Thank you to staff who have worked and are working so hard on this project.
Thank you to everyone who emailed, mailed, met with me, twittered or phoned me. And the delegations and the people at the meetings. Well over 600 emails. If I haven’t gotten back to you yet, be assured I will. Regional councillors answer their own email. I have never had anywhere near the response I have had on this issue. Most of the people who have contacted me are for LRT.
also went door to door during the past municipal election. I personally visited thousands of doors, as I always do. There were people against LRT. A lot were against because they needed transit in their area. Which is why I support increased regular transit and would like to see more in the future. I will deal with cost later. There were also people for LRT.
Most people just had a lot of questions which I was pleased to answer. This I believe is what happened at our public meetings. People came with a lot of questions and our staff answered them.
The public have spoken and we’ve listened. However, listening does not necessarily mean doing what people ask. For some here tonight, I have listened but I have said No.
Light Rail Transit runs quietly on electricity. It doesn’t spew smog into our air. I hope in the future we can run the system on renewable energy.
With less staff and more passengers, it is more economical in the long run.
As the Chair of the Grand River Conservation Authority, I have been travelling from Cambridge to Waterloo in the rush hour. There is more congestion in Cambridge than there is in KW. Could this be because more people ride transit in KW? I’m glad we’re ramping up transit in Cambridge but we need to start stage 2, LRT to Cambridge as soon as possible.
No one has talked about jobs and the LRT. The province and the federal government have given us a jaw dropping amount of money. Why? To help Waterloo Region through the recession. Jobs have disappeared in our Region and most of them were to do with the car industry, particularly the automobiles that eat gas. We need to reinvent our economy again and LRT helps with this.
LRT is estimated to create up to 23,000 new permanent jobs in the station areas. Everything from flower shops to tech start-ups. This isn’t even including the jobs created building and running the LRT.
During the election, I stated that I wanted Bus Rapid Transit back on the table. I voted for that and it was done.
The public and myself had the chance of another look. Unfortunately, almost everyone has found it wanting. Those against The LRT, such as Taxpayers for sensible transit are for abrt which is a souped up Ixpress that will still be caught in traffic. All the problems people think exist for LRT, like its dedicated lane, are also part of BRT. And experience elsewhere shows that BRT quickly creates its own congestion.
My second request during the election was that staff bring a report on keeping the costs down. The other concern at the door. They have put in some cuts. But I am most pleased with Councillor Wideman’s amendment that reduces the tax increase to .7%. I said during the election that I did not want property tax to increase on the capital portion left over after the province and feds had put in their money. These reductions do this.
The City of Waterloo will finally get its due. Light Rail Transit benefits Waterloo the most. It will develop our industrial area on Northfield and our R and T park. Waterloo is up to its borders and must intensify. LRT helps do this. The trains will transport our young professionals and university students. The Ixpress, number 9 and mainline 7 are jammed with passengers.
Uptown will have huge benefits from light rail. I wish I could show some of the pictures I have from downtowns around the world that have light rail. People cycling and walking beside the train. Even a fountain between one of the tracks. I wish you all could have travelled to Edmonton, Calgary and Portland, even Switzerland years ago, as I have.
Cars don’t shop, people shop. I ride the bus (yes I use my car and transit) and many times I have come from the region, gotten off at Waterloo Square and done some shopping then hopped back on the bus and gone home or onto Conestoga Mall. I can even go up to the Market and the Outlet Mall in the same trip. Think of 450 people getting off the bus at Waterloo Square.
Waterloo Park will be fine. I have seen a picture of a train with grass growing through the track. People will be able to easily cross the tracks and our report talks about the sensitivity to the heritage of the park.
When the LRT phase one is finished, my new grandson will be around six years old. We will get on my number 9 bus, then onto the train and get off at Waterloo Park where we will visit the zoo and the Wonder of Winter Lights. Then we will head home the same way. He and his generation are the future.
I support LRT.