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City Council Columns - July 2024

Hi Ward 1, hope you’re enjoying the summer! I’d like to share a little about a new Rental Replacement Bylaw Kitchener recently adopted. A little less than two years ago a redevelopment proposal came forward with much needed new homes, but it also came with the unfortunate necessity of displacing several existing tenants. The homes they rented were to be torn down to make way for the new ones. As is often the case, their homes were on the affordable end of the spectrum. When council deals with these developments, the rules dictate that we must only consider the planning principles of an application, not broader implications like displacing people, even if it means they may end up on the streets. Should Council take that principled stand, our decision would certainly be overturned on appeal at a provincial planning tribunal, and at significant cost. Not content with that reality, Council unanimously supported a motion I brought forward asking staff to explore adding new rights as part of the development process. The outcome of that, after much great work by our staff, was our newly approved Rental Replacement Bylaw. The new law provides developer-funded options for those being displaced to ensure continued security of having a home until the new development is complete, at which time they would have the option to move back in with comparable rents. Yes, it may slow much needed development in some cases, but we’ve done plenty of zoning work overall to more than balance that equation.
Thanks to our City of Kitchener Events Team, Downtown Kitchener BIA, and others, we have lots of events to enjoy this summer. Coming in July: on the 12th we have Cruising On King; the 13th, Momma’s Cookout & Music Festival; 19th - 20th, Ribfest; and on the 26th - 27th, The Wayback Music Festival. There’s also The Sunset Music Sessions Friday nights at Vogelsang Green (Duke at Queen) and the Roos Island Music Series, featuring a wide variety of music from local artists at the newly renovated Bandstand in Victoria Park. Get details on these and more at under “Events & Festivals.” On June 24, Council unanimously supported my motion requesting that Canada Council for The Arts change their funding to a per capita model. Kitchener received $3.39 cents per person while Montreal, Vancouver and Winnipeg received $18.30. Our arts community and key cultural institutions bring us entertaining, inspiring, and impactful offerings―they deserve their fair share of funding from all government partners. Enjoy the Saturday Market at Centreville Chicopee Community Centre from 10-3 and Neighbourhood Market at Stanley Park Community Centre on Thursdays from 4:30-7:30. Stay cool at the Idlewood and Lyle Hallman pools and the Centreville Chicopee Community Centre splash pad. For a free “Please Slow Down” sign for your lawn, contact me at Follow me on X and Instagram @DaveSchniderKW or “friend” me on Facebook. Visit for lots of Ward 2 and city info. For assistance on issues, contact me or our contact centre at 519-741-2345 or
Hello Ward 4 Residents! Summer is here and from everything I have read so far, we are in for a hot one! For those looking for opportunities to cool off, check out our list of indoor and outdoor pools and their schedules, as well as splash pad locations at Of course, we are lucky to have our own splash pad in Ward 4 at the Doon Pioneer Park Community Centre on Pioneer Dr. If you need an indoor activity for yourself or the kids, look to the Kitchener Public Library locations at and scroll down for upcoming programs, and the locations they are available at. Ward 4 Pioneer Park Library offers a Tween Summer Hangout every Wednesday at 2pm for ages 8-12. The Central library and other library locations also have a variety of programs, like: Tech Tutors; Game On! Scrabble; and Show Me How to Digitize!, to name a few. Outdoor fun can also be found at Kitchener’s two city-owned golf courses: Doon Valley Golf Club and Rockway. At Doon Valley Golf Course, you can enjoy the Championship 18, Classic 9, and Pitch and Putt courses and a driving range. Also, check out upcoming city events at Each year we recognize beautiful gardens throughout the city. If you see a garden that inspires you, submit the address of the garden at or call 519-741-2200 ext 7537. Whatever summer fun you choose to fill your calendar with, please stay safe and enjoy the summer season. Contact me about any ward or city business, please email me at, or stop in for a chat with me on August 24 at the community centre.
