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GO Transit
Do we know if the feasibility study for the freight rail bypass that was being done was still being conducted, or did the province cancel that too?
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(12-20-2018, 05:22 PM)SammyOES Wrote: 1) Congestion (and all the things that go with that) are not that bad in Waterloo compared to most of the markets we're competing with for tech companies.  There's certainly an argument that local companies will have a harder time pulling talent from Toronto w/o much better transit - but that's a tiny percentage of the available talent pool.  It's not just an opinion on how big of an impact it will have.  There's lot of hard evidence on why companies are moving here (again - to an area that already had congestion / shitty regional transit - and no short/medium term plan to fix that).

2) I agree this is a setback.  I just don't think its a 4-year setback.  And I don't think the current government will do the right thing.  But hopefully the next one will - and hopefully it will have become an important enough issue (with enough public support) that the way they tackle it will be better than a 10-year plan.

It's certainly true that Waterloo doesn't have significant congestion. But as danbrotherson points out, Waterloo-Toronto congestion is intolerable. Our talent pool is small-to-tiny (I know how many Waterloo SE grads stay in Kitchener-Waterloo, and it's not many) and in any case we need to collaborate with talent in the GTA. There are no good ways to do that now. A problem that can be solved with money and no new technology.
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The pool of Toronto talent that wants to live in Toronto and commute to the region for work is not very big.  Getting that commute down to a crazy best-case of like 2 hours/day from 4-5 hours/day isn't going to open up some significant pool of workers.

You mentioned the lack of SE grads that stay in the area. We're paying Waterloo co-ops more to come to the States then most full-time tech workers make here in the region. It's factors like that that are drawing a lot of companies here.
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(12-21-2018, 12:08 AM)SammyOES Wrote: The pool of Toronto talent that wants to live in Toronto and commute to the region for work is not very big.  Getting that commute down to a crazy best-case of like 2 hours/day from 4-5 hours/day isn't going to open up some significant pool of workers.

You mentioned the lack of SE grads that stay in the area.  We're paying Waterloo co-ops more to come to the States then most full-time tech workers make here in the region.  It's factors like that that are drawing a lot of companies here.

You're forgetting the vast numbers of businesses who have both a Toronto and a Kitchener office, I live and work in KW, but my company's headquarters is in Toronto, our inability to easily travel there is a major impediment to our office's success.  As is, we travel to Toronto about once a month, which is not enough for us to work really effectively, but still frustrating to me, and my boss travels there weekly or more, which impedes my ability to collaborate with him.
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(12-20-2018, 10:43 PM)plam Wrote: It's certainly true that Waterloo doesn't have significant congestion. But as danbrotherson points out, Waterloo-Toronto congestion is intolerable. Our talent pool is small-to-tiny (I know how many Waterloo SE grads stay in Kitchener-Waterloo, and it's not many)

Our tech talent pool isn't just UW SE grads. Our team of 20 has only three UW grads, and all of those graduated in the last century.
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(12-21-2018, 12:56 AM)danbrotherston Wrote: You're forgetting the vast numbers of businesses who have both a Toronto and a Kitchener office, I live and work in KW, but my company's headquarters is in Toronto, our inability to easily travel there is a major impediment to our office's success.  As is, we travel to Toronto about once a month, which is not enough for us to work really effectively, but still frustrating to me, and my boss travels there weekly or more, which impedes my ability to collaborate with him.

My company's HQ is in Tokyo. It takes me 12h to fly there (and about 18h door to door). 2h to Toronto, especially when you can still be productive on the train, is not the end of the world IMHO.And even the California-based tech companies' HQs are much further than Toronto.

Yes, we need to fix this. But I don't see a major impact on the tech business in the next four years from this.
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For the casual commuter, you're right.

If you're going a couple times a week, it'd get old fast I'd guess
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(12-21-2018, 07:34 AM)tomh009 Wrote:
(12-21-2018, 12:56 AM)danbrotherston Wrote: You're forgetting the vast numbers of businesses who have both a Toronto and a Kitchener office, I live and work in KW, but my company's headquarters is in Toronto, our inability to easily travel there is a major impediment to our office's success.  As is, we travel to Toronto about once a month, which is not enough for us to work really effectively, but still frustrating to me, and my boss travels there weekly or more, which impedes my ability to collaborate with him.

My company's HQ is in Tokyo. It takes me 12h to fly there (and about 18h door to door). 2h to Toronto, especially when you can still be productive on the train, is not the end of the world IMHO.And even the California-based tech companies' HQs are much further than Toronto.

Yes, we need to fix this. But I don't see a major impact on the tech business in the next four years from this.

Yeah, I'd say that a company in Tokyo has different expectations of the level of collaboration that a company less than 100 km away does.
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I go downtown twice per week. Generally, I drive to Aldershot and take the train, ending up at around 2-2.5 hours each way. If my wife needs the car, I end up having to take a 3+ hour transit trip each way. Barely worth it when I want to make it home for dinner and kid's bedtime.
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I don't think anybody is arguing that we don't need to do better or that in the long run there will be some companies that don't come to the Region that otherwise would have. The point is just that meaningfully expanded Go service is one pretty minor factor for the tech industry as a whole in this region. And there's a ton of evidence for that (including the fact that its going pretty well with the status quo).
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(12-21-2018, 10:55 AM)SammyOES Wrote: I don't think anybody is arguing that we don't need to do better or that in the long run there will be some companies that don't come to the Region that otherwise would have.  The point is just that meaningfully expanded Go service is one pretty minor factor for the tech industry as a whole in this region.  And there's a ton of evidence for that (including the fact that its going pretty well with the status quo).

Many in fact say that it's a major issue.

But feel free to provide your evidence.
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(12-21-2018, 10:59 AM)danbrotherston Wrote:
(12-21-2018, 10:55 AM)SammyOES Wrote: I don't think anybody is arguing that we don't need to do better or that in the long run there will be some companies that don't come to the Region that otherwise would have.  The point is just that meaningfully expanded Go service is one pretty minor factor for the tech industry as a whole in this region.  And there's a ton of evidence for that (including the fact that its going pretty well with the status quo).

Many in fact say that it's a major issue.

But feel free to provide your evidence.

Indeed, it has been leaders in the local tech community who have been telling us that this is crucial, for several years now.  I tend to take them at their word and hope they are continuing to lobby the provincial government.
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The claim was: "The tech industry won't wait around, the damage of the lack of transportation will already be done.".

What is the state of the tech industry here now? Why are they going to leave?

Of course better transit links would improve the industry. But not maximizing growth is FAR from the same as killing the industry.
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(12-21-2018, 11:14 AM)SammyOES Wrote: The claim was: "The tech industry won't wait around, the damage of the lack of transportation will already be done.".  

What is the state of the tech industry here now?  Why are they going to leave?  

Of course better transit links would improve the industry.  But not maximizing growth is FAR from the same as killing the industry.

The state of the tech industry is that they are growing on the promise that this region will continue to improve.  That promise is threatened.

Businesses work on plans for tomorrow, not the state of things today.

And yes, lets be fair "killing" is an imprecise unhelpful word.  My definition would be that the tech industry in our region shrinks.
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Ok, I consider shrinking a currently high growth, high value industry to be killing it. But sure, "killing" is probably an unhelpful word.

I'm not sure what else there is to say, but the industry shrinking is really really unlikely (barring major unexpected and unrelated changes to the broader economy or to things like local Universities).
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