Kitchener received top honours for fleet  

At the Government Fleet Expo held June 4-7 in San Diego, CA, the City of Kitchener was named the number one fleet in the mid-size fleet category, was ranked fifth overall and was the only Canadian fleet recognized in the top 20! Tonight, staff was with the awards in recognition of this significant accomplishment.

The awards program recognizes fleet operations that are performing at a high level in leadership, competitiveness and efficiency, its future vision and planning as well as how it addresses and overcomes challenges. Staff credits their success to the collaboration and effort of staff not only from the fleet division, but also from across the organization including those who provide training, health and safety programs, technology support, financial planning and drivers throughout the organization.

Other recognitions

A representative from the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators was on hand to share with council the Willis Award for Innovation that was announced on May 30. Love my Hood: Kitchener’s guide to great neighbourhoods was recognized for its grass roots approach to building social infrastructure and for creating an environment where residents can affect their own neighbourhoods by working together.

The city was also officially recognized for completing the requirements to become a Bee City. Program participants must commit to:

  • Creating, maintaining and/or improving pollinator habitat.
  • Educating their community, employees and/or customers about the importance of pollinators.
  • Celebrating pollinators during International Pollinator Week or at other times.

The city has completed several pollinator gardens including most recently, a pollinator party on June 16 where residents took part in planting a pollinator garden at Huron Natural Area. Learn more at www.kitchener.ca/beecity.

Breithaupt block proposal

After a deferral of the decision in April to allow for more neighbourhood engagement and discussion, council approved the recommendations outlined in staff report DSD-18-055 giving the go-ahead to third phase of the Breithaupt Block development. The revised recommendations approved this evening included revisions to the office tower height, zoning regulations to permit residential uses between Wellington Street North and the lane, require updated shadow studies to be completed and set in place an expectation to work with neighbouring residents on possible façade treatments for the parking garage as well as involve them in the review of the design of the public parkette. The project will now continue through the development application process to the site plan review stage.

Winter sidewalk maintenance

Council deferred a decision on the full proposed winter sidewalk maintenance review outlined in staff report INS-18-023. They did vote in favour of proceeding with component A – proactive bylaw enforcement across the city as a one-year pilot as well as component E – partnership grants to provide support to those residents requiring assistance in clearing their sidewalks specifically individuals with a disability or over 65 who may be unable to afford private snow clearing services. Components B, C and D were deferred until May 2019 and staff is expected to report back at that time on the results of component A.

Boulevard beautification

This evening, council passed a bylaw that will allow residents to personalize their neighbourhood boulevards. Through the Boulevard Beautification program, the City of Kitchener is giving residents the opportunity to use different materials, ground cover and plantings as alternatives to sod on city boulevards. The bylaw will address permitted and prohibited materials, identify safety requirements and other considerations. A step-by-step guide will be available for residents to follow that will assist in planning and executing a boulevard beautification project in their neighbourhood.

This program is another example of how the City of Kitchener and its Love My Hood Strategy are empowering residents to build better neighbourhoods through a resident led, city supported projects. Information will be available at www.lovemyhood.ca

Street party planning made easier

Tonight council approved changes to bylaw requirements that will make it easier to host a street party in your neighbourhood. Through the Love my Hood consultations, staff heard the desire for more neighbourhood events and the city is committed to supporting resident led street parties.

 

Changes include reducing the requirements for signatures of support from 100 to 60 per cent of their neighbours. Staff has also created a simple step-by-step guide called “How to host a street party” and have ideas for what to do at street party on the Ideas & Inspiration blog at www.lovemyhood.ca.

Partnership to include new community centre space in south-west Kitchener

Council voted in favour of entering into a partnership agreement with the Waterloo Region District School Board for a new facility that will include, at minimum, a school and community centre on Tartan Avenue. Funding for the city’s share of the project is being referred to the 2019 development charges background study and the 2019 capital budget forecast. The facility could be ready as early as 2020 and helps achieve the provincial Places to Grow legislation that looks to create community hubs through public facilities.

Your Kitchener, Your Say

The city is getting ready to update its strategic plan and is looking for the public to share their ideas on how to build an innovative, caring and vibrant city. There are a two final public sessions where residents can provide input:

  • Tuesday, June 26, 5-7 p.m. at Victoria Hills Community Centre
  • Thursday, June 28, 5-7 p.m. at Downtown Community Centre

Residents can also share their thoughts in an online survey at www.engagekitchener.ca. The feedback received will influence the city’s work over the next four years.

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