Knox Presbyterian Church and Democracy: on the Occasion of The One Year Anniversary of the New Church.

Greetings and congratulations from Chair Ken Seiling and Regional Council. Like Peter Braid, I would first like to talk about Caroline and Erb.  Although people, of course, do talk to me about the traffic, this intersection is iconic. There is commerce with Waterloo Square, politics with CIGI, the arts with the Clay and Glass and religion with Knox. We are always hearing about commerce and politics, it is so important to have religion on this corner.

Secondly, on behalf of the Region of Waterloo, I would like to thank Knox for letting us hold our public meetings here. Just last week, I listened to a speaker who was helping us as we move to urbanization, telling us about placemaking and making the Region comfortable for people.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I visited China on a personal visit. It is a great country but with 1.7 billion people, they must build a lot of LRT and subways. We passed by a hoarding and our guide told us that the last subway line was built in one year. One year. It is taking 12 years to put the shovel in the ground for our Light Rail Transit.

I thought it over. China does not have environmental assessments or public meetings. I was very interested in hearing that your church had lots of meetings deciding how and where to build the new church.  Some say the Region’s meetings are endless, some say we don’t have enough. In the end, it is decided and some people don’t get what they want and some do.

That’s democracy.

Which brings me to the famous public meeting in your church, the one where people were looking at the uptown alignment for the LRT.

The members of Knox said, ” We’ve just built this church and the LRT line is going right beside it.”

We said, “The LRT is electric, it’ll be quiet.”

The members said, “Oh, we don’t know.”

Then other people in Waterloo began to agree with you. The alignment should be changed. The Region changed the alignment to go along a preexisting rail line through the parking lot of Waterloo Town Square.

That’s democracy.

Thank you for your devotion to community and democracy. Congratulations on your first year.

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