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City Council Columns - June 2018
Our Northeast corner of the city has seen some issues around school properties over the years. Notre Dame School, once located on Rosemount Dr., was sold off to a developer back in early 2010 prior to my first term on Council. It was a difficult issue because the neighbourhood went through significant ups and downs in terms of development proposals.
The first proposal clearly matched the neighbourhood with a simple cul-de-sac design and single detached homes on large lots (by modern standards). The neighbours were content but unfortunately this plan never came to fruition and was followed by a much more dense, 3-storey-building proposal that the neighbourhood resoundingly rejected. Fortunately, this too did not come to pass.
Closing in on a decade later, the lot still remains largely undeveloped. To date, semi-detached units have been built along Sherwood Ave., with a couple fronting on Rosemount, however the lot in behind remains in question. Residents are familiar with a dense (but not as dense as the 3-storey) proposal and are similarly concerned with the development. I can advise that this has been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, which is currently being replaced with a tribunal. This change effectively puts this development in a state of limbo until the Province acts.
Another nearby school, Rosemount, nearly faced the same fate. The school board also sold the property, but this time the buyer was the French School Board who intends to renovate the property and build a new school within the existing zoning. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime at the info above.
Neighbours Day is on Saturday, June 9. The Stanley Park Community Centre has teamed up with St. Daniels Church and Extend-A-Family to make the party even bigger with yard sales and a road hockey tournament. There’s live music, food, bouncy castles, games and more. Their Annual Bike Safety Rodeo will also be part of Neighbours Day celebrations.
Centreville Chicopee Community Centre has Grandview Church as a partner. You’ll enjoy live music, games, bouncy castles, food, their splash pad and more. I really want to thank our Community Associations at these centres for the many hours they have dedicated in planning these celebrations and for every volunteer who helped out. For a detailed listing of all the events across the city go to lovemyhood.ca/neighboursday.
It’s great seeing our youth engaged with city events. On May 7, council hosted the winners of My Ideal City in a mock debate on Rogers TV 20. The winning essays were in the May edition of your Kitchener Citizen. At our Youth Forum on May 26, high school students visited city hall to present their ideas to council and staff.
I loved being part of the Senior of the Year Selection Committee. It was inspiring to read the nominations. The Salute to Seniors Awards took place on May 26.
Let me know if I can assist you. Visit my website daveschnider.com, follow me on Twitter at @DaveSchniderKW or friend me on Facebook for updates on my city and community activities. Our Kitchener contact line is available anytime at 519-741-2345.
There is basically only one Committee and one Council meeting remaining before the summer recess. There are a number of major issues affecting Ward 3 which will have to come to the June 18th meeting and subsequently be ratified by Council on June 25th. These items have not been confirmed by staff at the writing of this article. However, I would caution constituents to be available for those dates should you wish to participate in the discussions. I am referring primarily to the zone change applications for the corner of Block Line Rd & Courtland Ave and the change for 25 & 75 Fallowfield Dr. Also of importance is the continuing discussions relating to plans for a required Traynor-Fairway LRT Pedestrian Crossing.
Planning Around Rapid Transit Stations (PARTS) Council has already dealt with studies about appropriate land uses, streetscapes and infrastructure around LRT stations. Studies have been completed for the Central, Rockway and Midtown Stations. Staff have yet to bring forward studies relating to the future Blockline and Fairway Stations. I would hope that these are dealt with prior to approving any of the aforementioned Zone Change Applications and would thus have to come forward for the June 18th meeting.
In addition to the above there are still several outstanding issues relating to Ward 3 such as maintenance plans for trails in the Deer Ridge area; Storm Water issues in the Fallowfield/Bleams Rd area; the proposed routing of Phase 2 of the LRT through Ward 3 and the ongoing studies relative to preserving the Hidden Valley Natural Area.
I encourage all constituents to actively participate in these discussions which will undoubtedly have an impact on the quality of your lives in the very near future.
I would also like to remind constituents of the Annual community events. Neighbours Day on Saturday June 9. The 51st K-W Multicultural Festival on June 23 and 24. The Kitchener in Bloom program is again planned for 2018. Neighbourhood participation in any type of Festival of Neighbourhoods celebrations should again be registered. Activities registered with the City will become eligible to win a Neighbourhood Improvement Grant of $20,000.
