced that it had identified technical challenges with the Council approved centre city deep tunnel option. These technical challenges meant that Green Line Stage 1 would exceed the allocated budget envelope for the project and eliminated any tunnelling techniques that relied on the use of a tunnel boring machine. The City of Calgary launched a review of the centre city alignment (defined as the section between the Elbow River and 16th Ave N).
- With the review of the centre city alignment underway, the Foundation launched an advocacy campaign focussed on the need for any proposed solution to respect the original vision behind Green Line Stage 1. The Foundation defined the original vision as requiring a Stage 1 that kept the north-central and south-east corridors of the Green Line linked through the centre city to preserve one continuous line as well as ensuring that the northern terminus for Stage 1 remained in the community of Crescent Heights.
- In the fall of 2019 the Alberta Government announced that they would be delaying the initial portion of Green Line funding for several years and introduced Bill 20. This piece of legislation created the ability for cabinet to reverse the government’s commitment to Green Line funding with extremely short notice. The Foundation launched an advocacy campaign to raise awareness about Bill 20 and to secure public statements from the Alberta Government that they were still extremely committed to building Green Line Stage 1 on time despite the revised funding structure and the introduction of Bill 20.