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 

 

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 

 

Thank you for including me in your “Amazing Race” event at the end of May.  The weather was perfect and the participants were such a pleasure to meet. 

Around the Ward

  1. 1.It seems that the fine weather has also brought out increased vandalism in theThe following information has been prepared and provided by the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council for inclusion in this newsletter:

The good news is that in Canada crime has generally been decreasing for decades. And overall, most Canadians are satisfied with their personal safety from crime. This is the experience in Waterloo Region, where a 2013 study showed a decrease in fear of crime. If fear of crime in a neighbourhood rises, neighbours might be more likely to withdraw from neighbourhood life, making the community less safe. Instead, encourage neighbours to feel safe by staying connected and working together to identify realistic solutions to address break-ins. At the same time, it’s helpful to encourage others to stay calm and work with police and community partners in order to put neighbourhood crime rates into perspective.

Here are some steps you can take to increase safety in your neighbourhood. Designing for safety can’t eliminate crime in your neighbourhood, but it can reduce opportunities for crime.

-          Become a local expert. Know your neighbourhood!

-          Say hi to your neighbours and get to know them. A connected community is a safer community.

-          Turn porch lights on after dark. Use energy efficient LED bulbs to conserve energy.

-          Ensure valuables are kept out of sight in vehicles, or, better yet, don’t leave valuables in your vehicle.

-          Design residence entrances and driveways to be visible from the street.

-          Conduct a neighbourhood safety audit. Present your findings to your city councillor and work with her to develop an action plan. Safety audits are a good way to identify which places in your neighbourhood are safety issues or simply do not feel safe. Safety audits also bring neighbours together and create a sense of collective ownership of the neighbourhood.

-          Ensure your fencing does not provide cover for unwanted behaviour. Use chain link instead of wood for fencing, and keep wood fencing to no higher than 4 feet.

-          Advocate for green space, yet be careful to keep trees and bushes away from doors, windows, and cars.

-          Create neighbourhood events that bring neighbours together

-          Report all incidents of crime to the police, so that they can track patterns of occurrences.

Waterloo Region Police Services (WRPS) website information:

-          Lock it or lose it! Please keep all doors locked, even when you are at home. It is easy for someone to quickly come in your front door while you are in the back yard working in the garden. Anywhere you keep valuables should be locked. This includes garages, sheds, vehicles and of course your house or apartment.

-          Put it away. Remember to not leave valuables in plain sight inside your vehicle. Even if it is locked, your vehicle can be entered quickly. Take those laptops and cell phones into the house with you!

-          Lighting. Assess your outdoor lighting and consider if it effectively lights up potential entry points to your residence, garage, or shed. Motion lights can be an effective deterrent but ensure they are installed properly so they cannot be tampered with. Consider using timers for your indoor lighting so lights are not left on during the day when you are away.

-          Maintain a Clear View. Try not to allow items to obscure the view to vehicles or residential entry points. This would include fencing, and vegetation such as hedges or large plants. These obstructions create a hiding place for someone trying to gain entry to your vehicle or residence.

Here is the WRPS mapping system where you can check for recent and historical patterns of occurrences: http://maps.policereporting.ca

  1. 2.The ION construction in the Ward continues along King and NorthfieldThe changing traffic patterns are challenging and many merchants along the route are facing tough financial times.  Please be patient, and try to think of ways to support the merchants.   Routine updates are provided at: http://www.rideion.ca/
  1. 3.Shop in Waterloo - Please consider ways in which you can support businesses operating at Conestoga Mall and UpTown

There is a variety of parking options in uptown Waterloo with surface lots, on-street parking and a parking garage. http://uptownwaterloobia.com/uptown-parking/.

Upcoming Events:

 

There are events and public interest activities happening almost every day of the week.  All of your favorite UpTown events are still happening during ION construction. Check out the website: grandsocial.ca to see everything you can access.  Mark your Calendars for some special dates and events happening in and around the City of Waterloo:

Event

Date

Location (s)

 

SunLife Financial Waterloo Busker Carnival

August 25-28, 2016

Waterloo City Hall Parking Lot – Free, On-Site, Valet Bicycle Parking

UpTown Waterloo Great Oktoberfest Barrel Race

October 15, 2016

Location to be confirmed

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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