During July and August, the City Council schedule is reduced from weekly meetings to one monthly meeting.  Although it might sound nice, these days are usually very busy, with a lot of reading and they typically end very late. The July meeting was a particularly full agenda and included a lengthy discussion and debate regarding traffic in the Uptown West neighbourhood.  With the ION construction in Uptown Waterloo combined with the high density development also occurring in the Uptown, the single family residents that border these projects are increasingly concerned about the potential for "cut through" traffic and increasing traffic speeds.  Many residents attended the Council meeting in July and registered to provide a delegation to Council.  In the end, Council agreed that more work is needed to address the concerns of the neighbourhood.

 

The participation of the community members in the July Council meeting provided tremendous value to the decision making by Council.  If you have ever wondered how one goes about participating at a Council meeting, the following is provided for your use:

 

1. Email: Many citizens choose to email me regarding Council decisions.  I can assure you that I read every email that I receive and seek to respond immediately.  Admittedly I do travel with my Blackberry (much to the chagrin of my family) and even while on vacation, you can be assured I will respond to email.  Many citizens choose to email all members of Council. This is an especially useful tool if you are interested to comment on issues that are located outside of Ward 4 and deal with a larger City issue such as the proposed King Street redevelopment in Uptown Waterloo that is considering the installation of separated bike lanes.

 

2. Delegation to Council: You can request to come and speak directly to Council by requesting to be a delegation to Council.  We hear delegations at the beginning of every Council meeting or in conjunction with specific Council items.  Details on providing a delegation to Council are found at the following link: http://www.waterloo.ca/en/government/delegationregistration.asp

 

3. Telephone: City Hall has wonderful staff in the Elected Officials office and Linda Vandenakker works as the constituency coordinator for all members of Council.  Linda can be reached at 519-747-8788.  All members of Council are issued a Blackberry and I can be reached directly at 519-569-9955.

 

4. Petition:  Although some might think it "old-fashioned" to provide a petition to Council I can assure you that many do.  This remains an effective tool to help Council understand the depth of community interest in a particular decision.  Most recently, petitions were provided to Council both in favour of and opposed to the completion of Lexington Road with sidewalks and on road bike lanes.

 

5. Letter:  I often receive letters from citizens on one topic or another.  On some occasions I have written back and on others I have phoned folks back.  Like other forms of communication, I strive to respond immediately. 

 

6. Public Meetings:  The City runs a lot of public meetings with the goal of seeking input from interested and affected citizens.  Where planning applications are concerned there is a requirement in the Planning Act for written notification to those living within a close proximity to a development.  For other projects, there is no formal requirement, but the City does it anyway.  These meetings are typically advertised in the Waterloo Chronicle, on the City website and through social media.

 

7. Social Media:  Recently many folks have chosen to engage me and the City through social media including facebook and twitter: @citywaterloo and @dianelfreeman. Like email I track notifications on my facebook and twitter accounts and work hard to respond immediately.

 

8. Committees and Task forces:  Following the election of Council a notice will be posted on the City website and in the Waterloo Chronicle requesting interested individuals to consider volunteering to serve on a committee or Task force of Council.  The committees and task forces report directly to Council and have staff support.  Committees are engaged in long-term work and a task force typically is project specific and has a specific end date.  These groups provide important advice to Council on agenda items and on many occasions bring forth motions for Council to consider and advance.  Members of Council sit on committees and task forces and the work of the volunteers in this capacity is highly valued.  If you have an interest to serve on a committee or task force, please email me and I can forward your contact information to the City clerk's office so you will be notified when the notice to volunteer is posted.

 

9. Face-to-Face Meetings:  I really enjoy meeting with people.  Most recently I met with citizens at their home related to construction happening on their street.  I routinely meet with people at City Hall.  I make time for breakfast and lunch meetings too.  If you want to meet with me just email me to set up a time and location to meet.

Public input in decision making is really valued.  Often people feel that if they are in agreement with a proposed project then they do not need to come out to a meeting and say so.  This makes it tough for Council because we often face the loud minority in the Council Chambers and we are uncertain about the silent majority and where they stand on issues.

August will be a busier month because in addition to the Council meeting, I will also be attending the Annual Conference of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO).  AMO works to make municipal governments stronger and more effective and is the advocacy organization for 444 municipalities in Ontario. I have successfully run for the AMO board of directors on three occasions and I have served continuously since 2007.  AMO actively advocates to the Government of Ontario around issues such as arbitration settlements; Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement Savings (OMERS); Infrastructure funding; Social Services investments and much more.  I am proud to be working with AMO on behalf of Ontario citizens. 

 

Upcoming Events:

Mark your Calendars or cut out the following chart for some special dates and events happening in and around the City of Waterloo.

Event

Date

Location (s)

 

Thursday Nights UpTown
Live performances from local musicians

Thursdays, June-September,  5-8 pm

Bauer Marketplace

Long & McQuade

McPhail's

Seven Shores Café

Open Streets

www.openstreetsutw.ca

September 14

King Street Waterloo

Advanced Municipal Election Polls 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

October 8

University of Waterloo

Wilfrid Laurier University

Advanced Municipal Election Polls 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

October 9

The Shops at Waterloo Town Square

Mayor and Council Free Oktoberfest Luncheon

Thursday October 9 11:30 am -1:00 pm

Waterloo Public Square

Free Community Oktoberfest Breakfast and Great Oktoberfest Barrel Races

October 11 7:00 am - 12 noon

Waterloo Public Square

King Street Waterloo

Oktoberfest

Keg Tapping

October 10 - 17,

October 10  noon

Various - Waterloo Region

Kitchener City Hall

Advanced Municipal Election Polls 12 p.m.-8 p.m.

October 15 and 16

RIM Park, Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex and Waterloo Public Library John Harper Branch

Advanced Municipal Election Polls 12 p.m.-6 p.m.

October 17

RIM Park, Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex and Waterloo Public Library John Harper Branch

Advanced Municipal Election Polls 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

October 18

RIM Park, Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex and Waterloo Public Library John Harper Branch

Municipal Election Day

October 27

I welcome your comments on my columns so please do not hesitate to contact me at:

email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  twitter: @dianelfreeman

 

 
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