Happy New Year!  As I finalize this newsletter article, the weather is overcast, mild and overall very dull.  As much as snow and cold can sometimes be too much and last too long, I think I would prefer sun and snow to drizzle and clouds. You might recall that this time last year I made a commitment to cycle commute year around.  I stayed true to that commitment and 2017 sees me “ringing” in the New Year 45 pounds less than I was in January of 2016.  I managed to keep up my winter cycling blog last year so if you are interested in tips on winter cycling please check out: dianelfreeman.wordpress.com

Around the Ward and City

1. Zoning By-Law Review: In 2016 the City of Waterloo embarked on a City wide review of the zoning By-Laws. Over the past 12 months the City Planning team has undertaken a series of public meetings where they sought comment from the public on a new comprehensive document that will create all new zoning by-laws for the whole City. When complete, this work will align the by-laws to the Official Plan.  There is still time to participate in this work. Information on the work, current status and opportunities to participate can be found at: http://www.waterloo.ca/en/business/zoningreview.asp

I am frequently asked by citizens, why does the City allow for property owners to seek a zone change? The short answer is because the Ontario Planning Act allows it.  The By-Laws however outline what the intended long-term land use for property in and around the City of Waterloo.

2. Waste Collection changes are coming March 2017: Regional Council has approved changes to curbside waste collection for homes in Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and the Townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich. These changes will take effect in March of 2017, when the new waste collection contract begins. The changes include:

  • Garbage collection every two weeks: Four garbage bag/containers (maximum of 50 pounds or 23 kilograms each) will be collected once every two weeks
  • Bulky items and appliances collected every two weeks: Three items that cannot fit in a standard garbage bag/container will be collected once every two weeks
  • Weekly blue box and green bin collection in the rural areas of the Townships: Currently, rural areas receive blue box collection every two weeks and do not receive green bin collection
  • Seasonal yard waste collection every two weeks in the rural areas of the Townships: Currently, some areas do not receive yard waste collection
  • Garbage tag program to accommodate garbage bag/container set-out beyond the four bag/container limit
  • Exemption program An exemption to the garbage limit for residents with medical conditions.

More information on the changes including information on downloading the “My Waste” app can be found at: http://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/aboutTheEnvironment/Waste-Management-Master-Plan-Update.asp

3. Jane’s Walk 2017: Join me on Saturday May 6th as I lead a community bike ride to City Hall as a part of the global Jane's Walk festival. Jane’s Walk is a movement of free; citizen led walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs. The walks get people to tell stories about their communities, explore their cities, and connect with neighbours. Instead of a walk, I will be hosting a family friendly bike ride. Canada will celebrate 150 years in 2017. This year’s Jane's Ride will be from the St. Jacob's Market to UpTown Waterloo. We will start the ride at 9 am on May 6th at the St. Jacob's Farmers Market (we will meet in the Outlet Shops Parking Lot nearest to the Lego Store entrance). We will start with a coffee and Apple Fritter at the Market then travel on the TransCanada Trail system to City Hall and UpTown Waterloo. The ride including the return trip will be approximately 2 hours. During the ride we will discuss how the City became a Silver Bicycle Friendly Community and our plans to become Gold. We will also explore and talk about a variety of different City and Regional cycling infrastructure. A GRT bus is scheduled for a free the trip back to the Market from Uptown Waterloo. Dress appropriately to the weather conditions. Ensure bike tires are properly inflated. Bring water for the ride. You may want a camera to take some photos and a bike lock if you plan to stay in UpTown and explore. Although this is a family friendly ride, confidence on two wheels will be necessary. Helmets are mandatory for all riders. Information on this ride and other Jane's Walks planned for Waterloo Region on May 5-7, 2017 is available at: www. janeswalk.org

4. Volunteering with the City:  There are many opportunities to volunteer with events and programs in the City of Waterloo. You can sign up on-line at: http:// www.waterloo.ca/en/living/volunteer.asp. Here are some examples of things you can sign up to volunteer with:

  • Office Assistant: Waterloo Home support
  • Volunteer driver: transport seniors to or from the Adult Recreation Centre
  • Waterloo Home Support: driver or shopper for seniors
  • Sun Life Financial UpTown Waterloo Jazz Festival
  • Sun Life Financial Waterloo Buskers Festival
  • Open Streets 2017 - http://www.openstreetsutw.ca/
  • Winterloo 2017

5. Councillor Board/Committee Assignments: January 2017 marked the beginning of the second half of this Council Term.  At the mid-term, Councillor Board and committee assignments are revisited.  I wanted to let people know that I have been assigned to the Grand River Hospital Corporation Board of Directors, the Dangerous Dog Designation Committee, the Waterloo Advisory Committee on Active Transportation and the Oktoberfest Advisory Committee.  As well, each member of Council is assigned as a liaison to one of the City departments.  For the next two years, I will continue to serve as the liaison to Integrated Planning and Public Works department.  I thought I would also let people know that I continue to love what I do, serving as your City Councillor, and come 2018 I plan to seek re-election as Ward 4 Councillor. 

6. Investment: The City of Waterloo continues to enjoy an enviable reputation for having one of the lowest unemployment rates in all of Canada and a housing market that is trying to respond to pressures from individuals seeking to exit the GTA. We have incredible learning institutions and in December 2016 Conestoga College announced a $43.5 million expansion to its north Waterloo campus, which will begin the first phase of its Pathways to Prosperity initiative.  The campus is located in Ward 4.  According to the press release, by the fall of 2018, the college will provide: 

  • A new Institute for Culinary & Hospitality Management that will train students in these fields and push Waterloo region as a culinary tourism destination.
  • A new access hub that will provide career advising, language training, testing and academic advising for students, newcomers to Canada, job seekers and area employers.
  • The Centre for Advanced Learning which will focus on information and communications technology, digital technologies and business.

The college will also be the home to the college's language training, which is currently in a rented facility in Waterloo, and the School of Information Technology, currently at the Doon Campus. The following is an Artist’s rendering of the College Expansion as seen from University Avenue.

College

Upcoming Events:

Mark your Calendars for some special dates and events happening in and around the City of Waterloo:

Event

Date

Location (s)

Winterloo

https://www.facebook.com/WinterlooFest

February 24-26, 2017

Uptown Waterloo

Rink in the Square

Until Snow melt 2017

Waterloo Public Square

Skate Night Date Night

Feb. 24 7-9 pm

Waterloo Public Square

http://www.waterloo.ca/en/living/family-fun-skate.asp">Family Fun Skate

Feb. 11 12-4 pm - Love Birds. Just in time for Valentine's Day come dressed as a bird or something to do with love/Valentine's Day

Waterloo Public Square

Studio 54 –Night Fever fundraising event

February 11, 2017

http://www.themuseum.ca/exhibition/night-fever

Kitchener-Waterloo Comedy Festival

March 2-4, 2017

https://kw-comedy.com/

Clay and Glass Gala Fundraising Event

March 25, 2017

Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery
http://www.theclayandglass.ca/events/gala/

Council Meetings are open to the public and happen every Monday at 6:30 pm unless otherwise posted.  Council agendas are located at this link: www.waterloo.ca/en/calendar/council/default.aspx

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

 
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