Coun. Mike Nickel figures he’s kept quiet long enough about the group of companies behind the building of the Valley Line LRT.
Nickel has blogged that TransEd has a communication problem – it’s too secretive. He’s looking for, but not getting, answers to questions from his constituents.
“In terms of this billion dollar project, I just call it a complete utter communication failure and my frustration has boiled to the top.”
Nickel said it started last year when his office took a call, wondering why a lengthy row of mature trees were chopped down on 66 Street. He was shocked that the P3 consortium, TransEd did the levelling without any warning.
“To this date I still don’t have a replacement plan, I still don’t know what they’re doing in terms of the shrubbery,” Nickel told iNews880.
“This stuff was all supposed to be worked out in the contract prior, and this is just a small, small item,” he said. “For the people along that street those were big mature trees and they were pretty shocked and to them it wasn’t a small item.”
The Ward 11 councillor has been fielding all kinds of questions from the people living where the Valley Line is going, from residents who want to know how their day to day lives are going to be affected.
“These are what my constituents are asking me. They’re very simple, basic questions,” Nickel said. “When is this happening? When is that happening? From basic construction schedules and so forth. I don’t even know that, and we’re already one year into the project.”
For instance one man wondered how long Nickel figures he’ll have to cross an intersection, both during construction and when the trains are finally running through 43 Ave and 66 Street. Nickel said he’s confident TransEd knows the plan for how long a light will stay red one way and green the other, but they’re not giving it up.
“I couldn’t give this guy an answer,” Nickel said. “This is a senior who said ‘will I have to wait in the middle of the road?’
“These are performance things that were all supposed to be worked out ahead of time.”
Nickel doesn’t blame the city administration, giving it credit for doing a good job negotiating the contract.
“The communication of this project is not being transmitted clearly and under the terms of the contract to the public that serves the public interest. It’s not the city’s fault, and it’s not your politicians’ fault, but the city and the politicians need to hold these people to account.”
The Valley Line LRT is a $1.8 billion contract that was awarded in March of 2016.