Public Interest Alberta has been has been raising concerns about the privatization of Edmonton's Southeast LRT line since the 2013 municipal election and is now working with several groups under the banner of Edmonton River Valley Stakeholders. Our Executive Director Bill Moore-Kilgannon, who is also the President of the Riverdale Community League, is an active participant in the coalition. The following is a press release the group issued today:
Groups challenge City to release full SE LRT Request for Proposals
EDMONTON—Today representatives of five North Saskatchewan River Valley stakeholder groups called on the City of Edmonton to release the more than 1,500 redacted pages in the Request for Proposals on the $1.8 billion Southeast LRT project.
“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. “The River Valley stakeholders support the Southeast LRT project, but we have several unresolved concerns about design elements and construction scheduling that cannot be addressed without seeing those details in the RFP.”
“We have received assurances related to concerns about the LRT tunnel under one of our housing co-ops, environmental impacts during construction, and construction staging impacts on local roads and valley trails,” said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, President of the Riverdale Community League and Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “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.”
“The Edmonton Ski Club supports the Valley Line, but is frustrated with this LRT planning process,” said Ken Saunders, President of the Edmonton Ski Club. “We have been verbally promised many things that are integral to our redevelopment plan but have not materialized in print. We have approached this as good citizens and yet have not been given the courtesy of a frank answer.”
“The Edmonton Folk Music Festival recognizes the importance of the Valley Line LRT and became involved in the early stages of the public engagement process and secured commitments from City Council and LRT Administration to ensure the integrity of the Folk Festival,” said Bob Meyer, Chair of the LRT Liaison Committee for the EFMF board. “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.”
“The City is asking us to trust them despite the fact that the ‘extensive' public engagement process was nothing more than a means to mislead us into believing concerns were being addressed and promises were being made,” said Connors Hill spokesperson Lorrie Deutscher. Connors Hill Residents have submitted 22 questions in response to the RFP. It’s not too late. 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.”
The valley stakeholders each submitted a list of questions responding the RFP to their respective City Councillors and LRT planners, as invited under a motion passed by Council in July.Public Interest Alberta has filed a freedom of Information request for all appendices and Volume 2 of the RFP. A request for public release of documents into the P3 Canada Line in Vancouver resulted in 2009 in the BC privacy commissioner saying there was no justification for keeping the concession agreement private and ordered it released.