March 27, 2018
London's BRT Team Misses Critical Deadline.... this Council Now Out of the Decision Making Loop
CTV London reports - https://london.ctvnews.ca/video?binId=1.1807099 - story begins at 3:09
That's right... the multi-million dollar team of consultants, Shift London and city staff putting together a critical report about the environmental impact of the project will miss the April 10, 2018 deadline for a detailed recommendation going to Council.
This may sound insignificant.....it is NOT insignificant. The present council is now effectively out of the decision making loop and will NOT make the final call on BRT!
Here’s the explanation:
The City of London and its consultants have been working on the provincially required environmental report for London’s proposed BRT plan. Provincial law mandates this report be submitted before any funding for the project can be considered. When the environmental report is approved at city hall it then goes to the province for a mandatory 180-day plus review. If and only if it passes that juncture, it then proceeds to an extensive review in Ottawa. The federal government has already promised a meticulous review that will also take time and will likely take the project to 2019 before the paper shuffle really begins.
But what about that money the provincial politicians promised? The harsh reality is that without a completed and approved environmental assessment, no one is cutting a cheque to London. This is all good theatre but not based on the reality of following provincial law. The premier and cabinet ministers can't override legal requirements by calling a news conference to state provincial funds are on the way.
By missing this April 10 deadline and in the midst of a civic election campaign, citizens now have an election issue. Londoners who question the viability of BRT can ask candidates if they want this plan or to develop something that works.
Council members seeking re-election will face tough questions. To date, many councillors have been avoiding questions about expropriation and real construction costs. Most members of council have ignored and avoided so called consultation meetings that in fact were one-sided lectures.
Londoners deserve improved public transit. Even the federal government committed just over $200-million for improved transit but not necessarily the Shift London BRT.
What to do? Become a municipal candidate; ask all candidates where they stand on London’s BRT.
This is now in Londoners hands, make good use of this time to protect an increase in taxes and assist in the development of a good transit system built on the needs of users, not politicians looking for photo opportunities.