Now that the Downtown Ottawa Transit Tunnel has the go ahead from the provincial Ministry of the Environment, the city’s transit chair is calling the debate over the project dead.
“Debating about whether or not to proceed with the tunnel really means debating whether or not to press the reset button on the whole project,” Bay Ward Coun. Alex Cullen said yesterday.
“There is not the appetite on this council and there is not the appetite in the public to go back to square one.”
Since the environmental assessment only looked at the impact of the tunnel, there would have to be a new EA for any surface light plan, said Cullen. Removing the tunnel would essentially void the entire rapid transit network said deputy city manager Nancy Schepers.
City council could still decide not to go forward with the tunnel, but it would then have to develop another option. That could take another four years of consultation and planning, just to the same stage as today, she said.
Of the leading candidates for mayor, only Clive Doucet is opposed to the tunnel. Mayor Larry O’Brien is one of the chief proponents.
Jim Watson wants to move forward with the project, but would cancel it if the tenders come back significantly more than projected.