After almost nine years of debate, Regional Council moved ahead with light rail transit on the night of June 15, 2011.
"It was a pretty special day," former Regional Chair Ken Seiling recalled, "And I think it confirmed where we were at. We worked long and hard at it, and a lot of committed people had been there working along the way with it."
"It was just a milestone, another milestone for Waterloo Region, cause Waterloo Region has always been on the cutting edge of doing lots of things."
It was a long night for officials, before the proposal passed by a 9-2 vote, followed by a standing ovation from the gathered audience.
Following the meeting, Regional Councillor for Kitchener Geoff Lorentz said it was about time the decision was made.
"We've listened to so many people, we've gotten so many different comments and reports. This is the level where you have to think big, and you have to look long-term, and that's what we did," he said.
Meantime, then-Regional Councillor for Kitchener Jim Wideman was elated by the decision, adding the community has always been a leader.
"If we're going to continue to hold that position, in terms of our competitiveness worldwide, in terms of drawing new employers and employees here, we're going to have to be a world-class community," he said.
Voting against the motion was then-Regional Councillor for Cambridge Claudette Millar, and former Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran.
"We've been inundated with many e-mails from people, saying they're opposed to this," Halloran said after the meeting.
"I stayed true to my campaign pledge, and for me, that feels really great. I didn't vary from that, and I supported the people of Waterloo, and what they told me when I campaigned."
Despite that, Halloran said she is a "team player," and would work with Regional Council for the benefit of the community.
The decision called for construction on Stage 1 to begin in 2014, with service to start sometime in 2017, with trains going from Conestoga Mall in Waterloo to Fairview Mall in Kitchener.
Rapid bus transit would service from there to the Ainslie Street terminal in Cambridge.
But the delays that followed pushed back the launch date a couple years. We'll take a look at those delays, and the controversies, on Wednesday.
With files from various 570 NEWS staff.
THIS IS THE SECOND OF A FIVE-PART SERIES, TITLED "EYE ON THE ION," TAKING A LOOK BACK AT THE HISTORY, THE DISCUSSIONS, THE MEETINGS AND ALL LEADING TO FRIDAY'S LAUNCH OF ION SERVICE IN WATERLOO REGION ON JUNE 21.