Where's the love? Region mentioned just 5 times in new Ontario budget
Published Friday, April 12, 2019 6:43PM EDT
On Thursday, the Ontario government announced its budget for 2019.
Tucked into those 382 pages, Waterloo Region is mentioned just five times, leaving local politicians disappointed.
“I went to my search function, put in Region of Waterloo and came up with nothing,” says Regional Chair Karen Redman.
Waterloo Region is the second-fastest growing economy in Canada, outpacing the province and country as a whole. Workers here produce more per person than Ottawa or Toronto. So why did it get so few mentions?
Treasury President Peter Bethlenfalvy was in town Friday touting economic plans that the government says will support growth here, but locals weren’t exactly on the edge of their seats waiting for local goodies.
The GTA is getting a $28-billion boost for subways and rail. Meanwhile, the PC government cancelled aspirations for high-speed rail through southwestern Ontario.
There’s also no mention of two-way, all-day GO service from Kitchener to Toronto.
“This really does need to be one of those signature priorities outside of what has rightfully been done in the City of Toronto,” says Ian McLean, president of the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce.
Redman echoes that sentiment, saying that adding a few more trips is not the transformation that the region needs.
Bethlenfalvy acknowledges that more can be done.
“We’ve got to listen to everybody in the province, but there’s no question that the community here is a successful community,” he says. “We’ve got to do more.”
The target for two-way all-day GO service remains in 2024. The budget notes that a new transportation plan for southwestern Ontario is coming in the fall.