Ontario appoints commissioner of inquiry into Ottawa LRT

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Ottawa Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government has appointed the Honourable Justice William Hourigan as commissioner to lead the public inquiry into the commercial and technical circumstances that led to the breakdown and derailment of Stage 1 of the Ottawa Light Rail Transit (LRT) project.

“The challenges plaguing Stage 1 of the Ottawa LRT are unacceptable and disappointing,” Ontario transportation minister Caroline Mulroney said in a December statement.. “This public inquiry is a prudent approach to uncovering the cause of these issues and preventing them from happening again.

“Establishing the scope of the inquiry and appointing Justice Hourigan is an important step towards the safe implementation of the project, accountability, and value for taxpayer dollars.”

As former chair of the litigation department at Fasken Martineau, Justice Hourigan specialized in complex commercial litigation while in practice. He has over 25 years of experience in law and public service and previously served as a judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, and was elevated to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 2013.

As Commissioner, Hourigan will have a mandate to look into the procurement, delivery and operations of the Ottawa LRT Stage 1 system. He will also be responsible for delivering a report of the Commission’s findings by August, including any recommendations to help ensure the safety of the Ottawa LRT system.

A public inquiry is an independent review, established by the Government on any matter affecting the public interest. Public inquiries are established by the Lieutenant Governor in Council by way of an Order in Council under the Public Inquiries Act, 2009.

Ontario has committed up to $600 million towards the Stage 1 of the Ottawa LRT. The project spans 12.5 km in length with 13 stations through the downtown, running from Tunney’s Pasture in the west to Blair Station in the east.

The province will also provide the City of Ottawa with up to $1.2 billion to build the Ottawa Stage 2 LRT project. The Ottawa Stage 2 LRT project will add 44 kilometres of new rail, 24 new stations and consists of three light rail extensions.

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