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City Council Columns - April 2024

Hi Ward 1, hope you’re well! As the warm weather approaches so too does the dreaded construction season. A fairly significant project happening this year is the road reconstruction of Frederick Street from Victoria to Bruce. I’ve received a few contacts from residents concerned with the redesign of the road and the associated costs. The design concerns are mostly that it involves removing lanes. This is true, and as a general rule I don’t support the replacement of driving lanes with cycling lanes but that’s not the intent here. The places on Frederick where there are four lanes isn’t really aiding traffic as it pinches down to two lanes on either end. We have an opportunity to add additional turning lanes and the studies say these changes will not impede traffic flow. Meanwhile, we will make the sidewalks a little wider and everything a bit nicer and a bit safer, with plenty of new trees. The other concern is cost. E.g. “Why waste the money? Don’t we have more pressing issues?” It’s a fair question, and I would agree, except everything I wrote above isn’t actually the driving factor of the reconstruction. The reason (and primary expense) is to replace the aging water and sewer infrastructure under the road and boulevards. Indeed, that is the only reason this project is happening at all. We do have a “complete streets” policy though that basically means whenever we must tear up a road, we leave it better than before. The construction will be a pain, but I’m confident you’ll be happy with the result.
Kitchener Council unanimously approved some supportive housing initiatives: “Growing Together” sets the planning and development framework around Major Transit Station Areas; “Inclusionary Zoning” means a percentage of affordable units are part of new multi-unit developments; and, “Enabling 4 Units” allows up to four units on eligible properties with sufficient lot sizes. I thank our Planning staff for their excellent work and citizens, community groups and the development industry for the input that helped to shape these initiatives. I’m thrilled about plans for a new state of the art indoor multi-sport recreation complex at RBJ Schlegel Park. It features a FIFA-sized turf fieldhouse divided into four individual fields for soccer, cricket, lacrosse and more. It also features a leisure and lane pool, indoor walking track, cricket batting cage and rooms for community events. We’re looking for music ambassadors to host a Neighbours Day concert by a local musician on your porch, driveway, or front lawn for your neighbours to enjoy. Visit Do a community park or trail clean up. We provide free supplies and crews pick up what you collect. Register at You can report potholes through our Contact Centre at 519.741.2345. For info on anything above, visit and click on “Info” and “Input Links.” Contact me or our 24-hour Contact Centre for help with city matters at 519-741-2345 or Follow me on X and Instagram @DaveSchniderKW or friend me on Facebook.
Spring is finally here, and Earth Day is just around the corner on the 22nd. There are plenty of places in our Ward that could use some attention. I look forward to helping residents in my neighbourhood in a community clean-up. If you plan to organize a group clean-up activity in your neighbourhood, Doon Pioneer Park Community Centre (DPCC) has clean-up bags and gloves available while quantities last. Register your clean-up at Everyone doing their part will help to make our neighbourhoods look great! You may have seen some traffic improvement signs on roads across Ward 4. The city’s transportation team has been working hard since my first term on council to make our streets safer. Since 2018, the Seasonal Traffic Calming Program has increased signage from 4 (four) total signs in Ward 4 to 34 total signs in Ward 4, including ten singles and eight seasonal narrowings. These are essential measures to lower the speeding in our neighbourhoods, but everyone must also play their part to make our streets safer. Mark your calendar to attend the Mother’s Day Garden Party at Homer Watson Gallery on Saturday, May 11, from 11am to 4 pm. Enjoy walking around the picturesque grounds and participating in various activities, including workshops led by local artists, live music and more. You can purchase tickets online or at the door. Children five and under are free. I hope to see you there! My next drop-in Coffee Chat will be at the DPCC Saturday, May 25, from 10 to 11:30am. I look forward to chatting with you! Email me too at
Happy spring Ward 5! As the weather warms up in Kitchener, it’s the perfect time to embrace the outdoors and explore the array of activities our community centers offer. From sports to arts, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, shake off the winter chill and dive into the vibrant life of our city. As we welcome spring, Kitchener Council is also looking forward to a brighter future for our city’s housing. In response to the housing crisis, we’ve adopted two groundbreaking tools to ensure our community grows inclusively and sustainably. First, the “Growing Together” plan lays out a visionary policy framework for our city’s development, reinforcing our commitment to being a leader in tackling the housing crisis. This plan paves the way for over 100,000 new homes of various types, including up to 4,500 affordable units, thanks to our second tool: inclusionary zoning. This innovative approach requires new developments to include affordable housing thus ensuring diverse housing options for everyone. Our commitment to sustainability and community needs is further underscored by the upcoming multi-purpose indoor recreation facility at RBJ Schlegel Park. Set to open by late 2026, this net-zero carbon building is poised to become one of Canada’s most environmentally sustainable recreation facilities. These initiatives represent Kitchener’s dedication to fostering a lively, inclusive, and sustainable city. We invite you to be part of this exciting journey, whether by enjoying our community offerings or engaging in the conversations shaping our city’s future.
I want to recognize here, and through nomination for the Senior of the Year Award, Ann Whittle. Ann’s unwavering dedication and significant contributions to the Alpine Village community make her an outstanding candidate for this prestigious honor. Ann has been a cornerstone for the Alpine Village community for nearly 50 years. Her commitment to serving others and improving the quality of life for residents has left a lasting mark on Alpine Village and Ward 6. For the past 15 years, Ann has volunteered tirelessly with the Alpine Neighbourhood Association, where her leadership and passion were instrumental in driving positive change, alongside her efforts to make connections and collaborate with the other Ward 6 neighbourhood associations. Ann’s commitment to community engagement extends beyond advocacy work. For over a decade, she and her family have been active volunteers for the Kitchener Ward 6 “Cinema Under the Stars” outdoor movie night, bringing joy and entertainment to our residents. Additionally, Ann has consistently lent her support to community events like Neighbours Day and Earth Day cleanup, demonstrating her steadfast commitment to fostering a strong sense of community spirit and environmental stewardship. In recognition of Ann Whittle’s outstanding contributions and steadfast commitment to the Alpine Village community, I proudly nominated her for the Senior of the Year Award. She embodies the spirit of this recognition. In future years, I hope to nominate other notable members, whose dedication helps to ensure that Ward 6 remains a vibrant and thriving community.
