By Alvin Tsang
The public inquiry into Ottawa’s light rail transit (LRT) system continues to move forward, with a newly appointed commissioner, two final deadlines, feedback sessions with the public planned this spring, and more.
On May 25 and 26, the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Commission will host sessions to gather input from members of the public.
Kate McGrann, co-lead counsel for the commission, spoke with Kitchissippi Times to discuss the upcoming feedback sessions.
“The public meetings will provide an opportunity for people to share their views and thoughts on what happened regarding the Ottawa LRT system directly with the commissioner and his team,” McGrann said.
The feedback sessions will be held at the Shaw Centre from 7-9 p.m. on both May 25 and 26. The event will be livestreamed, and anyone can register to deliver statements in-person or remotely.
“We invite all who are interested to attend and share experiences that will help the commission understand how Stage 1 of the OLRT project affected them and their communities,” McGrann said.
To sign up for the May 25 or 26 feedback sessions, visit ottawalrtpublicinquiry.ca
Registration isn’t mandatory to attend, but it is mandatory for anyone who wishes to deliver a statement in front of the commission. The last date to register is May 20 by 5 p.m.
The public inquiry was created on Dec. 16, 2021 to “investigate the circumstances in the procurement, delivery and operations of Stage 1 of the Ottawa Light Rail Transit system,that led to issues that have had a negative impact on the people of Ottawa,” according to the Ottawa LRT Public Inquiry’s website.
Since then, the Honourable Justice William Hourigan has been appointed commissioner of the independent public inquiry by the Ontario government.
Justice Hourigan has a distinguished 25-year career in law and was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court in 2009 and the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 2013. As the new commissioner, he will investigate all the technical and commercial circumstances that led to the LRT’s many derailments and stoppages.
A final report by Justice Hourigan is expected on or before Aug. 31, 2022. Alternatively, he will be allowed an extended deadline of Nov. 30, 2022 if the minister of transportation agrees in writing.
The commission will conclude its mandate by one of these two deadlines, and it’s confirmed that the final report will be published for public release consistent with the requirements of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.