Happy New Year!

From: Regional Chair Karen Redman

Happy New Year!

As we welcome a year filled with new possibilities, opportunities and hope, we also reflect on the year that was.

2021 was a challenging year.

But through the challenges community members supported one another, lifted each other up and grew stronger together.

Waterloo Region is a special place with caring and compassionate people. We can accomplish so much when we work together.

With a new year comes renewed optimism and enthusiasm for a brighter future. I believe the best is yet to come, and that 2022 will be filled with joy and prosperity.

I hope you were able to recharge during the holiday season and enjoy the start of the new year safely with loved ones.

On behalf of Regional Council, I would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy new year.

Karen Redman,

Chair, Region of Waterloo

Hockey hub model makes a comeback

Written by: Sheila Scott, Region of Waterloo

In summer 2021, when the general population started to receive first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Waterloo Region Vaccine Distribution Task Force brought an innovative vaccination clinic model to Waterloo Region.

Known as “hockey hub”, this clinic model doesn’t have much to do with the game of hockey.

It was named for the venues where the model was thought it would be best suited: hockey arenas.

Instead of an arena, the Region of Waterloo worked with Bingemans to establish the clinic in their conference centre, a location that was identified to be able to accommodate large numbers of clients and keep them flowing safely through the space.

With the rapid acceleration of booster doses in December, the Region of Waterloo needed to accommodate thousands of eligible individuals in a very short period of time. In a race against the highly contagious Omicron variant, getting as many third doses into arms as quickly as possible became top priority.

It was game-on for the hockey hub model once again.

“The experience is the same as any other clinic: checking in, screening, right up until you come into the main room where immunizations take place,” said David Aoki, Director, Infectious Diseases/Chief Nursing Officer for Region of Waterloo Public Health. “With the hockey hub model, clients are seated in one spot and the immunizers and admin staff move up and down rows of patients, rather than having the client move.”

This makes for a very efficient use of resources at the vaccination clinic.

“The great thing about this model is the immunizer just immunizes. They don’t do any of the clerical work, so it makes it really fast,” said Adele Parkinson, Acting Director, Healthy Living and Foundational Standards division.

Immunizers can be laser-focused on getting shots into arms. The goal is about one minute per client. With a set-up of six rows, 15 patient seats per row, and roughly eight immunizers on a shift, the hockey hub at Bingemans is able to administer about 2,000 third doses per day.

“The right people are doing the right job. The immunizers are just immunizing. The admin people are doing the admin. It’s the right use of resources,” said Parkinson. “There’s staff that push carts around that have more of the vaccine already drawn-up. The immunizers can keep vaccinating clients; the vaccines and supplies are brought to them.”

The hockey hub model is drastically speeding up third dose vaccinations in Waterloo Region, and the team is working on delivering it at another clinic location in the region.

The success of the clinic is also a testament to the hard work of the individuals who fill the various roles that keep things running smoothly. This includes University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy students and staff pre-loading syringes; community doctors and nurses immunizing; and Region of Waterloo Public Health staff overseeing operations — just to name a few.

Thousands of additional appointments will be available at regional vaccination clinics throughout January and February. If you haven’t already, book an appointment to get your vaccine as soon as you can. Visit regionofwaterloo.ca/GetVaccinated.

The unconventional university of the future

Around the Region showcases the work of community partners. For January, we highlight how the University of Waterloo is preparing talent for a complex future.

Dr. Vivek Goel is the University of Waterloo’s seventh President and Vice-Chancellor. He is a distinguished scholar with extensive achievements in research, teaching and leadership across both public and private sectors.

As an institution of higher learning, a key function of the University of Waterloo is to develop talent for a complex future. We want our students and alumni to think about the long term and be active and engaged citizens in our communities. We want to expose our students to our entrepreneurial culture so they can apply this mindset with future employers, including those in this region.