Hi Ward 7! Council has been hard at work lately, so let me update you on some new decisions made. The City of Kitchener once again led the way both locally and nationally with the adoption of two major tools to address the housing crisis – the new Growing Together policy framework and the phased introduction of inclusionary zoning within major transit areas. Council unanimously approved the Growing Together plan, a policy framework that builds on Kitchener’s role as a national leader in addressing the housing crisis. Growing Together enables more than 100,000 new homes in all shapes and sizes, and at least 20,000 new homes in “missing middle” forms. Council also approved an inclusionary zoning policy, which allows cities to require private developers to include a certain percentage of affordable units within new, multi-unit housing developments. This includes as many as 4,500 affordable units secured through inclusionary zoning. These fundamental changes to Kitchener’s planning framework are game-changing and visionary; they will allow a lot more housing to be built, more affordably, on a lot less land. This project’s four-time award-winning community engagement includes two major international awards. Throughout the process, staff held community and industry engagements totalling well over 100 hours and have spoken in-person with approximately 1,400 people. More information about the new inclusionary zoning bylaw can be found on the project’s Engage page:
Hello Ward 8, Happy Spring! Always a great time to clean up, as our neighbourhoods need it! Lakeside Park cleanup – Saturday April 13th – 10:30-1pm, meet at parking lot off Lakeside Dr. Bring your own gloves! - Optional pot luck lunch as well, bring a dish to share! Westmount Neighbourhood Association is hosting their annual neighbourhood cleanup on Sunday, April 21st, time to be confirmed, usually in the afternoon. Reach out to me by email if you are interested in participating and I will have details at that time to share. Big infrastructure news for the central part of our Ward. The Region of Waterloo is planning improvements to Victoria Street between Fischer-Hallman Road and Lawrence Avenue. Proposed improvements include upgrades to underground infrastructure, safety enhancements at intersections, road reconstruction, streetlight upgrades, and new transit, cycling and pedestrian facilities. Public Input Residents are invited to provide their feedback on the Engage WR project page in the comment section: The design drawings and a video presentation are available on the project page for information. Comments and feedback will be collected until April 10, 2024, following this date, you can continue to check the website for information. This project is owned by the Region, should you have any questions or concerns about the project, please reach out to the Regional Councillors using this email address:
The city is not shy about extolling its virtues in land use planning and development: we are the best at this, leaders at that, and have the awards to prove it. Such claims were prominent around the “Growing Together” zoning bylaw proposal. In my ears they ring hollow, when I consider the actual state of affairs in housing, existing and planned. In fact, how many of us really take these assertions as indicators of what we consider important in our daily lives and the community values we embrace? I don’t! What I heard from residents through that whole process were continued concerns about protecting heritage, the need for green spaces in Wards 9 and 10, the need to protect existing affordable housing and concerns about set-backs from single dwelling homes to buildings of unlimited height within established neighbourhoods. Let me be clear: this is not about NIMBYism but rather about acknowledging what we have, how to address the housing shortage while still protecting what currently exists and how to ensure that healthy environments are created to accommodate growth. There are many creative ways to do all the above without it being divisive and without people being left behind, but we (all levels of government) are not getting it right. Homelessness and the affordable housing waiting list continue to grow despite all the awards in the world. Interestingly, we acknowledge that we have already surpassed our 2031 goals while many developers sit on their approved applications waiting to increase their profits. People have a right to live a dignified life—Housing is a human right.
Staff and Council have been hard at work and have unanimously approved some big items. I would like to highlight some below for you. I am really proud to be part of this active, competent, and fiscally-disciplined team. As always please get in touch if you have any questions or concerns. Growing Together - Growing Together is a new planning framework for Kitchener’s Major Transit Station Areas, which are the areas around the ION LRT. - It builds on Kitchener’s role in addressing the housing crisis. It enables more than 100,000 new homes in all shapes and sizes, including more than 20,000 new homes in ‘missing middle’ forms and as many as 4,500 affordable units. - It also allows for small shops and services to be located throughout the neighbourhoods, helping create more complete communities. It is a very ambitious, bold and balanced plan. New Indoor Recreation Complex - Multi-purpose indoor recreation facility at RBJ Schlegel Park that will be one of the City’s first net-zero carbon buildings, and one of the most environmentally sustainable recreation facilities in Canada. - The facility will cost $144M and will be funded through two sources – the first is a federal and provincial grant. The second is development charges revenue that was collected specifically for indoor recreation facilities. The City cannot legally use these funds for any other purpose. There will be no increase to taxes. - A FIFA-sized indoor turf field that can be divided into four individual fields to allow more residents to use the turf at the same time for sports such as soccer, cricket and lacrosse.
On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the countless achievements, contributions, and resilience of those who identify as women and girls in Kitchener and around the world.

