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

 

As many of you know, Ontario will have both a provincial and municipal election in 2018.  I plan to seek re-election as your Ward 4 Councillor.

The Ontario election date is June 7, 2018 and the Municipal election date is October 22, 2018. Advance polls will be operated for both elections allowing you additional times to participate in the voting.

As this municipal mandate rolls to a close many of the strategic objectives of this past municipal council have been achieved. In November 2017, Council received an update on the strategic plan and the following information include exerts from that council report. Full updates on the strategic plan are located at: http://www.waterloo.ca/en/government/economy_performancedashboard.asp

The structure of the 2015-2018 Strategic Plan was developed around 6 Strategic Priority Areas, 43 Objectives and 65 Initiatives. The plan was developed with input from over 1,200 stakeholders representing residents, business and education leaders, City council, post-secondary students and City staff. The six priority areas are:

  • Multi-modal Transportation - Diversifying the methods by which people can get around is an important element of a healthy, sustainable and prosperous Waterloo.
  • Infrastructure Renewal - Infrastructure includes roads, facilities and systems which keep the City functional, keeps people moving and meets core needs of people. Ensuring these assets are well maintained contributes to increased capacity, growth and investment.
  • Strong Community - People want to be safe, healthy and active. They want to feel included and want access to services, systems and opportunities to participate in the community. Fostering resilient, safe, inclusive and vibrant communities is the base of Waterloo’s success.
  • Environmental Leadership - We are all stewards of our environment. Acting now by preserving the natural environment, reducing our carbon footprint and building the City in an environmentally sound manner, will benefit future generations.
  • Corporate Excellence - Holding the public’s trust through inclusive, transparent and fair decision making, responsible financial management, superior service delivery and effective communications are the hallmarks of good governance for the City.
  • Economic Development - Economic development is a key pillar to drive tax revenue, business development and a vibrant cultural scene. A strong competitive economy fosters entrepreneurship, stimulates opportunity, creates jobs, fuels talent development and enhances the community’s attractiveness.

Of the 65 initiatives 60 of the initiatives are either completed or on track for completion during 2018.

Where Ward 4 is concerned some of the strategic initiatives that are advancing or have been completed include:

  • Approval of the East-side Library
  • Completion of a Neighbourhood Strategy
  • Completion of a multi-modal link on Lexington Road from Davenport Road to Holbeach Crescent
  • Completion of the ION Station Area land use plans including an update to the City Official Plan which outline the City vision for development in and around ION Stations
  • Street lighting upgrades
  • Completion of the Walter Bean Trail

There are many other significant initiatives being undertaken in the broader City and I encourage you to read more about the work we are doing on the City website.

Individuals might be interested to know that Council is considering an addition to the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Centre (WMRC) and approved the advancement of public consultation related to the Expansion and Older Adult Centre relocation conceptual drawings. Information on this work can be reviewed at: http://www.waterloo.ca/en/government/RecreationFacilityDevelopmentStudy.asp

There are many events happening in and around the City and the Region of Waterloo. They are summarized on the Tourism Waterloo Region website: https://events.explorewaterlooregion.com/search.

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

 

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 

 
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