Please do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience regarding any of these or other city matters. I can be reached at 519-744-0807 (home) 519-741-2790(city hall) 519-498-2389(cell). email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Each term of Council members have the opportunity to sit on a variety of advisory/standing committees. Councillors may have a special interest in sitting on some committees.
I have been fortunate to sit as a member on a number of committees over my term on Council. I am impressed with the commitment by our volunteers who attend each monthly meeting with reports read and prepared to discuss the various topics on the agenda. I believe that it important for Councillors who express interest in a particular committee to make sure that they attend.
I have seen and heard from different committee members that they haven’t seen the Council rep in months. Most advisory committees have terms of reference which include the number of meetings that you are expected to attend before you are asked to step down. Should Council reps who insist on being appointed to specific committees like Kitchener Blooms, Grand River Accessibility Advisory Committee , Youth Action Council get a pass if they don’t attend advisory committee meetings? It seems that in 2017/18 Councillors Schneider, Galloway-Sealock, Singh rarely if at all attended these meetings.
Yet our standing committees (Finance, Community Services and Planning) have seen a regular rotation of the same 6 Councillors throughout the entire 2014-2018 Council term. One would think the rotations of chairs should include all members of Council especially those with expertise in the specific area. Councillor Gazzola who has 50+ years of experience in finance has not nor Councillor Janecki who has 40+ years experience in planning.
It seems that if you do not build consensus with the majority of Council you are turned down each time. As a community member how does this look from where you sit?
Parking Rules for Spring, Summer and Fall
As the seasons change, so do the city’s parking rules. From Apr. 1 to Nov. 30, you may park for up to three consecutive hours on any city street from 6 am to 11 pm, unless signs are posted to indicate otherwise.
No parking is allowed on or over any sidewalk or city boulevard—paved or grass. However, due to the narrow lots in the Wildflower subdivision, council made the decision to allow only Ward 5 residents to park on the paved portion of the boulevard (driveway ramp or apron).
Parking is allowed on any city street between 11 pm to 6 am. This means bylaw enforcement staff will not ticket cars parked on city streets during those hours so long as they comply with all other parking regulations. If your vehicle is found in violation of any of parking bylaws, you may be issued a ticket and your vehicle may be towed at your own expense. Parking violation fines can range from $15 to $300. The parking regulations are in place to ensure safety and fairness for local pedestrians, drivers, home and business owners.
Naming of Kitchener South District Park
During the State of the City Address in April, the Mayor announced that South Kitchener District Park will be renamed RBJ Schlegel Park after the Schlegel family invested $2.3 million to sponsor the park. The donation will be paid out over 10 years and gives the park the name RBJ Schlegel Park for 40 years. The first phase of the park will include a splash pad and sports fields, while later phases will add trails and sports courts and eventually a pool and arenas.
With the summer finally here, I would like to take this opportunity to update the Ward 6 residents on the extensive work that has been taking place in McLennan Park.
The McLennan Park, Great Lawn remediation work was anticipated for completion by spring of this year. Unfortunately, the seeding was delayed last fall, meaning it didn’t have time to establish before the snow fell. As a result, the great lawn will remain closed and fenced off for a few more months to ensure a healthy lawn, suitable for residents to enjoy. Thank you for your patience as this work is completed. We ask that you stay off the newly seeded area until the fence is removed.
The great news for residents is that the majority of the amenities in the park — including the splash pad and full playground — will be open this year.
Due to project delays, mostly beyond the city’s control, I met with staff to advocate for earlier completion and use of some park amenities. I was successful in getting staff to commit to removing the fencing around the splash pad, playground, the new shade structure and the expanded trail network around the Great Lawn area for this summer. Sod will be installed instead of seed around the splash pad given the delay needed for grass to germinate.
I’m glad to say that park goers will notice numerous improvements. A new picnic shelter, new expanded pathways, more trees and sitting areas! These improvements make McLennan Park an even more vibrant and safe park for residents of all ages to gather and enjoy.
