Proposed rail transit in Waterloo could spur tech sector

Endorsed by Communitech, Rapid Transit option "L3" involves LRT from Conestoga Mall to Fairview Mall, and adapted bus rapid transit from Fairview Mall to the Ainslie Street bus terminal.

Avvey Peters, who heads operations at Communitech, says that Light Rail Transit is about more than moving people up and down the King Street corridor; It’s about improving the area’s ability to attract and retain talent. “Let’s face it – tech workers aren’t moving to Waterloo Region for the great weather and the spectacular mountain view,” she says.

Communitech, a non-profit that supports more than 700 tech companies in the Waterloo Region, has just released the findings of a survey of the region, which found widespread support for LRT. According to the report, 70 per cent responded that LRT would benefit the region, more than half said they would take LRT, and more than 87 per cent said it’s very or somewhat important to their company and coworkers.

Peters says that projects like public transit not only reduce problems of smog, traffic, road repair, and parking, but they can also play an important role in attracting the top talent that tech companies rely upon to remain competitive.

The Waterloo tech cluster, according to Communitech, employs more than 33,000 people, and is valued at $22B, and there are more than 2,000 open positions in this tech cluster which are struggling to be filled.

Creating a sustainable, forward-looking city, could very well be a main driver for outside talent from places that have extensive public transit systems like Toronto and Montreal.

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