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Bill Smith wants to axe Calgary Green Line tunnel in favour of longer line

Mayoral candidate is proposing to rethink the middle-first approach to Calgary's biggest LRT project

Mayoral candidate Bill Smith speaks to reporters after filing his nomination paperwork.


Mayoral candidate Bill Smith speaks to reporters after filing his nomination paperwork.

The Green Line needs a rethink – that's what mayoral candidate Bill Smith is campaigning on.

But what he means, as he told Metro, is that the city shouldn't be spending money on the downtown tunnel, or the tunnel under the Bow, but that Calgary needs to decide if the Green Line will go all the way north, or all the way south.

"Why don't we have a terminus maybe at Stampede park or where the Red Line is and go as far south as we can go," said Smith. "That makes more sense in terms of being pragmatic. We build the middle section and then what do we have?"

He said right now the Green Line is being done in three pieces but he wants to make it work one way or the other by sitting down with the new council to see if the current plan is meeting the city's transportation priorities.

"Somebody dropped the ball here, somebody didn't do their math," said Smith about the fact that the city's vision turned from a $4.5 billion dollar 46-kilometre line into a $4.65 billion 20 kilometre line. "If those are the types of errors that are being made we need to be double checking."

Beltline Neighbourhood Association president Peter Oliver said Smith's idea isn't good and he'll keep his trust in the experts and engineers that were brought in to analyze the ins and outs of the line.

"Throwing out an idea like this, I don't know if it's half-baked, it's not even baked," said Oliver. "It's out of the freezer."

Jeff Binks from LRT on the Green Foundation said the Green Line has been the most exhaustive public consultation process in the city and the final product is a result of the input of Calgarians, experts and businesses.

"I would say that someone who feels the project could be done better or differently is showing that they're not really familiar with the project at all," said Binks. "If Bill Smith plans to decide that the Green Line will only go north or only go south, he needs to be upfront before election day about which group of Calgarians are about to lose out."

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