LRT envisioned by regional councillors

Wrapping up the day-long event was the debate between two of the Waterloo regional councillor candidates, Jane Mitchell and Sean Strickland. They differed in only small ways on issues such as online voting and the proposed LRT project.

When moderator Chris Hyde asked both candidates to describe how they would envision the region in ten years, the candidates played off of each other’s answers. Both mentioned helping businesses and individual entrepreneurs.

“It’s important for us to maintain that balance between our urban cores and also our rural areas,” stated Sean Strickland, stating that that balance could be executed by “investing in our community and in people at the same time.”

The issue of the balance between rural and urban prompted discussion on traffic problems and the proposed transit system, as regional council has been responsible for much of the decision-making surrounding the LRT.

“You think we have traffic problems now, what are they going to be like in 25 years,” said Strickland, summing up his reasoning for implementing LRT in Waterloo.

Both candidates discussed the shortage of funding for the project, commenting that taxes would have to be raised nine per cent to cover the cost of the proposed route. Mitchell brought up that perhaps the vetoed rapid bus transit proposal needs to be put back on the table.

“The other thing I’d like to see is that the staff come back with ways to build the LRT without increasing property taxes,” said Mitchell, citing outside funding or shortening the proposed route’s length.

The third candidate for regional council is Jack Hone, who was not present at the debate. When voters go to the poles on Oct. 25, they will be electing two representatives to regional council.