Regional Council: Making Decisions that Matter – April 27, 2022

Posted on Wednesday April 27, 2022

image of Regional Council

With input from the community, Regional Council sets the direction for the Region as an organization and makes decisions that affect Waterloo Region residents every day. Here is a summary of the major decisions made by Council on April 27, 2022. Please refer to the minutes for an official record of the meeting. 

Council approves funding to provide washroom access to encampment residents 

The Region, along with its municipal and community partners, continue to work together on a community-led strategy to find solutions for unsheltered homelessness. Tonight, Regional Council approved funding to provide 24/7 public access to washrooms at St. John’s Kitchen, operated by The Working Centre. The washrooms will be available to all residents experiencing homelessness in downtown Kitchener, including residents of an encampment at Weber and Victoria. As the issues creating homelessness are complex, the Region will ask the Province to dedicate funding for mental health and addiction support and will ask the federal government to dedicate sufficient and sustained capital funding for new affordable and supportive housing.

Council designates three surplus properties for affordable housing

Council is designating three Regionally owned surplus properties for affordable housing in Waterloo Region. The properties on 1388 Highland Road West in Kitchener, 41 Westhill Drive in Waterloo, and 30 Lauris Avenue in Cambridge will be part of the Region’s strategy, Building Better Futures: 2,500 homes in five years.

Pilot will create opportunities for underrepresented groups in construction

Regional Council has approved a pilot that will create opportunities for underrepresented groups in construction. The contractor(s) for anthe affordable housing builds at 416 Kingscourt Drive in Waterloo and 82 Wilson Avenue in Kitchener will be part of the pilot. The contractor(s) work with regional staff to develop up to 1,500 hours of job related activities for individuals from groups including women, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, newcomers/new immigrants, 2SLGBTQ+ people, veterans, racialized people, Ontario Works recipients, and other groups who have been historically underrepresented and/or face systematic barriers. The Region will offer the contractor(s) a cash allowance and supports for both the contractor and the participants to ensure a safe workplace for racialized and diverse workers. The contractor for the affordable housing project at 416 Kingscourt Drive will be determined at a Regional Council meeting in June. A team of Region staff will evaluate the Community Benefits/Workforce Development pilot and provide a report on the findings.

Region makes progress on strategic priorities

Despite continued impacts from COVID-19, the Region continues to progress in its strategic priorities. Highlights from a report to Council include:

  • Early Years and Child Care Service System Plan for a more accessible, affordable, high quality, equitable, and inclusive early years’ system.
  • Plans to order 11 electric buses over the course of the next two years.
  • Continued expansion of the Region of Waterloo International Airport with a new, bigger departures hall scheduled to open in June.
  • Affordable housing – the Building Better Futures strategy continues to show progress on its dashboard and in its recent annual report.
  • Oral care for low-income seniors through a partnership with Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre, and Langs Community Health Centre in Cambridge.
  • The Region and its partners launched the community’s first Clean Economy Cluster Map, capturing the area’s clean economy network; the first step to growing the sector.
  • Moving forward with hiring leadership positions in reconciliation, equity, diversity, and inclusion as part of the commitment to address recommendations made by the Region’s Anti-Racism Advisory Working Group.
  • Continuing to support businesses through COVID-19 with up to $275,000 in funding to extend the COVID-Safe Ambassador Program for small to medium-sized businesses.

Council supports sustainable transportation, allowing e-scooters on certain roads

Regional Council has approved a change to the Region’s Traffic and Parking By-law that will permit e-scooters on all Regional Roads with a speed limit of 50 km/h or less. The Region will also permit e-scooters on all Regional Roads with boulevard multiuse paths and/or reserved bike lanes. This follows a public consultation with the community to gather feedback on whether e-scooters should be allowed on roads. The amendment allows the Region to develop a shared micromobility system that would see e-scooters considered eligible fleet vehicles that can be part of a commercial shared system, like bike share.

Regional Council approves noise walls for Franklin Boulevard in Cambridge

The Region of Waterloo will install noise walls on the west side of Franklin Boulevard from Bloomington Road to Carpenter Road and on both sides of Franklin from Carpenter Road to the southern City boundary limit to mitigate traffic noise for residents living in the area.

Regional Council approves roundabout in Kitchener to address safety concerns

Regional Council has approved a double lane roundabout at New Dundee Road and Robert Ferrie Drive in Kitchener to address safety concerns and reduce delays for drivers. The roundabout will factor into providing reduced speeds and will be designed to accommodate all types of large commercial vehicles. It will have lower life-cycle costs and reduce idling times, resulting in fuel savings and reduced vehicle emissions. It also provides a gateway feature and traffic calming into the Doon South community.

Council approves reduced garbage limit to increase waste diversion

Council has approved a staff recommendation to reduce the residential bi-weekly garbage limit to direct more waste away from landfill, improve recycling, and increasing use of green bins. The limit will change from four to three bags or containers, starting October 17, 2022. The change will impact single family households, including duplexes and townhouses receiving Regional curbside collection services. A 2019 waste audit reported that residential garbage contains, on average, 13 per cent blue box materials and 46 per cent green bin organics, which further confirmed the opportunity to divert even more waste from landfill.

Council invests in 15 environmental stewardship and sustainability projects

Council is investing $99,964 into 15 community environmental stewardship and sustainability projects. The projects, funded by the Community Environmental Fund, include managing a community forest, monitoring water quality in a lake, teaching families about Regional cycling infrastructure and car-free transportation, reducing GHGs and utility costs by installing heat pumps, restoring cold-water streams in Kitchener, naturalizing landscapes and enhancing greenspaces through native plantings and removal of invasive species. Since its inception, the Community Environmental Fund has granted approximately $1.9 million to over 235 projects.

Approved construction projects

Church Street East Reconstruction Arthur Street to Duke Street, Elmira; Dundas Street Reconstruction Shade Street to Hespeler Road, City of Cambridge; Line 86 (Wallenstein) Upgrades Listowel Road, Township of Wellesley, Township of Mapleton and County of Wellington, Northfield Drive Widening from Bridge Street West to University Ave East, Waterloo; Transmission Watermain New Hamburg, Township of Wilmot.

Contact Us