Making Decisions that Matter - June 19, 2024

Posted on Thursday June 20, 2024

With input from the community, Regional Council sets the direction for the Region 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. 

Fischer-Hallman/Bearinger Road improvements start in July

Council has approved the tender for Fischer-Hallman/Bearinger Road improvements from Columbia Street West to Westmount Road North, Waterloo. The project includes multi-use paths along both sides of the road, transit facilities, streetlights, stormwater management and watermain, as well as road widening. Work will be done in two stages, starting with Fischer-Hallman Road in July 2024 and Bearinger Road in May 2025. Surface paving will be completed in 2026.

Read the report.

Victoria Street design alternative will improve cycling facilities

Council has approved a design alternative for improvements to a section of Victoria Street that will improve active transportation along the corridor. Following a review and public input, the project slated for Victoria Street from Lawrence Avenue to Fischer Hallman Road will now feature cycling lanes separated from traffic, wider boulevards and narrower traffic lanes. The project also includes road reconstruction, new sidewalks, streetlights, pedestrian refuge islands, traffic signals and transit improvements. Construction will begin in the spring of 2025.

Read the report.

Council creating more efficiencies in housing development process

Council is creating more efficiencies in the housing development process by giving the Region the authority to enter into agreements with developers who need to complete road improvements or install infrastructure on Regional property as part of their project. The agreement would see the developer complete the work under the oversight of Regional staff to avoid delays, as timing between developer-led projects and road and infrastructure projects planned by the Region does not always align.

Read the report.

Council supports six entrepreneurial initiatives

Council has approved the recipients of the Region’s Entrepreneurial Initiative grants, a program that works to help attract, retain and grow employers, talent and investments in the region. Six recipients will receive a total of $68,400. This year’s volume of applications was unprecedented, and priority was given to not-for-profit organizations and social enterprises that demonstrated a direct connection to several of the Region’s strategic economic development priorities.

View the list of recipients.

Council supports 16 stewardship and sustainability projects

Council has approved up to $90,000 in funding for 16 stewardship and sustainability projects through the Community Environmental Fund. This grant program supports the Region’s aim of stewarding our natural environment and shared resources as we grow. Since its inception, the fund has granted nearly $2 million to over 250 projects that provide a positive and lasting environmental return, engage residents, and seek innovative solutions or increase knowledge and produce measurable outcomes.

View the list of recipients.

Council supports 10 major arts and culture organizations

Council has approved $306,000 in funding for 10 arts and culture organizations in the region as part of the Major Arts and Culture Organizations grant program. The program provides one-time operating funding to organizations to enhance their ability to produce and/or present artistic works and cultural programming in public facilities. To qualify, organizations must have operating expenses that exceed $250,000.

View the list of recipients.

Council calls on province for funding to address substance use and harms

Council will advocate to the provincial government for funding for increased community-based addictions and mental health crisis and treatment services. Access to treatment and services for addictions and mental health is a major need in the community and is currently limited with long wait lists, gaps, and insufficient funding. Sixty-five people died of opioid-related drug overdoses in the region last year, and another 28 have died so far in 2024. More than half of those deaths occurred in private indoor locations.

Independent consultant to review Council remuneration, with public input

Council has asked staff to hire an independent consultant to review the remuneration, benefits, and staff support provided to them. The review includes opportunities for the public to provide input. A public meeting of Council will be scheduled to allow the public to comment on the consultant’s report prior to Council considering the recommendations.

Region requesting inclusion in federal wastewater surveillance program

Council will advocate to the federal government for the Region of Waterloo to be included as a sampling site in the federal wastewater surveillance program. Wastewater monitoring has been an important tool for COVID-19 surveillance and the Region is an ideal site for sampling as one of Canada’s fastest growing communities. The provincial wastewater surveillance initiative will end in July.

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