Light Rail

Waterloo Region Approves LRT

By RTH Staff
Published June 16, 2011

Waterloo Regional Council just voted 9-2 to approve building an $818 million light rail transit (LRT) system that will run 19 kilometres from Fariview Park Mall in Kitchener to Conestoga Mall in Waterloo.

The Regional government will contribute $253 million, and higher levels will contriubte the other $565 million.

The Waterloo Region rapid transit office has released a video modeling the LRT system:

According to the Regional government:

LRT is an important part of the Region's plan to accommodate significant population and employment growth over the next 20 years. It will encourage greater intensification in existing developed areas, provide an alternative transportation choice that will encourage transit ridership growth, improve the ability to move within the region and help to shape the urban form.

Construction could start as soon as 2014 and be completed by 2017.


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By mikeyj (registered) | Posted June 16, 2011 at 12:22:02

Good for them.

and in Hamilton LRT news... limbo called to congratulate our inaction.

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By Stu V (anonymous) | Posted June 16, 2011 at 12:23:11

Congratulations to our friends in K-W! In 10, 20, 30, 40 years people there will be thanking their stars that the politicians of today had the cojones and foresight to build.

Hopefully our politicians in the Hammer can muster up the same foresight and courage to build LRT here.

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By encore (anonymous) | Posted June 16, 2011 at 12:46:08

Well color me jealous. But remember that Waterloo Region has been working on this for like 10 years now. They started a long time before Metrolinx (and their funding is not through Metrolinx anyway, which might be a good thing) and made sure to get all their ducks in a row before approving the plan. So hang in there Hamilton!

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By Typical (anonymous) | Posted June 16, 2011 at 13:34:58

Hamilton will not get LRT unless we put some of our own money on the table. That's the only way it's going to happen. Typical City Hall leadership on this - "We may approve this...but only if someone else pays for it".

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By z jones (registered) | Posted June 16, 2011 at 14:41:31

We seriously need some leadership on this. I don't hear Mayor Bob or anyone on council talking about LRT.

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By Boob (anonymous) | Posted June 16, 2011 at 14:54:16 in reply to Comment 64930

Mayor Bob had a model LRT in is office - isn't that enough leadership for you!

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted June 16, 2011 at 16:24:33

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By Nord Blanc (anonymous) | Posted June 16, 2011 at 19:07:41

September 20, 2010:

The race is on for mayoral candidates to prove who can best lead the city into the new frontier of light rail transit (LRT), and obtain the hundreds of millions of public dollars necessary to build a system in Hamilton.

Today, Mayor Fred Eisenberger will announce his plan to assemble a "SWAT team" of community leaders to lobby senior government officials to secure between $850 million and $1.5 billion in funding for LRT....

Mayoral candidate Bob Bratina said all the talk of senior government funding is a moot point if the next mayor can't get city council on board. LRT is a "motherhood" issue, he said, and some councillors are happy to come out in favour of public money from other levels of government -- but not from the city. "What bothers me is, there is no inkling (from other candidates) that we need to confront this. (Eisenberger) has got to sell this to council."

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By Nord Blanc (anonymous) | Posted June 17, 2011 at 07:15:06 in reply to Comment 64940

January 11, 2011:

“It’s unaffordable,” said Ward 9 Councillor Brad Clark. “That’s been my concern from the beginning, but everyone drank the Kool-Aid ... We don’t have the money.”

Ward 8 Councillor Terry Whitehead and Ward 12 Councillor Lloyd Ferguson said they will not support the project if city taxpayers have to contribute to the capital costs.

“If we have to put in a sizeable contribution, forget it,” said Ferguson, though he said the operating costs were lower than running a bus.

Ward 6 Councillor Tom Jackson suggested the city take another look at Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) because of the worrisome cost predicted for LRT and Ward 15 Councillor Judi Partridge suggested the city not rule out getting the private sector involved with the project.

“There are so many details that need to be nailed down,” Partridge added.

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By Nord Blanc (anonymous) | Posted June 18, 2011 at 13:36:12 in reply to Comment 64946

Auditioning for Dissenter #6:

Councillor Chad Collins wonders if all this design work isn’t putting the cart before the horse, because the city doesn’t know what its ultimate financial contribution will be.

