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theskeptic

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Reply with quote  #1 

The last council meeting provided a vivid example of why taxes in St. Albert are so outlandish. Council member MacKay introduced a motion to delay the expenditure of $500,000.00 on a LRT alignment study intended to extend the non-existent Edmonton L.R.T. leg across St. Albert until a feasibility study was FIRST completed.

MacKay's position was simple and straight forward. Since Guy Boston had originally said that an LRT line across St. Albert was not economically feasible at this time, a full feasibility study (costing $75,000) should first establish that it is a feasible project before Council starts spending money to choose a route. (costing $500,000) As is his style, MacKay buttressed this argument with facts, figures, and verification that neither the Province or the Federal Government had any interest in providing grants for an LRT across a small city of 62,000 people. After all, the City of Edmonton is having trouble finding money for their LRT and unless St. Albert taxes were increased by about $3000.00 per year we couldn't afford this billion dollar project to handle about 2500 commuters. Basically his position was this:

1.. St. Albert should support the Edmonton leg of the LRT running to St. Albert's south boundary because this will be beneficial to St. Albert, and

2. An extension of this Edmonton LRT through St. Albert should not receive tax dollars until it is shown to be a feasible project .... i.e. When the population of St. Albert justifies spending 150 million per kilometre or over 1 billion dollars in this case.

Broadhead, (the former City of Edmonton transit employee) was singularly inept in providing a counter argument. Rather than deal with MacKay's numerous arguments head on, he chose to attempt to confuse a feasibility study with a route alignment study and suggested this alignment study would establish the feasibility. Elementary logic dictates that you FIRST determine whether a railway line is feasible before you start picking a route for that railroad line. However, it is an old bureaucratic trick to get money invested into a project so that later, when it turns out to be ill advised, you can argue that it is now too late to reverse directions. This, it appears, seems to have been Broadhead's tactic, since he failed to address the many arguments raised by MacKay that the project, at this time, was premature.

Council members Crouse, Heron, and Prefontaine seemed to agree with this tactic as they themselves never put forward any substantive counter arguments. They voted with Broadhead to defeat MacKay's motion.

Consequently, the City is going to spend a half a million tax dollars to create a study which will sit on the shelf for the next 50 years. If and when the population of St. Albert is large enough to justify an LRT across the breadth of St. Albert, a new site allocation study will have to be performed to deal with changed circumstances. Its unfortunate that councillor Parker (who voted against the original alignment study), or candidates, Russell, Durham, or Goldsmith were not elected to inject some common sense into the equation.

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KJ

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Reply with quote  #2 
I agree, Scarf. Wasted money. Does anyone know what is actually going to be commissioned for a report?
how long into the future is the report supposed to look? Is it expecting the tracks to be laid in 20yrs or 50yrs? Big difference in what SA will look like and where tracks would best be laid.
Also a alignment study will not necessarily tell you feasibility. The study for DARP didn't look at soil conditions. Why would we assume that an alignment study will look at cost of building...or in other words...feasibility for size of city.
This just smells like more of the same. Like purchasing the land along the bypass for future LRT use. Here's an idea lets build it first, then buy the land, then figure out where it should go and then finish it all up with a feasibility study.
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theskeptic

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Reply with quote  #3 
KJ:
Thank you for the reply to my post.  My understanding is that the Northern Leg of the Edmonton LRT will not be commenced for approximately 15 years and that estimate is optomistic.  Secondly, any route chosen for the St. Albert leg would have to traverse the river.  This poses special engineering problems since trains can only traverse a limited rise/run ratio.  Therefore consideration would have to be given to a trestle like structure which would add significantly to the cost/metre. 
I have my doubts as to whether an elevated sky-track to deal with the elevation problems would add to the attractiveness of St. Albert.   Finally, I can't understand why the Chamber of Commerce would support this project.  If people from the North could get on the LRT at the Northern boundary of St. Albert and zip into Edmonton why would they stop off in St. Albert.  Equally silly is the idea that people from Edmonton would jump on the LRT to shop in St. Albert.  The only people who would do so are people that cannot afford a motor vehicle .... which gives rise to the question ... exactly how much disposable income would they have to shop in St. Albert???
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Swallow1

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Reply with quote  #4 
@KJ - Interesting point regarding DARP & the soil issue.  Will soil become an issue for the route some "visionaries" expect the LRT to travel, once it reaches $illy Hall?
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theskeptic

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Reply with quote  #5 

We have already allocated (and probably spent) $500,000.00 on an LRT route allocation study to tell us what everyone knew ... namely the only place for an LRT is down the St. Albert Trail. However, it is not too late to consider whether a rapid bus system is more viable.

The concerns with an LRT are basic, namely:
1. The initial costs of construction are prohibitive for a small city;
2. The maintenance and rehabilitation costs of LRT's rapidly escalate to be enormous after the railroad has operated for 20 years;
3. It has been proven around the world that rapid bus technology can move more people that a railroad;
4. Railroads are simply not flexible and cannot adjust to the changes which will occur in public transportation in the next few decades..

