The October 25th election is behind us and the results can not be changed. In Cambridge every single candidate elected, except one, supported the Drayton Theatre proposal, in fact, they were resolute in their conviction to ensure that it happens. This decision will not be overturned, Cambridge will be home to professional, live theatre operated by Drayton Entertainment.
In Waterloo, every candidate for Mayor was not supportive of the question on the ballot regarding discussions about amalgamation with Kitchener. The ballot question lost, so goes democracy Mayor Zehr, there will not be discussions initiated with Kitchener to discuss the possible amalgamation of Waterloo and Kitchener. As well, Mayor Halloran was very outspoken with her position that the Regions proposed LRT/BRT be shelved and reviewed for alternative transit systems. I’ve written about this before a couple of times, but this proposal is absolutely the wrong one at the wrong time. Every supporter of the current proposal says, yes it’s expensive but we have to prepare ourselves for the future. Again, I ask that you google “the future of public transportation”, if you seen street cars in that search let me know, I’ve yet to find any. This is an archaic proposal, Ottawa is scrapping street cars, Toronto just elected a Mayor who’s platform included the abolishment of street cars, and our (seemingly out of touch) region is trying to implement a 100-year-old solution for our future? That is simply ridiculous and something that seems to have resonated with the south and north ends of the region. Both Cambridge and Waterloo seem to favour an in-depth review of this proposal, which “The Chamber” adamantly supports. The Chamber attempted to present to Regional Council the facts, but Chair Seiling cut us off half way through our presentation because it went beyond the 10 minute time limit. In fact, we were up there for 7 minutes and the KW Chamber who supported the proposal had 15 minutes. Were we short-changed in time because we opposed the region’s position? Absolutely no question about that because we had the facts, and they knew it. The current proposal, with the reduced Provincial funding, and NO information on how much to upgrade the GRT to integrate into the new system, we will see a 15 – 20% hike in the Regional Tax levy, at a minimum. However, Mr. Seiling and most of the others around the table won’t have to defend that because they will all be retired and leave that poor future Regional Council to take the heat for the massive tax increases.
The games have just begun folks, some of the old establishment who got re-elected at the Region will undoubtedly fight hard to keep the train on the tracks so to speak. We need to be diligent and tell our city and regional politicians that massive tax increases will not be acceptable, and that more vision has to be put into the future transportation needs of the region. It is interesting, I’ve spoken to several business owners and I’ve analyzed the Chamber’s financial position, all of us agreed that a 15-20% increase in our regional portion of the property tax would likely force us to reduce expenses, that would likely include layoffs. Can you imagine that the regional proposal for public transportation that would serve a very, very small portion of the population, could affect employment? That folks is simply ridiculous, it speaks to the fact that Regional Council is a way out of touch with the realities of everyday life in the region. Now, some are going to say that the Chamber’s position is based on the fact that the current proposal doesn’t include tracks in Cambridge. That couldn’t be further from the truth, the fact is, if it did include tracks in Cambridge, we would be even louder in our opposition, that folks would be a total boondoggle.
Kudos to Mayor Halloran, I think you can count on Mayor Craig and his Council to support your concerns as well. It is not time to cave into the scare tactics by the supporters of this proposal, it is time to stand firm and insist on real vision and sustainable decisions.