A meeting scheduled for April 23, to reveal Calgary City Council’s preferred alignment of the Green Line LRT through the downtown core, has been postponed to June 1.
The meeting was scheduled to take place after several community engagement sessions, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those sessions were cancelled to avoid public health risks.
In January, council’s Green Line Committee was presented an alignment with a bridge over the Bow River — as opposed to a deep tunnel — as well as the elimination of some underground stations.
The plan also showed the Green Line running at grade on Centre street to 16 Avenue north.
In February, public engagement sessions were scheduled but then cancelled in March due to the pandemic –pushing back the next stage of the project.
Ward 12 Coun., and member of the Green Line Committee, Shane Keating, said he believes online engagement sessions could be set-up in place of in-person meetings.
“Public engagement could continue in small groups through teleconferencing or zoom,” Keating said.
“I think issues could be resolved before June 1, and we could move forward.”
Keating said the process could be similar to what city council has already implemented for their public hearings — having residents engage remotely.
“It gives credibility to the project, to other levels of government, that we’re still moving forward,” he said.
“It also gives a positive message to the industry, to say we are still doing what we planned to do in the original schedule of construction in early 2021.”
He added that the delay of the meeting should not hold up the release of the request for proposals (RFP) to purchase light-rail vehicles, or for construction of the south-leg of the line from Elbow River to the community of Shepard.
The RFP’s would go out in May and July respectively, he said.
Keating added that post-Covid-19, the Green Line project will play an important role in the city’s economic recovery.
“The south section by itself will create 12,000 indirect jobs and 8,000 indirect jobs,” he said.
“This project has become more vital for economic benefit probably than it has in the past, it’s always been there, but now I think it’s even more vital that we get out and create jobs and boost the economy.”
The Green Line LRT project is slated to add 46 kilometres of track to the existing 59 kilometre LRT system, connecting communities between Keystone and Seton to downtown Calgary.