Uber, Lyft and other companies are planning to flood cities with self-driving cars that will provide door-to-door service at a cost competitive with public transit. In fifteen or twenty years, most people who are riding transit today will probably be using shared self-driving cars instead. A rapid bus system can better adapt and compete with this changing technology by adjusting their routes according to changes in demand and developing self driving buses.

So when the self -driving public transit cars have become the norm, do we as taxpayers want to be paying out millions upon millions to rehabilitate 18th. century railroad technology? It seems our current politicians lack the vision to address the rapid changes in technology which are going to occur in a Postmodern society. Maybe they are not the "visionaries" nor the "progressives" nor the "smart-city" advocates that they often proclaim to be.

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OMG

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Reply with quote  #6 
Skeptic....BINGO! It. Is beyond comprehension that LRT is being discussed by council. It will never happen. To those who call themselves visionaries.....no common sense.
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warmodel

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Reply with quote  #7 
HH:  I hope anyone that peruses page 1 of the Gazette does it on an empty stomach.........refer the lower right hand corner whereby CROUSE approved of a draft motion to require new councilors to attend training on how to do their jobs and follow a code of conduct, as it would bring councilors up to a standard of excellence. Well pardon me Mr. Crouse, I would think this would also apply to individuals running as a Mayor, noting your track record is nothing to be proud of when you consider your filthy language towards Shelly Biermanski, not always being truthful, double and triple dipping, claiming expenses for  meetings that never happened, initially failing to turn over to the city the funds that you receive for chairing meetings of the board and instead were having the funds sent to your business interest.
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Rick F

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Reply with quote  #8 
Hear, Hear... First question from the public at next Council meeting should be
"Mr. Mayor, when do you intend to attend this Code of Conduct/Standard of Excellence training?"
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theskeptic

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Reply with quote  #9 

The Gazette reports that "Crouse also approved of the draft’s motion to require new councillors to attend training on how to do their jobs and follow a code of conduct, as it would bring councillors up to a standard of excellence."

It seems to me that in Crouse's world view this is "code" for the idea that new councillors would be required to take an indoctrination course from a public employee like Belke in which they would be trained to to fall in line and go along to get along. After all a properly run council brooks no disagreement or independent thought and certainly no criticism of the Mayor or CAO.

None of that nonsense in which Hughes, MacKay, or Russell bring up annoying matters like double dipping, blatant cronyism.  None of that silly nonsense of changing Peron street back to parallel parking to please the public , explaining why the 50+ building is 300% over budget, or employing an independent internal auditor, or creating a police commission etc.

No sireee ... under this new Act they will be properly indoctrinated to rubber stamp policies drafted up by the Administration and in so doing will display a "standard of excellence" and eliminate that nasty messy debate process which characterizes a democracy.

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OMG

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Reply with quote  #10 
This is just Crouse propaganda for the public. The holier than thou attitude! He appears to be flawless and always above board by making these pronouncements. Just like the time he berated Harper for his unethical election campaigning? This is the pot calling the kettle black!! Code of conduct? Shouldn't there be training for a MAYOR on ethics and following a code of conduct. He is the one who double dipped and calls councillors names in public! Is this guy real or in his own fantasyl world? And there are people out there who blindly hang on every Crouse word.
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warmodel

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Reply with quote  #11 
HH:  Further to my earlier comment re MR. CROUSE.  Am I just imagining things regarding his double dipping/triple dipping - these were examples of claiming monies that he was not entitled to as the funds (tax payers money) were over and above what he had claimed and received originally. It seems as though when politicians do something that is unethical they come out with this type of terminology. If you or I as a private citizen did something similar, would the words 'theft or stealing' not be used.

As I recall a while back he had to attend 2 meetings in Leduc whereby he claimed mileage to Leduc and back to St. Albert and then back to Leduc then back to St. Albert - One would think that he would stay in Leduc without this travel - again it would appear that he was looking at the mileage dollars he would accumulate. Lets face it, is he just money hungry and 'working' a system on taxpayers money?


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OMG

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Reply with quote  #12 
The joys of LRT. Edmonton councillors to charge more money for close to 1000 stalls at Century park and ride. This is up from 187 stalls. The cost to park and ride just got more pricy. Going green has a cost! Get ready to be poorer!
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Head Honcho

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Reply with quote  #13 
Anyone catch the TV news last night with the details on Edmonton city council debating further LRT expansion?

I had to chuckle out loud when part of the conversation turned to their concerns that the LRT will be obsolete before they can finishing building it. All because of autonomous vehicles, they said. 

It sure makes our councillors who absolutely wasted a half million bucks on our LRT study and decided to run it up the Trail.

Makes them look like fools pure and simple and especially Len Bracko, the guy who started it all. Of course you have to include Broadhed, Crouse and Heron in that mix. They can't even claim they weren't warned about that issue. Remember who did this to us when it comes time to vote in October. Now way to either Broadhed or Heron as a repeat in any capacity.

Looks good on them all though, doesn't it?




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