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City Council Columns - December 2018
The new Kitchener city council officially takes office on the evening of December 3rd. This council looks strong, with a good balance of fiscal and social responsibility. I look forward to what we can achieve over the next four years. For the first time, we also have a council that is gender-balanced. There are exactly five men, and five women councillors that have been freely elected, and I think that speaks volumes about gender-equity in the minds of Kitchener voters.
10 Storey Tower at Frederick and Avon
As I write this, I have just returned from the second public input session for the zone change and proposed residential tower at the corner of Frederick Street and Avon Road (just before Victoria Street). By my approximation, there were around one hundred attendees, and most of those were decidedly unhappy with the proposal. I would like to start by saying that zone change applications must be received and processed. I overheard musings about “breaking the rules” etc. but the reality is that staff are bound to process these applications. They must review zone change applications within the context of planning policies and feedback from affected residents, and then ultimately make a professional recommendation to city council on whether to approve the request. Before that happens, it’s important that you reach out to the city to voice your opinion. If you’re able, attending the eventual meetings of committee and council would go a long way to ensure your voices are heard. If you ever have any questions or comments, my contact information is above.
Thank you for your support. I’m honoured to continue serving as your Ward 2 Councillor. I commend Suresh Arangath, Regan Sunshine Brusse and Fitzroy Vanderpool for the hard work they put into their campaigns.
I thank outgoing Councillors Frank Etherington, Yvonne Fernandes and Zyg Janecki for their fine service to their constituents and the city. I’d like to welcome new Councillors Debbie Chapman, Margaret Johnston and Christine Michaud. I look forward to working together with all members of council to keep the positive momentum going in Kitchener.
When it comes to snow-plowing in Kitchener, major arterial roads are plowed first. Next are major collector roads and bus routes, then our residential back streets. No overnight street parking is allowed from December 1 to March 31, and if a snow event is declared, there is no parking on all streets at anytime. To see how streets are plowed in your neighbourhood visit Kitchener.ca and type “snow removal” in the search bar.
The Centreville Chicopee Community Centre is looking for help with their neighbourhood rink. Give them a call at 519-741-2490 to volunteer. Visit their website at cccakitchener.com or Facebook page for the latest updates.
The Stanley Park Community Centre’s Annual Pancake Breakfast with Santa is on Saturday, December 8 from 8-11am. It’s a free event, just register at spcakitchener.ca. If you can, please donate to their hat and mitten tree.
I wish you the best in this festive season and happiness and health in 2019. If I can assist you, please contact me. Our Contact Centre is staffed 24/7 to report an emergency, an issue or ask questions about any city department, just call 519-741-2345.
Thank You For giving me your confidence and allowing me the privilege to again serve you for the next four years. My main office will again be located in my home so that I am available to respond to your concerns 24/7. Please always feel free to contact me at your convenience at (519-744-0807 / 519-498-2389 / firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com)
There are currently a couple of activities in Ward 3 on which I would like to update constituents. LRT Crossing – Traynor/Vanier Area Engineering design specifications are well underway by the Region but are not yet finalized. City of Kitchener staff are currently in the midst of negotiations for the acquisition of land required for the project. It is now apparent that the inaugural of the LRT system will be delayed until the spring of 2019. I am hopeful that this project may now be completed before or shortly afterwards of the opening.
Secondary Plan For Hidden Valley City Planning staff are in the process of preparing a Secondary Plan for this area. Two well attended Public meetings have already been held. Interested parties will have until mid-December 2018 to make their comments to staff. Additional details relating to the study can be found on the City’s website. Staff are expected to bring a Secondary Plan document to Council by late spring of 2019. This document will have a tremendous impact on the future plans for this area that is considered a natural jewel in the heart of the City and the entire Waterloo Region.
Neighbourhood-shared snow blower program Residents are eligible to get money to put towards a new snow blower for their neighbourhood. The city has grant funding for up to 10 neighbourhood snow blowers. Each snow blower is to be shared by residents living in the same neighbourhood to keep their sidewalks, driveways and walkways clear. Interested Kitchener residents can apply online to receive up to $500 towards the purchase of a new snow blower. I would urge some Ward 3 residents to take advantage of this program.
Season Greetings I want to take this opportunity to thank all my constituents in Ward 3 for their support during the past year. It has been a pleasure working for you. May you and your families enjoy the upcoming festive season. Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a Happy and Prosperous 2019!
