Ottawa LRT settlement reached for $36.7M

Ottawa councillors voted Friday morning to pay $36.7 million in out-of-court settlements for two lawsuits filed after the city cancelled its light-rail project.

Ottawa city councillors voted Friday morning to pay a total of $36.7 million in out-of-court settlements for two lawsuits filed after the municipality cancelled a light-rail project.

Councillors voted 17-4 in favour of the settlements. A separate breakdown of the two payments wasn't immediately available.

The vote was held after Mayor Larry O'Brien called an emergency council meeting.

The contract for the $778-million LRT project was cancelled three years ago. Shortly after, Siemens Canada, PCL Constructors and Ottawa LRT Corp. announced they would sue the city for $177 million.

When a settlement proposal was put forward then, the city turned it down.

In September 2007, St. Lawrence Cement Inc. announced it was launching a separate $40.5-million lawsuit against the city. That company offered to take $31.7 million in a settlement out of court.

The companies had all been contracted to build or maintain the proposed north-south transit line.

The line was cancelled when the city decided to go with a new plan that would include a tunnel through downtown Ottawa instead. The north-south plan had been approved in July 2006 under former mayor Bob Chiarelli, but was cancelled that December, shortly after O'Brien was elected mayor.

The 29.7-kilometre, 23-station rail line was to run north from Barrhaven to Lebreton Flats, then east through downtown to the University of Ottawa.