Only a few years ago many at City Hall thought the Green Line was just a pipe dream. However, through consistent and determined advocacy, it has become a near reality. The Green Line will start construction in 2020, and will be Calgary’s most ambitious, City changing infrastructure project, and I am very proud to have helped push this project forward over the past few years!
The Green Line will completely reshape Calgary and will completely change Ward 4 as the Green Line will come up Centre Street and head north. This LRT extension will bring changes to our Ward by making the transit stations public hubs, on top of our community associations. It will mean Transit Orientated Development (TOD) that will focus on higher density, main street style shopping and living. These changes will mean that many communities in Ward 4 will be a draw to new residents who want to have this type of density, and inner city living.
For all these benefits, there are challenges that we need to overcome so that Ward 4 gets the LRT stations that I, and all Calgarians, were told to expect with the $4.6 billion price tag. A price tag that I was sold, and what I pushed my colleagues on all levels to support.
In May, the City recommended a phased approached to the Green Line and caught many Calgarians off guard – including many of us on Council. We were shocked when they recommended a phased approach, with 22 km that would only go from 126 Avenue SE to 16th Avenue NE for the same price tag as the original proposal. Along with my Federal colleagues, we were aghast at the complete change in scope, and once again felt that the Centre North was being ignored.
For those who attended the many open houses, and for the tens of thousands of residents whose doors I knocked on last summer to talk about the Green Line – many felt that we had been duped, and rightly so.
Ward 4 has many older communities, and the Centre North has for too long been ignored by City Hall at the expense of new communities in the suburbs, and the downtown. The Green Line was our turn to renew our communities, ease the traffic congestion on Centre Street, and grow our communities with more density.
Make no mistake; the Green Line is coming to Ward 4.
I am always up for a challenge, and in my frustration by City Hall administration on this turn around, I once again see what my focus must continue to be: get the Green Line to Ward 4 as we were promised!
Construction starts in 2020, and in that time the City will be purchasing up to 300 properties along Centre Street in order to prepare for the Line’s north extension. That is why I asked administration to do the following:
- a) Direct administration to develop scenarios for building the remainder of the Green Line, showing the construction timelines once funding is secured for stations north of 16th Avenue, and south of 126 Ave SE;
- b) Direct administration to seek funding options so that the remainder of the line can continue to be constructed, without interruption, once the opening day scenario is completed;
- c) Direct administration to continue land acquisition of Centre North properties and develop funding options, in advance of construction; and
- d) Direct administration to host open houses to provide residents and businesses that are not part of the opening day scenario with information regarding the completion of the Green Line.
The City has 3 years until we start construction to find savings and funding options so that when the Green Line opens for operations in 2026, the minute the ribbon is cut, the shovels continue north of 16th Avenue as planned. The City must work hard to make sure that Ward 4 is ready for construction, so that land purchases and design work is done on time, and so that the Green Line will continue north as originally planned. This is my focus, if re-elected, to make sure Ward 4 is ready, and the work involved is done right, with community consultation, and plans that have the stations integrated into our community centres.
I never back down from a challenge, and I will not back down now. I, along with our local MP, worked hard for the initial funding, and I will not stop focusing on this issue until the City achieves the savings and funding it needs to get the job done 100%.