Launching the Film, Music and Interactive Media Office
I am pleased to share that our City’s Finance and Corporate Services Committee resolved in a meeting last month that a Film, Music and Interactive Media Office (FMIMO) will be launched in 2018 for a two year pilot period. This is following in-depth consultation engaging hundreds of stakeholders from 2012-2017 and positive feedback and support from The Arts and Culture Advisory Committee for the concept of a FMIMO. The purpose of the FMIMO is to provide industry development services that capitalize on growth opportunities. If we could grow and develop the creative/artistic side of the media industry here in our Region, we would have the potential to tap into the $1.1 billion in revenue generated from the media industry in Ontario.
This exciting new project will have a professional, experienced music, film and media officer leading the office, working closely with municipal partners and post-secondary institutions to support delivery of the program and maximize resources. Staff, over the two year period, will work with regional stakeholders and partners such as Waterloo Region Small Business Centre, Waterloo EDC, etc to develop a collaborative model to maximize the region’s ability to advance the Film, Music and Interactive Media industry on an on-going basis. The FMIMO fulfills our city’s Economic Development Strategy, Make It Kitchener, which recognizes arts, cultural workers and content creators as an economic cluster, making up for a significant portion of the workforce. By partnering with regional municipalities to provide professional, craft and entrepreneurial support services, FMIMO will generate careers and a diverse economy, and make Kitchener a compelling city in which to live.
Summer is here and it’s time for our weekly Monday evening cruise nights at the Shops on Highland. The boys and their sweethearts who will bring their old vintage cars – the Edsels, Desotos, Thunderbirds - are back at the Highland-Westmount plaza along with the 50s and 60s music. Come down and enjoy seeing these cars and oldies music, win some door prizes all starting on Monday, June 4th and running every Monday till mid-September, weather permitting. I’ll be there when there’s no City Council meeting.
Also, Belmont Village is hosting their 5th annual cruise nights. This year they’ll be held on Thursdays June 21st, July 26th and August 23rd. We’re located right in the heart of the commercial village on Belmont Ave. between Union St. and Glasgow St. More vintage cars from the 50s and 60s are planned along with the classic rock & roll music provided by Brian and Wayne. Enjoy the evenings, dine at our fine village restaurants, shops at the various boutiques and sit around or walk around examining this classic cars and take in the summer atmosphere.
Starting on Tuesdays in June outdoor Fresh Market is back in Belmont Village at the corner of Belmont and Claremont. Starting at 10am till about 3pm the market will be open with a fresh supply of seasonal local vegetables, fruits, baked goods and more. So come by and support your vendors and community. I’ll be dropping by at each event as much as possible to meet and greet with you.
I would like to retract my statement about Denny Cybulski of the Committee of Adjustment in my article in the May, 2018 edition.
By now, residents of the Breithaupt community will hopefully have some indication if their fight to reduce the impact of upcoming development on their neighbourhood has had any success.
Residents have been meeting with developer Perimeter in an effort to reduce the height of a proposed office tower and nearby parking garage before the issue returns to council June 25.
They and residents in other inner-city communities are furious that their recent participation in Planning Around Rapid Transit Stops (PARTS) have been ignored by council and city planners.
And they are not happy with an appearance-only proposal to improve understanding of planning process made by Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. The motion — unlikely to have any impact for several years — was passed last month by nine councillors with only me and Cllr. John Gazzola voting in opposition.
In light of the mayor’s overdue motion and my concern that little changes will be made to the proposed Breithaupt development, I would like to see a series of meetings this summer between planners and neighbourhood groups to justify why residents’ contributions to PARTS will have little impact on massive intensification around Light Rail Transit station areas and along the LRT route.
PARTS will not become a legal document until long after most inner-city development takes place — something that Breithaupt-area resident and University of Waterloo planning professor Dawn Parker says is extremely frustrating and sends “a terrible message” to residents. She has also heard people ask, “Why should we go to the trouble of coming to these public consultations if the results are ignored?” Why indeed?
I hope to see many of you out and about for Neighbours Day in Ward 10 and across Kitchener! As usual, the Downtown Community Centre will be hosting a free pancake breakfast, complete with live entertainment and lots of fun activities for all age groups. Join in on the fun from 8:30am-11:30am. The Kitchener Public Library is offering an Intro to 3D Modelling class from 2pm-4pm. Register online to learn how to make your own 3D models with free open source software that you can use at home. There are so many great events happening across the City! For a full lineup of Neighbours Day events, go to lovemyhood.ca and click the neighbours day link.
