LRT on the minds of Calgary voters during Ward 12 candidates forum
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Public transportation was at the forefront for voters Wednesday night, in a part of the city looking for its fair share of the LRT.
The Ward 12 forum held at the Cardel Theatre in Quarry Park Wednesday night was latest in the CivicCamp hosted series, slated to last up until the election, allowing candidates in all wards to debate in public prior to the Oct. 21 municipal election.
Ward 12 incumbent, Shane Keating, and challenger Stephanie Kusie, exchanged ideas — and occasionally barbs — on a variety of topics. But the issue that dominated the evening was transportation. Specifically, the southeast LRT extension.
“People definitely want to see the light-rail transit, this is absolutely the greatest need in Ward 12,” said Kusie.
Councillor Keating was quick to point to the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) as a short term solution while residents wait for the LRT to be built, but also said Ward 12 residents have seen results on the LRT issue.
“We have now $12 million being spent on the final engineering and design of the LRT, we have $3 million being spent on transit-oriented development of the LRT, and the potential for that is huge,” he said.
Kusie says the people she’s spoken to don’t want to wait for the estimated completion date of 2039. “Why aren’t we looking at P3 solutions, like Vancouver did with the Canada line? Like Ottawa has done recently with SNC-Lavalin?” said Kusie.
Apart from the LRT, both candidates agreed that Ward 12 residents need alternative ways to commute. Kusie would push for more bike storage at LRT stations and on buses. Councillor Keating said he wants to see a bike lane run parallel to every LRT line.
On the hot-button issue of transparency, both candidates announced plans to publicly release their donor lists, but Kusie had concerns about the effectiveness of a simple release.
“I think it’s very easy for corporations and organizations to hide behind individuals,” she said.
The next CivicCamp debates are Thursday night (Sept. 26) for both Ward 3 (Harvest Hills Alliance Church), and 10 (Marlborough Community Association Hall) at 7 p.m.