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 underway in 2018-2019:

  • Undertake a speed limit review of the uniform speed limit of 50km/hour and examine the benefit and feasibility of reducing to 40km/hour.
  • Investigation of new stormwater grant program that would enable private property owners to enhance stormwater management on their properties, reducing runoff to municipal systems.
  • Joint promotion of our existing stormwater management ‘Bloom in a Box’ program, which provides a $40 grant to homeowners toward their purchase of a naturalization kit for a landscaped area that reduces stormwater runoff to municipal systems.
  • Inclusionary zoning for affordable housing – Assess the impact of provincial legislation requiring the inclusion of affordable housing units in new residential development projects, and the option for municipalities to implement such zoning.
  • Corporate fleet training and best practice information sharing.
  • Develop a shared annual sidewalk and road inspection programs.
  • Explore ‘Where’s My Plow’ app using existing GPS systems.

Ongoing collaboration

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

  • Maintenance of the 20 border streets including snow removal, general upkeep, street sweeping and leaf collection.
  • After-hours dispatch - Kitchener takes Waterloo's public works and facility after-hour calls and provide dispatch services to reduce costs of duplication.
  • Joint fire dispatch - Kitchener provides dispatch services to Waterloo for an annual fee; this includes all infrastructure, hardware, software and mapping data.
  • 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.
  • Equipment sharing to reduce duplication and costs e.g., Waterloo uses Kitchener's portable bleachers for special events.
  • Kitchener manufactures Waterloo's traffic signs.
  • Common online platform for citizen feedback (engageKitchener, engageWaterloo, engageCambridge and engageRegionofWaterloo).
  • Coordinated efforts and applications related to external grant opportunities from with both cities can benefit.
  • Coordinated 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.
  • Joint advertising campaigns to reduce cost of informing residents about programs like snow and ice removal, Earth Week, Earth Hour and more.
  • Joint purchasing through the Cooperative Purchasing Group of Waterloo Region to achieve savings on the purchase of everything from road salt to envelopes.
  • Waterloo Region Small Business Centre is jointly supported through the economic development functions of both cities.
  • Firefighter recruitment - Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph have streamlined the process for applications to reduce costs.
  • Staff learning and development - actively seek opportunities to share best practices and common staff learning programs.

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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