It is bittersweet as I complete my second term as your City Councillor for Ward 4 and I write my final column for the Kitchener Citizen as your Councillor.
I offer my congratulations to Christine Michaud your new Ward 4 Councillor
During my time on Council I have been educated in so many ways. I have learned to understand processes around planning, engineering, finance, bylaws and traffic to name a few. I have helped dozens of residents with their concerns and met many more in our community through events, activities, on the trails and in the parks.
Ward 4 is blessed with many wonderful components. We have beautiful greenspaces, I believe the most in the entire city. We will have a wonderful community facility once the redevelopment happens at the Community Center. Don’t forget that the Library will remain open for everyone during the reconstruction period! We have places of worship throughout our area that open their doors to everyone and offer programs for citizens in need as well as newcomers to this community through our college. New schools and long standing schools offer our children places to learn and grow.
Parks large and small are dotted throughout Ward 4 and soon we will have the Upper Canada sports park that will be able to host a variety of sports.
Although together we may not have resolved all of the challenges that come with living in a city, I hope that you have felt heard and we have been able to resolve some of the concerns.
I thank you for giving me the opportunity to be your voice on Council. I look forward to being active in our community in a different way and hope to see you out and about.
Thank you for your kind words and support throughout the recent campaign. I am humbled and honoured to be able to continue to represent you for the next four years. Knocking on doors and meeting many of you over the course of the campaign was the perfect opportunity to hear from you about your concerns. Your biggest concern was in regards to traffic speed and volumes and there is still more work to do. I look forward to working with you and City staff to help resolve these concerns and to work towards making our ward even better!
Since winter has made a sudden appearance, I would like to remind you about our Winter Maintenance Program and our new Assisted Sidewalk and Windrow Clearing Pilot Program. The Working Centre is offering assisted sidewalk and windrow clearing services for up to 50 properties. This is for sidewalks and windrow clearing only and does not include driveways or private walkways. A windrow is the pile of snow at the end of your driveway that is left after snow plows clear the road. In order to be considered for the program, you must apply online at www.kitchener.ca and search keyword: “Engage”. Options for residents who cannot clear their sidewalks and the windrow include: inquiring with neighbors or family, hiring a contractor, Community Support Connections at 519-772-8787 or contact your local high school to see if there are students who are looking for volunteer hours and can help you out during the season. We also have a Snow Angel program which recognizes people who help their neighbours to clear their sidewalks. Learn how to nominate a Snow Angel at www.kitchener.ca, keyword search: “snow angels”
Wishing you a safe and joyful holiday season, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Dear Ward 6 Residents,
I’m truly humbled and honoured to have had the opportunity to continue serving you―the residents of Ward 6. Thank you for allowing me to carry on being your voice at Kitchener City Hall.
Together over the past term, we have accomplished a lot. We built stronger neighbourhood associations, kept taxes within the rate of inflation, and strengthened our economy.
Though we have much to be proud of, I believe we can do more and build an even stronger Kitchener. With innovative ideas and hard work, we can continue to foster an environment that promotes strategic and sustainable growth that creates jobs and enhances our quality of life. Helping to make Kitchener a prime example of economic vitality. I will maintain my efforts to provide strong, sensible economic development opportunities for Kitchener residents.
Going forward, my focus will continue to remain on the improvement of city services, advocating for sustainable utility fee increases and helping to ensure an environment that creates good paying jobs. I’m proud to have supported and advocated for accountability, fiscal responsibility and greater efficiencies at city hall and will continue to do so.
I have enjoyed encouraging and supporting changes that have enhanced the quality of our neighborhoods and will maintain this same effort during this new term of council. I will continue to be sensitive to the quality of life of our citizens, while also maintaining respect for your tax dollars.
Together we will ensure your concerns and the needs of our community remain a primary focus, while making our neighbourhoods, and our city an even better place to live, work and play.
My sincere gratitude and thanks for all of your support throughout the campaign and on election day. It is truly an honour to represent you for another term on Council. I enjoyed meeting many of you while on the campaign trail and it was a great opportunity to hear about your issues and concerns. You have given me a lot to work on! I have heard about the need for traffic calming, pedestrian crossing at Ira Needles, parking on boulevards, leaf collection and more drop off sites. I want you to know that I am working on each and every concern and with the assistance of city staff, we will work towards the best possible outcome. If you have any further questions or concerns, you can also contact the City of Kitchener’s Corporate Contact Centre (CCC) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 519-741-2345.
