Blog | November 06, 2014

By Dave Lazzarino, Edmonton SunEdmonton's capital budget made it clear the LRT is the main priority for the city's money in the next four years.But a group of stakeholder groups in the area are concerned that the spending of the $1.8 billion on the project isn't as transparent as it should be."The LRT planners have not met their own commitment, and city council's direction, to conduct the procurement process in a manner that is as open and transparent as possible," said Paul Bunner, Cloverdale Community League civics director.Bunner went on to say a group of five River Valley stakeholders support the project but several "unresolved concerns about design elements and construction scheduling" exist and can't be dealt with in a public way without seeing more than 1,500 redacted pages from the project's request for proposals (RFP).Bill Moore-Kilgannon, president of the Riverdale Community League and executive director of Public Interest Alberta, a non-profit public interest advocacy group, said he has received assurances from the city about the LRT tunnel under housing co-ops, environmental impacts of construction and impacts on roads and valley trails, but nothing in writing."The RFP is the framework for the ultimate project agreement with the successful bidder, so unless we see commitments that address our concerns in the document, we have no certainty they will be in the final contract, which will also be kept from the public," Moore-Kilgannon said.Ken Saunders of the Edmonton Ski Club echoed those remarks, as did Edmonton Folk Fest LRT liaison committee chair Bob Meyer, saying verbal promises have been made but no supportive documentation has been made available in print."To our disappointment, these commitments are being withheld from us, along with other important design and construction details in the RFP and Project Agreement that will affect our ability to develop an effective Emergency Response Plan and future site enhancements," said Meyer.Connors Hill spokeswoman Lorrie Deutscher said residents there have submitted a list of 22 questions about the RFP and hopes answers will help regain their trust in city planners."It's not too late," Deutscher said. "A successful LRT project is still possible and trust can still be gained, if the city can release the RFP and fully engage the stakeholders to ensure these concerns and promises have been included."A freedom of information request has been filed by Public Interest Alberta for parts of the RFP they feel has been unfairly kept from the public.david.lazzarino@sunmedia.ca@SUNDaveLazzRead the article on the Edmonton Sun's website