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Federal budget is transformational for Kitchener

Posted on Thursday March 23, 2017

Federal budget is transformational for Kitchener 

KITCHENER — Today’s federal budget will empower cities and communities like Kitchener and Waterloo Region to drive significant economic growth through the innovation economy—with a transformational investment plan for public transit expansions, substantive re-engagement in housing, and job-creating infrastructure projects across Canada.  

“This budget is transformational because it empowers local governments to deliver outcomes for Canadians: shorter commutes, more affordable housing and a better quality of life,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “From its focus on talent development, attraction and retention to make Canada a global leader in the innovation economy to an allocation/population-based transit plan for mid-size communities like Waterloo region, this budget puts cities in the driver’s seat like never before - creating a real opportunity to create jobs, address the housing crisis, and support green innovation to address climate change.”

For 18 months, in conjunction with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the City of Kitchener and the municipalities of Waterloo region have engaged federal officials and cabinet ministers in unprecedented dialogue on the design of the federal infrastructure plan through Mayor Vrbanovic’s involvement with FCM’s board committees and Big City Mayor’s Caucus and from our first-ever Waterloo Region Advocacy Day on Parliament Hill. Today’s budget responds to key recommendations put forward by municipal leaders, which included:

  • A transformational transit plan: This budget delivers a predictable, allocation and population based funding plan for transit expansions. This empowers regions like ours to launch the next era of fast and efficient public transit—to shorten commutes, boost productivity and reduce climate-changing emissions
  • Significant housing investment: This budget commits $11.2 billion for affordable and social housing to help us reduce the 3000+ household backlog we currently have in our region.  It also commits to preserving the baseline funding from social housing operating agreements.  While the details of this commitment will be important, this is a crucial step towards addressing the municipal priority of protecting existing social housing.  
  • Investments in Infrastructure: From a carve-out for cultural and recreational infrastructure to dollars to upgrade water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, this budget will assist cities like Kitchener to build the kind of sustainable communities needed to ensure a high-quality of life for our residents.
  • Support for local green innovation: This budget prioritizes climate change, and local communities like Kitchener will be looking to ensure that investment will be directed towards local projects—to reduce climate-changing emissions, to adapt communities to new weather extremes, and to support other environmental priorities.
  • Strong focus on Innovation economy: This budget provides new funding in areas such as innovation super-cluster development, skills development, venture capital and procurement.  The recommendations in this area will be key for the development of our local innovation & technology economy and the Toronto – Waterloo Region Innovation Corridor.

Local governments have a track-record of delivering cost-effective infrastructure solutions to national challenges, including growth and productivity. Building more livable, vibrant cities and communities—starting with better transit and more affordable housing—will also attract more of the talent and investment Canada needs for future growth. 

“This budget is a game-changer that recognizes the role of cities like Kitchener as nation-builders. This plan is really a new model for how our governments can partner to achieve economic growth, climate goals and social objectives,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic.  “The federal government has created a real opportunity for us to work together closely, thus ensuring our ability to deliver on issues important to Canadians.”

 

For further information:

Paul Grivicic, Chief of Staff
Office of the Mayor and Council
City of Kitchener
519-741-2200 ext. 7795
paul.grivicic@kitchener.ca

 

Victoria Raab, Director
Corporate Communications & Marketing
City of Kitchener
519-741-2200 ext. 7935
victoria.raab@kitchener.ca