Ottawa

Public hearings for LRT inquiry to begin next month

Public hearings into Ottawa’s problem-plagued light rail network are scheduled to take place over four weeks from June 13 to July 8.

Province to hold hearings to investigate 'breakdowns and derailments' of the system

The Ontario government announced the inquiry after after two derailments of Ottawa's light rail transit network, one of which closed down the two-year-old system for weeks. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

Public hearings into Ottawa's problem-plagued light rail network are scheduled to take place over four weeks from June 13 to July 8.

The hearings will be held at the University of Ottawa, with "a mandate to investigate the commercial and technical circumstances that led to Stage 1 breakdowns and derailments," according to a release from the commission that will conduct the public inquiry.

"Key witnesses" of those involved in the LRT project will testify under oath.

The City of Ottawa is one of 10 parties with formal standing for the inquiry. City manager Steve Kanellakos said Wednesday the municipality has provided the commission with more than 500,000 documents, and a list of dozens of witnesses dating back to 2007.

Many of those interviews have taken place — Mayor Jim Watson said he had his session with commission counsel a couple of weeks ago.

The city is now waiting to find out which witnesses will be called on to testify in public. 

The hearings will be open to the public and media, and will be live streamed in both English and French.

There will also be two public meetings before the hearings — on May 25 and 26 at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa from 7 to 9 p.m. — "to allow people to share their views."

The Ontario government announced it would launch a public inquiry into the city's LRT network late last year.

The Progressive Conservatives made the move after two derailments, one of which closed down the two-year-old system for weeks.

Ottawa city council had rejected the idea of requesting such an inquiry itself — an idea championed by Coun. Catherine McKenney — and instead settled on an investigation by the city's auditor general.

The auditor general said she is no longer pursuing an audit of LRT, given the wide mandate of the province's Ottawa Light Rail Transit Commission.

Provincial Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney said in a previously released statement that the issues plaguing Stage 1 of the LRT network have been "unacceptable and disappointing."

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story stated the city had provided 500 documents for the inquiry. In fact, the city provided more than 500,000 documents.
    May 12, 2022 8:44 AM ET

With files from Kate Porter

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