With Ottawa’s net debt rising to more than $1 billion in the last four years, the city cannot afford to borrow more money, said mayoral candidate Andy Haydon.

“We are not in good financial shape,” Haydon said yesterday. “During Larry (O’Brien)’s four years of stewardship, the net debt has risen to over one billion dollars ... This is a tripling of debt.”

While Haydon said Ottawa is not exceeding the Ontario Municipal Board limits, “it doesn’t save you from a huge debt and a huge increase in taxes that you have to pay for.”

The interest rate on this $1-billion debt is $80 million a year, Haydon said. “Where is the money going to come from?”

Generally speaking, the city should stop borrowing, Haydon said. “You can’t have it both ways — decrease your taxes and increase your borrowing.”

In order to avoid the second billion-dollar debt for the LRT proposal, the city has no option but to choose bus rapid transit, said Haydon.

“My proposal will cost nothing to the taxpayer ... I am the only candidate who can guarantee that the provincial uploaded funds will be used for the intended purpose — affordable housing.”

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