Please join me in welcoming our three newest members of council: Christine Michaud, Ward 4, Margaret Johnston, Ward 8 and Debbie Chapman, Ward 9. They will be a great addition to our team and I very much look forward to working with them to make the City of Kitchener the place to be!
I would like to invite you and your family to join the Kitchener City Council as we host our annual New Year’s Levee. This event will take place on Sunday, January 6, 2019 from 1:30-4pm in the Rotunda at Kitchener City Hall. There will be face painting, a magician, carnival games, skating, music, entertainment, refreshments and more!
I encourage you to stay in touch and hope you and your family have a safe and happy holiday season! Best wishes for 2019.
It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my constituents of Ward 8 for the last eight years. It was very disappointing to have lost as I have served you honourably and faithfully. I had campaigned respectfully and cleanly based on my years of experience and my quick service to all my constituents.
My accomplishments are many and I have listed some of them here as a refresher since some of them go back several years. I have responded to all your emails and phone calls in a very quick manner and have been successful in addressing your concerns about 98% of the time with my experience. I have been able to address all your issues from lack of snow plowing, street leaf collection, traffic calming on local streets, flooding from Voison Greenway, boulevard trees, road reconstruction, against non-needed sidewalks, etc.
I have supported and improved the Belmont Village and BIA by doubling their badly needed commercial assessment, provided a 1950s classics mural, implemented monthly summer cruise nights and worked with the BIA as there is 100 % commercial occupancy in Belmont Village.
I have also replied and supported the many dozens and dozens of citizens who contacted me personally from other wards to help them out with zone changes, sidewalks and bicycle lane issues when they didn’t get their councillor’s support.
I have supported the main KPL expansion, seating expansion at The Aud for the Kitchener Rangers, banning open backyard fires, installed flexi-flags in middle of roadways to reduce speeding, voted annual budgets no higher than inflation and tried to lower utility rates. As required, I have represented you at many city events as your councillor or as Acting Mayor.
Please remember, I was always there for you and to serve you. Best wishes to all.
By the time you read this, city councillors, planners and members of the heritage committee will have considered an extremely pedestrian proposal for a 10-storey apartment building inside of Kitchener’s Victoria Park Heritage Neighbourhood.
Once clear of city requirements, the revised Vive Development plan is expected to go to council early next year. And, no matter how modern, ugly and incompatible that building is with the brick-clad surrounding neighbourhood, it is much better than the first version proposed by Vive overlooking Victoria Park that would have demolished several historic homes and flattened the oneROOF shelter for homeless teens.
The updated proposal includes a developer trade-off that preserves the heritage houses in return for reduced parking and an increase in apartment-building height from eight to 10 storeys. Vive has also pledged to help oneROOF relocate outside of the downtown and provide a few affordable apartments for homeless youth.
Vive owners did their best in recent months to meet the demands of upset residents and heritage champions but the current compromise is still a precedent-setting slap in the face to Kitchener’s supposedly-protected heritage neighbourhoods and, as usual, comes down to developer profits and downtown intensification instead of the council promise to preserve established older-communities.
And as these scenarios unfold, this outgoing councillor would like to thank Ward 9 voters for their generous support during the past eight years and wish them a very merry upcoming holiday period.
I have already told Santa that the best holiday gift I could receive would be to watch incoming councillor Debbie Chapman continue my not-always-successful efforts to preserve heritage values and protect our mature and beautiful neighbourhoods.
Greetings! I’m honoured to be back as your Ward 10 Councillor for a second term. In November, Council passed a motion that will see 152 Shanley St (the former Electrohome Factory) be put up for a second tax sale in early 2019. I am hopeful it will be successful, now that we have in place a lower minimum bid and a vision statement for the property based on neighbourhood input. Thank you to all who participated in the charrette back in April, and thank you to all the staff who went above and beyond to get us to this point.
This weekend, come down to Kitchener City Hall. The rink is in operation, and of course it’s that time of year when the Christkindl Market transforms Carl Zehr square and our City Hall Rotunda into a magical bustling hub of activity. In its 22nd year, the Christkindl Market takes place from Thursday, December 6 to Sunday, December 9. Come by with family and friends and enjoy this exciting Christmas festival packed with over 100 vendors offering great gift ideas, sweet and savoury treats, and unique decorations. Check out the entertainment including choirs, bands, and dance groups. This year you may notice there are even more decorated vendor huts outside.
A must see when you visit Christkindl Market is Fred and Jenny’s Railway Display, which has been a part of the Christkindl Market for the past 16 years and generated a loyal following (including my whole family!). Come experience the train room and all that the Market has to offer.