We are committed to working with our community and partners across the country to ensure that we are all better prepared and more resilient for an uncertain future. Leveraging our region’s rich history in manufacturing, combined with expertise in advanced manufacturing and robotics, we can produce here the critical supplies we need, and not rely solely on unpredictable supply chains. We can also work together on community health challenges and apply Waterloo strengths in quantum, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence to develop new companies and solutions to help improve the health of our citizens and our economy.

We can also harness the vitality of this community and strength of our partnerships to address the climate crisis. The University will continue to search for innovative solutions to achieve our targets for carbon neutrality and capitalize on climate research across multiple disciplines to ensure sustainable futures for all humanity.

The pandemic has exposed and heightened our attention to the systemic ways our society oppresses racialized people and other marginalized groups. The University is committed to working with our community partners in confronting the history of colonialism that has and continues to challenge so many people today. We must advance our efforts to combat racism and implement recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation commission.  

The University of Waterloo will continue to contribute to the economic recovery and the creation of a more just society, that ensures that all members of our community benefit equitably from the wealth generated in our community.

Waterloo: the University of the future

Our urgent and collective responses to the pandemic demonstrate our capacity to take meaningful action on major challenges. We have a real opportunity to build upon our shared history to address local and global challenges in ways we haven’t before.

Frustrated by the pace of change in Canada in the 1950s, the University’s founders Gerald Hagey and Ira Needles took their experience in industry and went against centuries of university tradition by establishing an innovative institution that integrated work experience with academic excellence.

As we mark the University’s 65th anniversary this year, we look forward to building on our legacy as the unconventional university of the future. With a local community like ours, we are well on our way.

Managing holiday waste

Written by: Veronica Naas, Region of Waterloo Waste Management

Hold the holiday hassles by getting ahead of your winter waste.

Manage your waste by thinking about the R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle.

But there are other words that begin with R that can help, too:

  • Refuse unnecessary and extra packaging and plastics.
  • Repurpose and repair as much as you can and get creative doing it!
  • Lastly, there’s rot. Food organics in the green bin become compost that can be used by farmers and landscapers.

Your next step to winning over your winter waste is staying in the know with upcoming holiday service schedules and collection days.

Holiday public drop-off hours

Transfer stations at 925 Erb Street W. in Waterloo, Gate #2 and 201 Savage Dr. in Cambridge are closed:

  • Saturday, December 25
  • Monday, December 27
  • Saturday, January 1
  • Monday, January 3

Holiday collection schedule

There is no change to curbside collection this holiday season. Have your items to the curb by 7 a.m. on your collection day.

Double garbage days

If you need them, you can set out double the amount on designated weeks.

  • Cambridge and Waterloo: December 27-31 and January 10-14
  • Kitchener and Townships: January 3-7 and January 17-21

Tree collection

Real trees will be collected curbside in all cities and townships over a two-week period from January 3-7 and January 10-14. Remove decorations, lights and stands. Leave trees unbagged when curbside. 

Visit our website for detailed waste information and download our free Waste Whiz app to get notifications and access to our Waste Whiz search tool right in the palm of your hand. Together we can ensure that the holidays are full of waste wins!

UN/COVERINGS exhibit

Known throughout Waterloo Region as a catalyst for bringing our Region’s history to life, Schneider Haus Historic Site is on a mission to explore and promote new kinds of stories, facilitate dynamic experiences and engage diverse members of our community.

Think, old Haus, new stories

UN/COVERINGS, Mennonite & Muslim Women’s Heads and Hearts is its newly opened exhibition.

A product of a collaboration between Dr. Laura Morlock, lecturer at Ryerson’s School of Fashion, and Dr. Cristina Moreno-Almeida, Postdoctoral Fellow at King’s College London, UN/COVERINGS is a multimedia, fashion-based installation that invites visitors to challenge their own biases and stereotypes around religious head coverings.

Rather than a commentary on what Muslim or Mennonite women should or should not wear, the exhibit promotes conversation and explores important cultural themes. While both Mennonites and Muslims have a tradition of covering, their coverings are ‘read’ very differently.

