A slight glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for Regional Council, as they have endorsed a preferred ION route through the Preston neighbourhood of Cambridge.
With more work still to go --- and ION service through Kitchener and Waterloo set to start June 21, the controversial Stage 2 path linking Kitchener to Cambridge would run a station diagonally in the Queenston block and along the side of Eagle Street North.
The station running diagonally is said to help provide better access for pedestrians and cyclists to King and Eagle Street, along with being a less expensive option.
But, it's said that will impact a higher number of properties, and would result in more full buyouts.
As for the rest of the track, fewer properties along Eagle would be impacted and traffic would get worse, according to comments from residents.
They pointed to the King and Eagle intersection, noting the route would make congestion worse, reduce access for vehicles and increase delays in the area.
Overall, the route is said to provide fewer engineering and construction challenges.
A staff report presented to Cambridge city council in April indicated despite exploring options to minimizing impacts within the area, "eliminating all impacts is not possible."
As for what comes next, Regional Council had to increase their contract amount with WSP Canada by almost $800,000 to cover off amendments made to the project scope, and complete the study.
That work includes preliminary design work, updates to the site selection study for a maintenance and storage facility and developing alternatives and consultation with Grand River Transit and the City of Cambridge.
There's also more public consultations to go, and it will all lead to this going back to Regional Council in 2019. That would be when council would finalize a recommended route, to initiate the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP).
It would go over into 2020, when if all goes well, the Environmental Project Report would be filed for public review to complete the TPAP.
And then staff would be able to submit funding applications to the provincial and federal government.
CLICK HERE to see the full report (pages 162-179).