Councillor's attempt to pause Calgary SW BRT defeated
Coun. Jeromy Farkas needed 10 votes to reevaluate costs on controversial transit plans
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Calgary’s Southwest Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) faced another round of scrutiny Monday, but the project will go on.
A motion from Coun. Jeromy Farkas to pause and reevaluate costs surrounding the controversial project was soundly defeated 11-3, with only Farkas, Coun. Joe Magliocca and Coun. Sean Chu supporting the motion.
Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart, who also put her name to Farkas’ motion, was absent from council.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi ruled as chair of the meeting that Farkas' motion asked for a reconsideration of a decision already made by council. That would take a two-thirds majority, or 10 of the 15 votes.
Although it seemed very evident from the start that Farkas did not have the votes, or possibly even someone to second the motion for debate, Mayor Naheed Nenshi made it clear he wanted the issue debated.
“To be fair – Coun. Farkas campaigned hard on this motion, and he deserved to have this debate,” said Nenshi.
Farkas then attempted a procedural move, which would with council's approval allow for a 50 per cent plus one vote on the matter. Council was having none of it.
Coun. Shane Keating said approving the request would be undermining every decision by every chair at every meeting at the future.
Administration gave a detailed update on the entire BRT network before opening the floor to councillors questions.
Coun. Peter Demong expressed his frustration at having to revisit the project again.
“We have looked at this upside down, sideways and frontways,” said the Ward 14 councillor. “It seems every six months to a year we’re going through the southwest BRT.”
He asked city manager Jeff Fielding if another review was likely to draw any new conclusions.
“The best we could do is to validate our current assumptions,” said Fielding.
Farkas said he will continue to hold administration accountable on the costs of the project
“Every step of the way I’m not going to shy away from scrutinizing the numbers,” he said.
And was he upset the Coun. Colley-Urquhart was nowhere to be found?
“I guess you could say I got thrown under the bus,” said Farkas.