City's LRT audit paused to make way for province's inquiry

·2 min read
Ottawa LRT trains move through the snow Nov. 12, 2019. A provincial inquiry into the decisions leading up to its launch and technical problems after that is expected to be done by November 2022 at the latest. (Francis Ferland/CBC - image credit)
Ottawa LRT trains move through the snow Nov. 12, 2019. A provincial inquiry into the decisions leading up to its launch and technical problems after that is expected to be done by November 2022 at the latest. (Francis Ferland/CBC - image credit)

Ottawa's auditor general says her team is going to step back from its work on the city's light rail problems now that a provincial inquiry seems to be covering a lot of the same ground.

In October, council voted to ask the city's auditor general to investigate the troubles with the Confederation Line instead of a judicial inquiry.

Then in November the province launched an inquiry, sharing more details last week, like naming the appeal court judge, Justice William Hourigan, who will lead it and its anticipated work and timeline.

In an interview Wednesday, Auditor General Nathalie Gougeon said she now feels it's not useful to have two independent teams doing similar work at the same time.

"We could not guarantee that we would cover areas that the province's inquiry would not," she said.

"We took into consideration the excess burden placed on the city's administration caused by two very large concurrent reviews of similar nature," Gougeon said.

"We are very cognizant that we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Everyone's tired. The public inquiry alone will require an enormous effort from the city's administration."

CBC
CBC

She also said the amount of money it would cost was also a consideration.

In a few months, Gougeon said her team will be in a better place to know if there's any important work the provincial team won't cover.

"I don't know the size of the commissioner's team, so I can't state whether or not they can or can't accomplish that work," she said.

"There are likely going to be areas we can still cover and add value to the city."

Derailments have twice shut down Ottawa's Confederation Line in recent months, the most recent one lasting weeks and leading to a month of free transit in December as a gesture for riders.

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