​​ This day serves as a reminder of the progress we’ve made towards gender equity, while also highlighting the ongoing challenges and inequalities that persist.

​​We must also acknowledge that the journey towards gender equity is far from over. Women still face systemic discrimination, violence, and unequal opportunities in many parts of the world. We must all work together to dismantle these barriers and create a more inclusive and just society where every woman and girl can thrive and fulfill her potential.

​​This is not just a “women’s issue”: advancing gender equity benefits everyone. We must also acknowledge that all women do not face the same barriers or the same number of barriers.  Race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, ability, and socioeconomic status all intersect to create varied experiences and degrees of oppression.

​​When we come together in solidarity as women, we understand that there is no universal experience. Collectively, as Members of City Council, we recognize the privileged position we hold and commit to using that privilege to uplift and amplify the voices of women who are most marginalized in our city.

​​In support of this year’s theme, #InspireInclusion, we are reminded that people start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging requires equitable actions. We invite residents to #InspireInclusion today and year-round by thinking about what equity means – in both your personal and professional lives – and committing to creating a more inclusive world for women, both in Kitchener and everywhere.

​​ On International Women’s Day, let us recommit ourselves to the cause of gender equity. Let us amplify the voices of women, support their rights, and work towards a future where every woman is treated with dignity, respect, and equity. Together, we can build a more just and equitable world for all.

​​ Councillor Christine Michaud (ward 4)
​ Councillor  Margaret Johnston (ward 8)
​ Councillor  Debbie Chapman (ward 9)
​ Councillor  Stephanie Stretch (ward 10)
​ Mayor Berry Vrbanovic 
Homes, homes, and more homes. I’m beyond thrilled that Council recently passed the “Growing Together” plan that will increase housing options and supply over the years to come. If only 50% of what is allowed, is built, it still produces 100,000 units in Kitchener. Thank you to staff and the community for your roles in creating this game changing housing initiative. Litter is revealed in the Spring in our parks and on our trails. Please be courteous and use the garbage bins for waste. To help you find a bin, try our new tool: Thank you to those who continue to clean up garbage in our parks—your commitment to our city is greatly appreciated. To report pothole locations for repair, please call the contact center at 519-741-2345. Council approved a new sports multiplex to be built in Southwest Kitchener. A new swimming pool and indoor FIFA sized soccer pitch was recently voted for unanimously by Council. When completed, it will be one of the greenest rec centers across the country. This project will be 100% funded by Federal and Provincial grant money and future development charges. Just another great example of fiscal responsibility by our staff and leaders. Lastly, I want to thank WRPS for my recent ride along. The 9 hours really highlighted the demanding, time-consuming, and financially restrained role of the officers who protect and serve our community. There wasn’t a minute that went by that a call wasn’t placed for assistance. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with your concerns, questions, or compliments at
Councillor Stephanie Stretch Ward 10