MAJOR CHANGES TO 14th STREET, SOUTHLAND DRIVE, 90th AVE., 24th STREET & GLENMORE TRAIL WILL IMPACT YOU!
Sometimes the media bends the truth, and sometimes people call them on it……
Copy of correspondence sent to Mr. Bryan Passifiume, Reporter, Calgary Herald (March 20, 2017)
Re: Broadcast of closed transitway discussion creates flak for Farkas.
March 20, 2017
I attended the closed SWBRT meeting, being one of the official invitees as the Transportation and Safety Director for the Braeside Community Association. (A volunteer position I've held for over a decade). I was at the table when Jeromy Farkas asked everyone sitting at that table (including several city officials) if they were comfortable with him videoing the proceedings. All were completely okay with it.
What you didn’t see or report that the public should definitely be aware of was that:
a) a full half of the attendees were either city staff or were engineers and employees for the companies involved in the various levels of construction who would be profiting from the SWBRT.
b) you could not get into the event without first signing in and getting a name tag, so it was wrong of you to even quote someone as saying that Farkas was not invited. He is a member of the Palliser/Bayview/Pumphill Board of Directors, an entirely volunteer position, and accepted the invitation from the city just like I did from my community association. From reading your article, I think he deserves an apology from the Herald.
c) We were told from the outset that we were NOT allowed to ask questions or address concerns that were not on THEIR agenda, which was so incredibly limited and narrow that a few of the invitees called it a sham (to the applause of many) and actually walked out of the proceedings! The facilitators reacted like robots, not asking them to reconsider and stay, but after a 10 second awkward silence, continued on as if nothing happened. City staff are paid. We are volunteers taking a full Saturday out of our schedule, and deserved a lot more respect than we were given.
d) When the Herald reports (over and over… and over) that public consultations were shut down because Nenshi (who NEVER attended any of the consultation open houses declared they would be shut down because of violence, PLEASE remember that police looked into the issue and found no such incidents to have happened. There were thousands of people at these open houses (I attended every one – there were three in all) and no-one ever witnessed anything untoward happening. Ever. Report THAT! Please! The public only knows what you report, and the hundreds of thousands of Calgarians who weren’t at these events thinks they were violent because Nenshi made a false claim to quiet thousands of informed citizens who had valid concerns about the project. The Herald keeps reiterating that falsehood (a.k.a. lie) which is just plain wrong and frustrating.
I could go on, but I am exhausted and disheartened, as was everyone from our community who took the time to attend.
Attached are pdfs of two letters sent over a year ago to Pincott and copied to Nenshi by several SW community associations asking the city to reassess the project, requesting more and open public consultation. The letters should definitely be of interest to you. When the city says it will consult with the public after it’s already made up its mind, that’s not CONsulting, it’s INsulting, REsulting in frustration.
Thank you for your time.
Transportation and Safety Director,
Braeside Community Association
View the original letters below!
SWBRT Delayed by City Council!
Thanks to your incredible efforts, the southern portion of the SW BRT, from Glenmore to Woodbine has been delayed until 2018-2019!
It is because of concerned and engaged citizens like you, that City Council voted this evening to delay the project for several years due to the safety concerns that we raised around building over the ATCO high pressure gas pipeline along 14 Street SW.
Until last month or so the City dismissed and mocked our concerns about this pipeline and now they are saying they have been working with ATCO all along. How can we believe anything the City says about this project? What else have they missed?
Together, we demonstrated to City Council and City Administration that the SW BRT was never, and still is not, a “shovel ready” project. We proved that the necessary due diligence on this project that was passed over five years ago was never completed. It continues to be an expensive and bad plan that has never undergone any cost/benefit analysis or ridership studies especially when we continue to see empty buses travelling up and down the route.
City Administration has still not shared actual project costs or how they can justify building a transit project of this magnitude when transit ridership is going down and Calgarians are losing their jobs. This is not a time for an expensive capital project that will add millions of dollars to the City’s operational budget that come from your property taxes. In addition, if this project goes ahead, there will be a bus passing in front of the Rockyview Hospital every 100 seconds restricting the hospital’s only access point not to mention the massive traffic congestion that will result along the entire SW BRT route during and after construction.
Mayor Nenshi continues to try to silence Calgarians and, tonight, voted against future public engagement on this project. Nevertheless, City Council voted in favour of public engagement with the community; their recommendation is further proof that genuine public consultation never took place before or after this project was passed.
Ward 11 elected representative Brian Pincott and Ward 13 elected representative Diane Colley-Urquhart failed to adequately consult with their respective constituents on this project and we should not let them forget that especially on election day (October 16, 2017). Mayor Nenshi continues to want to silence us and we should not let him forget that either.
In a final move, Ward 11 elected representative Brian Pincott and Mayor Nenshi asked that Council move ahead with the design of a pedestrian overpass located just north of 90 Avenue at 14 Street and the funding mechanism for it. According to Mayor Nenshi, the cost will not be included in the scope of the SW BRT budget because it is not a transit project. Administration was directed to report back to Council later this year regarding the project.
Please click here to read the report that council passed.
Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks. As always, please email us anytime with your comments, thoughts, ideas and questions at:firstname.lastname@example.org.
ready to engage!
A Successful Rally!
On April 20th, over 200 people gathered on the steps of City Hall to express their concern over the proposed Southwest Bus Rapid Transit Project.
(Photo by JIM WELLS / JIM WELLS/POSTMEDIA, retrieved from http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/fortney-duelling-protests-and-surreal-moments-outside-city-hall)
Welcome to our side of the argument!
On Friday The City released the following statement to Calgary residents.
JOINT STATEMENT REGARDING SOUTHWEST TRANSITWAY
“We are concerned to learn that the cost estimate for the Southwest Transitway is significantly higher than the original estimate that was set out in the 2010 functional study for the project. Although this cost escalation can be accommodated in the overall Council approved budget for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) program, we need answers to fully understand how such a significant change could occur.”As a result, there are several questions that must be addressed, including, but not limited to the following:
- First, we expect a detailed explanation for the cost escalation for this project and how it may impact other projects in the BRT program.
- Second, we need a detailed understanding of the phasing and timing for this project.
- Third, we understand that the City has been meeting with ATCO to coordinate the work on this project and we need an update on the results of those discussions.
- Fourth, we need to understand the interaction of this project with commercial and residential applications that are coming forward within the 14th Street SW and 90th Avenue SW corridors.
“Finally, the difference in these cost estimates has brought to light a broader question about the City’s capital budgeting process. We need to clearly define, now more than ever, how to better align Council’s approval process so that approvals occur with greater understanding and greater cost certainty.
“We will work with Administration to ensure that these questions are answered at the Transit and Transportation Committee meeting on April 20.”
In a recent survey commissioned by ready to engage!, 2 to 1 of SW Calgary residents responded
that they are opposed to the SW BRT project.
“ready to engage! categorically denies the allegations made by the Mayor that anyone in our group was involved in any form of violence or activity. We wholeheartedly condemn any and all forms of violence or intimidation.
Read our letter to the Mayor here where we ask for an apology from him for these false accusations.
All Calgarians have the democratic right to ask questions from their elected officials on how taxpayer dollars are being spent and we will not be silenced.”