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LRT decision parked by Edmonton council

As far as omens go, the LRT public hearing started with a doozy. MayorStephen Mandel was only partway through his review of the procedure forpublic comment when his carafe went crashing to the floor.

As far as omens go, the LRT public hearing started with a doozy. Mayor Stephen Mandel was only partway through his review of the procedure for public comment when his carafe went crashing to the floor.

The ensuing commotion was punctuated by some words that I'll refrain from repeating. They should have been saved for four days later when the process came to a rather unceremonious end.

Not only was there no decision to move forward with the Stony Plain alignment for the west LRT -- a plan that was on the table in no small part because of the mayor -- but the entire process seemed to fall to pieces.

The complete lack of agreement was a strong counterpoint to accusations the public hearing process was a sham, but it was frustrating for those who just wanted a decision.

Sure, council didn't rush a decision they were clearly unprepared to make. They also seem to now recognize that whatever route's on the table at any given time will seem to have the most opposition.

But, as Ward 5 Coun. Don Iveson predicted, there was "an amazing display of parliamentary chicanery" in which the "LRT decision [was] deferred in a circuitous way."

Ward 4 Coun. Jane Batty moved to amend a referral motion to have administration take a look at 107 Ave. Ward 1 Coun. Sloan moved to amend the amendment to look at 87 Ave. again, while fellow Ward 1 Coun. Karen Leibovici moved to amend the amendment's amendment with a 100/107 Ave. combination.

Iveson essentially called a time-out in an attempt to get everyone to realize that this was getting ridiculous.

Ward 6 Coun. Amarjeet Sohi then pointed out that because of the way the bylaw was structured, they couldn't pass the west, southeast, and north LRT lines separately, which looked for a time like it might delay construction of the north leg.

Ward 3 Coun. Tony Caterina, true to form, used the opportunity to take another ridiculous swing at that line because it dares to go near City Centre Airport.

Ward 2 Kim Krushell reminded everyone that Edmonton is not going to get any more lines at this rate, and Ward 4 Coun. Ben Henderson tweeted "why break with history, once again we prove our skill at indecision over LRT."

Ward 5 Coun. Bryan Anderson just wanted more information, Ward 6's Dave Thiele just wanted everyone to go home and have some dinner, and the mayor pointed out that they don't have any money anyway.

Then they finally voted - on whether to shift a meeting so they could take a tour of the new art gallery. The LRT debate, it seems, will be back mid-December, but I'll have more next week.