There is nothing allocated in the capital budget, so Collins says the money will have to come from cutting back in other areas or from a tax increase. He says he doesn’t believe Hamilton taxpayers have an appetite for either option.

“My concern is that this is starting to look a lot like the (Pan Am) stadium debate. We’re talking about buying property in some instances … and we don’t have a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities the city will have.”

Collins says LRT is an important public debate, but until costs and senior government funding are known, the ongoing design work may be for nothing.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted June 19, 2011 at 14:11:45 in reply to Comment 64963

According to the 2009 City of Toronto annual report...

Population: 2.755M
Financial Assets: $6.73B
Total Liabilities: $10.56B
Net Assets: -$3.83B (- $1,390 per resident)


Population: 525.7K
Financial Assets: $1.17B
Total Liabilities: $998.1M
Net Assets: $169.97M ($323 per resident)

If Hamilton had the same debt per person as Toronto, it would amount to an additional $900M. LRT is estimated to cost $800M.

Just spend the money already and stop whining.

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By lettie (registered) | Posted June 16, 2011 at 19:19:33

LRT? What's that? Oh, wait, this is Hamilton....fallen off the radar again. So what's happening lately re LRT for Hamilton? Should never ever be off the radar!

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By North Ward Native (anonymous) | Posted June 16, 2011 at 21:29:14

What's interesting is that K-W made the thoughtful decision some 50 years ago to build the Conestoga Parkway which allowed through traffic to bypass both downtown Kitchener and Waterloo. It probably seemed nonsensical at the time given the size of the cities then. But time has shown that the foresight shown back then meant that the K-W avoided being a traffic mess today. Contrast that with how long it took Hamilton to build the Linc and Red Hill.
It's probably going to turn out that K-W's decision to build the LRT will once again show the foresight of their Regional Council. Given the amount of residential redevelopment already occuring in the downtown areas of these communities, this can only accelerate the process.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted June 19, 2011 at 12:04:07 in reply to Comment 64943

Very true, having grown up in KW, I thought the exact samething when I heared this news.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted June 17, 2011 at 14:22:52

From the Rapid Transit E-newsletter, June 2011:

Help shape the future of the B-Line Corridor along Queenston, King and Main Streets from Eastgate to McMaster


The City of Hamilton is undertaking a land use planning process along the BLine Corridor from McMaster to Eastgate Square in conjunction with planning, engineering and design studies for a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system. Citizens and local architects will be working together over the next few weeks to create visions of possible future development along the B-Line corridor.

They will be developing six conceptual designs for buildings and public areas at six select locations along the corridor. You are invited to view the designs, learn about how they relate to the surrounding neighbourhood and to provide comments.

Longwood Road and Main Street West Study Area

Meeting Location: Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church 1107 Main Street West (at Cline Ave.)

Date: Tuesday June 21, 2011 at 7pm

Dundurn Street and King Street West Study Area

Meeting Location: The Scottish Rite Round Room 4 Queen Street South (at King Street)

Date: Monday June 27, 2011 at 7pm

Wentworth Street and King Street East Study Area Meeting Location: Festival Banquet Centre 747 King Street East

Date: Tuesday July 5, 2011 at 7pm

The Delta and Ottawa Street Study Area

Meeting Location: Delta United Church 47 Ottawa Street South

Date: Tuesday June 28, 2011 at 7pm

The Queenston Traffic Circle and Parkdale Avenue Study Area

Meeting Location: St. Columba Presbyterian Church 1540 Main Street East (at Weir Street)

Date: Thursday June23, 2011 at 7pm

Nash Road and Queenston Road Study Area

Meeting Location: The Red Hill Branch of the Hamilton Public Library, 695 Queenston Road

Date: Wednesday July 6, 2011 at 7pm

The conceptual designs will also be available on the project website - for your review and comment until July 22, 2011.

Please note: in the event of a potential labour disruption these meetings will be cancelled and rescheduled for alternate dates. For more information and updates please check

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By Tickle Trunk (anonymous) | Posted June 17, 2011 at 16:51:50 in reply to Comment 64950

Place your dot here if this is one of the most important themes to you!

