Making Decisions That Matter – April 19 edition4 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
This is a summary of Regional Council’s decision from its April 19, 2023 meeting. With input from the community, Council sets the direction for the Region of Waterloo as an organization and makes decisions that help improve the lives of Waterloo Region residents every day.
Please refer to the minutes for an official record of the meeting. You can also watch video of this meeting at the bottom of this post.
Region looks to add 2,868 new child care spaces
Regional Council is requesting the Province’s support to add up to 2,868 new affordable child care spaces in Waterloo Region.
Ontario’s Ministry of Education has allocated 1,871 new spaces for Waterloo Region by 2026, as part of major changes coming through the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) system announced in 2022. The Region of Waterloo is asking the province to add an additional 997 child care spaces on top of that.
This number would bring Waterloo Region in line with the provincial target of providing licensed care spaces for 37% of children.
High-quality, affordable child care helps support our workforce and economy, creates development opportunities for children, and helps address the impacts of poverty.
Speed limits lowered around three roundabouts
Regional Council has approved lower speed limits at three new roundabouts that will be completed in 2023 and 2024. The three roundabouts are located at:
- Line 86 (Regional Road 86) and Floradale Road (Regional Road 19) in the Township of Woolwich
- Trussler Road (Regional Road 70) and Cedar Creek Road (Regional Road 97) in the Township of North Dumfries
- Sawmill Road (Regional Road 17) and Ebycrest Road (Regional Road 17) in the Township of Woolwich
To improve safety, the speed limits in the area will decrease from 80 to 60 km/hr once these roundabouts are completed.
Council expands grant program, supports K-W Symphony, THEMUSEUM and Grand Philharmonic Choir
Regional Council has approved identical amounts of $385,725 for each of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and THEMUSEUM under its Key Cultural Institutions grant program.
Both groups received the same funding in 2022. Stable municipal funding supports these organizations as they adapt to significant changes and challenges they have faced since the COVID pandemic.
Regional Council also moved to support the Grand Philharmonic Choir with $32,130, and to expand eligibility criteria for the Key Cultural Institutions grant program. The program will now include certain arts and culture organizations that have at least $250,000 in operating expenses.
Region Council added $340,000 for 2023 to fund newly-eligible organizations. Recommendations for funding under this new criteria will come to council in June for approval.
Region working to protect our future drinking water supply
The Region of Waterloo has started an update to its long-term Water Supply Strategy.
The strategy looks at how to ensure safe and secure water supply for the community up to 2051. It will balance the need for additional water supplies with greater water efficiency methods, and ensure we continue to protect our local resources for the future. We expect to complete this plan at the end of 2025.
Regional Council has endorsed six guiding principles for this work: sustainability, source protection, strategic alignment, engagement, innovation, and collaboration.
$138,000 awarded to support local entrepreneurs in yearly grants
Five local organizations are receiving a total of $138,000 in 2023 to promote a thriving economy in Waterloo Region. Their work will help develop and retain talented workers, foster innovation and entrepreneurship, and assist new Canadians.
The Region supports this work through the Economic Development – Entrepreneurial Initiative grant program.
Council has approved grants for the following eligible organizations:
- Junior Achievement of Waterloo Region
- Leadership Waterloo Region
- Waterloo 4H
- The Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region
- The Business and Education Partnership of Waterloo Region
New public art to be installed near ION tracks
The Region of Waterloo is supporting local arts and culture with a temporary public art installation during the upcoming Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area (CAFKA) festival happening June 3 to July 22, 2023.
Regional Council agreed to provide advertising space along the ION Rapid Transit corridor and GRT bus routes in Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge.
The work chosen by CAFKA for this space consists of a series of photographs titled “Chains & Crowns” by Ottawa-based artist Stephané Alexis, which depict the history, politics, science and psychology of Black hairstyles.
An estimated $16,000 will provide the space and installation, with funds from the Public Art Reserve.
Region of Waterloo to review accessible transportation
Regional Council has directed staff to review accessible transportation in the community and report back with options to improve capacity and comfort on these services.
Accessible transportation includes a range of vehicles and types of services to help people get around. Staff will review service levels, the types of specialized vehicles needed, and also review the Region of Waterloo’s taxi by-law.
Options will be delivered to Regional Council between September 2023 and January 2024.