Hello Ward 5, I hope your summer is going extremely well and you are staying cool. Council has recently approved a new rental replacement by-law, along with amendments to Kitchener’s Official Plan and Demolition Control By-law. This by-law aims to provide stability and compensation for tenants displaced by redevelopment, while ensuring a transparent and predictable rental permitting process. We are also seeking volunteers aged 55 and older to join the Mayor’s Advisory Council for Kitchener Seniors (MACKS) starting this September. MACKS members share an older adult perspective on the impact of city programs, services, strategies, and policies. They advise staff and Council on municipal issues, provide input and feedback, help identify community priorities, and facilitate engagement around age-friendly initiatives. To apply, you must be a Kitchener resident aged 55 or older, available for monthly meetings (September 2024 to June 2025), able to contribute 6-8 hours per month for sub-committee work, and able to serve a three-year term. The application deadline is August 1, 2024. We’re also proud to announce that the City of Kitchener has won the Municipal Service Delivery Officials’ Canada (MSDO) inaugural Excellence in Service Delivery Award for our groundbreaking City Hall Service Centre, which opened in January. This award, presented on May 16 at the MSDO national conference, recognizes our efforts to transform in-person service delivery by offering customers daily access to all City services and information. Thank you for your continued support and engagement.
I hope you are enjoying the summer weather and all the outdoor fun that it allows for. Check out for summer events happening in and near the downtown. With rental costs rising to an all-time high in Kitchener, it has become increasingly difficult for residents to find a replacement rental home that is affordable if they are displaced by demolition and new development or renovation. I’m pleased to share that Council has approved a Rental Replacement By-law to help preserve the city’s most affordable rental housing, while balancing the need to create new housing supply. It is an important tool that will require property owners who are demolishing or converting six or more units to offer alternative housing or compensation and provide replacement rental housing in new developments. Compensation options for tenants include providing temporary offsite rental unit, waiving rent for a year, or paying tenants out the equivalent of 10 months rent. Developers must now replace any rental unit demolished or converted because of their proposal at an affordable rent for 10 years. Read more at on June 24. Council have also expanded the capability and licensing of lodging homes to assist with increasing affordable rental housing options. Approved amendments to the City’s Official Plan and Zoning By-Law will now permit lodging houses city-wide in all residential zones. This was forwarded to the Region of Waterloo for further approval. These amendments will complement a lodging house by-law when it returns to Council later this summer.
In its 2023 annual report card, Compass Kitchener highlighted substantial progress in executing strategic initiatives outlined in the 2019-2022 plan. The report evaluated various projects, emphasizing achievements such as the successful implementation of Kitchener’s bikeshare program and the downtown Kitchener Vision Project, both surpassing expectations. Other initiatives, including pedestrian-first streets and the Mill-Courtland Community Centre expansion, met expectations as planned. The Civic District Master plan, due to its evolving nature, was not formally assessed. This assessment marks the third comprehensive evaluation by Compass Kitchener under the previous plan, reflecting on accomplishments across five strategic goals: people-friendly transportation, environmental leadership, vibrant economy, caring community, and great customer service. Despite challenges posed by COVID-19, Kitchener has returned to pre-pandemic operational levels and programming. The evaluation, conducted in collaboration with Kitchener’s Corporate Leadership team, assessed projects based on criteria such as timing, impact, accountability, and budget adherence. Of these projects, 10 met and 10 exceeded expectations, underscoring the city’s commitment to service excellence and community enhancement. Looking forward, Compass Kitchener outlined reflections on the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan and identified priorities for the upcoming 2023-2026 strategic plan. Overall, the report card signifies Kitchener’s dedication to inclusive growth and service delivery, setting a positive trajectory for future strategic endeavors.
