Ottawa's light rail gets another chance

Ottawa's cancelled north-south electric light rail project might be built after all.

Contractors demand council decision by end of February

Ottawa's cancelled north-south electric light railproject might be built after all.

Coun. Diane Deans tabled a motionWednesday asking council toconsider reinstating its light rail contract with the companiesthat were to design, build and maintain theBarrhaven-to-downtown line.

Themotionwas brought forwardafterthe city received two letters from the contractorsWednesday morning,demanding the city choose one oftwo options.

In the first letter,thecompanies offered to accept $175.3 million "in full and final settlement of all claims against the city arising from the wrongful termination of the project agreement."

The amount includes direct costs of $25.3 million and $150 million in lost opportunities, profits and damages.

The second letter said that the companies arealternatively willing to go forward with the original $778-million contract if the city agrees to pay anextra $70 million and makes its decision by the end of February.

The letterswere addressed to city manager Kent Kirkpatrick and thedirector of strategic projects, Réjean Chartrand,andwere signed by Robert Weber and Brad Nelson, the directors of the Ottawa LRT Corporation, the groupmade up ofthe contracted companies, Siemens-PCL/Dufferin.

In order for council to reconsider its decision, council regulations require that "new information" come to light. If Mayor Larry O'Brien decides that the letters constitute new information, then council will be able to vote on whether to reinstate the contract.

The proposed electric north-south light rail line was to run from Barrhaven through downtown to the University of Ottawa.

In July, the previous city council approveda $778-million light rail contract withSiemens-PCL/Dufferin to design, build and maintain theline.

On Nov. 13, a new city council was elected, and in December, they voted tocancel the light rail contract.