Feel free to contact me about any issues, questions or ideas you may have. I wish you a peaceful, joyful holiday season and a very Happy New Year.
Happy December everyone! It’s hard to believe that another calendar year is quickly coming to an end. As 2018 comes to an end and we all await 2019, let me begin by wishing you and your families a safe and happy holiday season. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or just looking forward to some time with family and friends – I hope the holiday season allows you the opportunity to spend some time with those nearest and dearest to you. And may 2019 be a year filled with health, happiness and continued success.
As this year, and this term of Council comes to an end, I would also like to take this opportunity to once again thank Carrie Debrone and Helen Hall of the Kitchener Citizen for providing us this opportunity to stay in touch with you. As a community newspaper, for more than 20 years, the Citizen has been an important part of telling many of the stories happening around the neighbourhoods of Kitchener. I’m glad that the City, and we as elected officials, have been able to be part of that partnership.
2014-2018 TERM OF COUNCIL COMES TO AN END
On Monday November 19th, we had our final meeting of the 2014-2018 City Council. It was an honour for me to serve our community during this first term as your Mayor. During this term of Council, we were able to achieve many things including launching our award-winning Neighbourhood strategy, saw continued economic growth throughout the City of Kitchener, moved forward with Schlegel District Park in the city’s southwest-end, began the expansion of the Doon-Pioneer Park community centre, re-opened a renewed Kiwanis Park Pool, approved our city’s first Digital Strategy, created a Sustainability office and so much more. I would like to thank all 10 members of Council for their hard work over the past term as together we worked to build a Better Kitchener.
At the final meeting, I also had an opportunity, on behalf of the citizens of the City of Kitchener, to thank the three members of Council who won’t be returning next term, namely, Councillor Frank Etherington, Councillor Yvonne Fernandes and Councillor Zyg Janecki. Each of these members made a difference for our community during their 8 years of public service as members of Kitchener council and for that, our community is extremely appreciative. I wish each of them continued health and success in whatever new adventures they look forward to in the next phase of their lives.
2018-2022 NEW COUNCIL TAKES OFFICE
The newly elected City Council takes office on December 1st, with their formal inaugural taking place on December 3rd at Kitchener City Hall. Congratulations to the newly elected Council, and a warm welcome to our 3 new councillors – Councillor Debbie Chapman, Councillor Margaret Johnston, and Councillor Christine Michaud. I look forward to working together with your new 2018-2022 Council to not only build a Better Kitchener but a Better and More Caring Kitchener for Everyone. This new Council is remarkably aligned on many of the issues that are important to you as citizens, and I am confident that we will be able to achieve many of the hopes and aspirations you have for our community, over the next four years. Stay tuned in the months ahead for updates on what we are achieving together!
CHRISTKINDL MARKET 2018
Everyone’s favourite Christmas market returns to Downtown Kitchener this year for the 22nd annual season. From tasty German eats to gifts you won’t find anywhere else, this much beloved annual festival will fill City Hall Carl Zehr Square and King Street from December 6th to 9th. The festival hours are Dec.6th and 7th – 10am to 9pm, December 8th – 9am to 9pm and December 9th – 10am to 4pm. Looking for more information about the festival – visit: www.christkindl.ca
CHRISTMAS FANTASY IN THE PARK
Downtown Kitchener’s Victoria Park will come alive with the lights of the holiday season once again with the official opening of this free downtown attraction taking place on Saturday December 8th, 2018 from 5:30pm to 8pm. The lights will come on at 6pm, and will be on each night throughout the holiday season. Who knows, maybe even Santa Claus will pay a visit from the North Pole on opening night!
COUNTDOWN TO THE NEW YEAR 2019
Bring the family down to this fun-filled, family friendly annual celebration to welcome in the New Year in the Kitchener City Hall Rotunda and Carl Zehr Square. The celebration starts at 6pm on December 31st, and ends after midnight after we all welcome in the new year, 2019! Every year, a different theme welcomes the thousands of guests who attend, and nobody leaves disappointed. Hope to see you there!
COUNCIL NEW YEAR’S LEVEE
Our annual Kitchener City Council New Year’s Levee will take place on Sunday January 6th from 1:30pm to 4pm in the City Hall Rotunda. This family friendly event has become an annual tradition and now also features the awarding of the annual Mayor’s City Builder awards. Come join us for this fun, annual event.