Large crowd gathers for pro LRT rally in Waterloo

“What do we want? – LRT!”

The more than 200 people gathered at Waterloo Town Square Dec. 5 shouted this phrase at a rally held to encourage public support for the proposed Light Rail Transit project in Waterloo Region.

“We need to move beyond this core group that we have today and spread the word…we must make sure that our friends and politicians hear us,” said James Howe who spoke at the rally and runs a municipal events and politics blog, Perspectives From King & Ottawa.

Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr was one the many politicians in attendance and said that he thinks the project lost steam over the perceived cost of the project ($790 million) and that people are not looking at the “big picture.”

“We will have LRT, it’s just a matter of when,” he said.

The proponents of LRT claimed that the best time to break ground is now because of increasing inflation, saying that the cost goes up three per cent every year that the region waits.

Volunteers handed out pamphlets and buttons at the event sponsored by Wonderful Waterloo, the Tri-Cities Transport Action Group and the Waterloo Students Planning Advisory (WSPA).

President of the WSPA, Mackenzie Keast, feels that the LRT project has lost some steam after the municipal election in October and that citizens need to be reminded of how LRT will foster growth in the region.

“Students are going to leave if we don’t foster a creative destination,” he said.

MPP John Milloy was also on hand to speak at the rally. He said he’s proud of the provincial support that was received, but that the project needs people’s continuing support and partnership.

“We have a choice. We can continue with urban sprawl like so many other communities have done or we can plan smart for the future,” he said.

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