Last night was the BIG night of a number of big nights this June at the Region. We’ve passed the new Regional Official Plan and new higher development fees, now the final piece in sustainable Waterloo Region puzzle, Light Rail.
Staff was teasing councillors that we were all dressed up for the decision. This time of year with the heat, you don’t often see the male councillors in full ties and suits.
There were only a few delegations, Councillor Ben Tucci ticking off Councillor and former Mayor Jane Brewer when he started to talk about how he thought people would vote until he was stopped by Regional Chair, Ken Seiling. She ripped into him later. But overall Ben was for Light Rail to Cambridge.
The plan calls for the first stage to be Light Rail in Kitchener Waterloo then the next stage in Cambridge with bus rapid transit going to Cambridge three years earlier than light rail to KW.
Claudette Millar and Jane Brewer, both former long time mayors of Cambridge and now regional councillors voted for Light Rail as did Mayor Kim Denoudin from nearby North Dumfries county but they voted against the bus rail plan for Cambridge as their consituents want light rail too. The motion on the floor said that Cambridge will have rail as soon as possible but without a timeline. Totally reasonable vote for the sensible Cambridge councillors.
Present Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig was the only councillor to vote against Light Rail.
Once again he took up his cudgel and flayed about . Gave his usual claim that the Region hates Cambridge and is always leaving them out (Never mind the clear statistics that Cambridge has 30 percent of the riders and 50 percent of the cost). Bullying that he will tell the province and the feds about our disgusting behaviour (I’m going to to tell Mom!)
He was for the rail going to Cambridge a few weeks ago, but now wants Bus rapid for the whole region. (If Cambridge can’t have it, nobody should have it!) Very “poor me” and “sour grapes”
Usually I get along fairly well with Doug, but when he goes off like that it is very offensive. The Region bent over backwards and added an amendment for 10 million over 10 years to help increase bus ridership and work towards bringing Light Rail to Cambridge. Doug is convinced that the Region will never bring light rail to Cambridge. I shake my head.
Doug voted against Cambridge getting the 10 milion to work towards Light Rail! Said it was basically nothing. In a moment of passive/aggression I also voted against the amendment. If he feels Cambridge doesn’t want the money, heck, I’m not giving it to them.
Actually, if Doug is for Bus Rapid Transit and that is what Cambridge is getting, why’s he complaining? 😉
My amendment that we only move ahead if we get sufficient funding from the Province and Feds passed unanimously.
At the end of the vote, with light rail passing, the audience clapped! Very unusual and gave councillors a good feeling over a stressful topic.
A woman knitting a red sweater in the audience gave councillors some superstitious moments; Mme LaFarge knitting caps in the French Revolution as the guillotine goes down! But approached afterwards, she was for light rail and said she would have knit a different colour if she would have realized!
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