KW joint services

Suburbs

Our joint services initiative with the City of Waterloo is another example of the great things that happen in our community when we work together.

For more than a decade, we've worked closely with Waterloo to:

  • Identify services we share and look at ways we can streamline them to benefit residents on both sides of our borders;
  • Maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of our resources and service delivery;
  • Develop and complete strategic joint initiatives; and
  • Learn from our collective best practices.

The joint projects we pursue must align to three basic principles:

  • Accessibility: Each service and program must be citizen-focused; residents in both cities must be able to understand the purpose of the project - and the benefits provided.
  • Accountability: Each project must represent the needs of both communities and clearly identify areas of responsibility.
  • Affordability: Each project must maximize cost efficiencies where possible, without sacrificing the benefits to residents.

Specifically, each project must:

  • Enhance the ability of either city to deliver or develop a service or program outside of its resources,
  • Create service-level improvements, while either maintaining costs or producing future savings opportunities,
  • Provide operational and/or capital opportunities, and
  • Feature best practices of both of our organizations.

Our current to-do list

This collaboration has led to nearly 60 joint projects to date - including the following recent initiatives:

  • Expansion of our corporate contact centre's after-hours emergency services support to more Waterloo divisions, such as municipal enforcement
  • Coordination of efforts related to external grant opportunities
  • Coordination of ongoing lobbying efforts in support of two-way, all-day GO service from Toronto to Kitchener, and high-speed rail to foster a Toronto-Waterloo corridor
  • Coordination of shared bylaw administration for fines and adjudication
  • Development of a mental health awareness and training strategy using limited resources
  • Initiation of a neighbourhood energy systems study to improve the way thermal energy -- heating and cooling -- is generated, delivered and used throughout both cities
  • Pursuit of a joint water and sanitary sewer rate design study
  • Continuation of a region-wide effort to create common platforms for citizen feedback (i.e. engageKitchener, engageWaterloo, engageCambridge and engageRegionofWaterloo)
  • 'Watertight' joint municipal response and regulation pilot project - an initiative put forward by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.
  • Syrian refugee resettlement
  • LED lighting retrofit
  • A common open-data portal
  • Information technology service provision efficiencies
  • Regional fibre mapping
  • Smart parking systems
  • Consolidated dispatch and emergency radio upgrades

Formal joint projects

Here are the projects that make up our joint services program:

  • Two-way radio technology sharing agreement
  • Maintenance of the 20 border streets we share, including snow removal, general upkeep, street sweeping and leaf collection
  • Snow-melting equipment housed at centrally located lots; shared resources dispose of snow at these locations
  • Stormwater management/utility -- Ongoing coordination to ensure services in both cities are consistent and efficient
  • Joint advertising campaigns to minimize the cost of informing residents about programs like snow and ice removal, Earth Week, Earth Hour and more. Shared transportation demand management opportunities
  • Consulting-service agreements, which standardize many processes and requirements
  • Drinking water quality management system - A partnership between Kitchener, Waterloo and the area townships, which allows us to share information on our local drinking water
  • Equipment sharing (e.g. Waterloo uses Kitchener's portable bleachers for special events) to reduce duplication costs Joint tender processes for watermain leak detection
  • Hydrocarbon characterization study to improve costs and processes when performing sediment removal requirements in a stormwater management pond
  • After-hours dispatch - Kitchener takes Waterloo's public works and facility after-hour calls and provide dispatch services to reduce costs of duplication
  • Traffic signs - Kitchener manufactures Waterloo's traffic signs
  • Common engineering standards - For subdivision and road works; allowing developers to go through the development process quickly
  • Joint accessibility training
  • Mobile kitchen fire simulator - Both cities' fire prevention officers use the simulator to educate the public on how to prevent stove-top fires. In addition, both fire departments share a fire safety house trailer for public education
  • Joint personal safety workshop for bylaw officers
  • Joint bylaw meetings - Ongoing meetings to look for efficiencies in paralleling bylaws and services.
  • Mutual aid - If a major emergency occurs and the situation cannot be contained or controlled with available resources, both cities will look to one another to provide support or coverage in needed areas
  • Joint fire dispatch - Kitchener provides dispatch services to Waterloo for an annual fee; this includes all infrastructure, hardware, software (including upgrades), implementation and mapping data
  • Cemetery services - The cities are looking to integrate several cemetery services, including costing, and shared operational, marketing and strategy approaches
  • Ira Needles development - Development services staff work together on the large commercial development that spans the border along Ira Needles Boulevard
  • Fire recruitment - Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph have streamlined the process for applications to reduce costs
  • Joint sports tourism strategy to maximize the assets of both communities
  • Community investment strategy - Allows us to act on partnership opportunities and improve collaborative investment among our partners, municipalities, philanthropic and private-sector agencies
  • Cultural mapping - Enhances our understanding of the arts and cultural sector in the region
  • Infrastructure rehabilitation joint funding applications
  • Backflow prevention - An exchange of information and background material produced in Kitchener has reduced some start-up cost exposure for Waterloo.
  • Ontarians with Disabilities Act/Customer Service Standards - A shared resource was hired to support both cities in ensuring all practices are aligned with and in support of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act/Customer Service Standards.
  • Woodworking and craft centre - The centre is financed through a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, municipal operating grants and upcoming membership fees. The funding ratio of both the operating and capital costs for the facility is based on a 2/3 (Kitchener) and 1/3 (Waterloo) split, which reflects the approximate population ratio between the two cities.
  • Election tabulation system - A co-operative effort between Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo allows the cities to jointly lease tabulation equipment and ballot printing for municipal elections.
  • Parking strategy - Both cities continue to seek opportunities for collective efficiencies.
  • Prosperity council - Staff from both Kitchener, Waterloo and regional municipalities support and further the work of the prosperity council.
  • Joint purchasing - The Cooperative Purchasing Group of Waterloo Region (CPGWR) includes all Waterloo regional municipalities, as well as other public sector institutions, who combine purchasing efforts to achieve savings and efficiencies. Items purchased through this arrangement include everything from road salt to envelopes.
  • Waterloo Region Small Business Centre - Jointly supported through the economic development functions of both cities.
  • Staff learning and development - Kitchener and Waterloo actively seek opportunities to share best practices and capitalize on opportunities to share staff learning initiatives to ensure an aptly skilled workforce now and in the future.

Parking reductions - As a joint project between Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and the Region of Waterloo, staff work to define potential reductions in parking for new developments depending on transportation demand management measures.

Related projects

On top of these formal projects, the joint services initiatives committee also tracks progress on four other projects that are built on significant cooperation between Kitchener, Waterloo and other services within our region, including:

  • Watertight joint municipal response and regulation pilot project
  • Kitchener and Waterloo public library services
  • Kitchener Public Library eliminated its non-resident charge and is now part of the regional reciprocal borrowing network.
  • Both libraries share a single, integrated computer system that manages core activities of the customer, circulation and collection databases. This agreement includes purchase and cost-sharing of new hardware and software, as well as ongoing service agreements for the system.
  • The libraries also purchase some database products jointly, and they both participate in a consortium with four other library systems to provide downloadable content (e-books, e-audio and e-video).

Tourism - Both jointly contribute to Waterloo Region Tourism to provide tourism services to their respective communities.

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