Waterloo Region got a taste of its future light rail transit system, as a model light rail vehicle (LRV) was showcased to the public.
"A watershed moment," said Jim Wideman, chair of the region's Planning and Works committee, of the LRV sitting on Frederick Street in Kitchener.
On Wednesday, regional councillors approved a $92.4 million contract with Bombardier, through a partnership with Metrolinx, to purchase 14 of the light rail vehicles by a vote of 11-1.
The deal was met with some last minute resistance. But Wideman says its too late for the project to be scrapped.
"What I believe we're going to deliver is likely one of the best and most comfortable and safe rides that people can have in Waterloo Region in terms of moving across the region in public transit," said Wideman.
The first phase of the plan will run from Kitchener's Fairview Park Mall to Conestoga Mall in Waterloo, at a price of about $818-million. That cost will be split three ways between the region, the province of Ontario and the federal government.
"I think it's a beautiful train," said Kitchener-Centre MPP John Milloy of the model. "I hope people realize the actual train will be much bigger. But it's quite impressive and certainly has that subway feel."
"We've had a chance to see it on paper," said Kate Daley, with the group Smart Growth Waterloo Region. "But this is our first real chance to see what this physically looks like, what it feels like."
Daley encouraged the public to come down and take a look at the LRV for themselves.
On Saturday, people can view and tour the model LRV from 10 am until 3 pm.
Touring the Ion model train. https://t.co/HZN0O35pNv— Mike McCulloch (@MikeCBC) July 12, 2013