Making Decisions That Matter - November 22, 2023

Posted on Wednesday November 22, 2023

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.

Eight new hybrid and electric buses

The Region of Waterloo is buying eight new hybrid or electric buses from Nova Bus Inc. for $9.6 million to continue reducing the environmental impact of public transit. Nova Bus Inc. has also been selected as the supplier for any additional new GRT buses purchased during 2023 and 2024.  Grand River Transit has been gradually changing its fleet to zero-emission vehicles since 2020, when the Region decided not to buy diesel-only buses. Switching from diesel buses to electric reduces the Region’s greenhouse gas emissions.

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More support for local public art galleries

The Region of Waterloo is offering more support for public art galleries through grant programs. Local art galleries will now be able to access Regional arts and culture funding to support their operating budgets. For example, art galleries could now be eligible for the Major Arts and Cultural Organizations (MACO) grant program the Region of Waterloo launched earlier this year. Each request will need to meet the Region’s criteria for grant recipients, as with any other arts organization.

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BusPlus service renewed for two more years

Council has approved a two-year contract extension for Voyago to continue providing GRT’s BusPlus service. BusPlus uses smaller vehicles to offer transit service on new routes or in areas with lower ridership. This helps Grand River Transit serve more neighbourhoods, build up ridership in new areas and provides more options for people to get around without a car. Voyago has been contracted to delivered the BusPlus service since 2016. These two more years of the BusPlus program will cost $2.6 million.

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Lower speed limits for schools

Council is permanently lowering speed limits to 40 km/h year-round for 31 school zones on Regional Roads, where speed limits were previously 50 or 60 km/h. In 2022, the Region tested lower speed limits from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and found they did result in lower speeds. To help improve road safety for students and all road users, the new permanent speed limits will apply all day, every day.

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Council advocates for more judges to speed up local cases

Council will contact Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General to highlight how judge shortages are impacting local residents. The local Provincial Offenses Court on Queen Street is hearing 40% fewer cases, which creates backlogs, inconvenience, and limits access to justice for people in Waterloo Region. The Region of Waterloo is seeking a meeting with the provincial ministry to discuss these judicial shortages. 

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Region of Waterloo adopts refreshed Vision, Mission and Values statements

After extensive community and staff engagement, the Region of Waterloo has updated the ideas the guide its work to build a great community.

Council has approved these refreshed Vision, Mission, and Core Value statements that will inspire and support staff as they deliver essential services to this growing region. 

The final statements are:

  • Vision: A compassionate community that cares for all people, stewards the land for future generations and where everyone has the opportunity to live a good life.
  • Mission: Providing essential services that support quality of life for each and every person in Waterloo Region.
  • Core Value: Care for people and the land we share.

These statements were refreshed as part of the Region of Waterloo’s new 2023-2027 Strategic Plan, called “Growing with Care.

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