NEWSMAKER: Three key figures in a year of controversy for Ottawa’s beleaguered LRT – Ottawa Citizen – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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A pair of city councillors asked tough questions and made bold moves while Ottawa welcomed a new head of public transit

Author of the article:

Jon Willing

It's been a troubled year for light-rail transit in Ottawa.
It’s been a troubled year for light-rail transit in Ottawa. Photo by Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

Three newsmakers grabbed public transit headlines in 2021, a year of controversy and change for Ottawa. There was a 54-day shutdown of the beleaguered light-rail transit system, and in the middle of the closure, a new face took charge of OC Transpo.

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Renée Amilcar, city of Ottawa’s general manager of transit services.
Renée Amilcar, city of Ottawa’s general manager of transit services. Photo by Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

Renée Amilcar: The ‘fresh air’ Transpo, and city hall, needed

Renée Amilcar arrived in Ottawa to replace the retiring John Manconi, perhaps the most recognized bureaucrat at city hall in the years he oversaw OC Transpo and the LRT.

It was a move that took guts; the transit agency has struggled to deploy light rail. Amilcar stepped forward.

In her, the city gained an experienced transit executive who ran the municipal bus system in Montreal and who wasn’t worried about the growing pains Ottawa was experiencing with LRT.

Her appointment also injected some much-needed diversity into the upper-ranks of city hall.

In September, the city’s branch overseeing gender and race equity, inclusion, Indigenous relations and social development reported that as of July, visible minorities made up 9.92 per cent of management in the municipal government. The branch set a target of 20 per cent.

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While there’s clearly more work to do, appointing a Black, francophone woman to the senior leadership team was a step in the right direction for the municipal government.

Amilcar didn’t shy away from the limelight as the head of public transit in the n


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