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Ottawa transit commission chair says public confidence and morale at ‘all time low’: memo

An LRT train on OC Transpo's new O-Train Confederation Line departs Lees Station in Ottawa, on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.
An LRT train on OC Transpo's new O-Train Confederation Line departs Lees Station in Ottawa, on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

In a memo to other Ottawa transit commission members, Coun. Allan Hubley, chairperson, says reports in the media and on social media have lowered confidence in the city’s staff.

The memo was addressed to “Sarah and members of the transit commission” — in reference to Sarah Wright-Gilbert, one of the commissioners who was particularly vocal on social media about the LRT’s shortcomings.

“Some of the comments made over the past couple of weeks in the media and on social media are helping to destroy any remaining faith or confidence our ridership has in the system,” said Hubley in the memo.

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“I think it is fair to say that we all want the issues with the system fixed and our questions answered.”

The memo comes a day after a call for an emergency meeting of the transit commission was denied. The meeting, according to commission member and councillor Catherine McKenney, would be held in order for councillors to get answers as to why the delays are so extensive.

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“Its unacceptable,” said McKenney.

McKenney goes on to say that councillors have been left in the dark when it comes to information on the status of the system, and when constituents come for answers, they don’t have any to give them.

Politicians, media ride LRT trains ahead of Confederation Line’s handover to city
Politicians, media ride LRT trains ahead of Confederation Line’s handover to city

Hubley says if an emergency meeting were to be held this week, staff would have little to share. Instead, Hubley said if the city sticks to the meeting scheduled for next week, most of their questions should be able to be answered by staff.

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“Staff do not have all the answers yet,” said Hubley.

“We have support coming in from other cities to help us and by early next week we should have a much better picture as to what needs to be done.”

When asked to comment on the memo, Gilbert confirmed that she did receive it, but was unable to comment further.

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“I can confirm that I received an email from Chair Hubley,” she said. “All transit commissioners were copied, plus a couple of city councillors.

“I am not comfortable commenting any further at this time.”

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A special meeting of the transit commission is scheduled to be held on Nov. 6 at noon.