CAFKA Biennial Festival
CAFKA is back this June with their exciting biennial month-long exhibition of contemporary art installations. This year’s theme is RECOGNIZE EVERYONE, and it runs June 2-July 1. For more information about the featured artists and their work being exhibited in this year’s festival, visit www.cafka.org.
Summer Lights Festival
Come join the celebration of art, tech, music, theatre and dance on Saturday, June 9 from 8pm-1am at this year’s annual Summer Lights Festival in downtown Kitchener. Celebrate the beginning of summer by heading downtown to explore the many interactive opportunities in local shops and on several stages along King St. Enjoy some good food, drink and experience creativity in the DTK! For more information, visit www.summerlightsfestival.com.
Happy June everybody!
The incredible weather is here, and so is the start of neighbourhood party and festival season in Kitchener and throughout #WRAwesome! Please get out and enjoy the outdoors, enjoy the many festivals and events coming up over the next few months, and most of all, please say hello when you see me around town!
TRUE NORTH CONFERENCE
This week, Waterloo Region will welcome guests from around the world to the first-ever True North Conference being held right here in Downtown Kitchener, Uptown Waterloo and at the Lot 42 Conference Centre. Hosted by the incredible team at Communitech, with support from our three cities, the region, and countless sponsors, this festival aims to bring top-notch speaks to our region and allow the world to experience more of Waterloo region. Built around the theme – Tech For Good, the festival will bring top-notch speakers to the region ranging from Pixar CEO Ed Catmull to former Governor-General David Johnston to Bridgit’s CEO and co-founder, Mallorie Brodie. Each evening there will also be social events open to the broad community in both Uptown Waterloo and Downtown Kitchener! Please make sure you get out and enjoy all that the coming week has to offer and show our guests the great community that #WRAwesome really is!
PROVINCIAL ELECTION – June 7th
On June 7th, Ontario will be going to the polls for the provincial election. As in the federal election, Waterloo region will be gaining a riding, bringing us up to 5 ridings within the region. The City of Kitchener itself will now touch 4 of those ridings - Kitchener Centre, Waterloo, Kitchener Conestoga and Kitchener South Hespeler. This election is important for cities and communities like Kitchener for a variety of reasons including investments in infrastructure, affordable housing and public transit. For Kitchener residents, seeing whichever party is elected continue with the priority of Two-Way, all-day Go Transit by no later than 2024 and high-speed rail from Toronto to Waterloo Region and London by 2025 will be a priority. I urge you to get informed about the issues important to help us build a great community, and most importantly to get out and vote on provincial election day - June 7th!
NEIGHBOURS DAY – JUNE 9th
Our third annual Neighbours Day is coming up on Saturday June 9th with dozens of activities taking place throughout the City of Kitchener at many city and neighbourhood locations. We will also have the official grand-opening of the renovated Kiwanis Park at 1pm that day, and will end the evening with the 5th annual Summer Lights festival in Downtown Kitchener. There will be more than 16 hrs of activities throughout our awesome city! Please make sure you take advantage of that day and get out and see all the cool things which our community has to offer. For more information on Neighbours Day, visit….. www.kitchener.ca and search for “Neighbours Day”, or for the Summer Lights festival, please go to: www.summerlightsfestival.com . Look forward to seeing you there.
MULTICULTURAL FESTIVAL WEEKEND – JUNE 23rd & 24th
The 51st annual Multicultural Festival will be taking place in Victoria Park this year on June 23rd and 24th. This popular annual festival brings thousands of people to Downtown Kitchener to celebrate the many cultures that make up Kitchener-Waterloo and Canada. Canada is stronger as a nation, and Kitchener is stronger as a community because of our diversity. Let’s celebrate together that weekend and continue to show the rest of the world how diversity and multiculturalism can be a huge success.
CANADA DAY – July 1st
As in previous years, #KWAwesome’s main Canada Day festivities will be taking place up at the University of Waterloo throughout the afternoon and evening with additional actitivities, including fireworks taking place in Downtown Kitchener that evening as well. Let’s celebrate our nation’s birthday together. Hope to see you around town that day!