Aon Insurance Brokers/Risk Consulting Secured Towards 2017 Start of Railway Operations
Gatineau, Québec. 6 October 2015. Eight companies signed the Moose Consortium Project 125 Agreement on Friday, which marks a historic business milestone in their ambitious plan to develop and operate a 400 km private-sector interprovincial passenger railway throughout the Greater National Capital Region in time for Canada’s Sesquicentennial in 2017.
“This might be the most significant and sustainable infrastructure project being attempted anywhere in the country for Canada’s 150th Anniversary”, said the Consortium’s Coordinator, Joseph Potvin of The Opman Company.
The Consortium is pursuing a 100% commercially financed and operated passenger railway service on existing railways. Double-decker trains will traverse Ottawa and Gatineau, and will operate all the way out to six semi-rural towns of the Greater National Capital Region including Smiths Falls, Arnprior and Alexandria in Ontario, and in Québec, service will go to Montebello, later to La Pêche (Wakefield) once the Consortium completes track repairs, and to Bristol after rebuilding that line.
The eight companies forming the Moose Consortium include: REMISZ Consulting Engineers, Business Model Fulcrum, Dr. Bill Pomfret & Assoc., The Opman Company, Limelight Advertising & Design, Sandelmen Software Works, Wilson Young & Associates and MTBA Associates Inc. Architects.
The inaugural meeting in Gatineau this past Friday included discussions with two executives of Aon Reed Stenhouse, Canada’s largest insurance brokerage and risk management firm, which is now the Moose Consortium’s broker of record for all risk management needs.
The relationship with Aon is a major step towards completing the last of three requirements that the Canadian Transportation Agency has identified towards the Consortium’s application for a certificate of fitness. The business group plans to submit a single application encompassing the full 400 km extent of this commercial interprovincial passenger rail service.
“As part of the Moose Consortium, this summer we completed initial plans and drawings detailing an estimated $41M rehabilitation of the interprovincial Prince of Wales Bridge between Ottawa and Gatineau” said Wojciech Remisz, President of REMISZ Consulting Engineers. “In addition to train service, our design adds dedicated cycling and pedestrian trails on the west and east sides of the bridge”, he said.
Infrastructure upgrades such as this will be commercially financed, without dependence on taxpayer funds. Both infrastructure and operations are premised upon a dependable and sustainable revenue base that doesn’t require taxpayer subsidies.
This is the first proof-of-concept project of the “Property-Powered Rail (PPR) Open Market Development Model” developed by Potvin from The Opman Company of Chelsea in collaboration with several of the other firms, and peer-reviewed with international experts.
This past June, Potvin was invited by the US-based SMART Institute (Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation) to bring the PPR into discussions at a strategy workshop in Philadelphia where officials from Amtrak and other companies were considering how to develop new mass transit systems throughout the US.
And in July, Michael Lachapelle of Business Model Fulcrum, another Moose Consortium member firm, presented the PPR model in London England at the first International Conference on Transportation and Public Health. Following his session, Dr. Luise Noring, Program Director of the Copenhagen School of Business began developing plans for a multi- institute research study to compare the Moose Consortium’s commercial metropolitan railway concept for the Ottawa-Outaouais region, with the publicly funded metropolitan railway being planned for the cross-border region around Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden.
Noring said she saw the global relevance of the approach taken by the Moose Consortium, suggesting “it will be possible to transfer experience of the Ottawa-Outaouais infrastructure investment to North America and the world”.
The eight participating firms are wrapping up their quarter-million dollar Phase 1(a) of a five- phase planning and development project. “We’ve assembled our ‘Class D’ financial estimates of aggregate revenues and costs relating to the infrastructure and operations”, said Potvin.
By incrementally upgrading existing infrastructure, the Consortium expects to create permanent full-time jobs, and a wide range of business linkage opportunities, with no boom/bust cycle typical of mega-projects.
“The prospect of impacting and growing the Greater Capital Region in such a sustainable way is thrilling”, commented Ian Garland, President of Wilson Young & Associates. “Doing so without picking the taxpayers’ pocket by using good ol’ entrepreneurship is very exciting.”
Passenger rail services of the Moose Consortium offer a practical way to integrate all public and private transportation services across jurisdictions throughout the Greater National Capital Region (NCR).
“What better way to celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary than by having a group of entrepreneurs take the initiative to re-create an interprovincial railway throughout our Greater National Capital Region”, added Peter Gabany of Limelight. “We’re not saying it’s easy, but in a certain way we’re just re-living some of the same types of challenges as had to be overcome during the time of Canada’s Confederation.”
The formal agreement signed on Friday included a corporate restructuring. The original company created in 2011, “Mobility Ottawa-Outaouais: Systems & Enterprises Inc.” is being purchased by newly founded “Moose Consortium Inc.”
Director, Moose Consortium Inc.