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If you live in Niagara, you’ve obviously heard all about bringing the GO Train to the Region. There are lots of opinions floating around out there, but after last week’s Pro Go Train Rally, I think it’s pretty evident that it’s not only a service we want, but one that we need and deserve. In fact, this is one of the last anchors Niagara needs to really establish and propel ourselves as an ultimate lifestyle destination in Canada.
What we need
Niagara is asking for daily, year-round rail service that connects us with Hamilton and the GTA, with stops in Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Grimsby. With the growing numbers of Niagarans commuting to Hamilton and Toronto for work, GO Train service will improve the lives of those daily commuters, and also create new opportunities for all of us. Niagara is demanding a commitment from the province in 2015 to bring daily GO Train service to Niagara; it’s a non-negotiable, we deserve it.
And think about the future developments that would come with the GO. With a new train service comes the need to design our city for commuters. I would love to see a brand new station to replace the current, aging facility. And with the already existing rail line behind Fourth Avenue, there is plenty of space for new housing developments to accommodate our new commuting population.
What Niagarans are saying
On Friday, March 13, a rally took place at the VIA train station in downtown Niagara Falls (to read more, check out the St. Catharines Standard article here), where more than 100 people came out to show their support for the cause.
Here is what some of them had to say in the article and on niagarago.ca:
“If we could speak to the people in Toronto right now that are looking at a $1 million home, a $1 million home and sales went up 17% and I’m looking at you saying that you could get a house for $350,000 to $500,000 and invest the balance in a business to employ people in Niagara, I’m talking to you.”
— Alex Digenis. Henley Honda
“It would be great if it was something that he could use later on. It’s good for all areas of Niagara – hospitality, tourism, and also for people to have the option to work in Toronto. It’s absolutely essential to keep our area growing. We’ve had a lot of development, we need this to continue on.”
— Paula MacNeill, Niagara-on-the-Lake resident
“The expansion of GO Rail into Niagara is fundamental to our future growth and prosperity as a Region and as thriving communities. Economic development, population growth, environmental stewardship, employment, retention of our youth, attracting visitors – the opportunities are endless.”
— Wayne Redekop, Mayor of Fort Erie
My two cents
Obviously, I’m all for bringing GO Train service to Niagara. In terms of bringing people to the region, it’s a no-brainer. And think of the retention of our current residents (university and college students included), there would no longer be the need to move to improve their commute, the GO Train would make it easier.
Then there’s the exposure of our beautiful home; it will be so much easier for tourists to get here to explore the region and all we have to offer — the wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the hiking trails along the Niagara Escarpment, and the hustle and bustle of Niagara Falls.
The GO Train isn’t just good for our economy — it’s excellent! It will put Niagara on the map for our quality of living. The arrival of GO commuter service will be draw retail stores, offices, restaurants, and best of all, intensified residential development. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see St. Catharines home prices go up 50% in the first five years of the GO commuter service in Niagara.