It also encourages new perspectives and candid conversations. As visitors move throughout the exhibit, they’ll gain exposure to different varieties amongst items that only seem to be the same, and will appreciate how many women who practice modest dress express personal preferences in their clothing.

“Mennonite and Muslim women represent so much diversity and complexity. Their identities are as creative as the clothes they wear,” explained co-curator Laura Morlock. “Visitors will challenge themselves to look beyond what they think they know and ask questions like, ‘Why do Muslim head coverings cause such visceral reactions? Do Mennonite bonnets provoke the same response? And when the vast majority of both North American Mennonite and Muslim women don’t veil at all, why do these head coverings receive so much (and such different) public attention?’”

“This exhibit was about a year in the making,” said Antoinette Duplessis, Head of Content & Experience at Schneider Haus. “For many years, we’ve wanted to create a Mennonite head covering exhibit, and we invited Laura to work on it. Given her studies in religious dress, the idea quickly evolved to include Muslim head coverings – a fabulous idea! Laura, who is Mennonite, recruited her colleague Cristina, who is Muslim, and the result is a truly dynamic, visually stunning experience. As Laura and Cristina say, ‘If you think you know these women, just wait. UN/COVERINGS turns stereotypes on their head.’” 

UN/COVERINGS is on display now at Schneider Haus Historic Site until May 2022. For more information visit www.schneiderhaus.ca.

Game On!

Written by: Janine Toms, Region of Waterloo Library

Many of us remember a time when families would gather around the kitchen table for a winner-takes-all night of Catan, Clue or Monopoly. These were the days where bluffing was as necessary as skill, and bragging rights reigned supreme. At least until the next games night came about.

Times have changed, in countless ways, but as the holiday season rolls around, families are once again looking to reconnect and spend quality time together. It’s the time when we set screens to silent, and spend true ‘face time’ with one another. Beyond the laugher and friendly competition, games help build relationships, increases brain function, reduces stress and teaches us all of us the merits of loosing gracefully.

Families looking to rekindle the love of board games need look no further then the Region of Waterloo Library. With Free library membership, available at www.rwlibrary.ca/newlibrarycards, it’s a great way to play an old favourite, or try your hand at something new.

Your local library has over 100 different games ready to borrow. Games are available for a three-week loan, with up to five games per patron. While almost half the collection is checked out at all times, holds can be placed for the next game in your sights. And while you’re waiting, library staff have quite the knack at finding an available game that will suit your next gathering.

One of the newest additions to the collection, My Little Scythe, is a family-friendly animal adventure, where players in sets of two head to the Kingdom of Pomme, a place where magic and pie fights await. To discover other games in the collection check out www.rwlibrary.ca/games.

Questions? We’re listening!

2022 Plan and Budget: building a more equitable and sustainable future

Regional Council continues to discuss a comprehensive Plan and Budget that prioritizes a more equitable future for all residents.

Guided by the Region’s Strategic Plan and continuing the work of the past year, the 2022 Plan and Budget responsibly invests in a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous community and supports Council’s vision.

Some key investments are centred around:

• Acceleration of affordable housing
• Investments in improving the social and economic health and wellbeing of Black, Indigenous, and Racialized Communities
• Building capacity for climate action
• Expanding access to emergency medical services
• Supporting local economic growth
• Delivering on the Region’s commitment to Reconciliation
• Improving the resident experience through modernizing public services
• Maintaining service levels for critical regional services

To learn more about the Region’s Plan and Budget for 2022, visit regionofwaterloo.ca/PlanandBudget

Council’s Corner: Farmer’s Market Trail

Opening in spring of 2022, the Farmer’s Market Trail will connect the ION Northfield station to the Market District in St. Jacobs with a 1.5 kilometre multi-use path. The trail will be lit and maintained during the winter months, providing the community with an opportunity to visit St. Jacobs using active transportation all year long.