Cambridge residents opposed to a proposed light rail transit route through the city from Kitchener received some support from city council this week.
The city's planning and development committee, which met Tuesday, approved a motion to advise Waterloo region that council opposes what is known as the preliminary preferred route for Stage 2 ION in Cambridge.
The route would have the LRT travel over green space behind homes.
Council opposes the route specifically between Shantz Hill Road to Hespeler Road because of its impact on adjacent properties in Cambridge.
Initially, city staff recommended that the proposed route undergo "further review" but Mayor Doug Craig said the motion needed to be stronger to reflect the concerns of Preston residents. He moved an amendment that council oppose the proposed route and it was passed unanimously.
The committee also approved a motion to ask Waterloo Region to consider alternate routes.
"My smile was ear to ear," Lee Ann Mitchell, a Preston resident who has helped to organize a lawn sign campaign against the route, said after the meeting.
"It was nice to see it in vivid colour and now in print. They definitely have gone back to the table to take another peek."
Mitchell, who lives beside the preferred route in Preston, told the committee that the LRT is a regional project but said Cambridge is different from Kitchener and Waterloo and council needs to "get the project right" for Cambridge.
She said she gives the project a failing grade.
"The LRT is coming and Cambridge certainly doesn't want to miss out on its piece of the innovation pie. But remember, if it doesn't taste right, don't swallow it. If it doesn't serve the city effectively, ask for something that does," she said.
"And this project is too important to sit back in the quiet rows of the theatre."
Lawn signs to stay up
Mitchell said there is nothing wrong with the council "reworking" the project and urged councillors to become informed about the proposed LRT to ensure they effectively represent the concerns of their constituents.
The red and white lawn signs will stay up to help educate residents about the project, she said.
Terry Mycyk, spokesperson for the Stop the LRT Through Preston campaign, told the committee that the route is bad for Preston and bad for Cambridge. The LRT, according to the proposed route, would be on a road — Highway 8 — that is already busy, he said.
According to the city, Preston residents have expressed concerns about how the LRT, in its proposed route, could affect property, traffic, heritage buildings, the natural environment and how it could increase noise.
Residents have also said they are concerned about potential lack of ridership, the cost to build and maintain the LRT, its impact of construction on businesses, lack of key stop locations and unserved areas.