Hello Ward 8! I hope you are enjoying the summer weather and all the outdoor events and festivities around Kitchener. I have to say, Neighbours Day this year was a blast. I attended 11 of the 12 concerts that were hosted in the ward, and everything was fabulous. Thank you to all the hosts, musicians, volunteers and organizers that put on such an amazing event. We have more fun events coming up in the next couple of months: Cruising on King, an annual classic car show and live entertainment on July 12; Wayback Festival on July 26 & 27; and the very first Caribana Ignite on August 23 & 24. Check for details. I hope to see you there! I also finally have a much-awaited announcement: the construction in Westwood Park is completed! The fences will stay in place for about 3 more weeks to allow the grass to grow, and during this time, the contractor will still be responsible to cut and maintain the turf and area. Please stay off these areas for the time being. Then, our Parks team will do a final clean-up before they assume regular park maintenance. It’s so great to finally see everyone out enjoying the park once again. Thank you to everyone for their patience during this time. Summer is also the time when lots of kids are playing on the street, and people strolling around the neighbourhoods. If you need any “Please slow down” signs for your street, please email or call me and I would be happy to bring some to you. Stay safe and enjoy the summer, everyone!
June was a busy month when some important decisions were made. I’d like to thank all residents who took time to participate through written submissions, attending public consultations or by delegating at Council. Highlights include a rental replacement by-law, initiation of the Bramm Street Master Plan, and lodging house changes. The rental replacement by-law provides some protection to tenants in buildings of more than five units. Landowners demolishing or converting six or more rental units must offer alternative housing or compensation to tenants, and also provide replacement rental housing in new developments. Compensation options for tenants include: providing a temporary offsite rental unit, waiving rent for a year, or paying tenants out (equivalent of 10 months’ rent). Developers must replace any rental unit demolished or converted as a result of their proposal and maintain those units at an affordable rent for 10 years. As one of the most significant City-owned land holdings, the Bramm Street Yards sit on 8-acres near Park and Victoria Streets. Council directed staff to proceed with market and environmental assessments and pre-design details of the property. Council approved lodging houses city-wide in all residential zones. This change will complement a lodging house by-law when it returns to Council later this summer. The 2024 pilot program allowing alcohol consumption in selected parks (including Victoria Park) has been deferred due to concerns about capacity, public health and safety, and monitoring and enforcement capabilities. All in all, a busy month!
Hi Ward 10! The Region of Waterloo is sharing the preferred option for the modifications of Victoria Street between Weber Street and King Street in the area of the future Central Transit Hub right in the heart of Ward 10. You are invited to review and provide input on the EngageWR project page. The video presentation will include an overview of the problems and opportunities and the alternatives considered. Please fill out the survey on the EngageWR page and share your comments until August. Direct any questions about the consultation or project, to: Oriana Aguas 519 575 4400 ex 4558 or Another exciting project that the city is looking for your input is Victoria Park Master Plan. As the oldest park in Kitchener, established in 1896, Victoria Park has grown into a highly treasured public space at the core of the city. To maintain this invaluable asset, we are updating the Victoria Park Master Plan, a guiding document for how we support the park’s infrastructure long-term. To update the plan, we will re-assess both public and City priorities within Victoria Park. We will review existing conditions and amenities in the park, as well as analyze how the park is being used and how it will need to support the community in the future. Public input will help us understand what’s important for us to consider in the development of the master plan. To subscribe for updates, add your email to the Stay Informed box and click ‘Subscribe’.
Mayor Berry Vrbanovic's column will return.
Greetings Ward 3 and Happy July! Council meetings have wrapped up for summer break, resuming on August 12. Please know that I’m still available all year round though. I look forward to seeing you at some of the great upcoming events that our Special Events team has planned. For more info, please visit Council has recently passed several motions and by-laws. I’m pleased to have voted in favour of a rental replacement by-law intended to help some of the most vulnerable in our community. It is an important tool that will require property owners who are demolishing or converting six or more units to offer alternative housing or compensation and provide replacement rental housing in new developments. Read more at on June 24. Council also passed a motion calling on the Federal government to provide more equitable funding to support our arts, culture and entertainment industries in Kitchener, and another advocating for increased access to AED devices in workplaces across the province. Cool off at Kingsdale Community Centre’s, Wilson Pool, which is free to Kitchener residents this summer. Head to for their swim schedule. One of the great things about our city is the continued engagement that we ask of our residents when looking at various projects. Kitchener currently has 38 projects either featured or in progress, that are at different stages of their lifecycle. I encourage you to offer your comments while they are still open at Have a great summer. You can reach me at