On April 11, 2018, in conjunction with Rotary Waterloo, Mayor Jaworsky delivered his 2018 State of the City address to a “sold out” crowd in Forbes Hall at RIM Park.

A highlight of the event is always the Grade 5 Council for the Day winners. Two amazing students from Ward 4 were selected to be “Mayor for the Day” and “Councillor Ward 4 for the Day”. Alyssa Panda a Grade 5 student at Millen Woods Public School was selected as Mayor for the Day and her one great idea for the City of Waterloo is to “create more art because it’s beautiful and it will get people talking and bring the community together. If we all work together to create more art, maybe murals or sculptures, our community will be even better.” Jay Busch is a Grade 5 Student at Lester B. Pearson Public School. As Ward 4 Councillor for the Day, Jay’s one great idea is to “provide more access to sports and physical activities for immigrants and refugees in Waterloo.” With student leaders like Alyssa and Jay, the future of the City of Waterloo and Ward 4 is a bright one!

The other great ideas from the Councillor for the Day winners included:

  • creating more volunteer opportunities for kids
  • allowing backyard campfires in the City
  • organizing park and roadside cleanups
  • forming a welcoming committee for new community members
  • launching a community cycling day
  • creating options to interact with and aid people without homes

The following are some of the highlights from the Mayor’s address:

Conestoga College continues to grow to meet the needs of our rapidly changing community. The newly refreshed Waterloo Campus will open later this summer, and it will foster innovation and cultural development, building on regional strengths to position our community as a destination for culinary tourism and entrepreneurship.

Laurier continues to play an instrumental role in our Region’s nationally-recognized technology, applied research and innovation ecosystem, as well as being an academic partner in the recently-announced Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster. Laurier is also a leader in community-based research that improves the health and wellness of Waterloo citizens.

Earlier in April, the University of Waterloo launched its new Waterloo Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) Institute. A.I. will change lives. It will transform the way we work and communicate. It will transform transportation, medical care, and even how we learn. The University of Waterloo is playing a vital role in the future of A.I. Researchers there have already developed technologies using A.I. that can detect cancer and heart disease, understand language and emotion, and navigate roadways and factory floors better than ever before. By partnering with industry, the University of Waterloo will soon deploy A.I. innovations to thousands of businesses across Canada, producing solutions with immediate benefit to all Canadians.

On the economic growth and development front, Shopify has outgrown the Seagram building and will soon be expanding into new office space on Willis Way, creating another 300-500 jobs.

On the west side, at The Boardwalk, there will be a ground-breaking in May for Medical Centre 2. This second facility will expand on services provided in the first building, which is now full with 60 doctors and specialists and 2,600 visitors each day.

On the east side, the Carriage Crossing residential neighbourhood is building out nicely and Conestoga Mall is filling up with new stores taking over the old Target space, right at the ION stop.

On the north side, the Schlegel Village project is expanding with Phase 2 of construction to add a new senior’s apartment and retirement home accommodations.

Centrally, there is new construction activity in the Idea Quarter, at Phillip and Columbia, with Evolv1 and their anchor tenant Ernst and Young (EY), which is well underway. Plans are already in the works for Evolv2. These are North America’s first net-positive buildings, producing more energy than is consumed.

Also in the Idea Quarter, GHD, opened their largest North American office last month, Stantec, the Accelerator Centre, OpenText, Auvik, Axonify, HockeyTech and Magnet Forensics are just some of the companies producing cutting-edge technologies and innovative services in Waterloo.

The City supports many opportunities for all ages to live an active and healthy lifestyles. In 2021, the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex will be upgraded with a second walking track, a multi-purpose activity court and a welcoming gathering space. A new and improved older adult recreation centre will be built there and will include everything our older adults have come to love and expect in their current space.

Last year, more than 37,000 people registered for a sport or recreation program, and that included over 13,000 people playing pickleball!

Across the city you’ll find playgrounds, parks, sports fields and courts. There are over 160 kilometres of trails to take you through our uptown core, parks, natural areas, woodlands, creek corridors and more.

In 2016, we recorded 1.3 million trips on our trails working out to about 10 trips per person per capita.

The event ended with a very special announcement. The State of the City event, hosted by Rotary Waterloo, is a fundraiser, and it is an opportunity to inform, and inspire community members. Last year, the Mayor spoke of the new Hospice of Waterloo Region site, just across the street from RIM Park.

Bill and Gert Gies, as well as their family, were inspired by the Hospice story last year. Bill has been a community business leader for many years. At the 2018 State of the City address, Mayor Jaworsky recognized him and his family for their cornerstone gift of $2.5 million made to the Hospice of Waterloo Region capital campaign.

In recognition of their generosity, the new palliative care centre and hospice residence that is being built in Ward 4 will be named The Gies Family Centre.

Just days after the State of the City Address, the City of Waterloo was awarded the gold level Bicycle-Friendly Community designation from the Share the Road Cycling Coalition at their annual Ontario Bike Summit in Toronto.

Waterloo is the first mid-sized city in Ontario to achieve this gold designation, joining the larger cities of Toronto and Ottawa. There are a total of 42 communities in Ontario that are now recognized as bike-friendly (31 bronze level, eight silver level and three gold), representing 70% of Ontario’s population.

Waterloo was recognized for its commitment to designing complete streets and connecting people throughout the community. Some of the initiatives cited include:

  • the strong and growing network of active transportation infrastructure such as the uptown King Street raised bicycle lanes that will be completed this summer
  • Waterloo’s expansive trail system including upgraded trail crossings making it safer for cyclist to cross busy roads
  • the integrated high priority active transportation network with a focus on connecting key routes as well as connecting the new ION LRT system to the trail system
  • a commitment to cycling education, including the partnership with the Region of Waterloo and other cities with the Cycling Into the Future Program, a program that aims to nurture a love of cycling for students in grade five, numerous bike groups, community rides and events such as Bike to Work Day.

 

Information on the City of Waterloo Active Transportation work including trails and transportation mapping is located at: https://www.waterloo.ca/en/living/activetransportationprogram.asp and https://www.waterloo.ca/en/gettingactive/cyclingmap.asp

 

If you are planning to attend the Jazz Festival in UpTown Waterloo July 20-22nd or the Buskers Festival August 23-26th remember to cycle there and take advantage of the City of Waterloo FREE Bike Valet parking service located at the main entrance to the festival area.

 

Should you have any questions on this article or any City related issues please do not hesitate to contact me:  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

 
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