Ottawa LRT planner Chris Swail to step down: memo

A rendering of Gladstone Station in LRT's second phase.

The senior city official in charge of planning the extension to Ottawa’s light-rail transit system will step down at the end of this week, according to a memo sent to city councillors.

Chris Swail, the City of Ottawa’s director of O-Train planning, will step down to spend more time with his family, according to OC Transpo boss John Manconi.

Swail has been in charge of expansion plans for the second phase of Ottawa LRT. As of late, he has defended city staff against claims the procurement process for the $4.7-billion stage two contracts – awarded last month to a subsidiary of Montreal’s SNC-Lavalin and an international consortium of developers – had been rushed and lacked transparency.

Swail’s 10-year career with the city, which saw him work on a range of municipal transit, operations and development plans, will come to a close Friday. The memo states he has been working for more than a year with Michael Morgan, director of the rail implementation program, to ensure a smooth transition as preparations begin for stage two LRT construction.

The east-west Confederation Line extension deal with France’s Vinci and Nebraska-based Kiewit closed on Wednesday.