Edmonton groups demand more info on LRT expansion

Watch above: Several groups are demanding more information from City Hall about the LRT Valley Line. As Vinesh Pratap explains, they’re worried some of the details for the project are shrouded in secrecy.

EDMONTON – Five groups have teamed up to demand more information on the City of Edmonton’s LRT proposal from Mill Woods to downtown.

Three companies are vying to build and operate the Valley Line, which is being constructed as a P3.

“The LRT planners have not met their own commitment, and City Council’s direction, to conduct the procurement process in a manner that is ‘as open and transparent as possible,'” said Paul Bunner, Cloverdale Community League Civics Director.

Read More: City prepares for major changes to popular River Valley trails, footbridge

There is documentation related the LRT line, but a number of sections are blacked out.

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Public Interest Alberta has initiated a FOIP request to have the information become public.

The group says it supports the LRT project, but it has concern about certain elements that can’t be addressed without seeing all the documents.

“The Edmonton Ski Club supports the Valley Line, but is frustrated with this LRT planning process,” said Ken Saunders, President of the Edmonton Ski Club.

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“We have been verbally promised many things that are integral to our redevelopment plan but have not materialized in print.”

There’s concern commitments made to communities during the planning process might not be followed through.

Read More: Design of LRT Valley Line unveiled; project still missing more than $500 million

Councillor Scott McKeen understands the group’s concerns.

He’s heard city administration’s concern about releasing all of the information is how it would effect the future of the project.

“If we release all of the RFP documents and somebody wanted to make this a big political issue, then we could scare off some of the bidders.”

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McKeen believes the city has been put in an awkward position because of the federal government’s P3 grant for the project.

“I was told the last time the city did LRT construction there was an RFP document, but nobody asked for it. So why is everybody interested in it this time? It’s because it’s a P3…raises suspicion.”

McKeen questions whether the P3 model is ideal for the project.

“The idea is it may save money in the long run. It may, but at what cause to public confidence in their elected officials.”

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