I am so thankful to see the arrival of spring.  This warmer weather does mark the beginning of the Construction Season! On April 12, 2017 Mayor Dave Jaworsky delivered his State of the City Address at a Breakfast event in support of Rotary.  I thought everyone might enjoy an overview of his key points so I have included them below for your use.  The full speech can be reviewed at http://www.waterloo.ca/en/contentresources/resources/government/mayor-jaworskys-2017-state-of-the-city-address.pdf:

  1. 1.Low Unemployment: Thalmic Labs recently opened a 50,000 square foot factory near uptown Waterloo and will employ another 100 people. Shopify Plus is also expanding and planning to hire another 300 positions. Costco created 200 jobs. On the northwest side of Waterloo, we are going to build a 125 acre employment park, enabling about 7,000 new jobs for our community.
  2. 2.Active Transportation: Last year we recorded 1.3M trips on our trails. In our recent budget, we approved 10km of new trails. We are building protected bike lanes on King Street, enhancing the Laurel and Trans Canada Trails with asphalt resurfacing, and completing continued way-finding signage and trail crossing improvements.

On the east-side we are improving Lexington Road to make it easier for residents to connect with other areas of the city.

  1. 3.ION: The first ION vehicle arrived in February and the remaining 13 vehicles are scheduled to arrive by the end of this year. Testing will take place this spring and in 2018 ION will begin full service.
  2. 4.Dog Waste Receptacles: Later this spring, we will become the first municipality to pilot an eco-friendly dog waste containment system. This Waterloo-based innovation will convert dog waste into renewable energy. You’ll find special containers in St. Moritz Park, Lakeshore Optimist Park, and Bechtel Park. We’ll review the program in a year to determine if we can expand into other parks in the city.
  3. 5.Tree Give-Away Project: In honour of Canada’s 150th we will give away 2,017 trees at different events, including at our 25th annual Service Centre Open House and Waterloo Earth Day.
  4. 6.Innovative Building: Sustainable Waterloo Region and respected developer the Cora Group will soon construct an environmentally-friendly building in the R & T Park that will actually produce more energy than it consumes. This building is called Evolv1 and is a first for North America.
  5. 7.Transforming Waterloo Park: Harvest tables will be installed in the park later this spring. Each of the tables is about 55 feet long and can seat about 70 people.

Later this year, we will upgrade the central promenade with segregated multi-use and cycling trails. We will build a second bridge across Laurel Creek thanks to the generous support of TD Bank Group’s TD Common Ground Project. We will enhance the entrance on Central Street to make it more welcoming and pedestrian-friendly. And finally, we will create opportunities for residents and visitors to connect by including gathering places, and lookout points at Silver Lake and the Central Street entrance.

Speaking of Silver Lake, we have plans to restore it to its former glory. An environmental assessment is planned for next year that will guide our plans to rehabilitate the lake and Laurel Creek.

  1. 8.Uptown, we’re working on our patio initiative as part of the King Street streetscape project. We want to give business owners more sidewalk space to set up patios for patrons.
  2. 9.Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex Proposed Expansion:  The expanded facility will better meet the needs of our older adults, youth and families, today and into the future.
  3. 10.Social Housing: 2016 saw four new social housing initiatives launched. Supportive Housing of Waterloo purchased a second property on Erb Street West. Vera’s Place recently opened on Dorset Street. The YWCA opened a new building on Lincoln Road. Ray of Hope partnered with a Waterloo landlord to repurpose his student housing into affordable housing for refugees.
  4. 11.Hospice of Waterloo Region:  Hospice is planning their future expansion of service with the purchase of five acres of land in north Waterloo (Ward 4). This future state of the art facility will be located on University Avenue across from RIM Park and is expected to open within the next two

Statistics show that Waterloo Region will grow by 43% to over 700,000 residents by 2030 and with an increasing aging population the need for hospice palliative care services and more hospice residential beds is significant. There are currently only 16 residential hospice beds in Waterloo Region, located in Cambridge and south Kitchener. A recent study by Hospice Palliative Care Ontario, demonstrates that our community will need 40 residential hospice beds by 2030.

With this new facility, Hospice of Waterloo Region will become a hub for the delivery of integrated hospice palliative care services in the region, providing services throughout the region and at the new Centre, that support individuals and families through serious illness and grief along with education for the healthcare professionals who provide this important care.

I would like to remind you of the Jane’s Walk 2017 cycling event I am hosting on Saturday May 6th. 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 at the St. Jacob's Farmers Market (we will meet in the Outlet Shops Parking Lot nearest to the Lego Store entrance). The ride including the return trip will be approximately 2 hours. 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.

Upcoming Events:

Mark your Calendars for some special dates and events happening in and around the City of Waterloo and check out https://events.explorewaterlooregion.com/search for a full calendar of local Events:

Event

Date

Location (s)

Jane’s Walk Family Friendly Bike Ride

May 6, 2017 9-noon

Starting at St. Jacob’s Outlet Shops
www. janeswalk.org

Waterloo Earth Day (500 Tree Give Away)

May 6, 2017 10-2 pm

Westmount Sports Park, 440 Westmount Rd, Waterloo ON N2L 3G1 

Service Centre Open House

June 10, 2017

Service Centre on Lexington Court
(150 Tree Give Away)

Solstice Sampling

June 17, 2017

UpTown Waterloo

Jazz Festival

July 21-23, 2017

UpTown Waterloo

Busker Carnival

August 24-27, 2017

UpTown Waterloo

Council Meetings are open to the public and happen every Monday at 6:30 pm unless otherwise posted.  Council agendas are located at: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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