Councillor Glen Gower explains Stage 2 LRT and transparency issues


Editor’s Note: This article was written on August 5, 2019 by Councillor Glen Gower explaining the Stage 2 LRT procurement/transparency issues with SNC Lavalin  — Stittsville Central is sharing it with our readers to keep you informed. 

Transparency builds trust.

The secrecy around the procurement process for Stage 2 LRT is a good example of the opposite: a lack of transparency breeds distrust, fuels rumours and speculation, and is a poor way to engage the public in important civic discussions.

There are some very good reasons why details about the procurement process for Stage 2 LRT weren’t made public before we voted on it in March: ensuring a fair competitive process; procurement law; privacy and confidentiality rules; and (most of all) direction from the previous batch of councillors who approved the rules for delegation of authority and reporting back to Council.

Last week, City staff shared a number of documents related to the procurement of LRT Stage 2, including the RFP documents and final contracts as well as a memo from the City Manager outlining how the procurement process worked and what was covered under delegated authority.

I still believe that Stage 2 LRT is a good investment for our city’s future, just as I did back in March. I’m confident that the procurement was a fair and complete process that, in the end, provides the best value for the City and residents.

But the lack of transparency only leads to more cynicism and skepticism about the entire Light Rail project. More broadly, it’s leading some residents to question how the City and City Council operates.

Going forward City Council needs to do more to be as transparent as possible, on big decisions and on small ones, so that residents have confidence that our city is being governed fairly and competently. Things like the Routine Disclosure and Open Data initiatives are a start, but clearly there’s more work to be done to rebuild that trust.

I know some residents still have questions about how the procurement and scoring worked for Stage 2. I would encourage you to take some time to read the City Manager’s memo – particularly the answer to Question 6, or read this article from the Citizen that provides a good summary of the process. You can also contact me if you have any questions.

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