Mayors from across Waterloo, Wellington and Brant will work together to present a formal joint request to the province to improve the transportation network throughout southwestern Ontario, says the mayor of Guelph.
Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge represented mayors from Waterloo, Wellington and Brant at this week's meeting of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario in Ottawa.
Farbridge said the need for better planning for stronger transportation networks in Waterloo, Wellington and Brant was identified by the mayors as an area that needs improvement.
"There's a lot of regional planning that goes on in the Greater Toronto Area on the other side of the Green Belt, but there's not the same regional integrated focus in our area," Farbridge told The Morning Edition host Craig Norris Thursday.
"There's a great deal of interest in moving forward with that kind of regional look at our transportation system and integrate it, including public transit in it," she said.
Mayors to formalize request
Farbridge said initial meetings with Glen Murray, the province's transportation minister, have gone well. She said Murray has not only been receptive, but was also impressed that the mayors from Waterloo, Wellington and Brant came forward as a coalition.
"He's a big proponent of regional and integrated planning," she said.
Farbridge said that Murray wants direction on where to prioritize regional transportation from local municipalities and has asked the delegation to give his ministry a formal request to outline what the mayors want.
"Our next step will be to get together at the staff level and basically detail and formalize our request to the minister," she said.
Transit expansion 'integral'
Farbridge said part of making transportation networks between the tri-cities, Guelph and Brantford stronger, is expanding public networks such as GO and Via.
"We see that as an integral part of it," she said.
Environmental assessments are done in isolation, now there's a move to integrate them.
"Not only did we ask for this planning work, we did make a specific request for increased GO Transit along both the Georgetown line, which moves in through Guelph and into Kitchener and Waterloo, but also the Milton line, which goes through Cambridge as well," she said.
Farbridge said the emphasis on transportation often focuses on how other parts of the province move in and out of Toronto, rather than how people and goods move between different cities outside of the GTA.
"Sometimes it feels like us getting into Toronto, but there's a lot of movement between Guelph and the Waterloo Region, Waterloo Region and Brantford," she said.
"So we would like to look at that and understand that better and have a good system to move people and goods around in that area."