A last-minute offer by the owners of a downtown hotel to pay $2 million towards the city's light-rail project is likely too little to bring back a planned Elgin Street station, says one city councillor.
Lord Elgin Hotel (Google Street View image)
The proposal from Jeff Gillin, owner of the Lord Elgin Hotel, is unlikely to be enough to overturn a recommendation to move the station further east, said councillor Peter Clark in an interview. Mr. Clark is vice-chair of the city's finance and economic development committee that endorsed the design change.
"If that was enough money to move it, it might be something to consider," said Mr. Clark. "I don't have the technical (numbers), but my sense is that it would cost more than that."
The $2.1-billion transit project plan initially placed the LRT station near the National Arts Centre and Confederation Square. The finance committee voted in favour of pushing it closer to the ByWard Market to service more riders and avoid extra costs from digging underneath the Rideau Canal, the committee report stated.
That report goes before council tomorrow, making Lord Elgin owner Jeff Gillin's letter to councillors "a last ditch approach" as Mr. Clark put it, which is unlikely to change the result.
While he said he can see the value of having an LRT station on Elgin Street, the reality is that the city just can't afford it, Mr. Clark said.
"It's unfortunate, but that's the way it is," Mr. Clark said.
In his letter, Mr. Gillin requested that city council postpone their vote for 30 days while he tries to secure contributions from other business people, according to media reports.
The city has put forth $900 million dollars and the federal and provincial governments have each committed to $600 million to make up the rest of the $2.1 billion budget.
Elgin Street vendors have been fighting to bring the LRT station back to the neighbourhood, working to establish a business improvement area and drafting a petition to the city explaining the importance of the station.