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted June 17, 2011 at 16:49:14


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By Time for a Vote (anonymous) | Posted June 19, 2011 at 17:10:05

Time to hold a referendum on whether we should fund this as a city. Let's put it to a vote because this ain't getting done if we leave it to City Hall.

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted June 22, 2011 at 07:13:24 in reply to Comment 64974

I agree wholeheartedly. Let the populace decide. Does anyone care to wager on the result?

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By Art Brut (anonymous) | Posted June 22, 2011 at 09:26:37 in reply to Comment 65016

If the two last municipal elections (40.45% turnout in 2010, 37.25% turnout in 2006) are any indication, the result would be a non-binding distraction.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 20, 2011 at 12:34:09 in reply to Comment 64974

... we'd lose that vote. We'd get outvoted by the Mountain and various other communities that are perfectly content to see Hamilton be Mississauga's Mississauga.

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By Nord Blanc (anonymous) | Posted June 20, 2011 at 08:39:23 in reply to Comment 64974

Coincidentally, that's exactly what Waterloo thought:

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By Art Brut (anonymous) | Posted June 20, 2011 at 10:05:57 in reply to Comment 64977

"Provincial legislation allows council to authorize a referendum and hold a vote six months after approving a question. The result would be binding only if the turnout exceeds 50 per cent.

Kitchener clerk Randy Gosse estimates a referendum would cost taxpayers between $700,000 and $1 million, based on costs for the last municipal election."

So it could be expensive, no-binding and take a long time to get off the ground? Sounds like just the kind of thing council would be all over!

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2012 at 11:49:43

"In early November, Infrastructure Ontario released an updated list of infrastructure projects that will come to market as part of the provincial government’s 10-year infrastructure plan....

The new project list includes the first joint provincial-municipal projects — the Ottawa and Waterloo light rail transit projects — that the government has assigned to IO."

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted July 05, 2013 at 10:41:50

A full-scale model of the light rail trains residents will be riding in 2017 could be on display at regional headquarters July 12.

Region of Waterloo councillors will decide on July 10 whether to approve the purchase of up to 14 trains from Bombardier. If they do so, 150 Frederick St. will play station to a life-size model for residents to check out.

"It's going to be state-of-the-art, comfortable, accessible for everybody," said Coun. Sean Strickland.

The display would give residents will get their first experience of light rail in Waterloo Region. Up until now, most of the project work hasn't been visible, Strickland said.

"People are going to be able to step on board and actually check it out," he said.

Light rail trains will run from Conestoga Mall to Fairview Park mall as part of the region's $818-million rapid transit project. The region budgeted $100 million for the purchase of trains. Each vehicle will likely be made up of five sections, according to regional staff.

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted July 11, 2013 at 11:27:53

Regional council signs $92 million LRT vehicle deal with Bombardier

Cambridge Times
Waterloo Region has taken the next step in the development of its planned Light Rail Transit (LRT) system.

On Wednesday, regional council approved a $92-million agreement with Metrolinx and Bombardier for the purchase of 14 light rail vehicles (LRV) to implement Stage 1 of ION, the Region of Waterloo’s rapid transit service.

“The purchase of light rail vehicles for ION is a significant milestone,” said Jim Wideman, regional councillor and chair of the Planning and Works Committee, in a news release.

“The vehicles symbolize the considerable progress being made to bring this new service to residents in Waterloo Region.”

Council voted 11-1 in favour of the purchase, with Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran casting the opposing vote, saying now is not the time to be spending the money.

Mayors Doug Craig of Cambridge and North Dumfries’ Rob Deutschmann previously declared that they are unable to vote on the project due to conflicts of interests.

In June 2012, regional council directed staff to launch the negotiations with Metrolinx for participation in the Metrolinx-led procurement of LRVs from Bombardier. Joint procurement and collaboration between agencies is a common practice when making small vehicle orders.

The low-floor LRV fleet will be fully accessible and the first of its kind in North America. The vehicle has doors on both sides, 56 fixed seats and can carry more than 200 people.

Production of the ION LRVs will begin next year with the first vehicle delivered to Waterloo Region in summer 2016. The final vehicle will arrive in December 2016.

This Saturday, the public is being invited to see one of the LRVs at regional headquarters, 150 Frederick St. in Kitchener, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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