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Making Decisions That Matter – August 30 edition5 min read

Aug 31, 2023 4 min

Making Decisions That Matter – August 30 edition5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This is a summary of Regional Council’s decision from its August 30, 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 the meeting at the bottom of this post.

Affordable housing project one step closer to shovels in the ground

Council approved the tender for a new affordable housing build at 82 Wilson Ave. in Kitchener that will get underway in September. The Region-owned project will provide 48 affordable units to adults and seniors, as well as a space for community programming. In addition to providing homes for people, the building will achieve LEED Silver Certification and be net-zero carbon, helping to reduce the Region’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Region will also provide a cash allowance for the contactor to recruit workers from under-represented groups in the construction industry, as part of the community benefits procurement pilot program.

Council approves diversion of heavy trucks in downtown Cambridge

Council has approved a ban on the movement of through truck traffic in downtown Cambridge to support the revitalization of the downtown and promote more active transportation. In particular, no heavy trucks will be allowed on:

  • Water Street from Ainslie Street South to Coronation Boulevard/Dundas Street
  • Ainslie Street South from Concession Street to Water Street
  • Myers Road from Water Street to Franklin Boulevard
  • Concession Street from Ainslie Street South to Dundas Street

McQueen Shaver Boulevard will provide an effective alternative for existing truck movement on Ainslie, Water, and Concession Streets. Trucks that make deliveries downtown will continue to be allowed to do so. Noise walls are proposed to be constructed along 1.5 km ofMcQueen Shaver Boulevard to mitigate the impacts of the increased truck traffic on nearby houses. The truck diversion will be effective in October

Council approves plan to expand library amid growing population

Council has approved plans to convert the Region of Waterloo Library Satellite service in Breslau to a full-service library branch in the lower level of the Township of Woolwich’s Breslau Community Centre. The new location will meet the needs of a growing population, offering a permanent collection, public access computers, varied programs for all ages, and more opening hours. The expanded service will be rolled out to respond to community needs, while working closely with the Township of Woolwich to ensure it is also cost-effective. A recent survey found over 90 per cent of respondents were in favour of the new location for the library.

Region continues to replace fleet with electric vehicles

Council has approved a 2024 plan to replace seven of its older vehicles with electric transit vans, as it works towards greenhouse gas reduction targets. The vans will be used in Water Services, Transportation and Facilities. The electrification of the Region’s fleet and equipment will be phased in over time.

Region improves passenger experience at YKF with food vendor

Council accepted a contract with a food service provider to operate out of the new departure lounge at YKF. Stockyards Beverage Co. will provide airport passengers with locally-sourced products. Stockyards operates various venues in the community, including Graffiti Market in Kitchener and Crowsfoot in Conestogo.

Vendor approved for road upgrades that add room for cyclists and buggies

The Region has chosen a vendor for upgrades to Herrgott Road (Regional Road 10) from Sunset Drive in St. Clements to south of Ament Line in Wellesley. The work, starting in September and going until June 2024, includes repaving and widening the road to add a paved shoulder for cyclists and horses/buggies. No full road closures are planned as two-way traffic will be maintained throughout construction.

Reconstruction at Regional buildings will improve accessibility

Council has approved additional construction for Regional buildings at 20 Weber and 150 Frederick Streets in Kitchener to improve accessibility. Four universal washrooms, the relocation of first aid rooms and renovations required for a new Public Health clinic space will be added. The improvements are part of a larger project that will see the Region reduce the amount of office space it leases and requires, saving about $1.2 million annually on future capital costs.

Region funds 20 local organizations through tourism pilot grant

Twenty local organizations that provide arts, culture and heritage programming will receive a total of $163,550 in 2023 through the Cultural Drivers of Tourism Pilot Program. The program provides one-time funding to organizations in recognition of their role in attracting and extending tourist stays to the region. View the Council report for the full list of recipients.

Council approves two roundabouts to improve safety and reduce delays

Council has approved two single-lane roundabouts for Roseville Road to improve safety and reduce delays for drivers. The roundabouts will be located at Dickie Settlement Road and Edworthy Side Road. The roundabouts will have lower life-cycle costs and reduce idling times, which will result in fuel savings and reduced vehicle emissions and will support the Region’s climate goals. Construction on both roundabouts is planned for 2025.

Council approves Lancaster Street reconstruction to improve road safety

Council has approved a design concept for the reconstruction of Lancaster Street between Wellington Street and Bridgeport Road in Kitchener to improve road safety and promote active transportation. The proposed roadworks will include boulevard cycling lanes and continuous sidewalks on both sides of the street. A pedestrian refuge island will be added at the Hamel Avenue intersection and improved bus stops will be installed. In addition to the roadworks, the existing storm sewers and watermains will be replaced.

Council passes motion calling on other levels of government to support Guaranteed Liveable Basic Income

Council passed a motion advocating for more supports to help people with lower incomes by calling on provincial and federal governments to work together on a national Guaranteed Liveable Basic Income program. Council is also advocating for increases to Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support programs that have not kept pace with inflation. These measures would benefit individuals, families, and communities and protect the most vulnerable in society. Increasing poverty levels are putting unsustainable pressure on municipalities’ limited resources.

Full video of the August 30, 2023 Regional Council meeting: