Smart parking, free public Wi-Fi and digital inclusion - Kitchener City Council approves Digital Kitchener initiatives for 2019

The city’s first digital strategy, Digital Kitchener, was approved by council in 2017 and is at the halfway point of its four-year vision. Since this multi-year vision launched, staff have been able to use the strategy’s four strategic themes - Connected, Innovative, On-Demand and Inclusive - to focus on leveraging information and technology to create efficiencies for staff and to improve the lives of citizens.

2017-2018 notable highlights:

  • Connected: Deployment of a narrowband Internet of Things (IoT) mesh network across the city, completed as a part of the LED street light retrofit.
  • Innovative: Establishment of the Digital Kitchener Innovation Lab to explore how IoT technologies can transform city services.
  • On-Demand: Launch of a tax and utility billing portal allowing residents and businesses self-serve access to their billing information and utility usage.
  • Inclusive: Improving access to free public Wi-Fi in city facilities.

Staff presented council with a listing of recommended initiatives for 2019 that align with the Digital Kitchener vision, some of which include:

  • Connected: Implementing IoT pilot projects including smart parking, asset tracking, pedestrian and bike counters and more.
  • Innovative: Ongoing development and support of SmartWR public access initiatives for the Smart Cities Challenge proposal and initiatives.
  • On-Demand: Continued development of new customer service and web experience with personalized content for web visitors.
  • Inclusive: Implementation of the Public Access to Technology program and related measurement framework.

Read more about the work that took place from 2017-2018 and the proposed 2019 recommendations in the staff report.


It’s a Tree Life: Sustainable Urban Forest Strategy (2019-2028)

Kitchener City Council has approved the Sustainable Urban Forest Strategy and implementation plan as the City’s guiding document for planning, engaging, maintaining, protecting and planting Kitchener’s urban forest. This long-term strategy presents the City’s vision and goal for a sustainable urban forest, and identifies five branches of a sustainable urban forest that are intended to guide future decisions and the setting of priorities. 

The following key principles have strongly influenced the development of this strategy:

  1. The urban forest includes all trees on public and private lands. 
  2. The community plays a key role in maintaining and enhancing the urban forest, particularly on private lands. 
  3. Trees and the larger urban forest provides significant economic, environmental and social benefits to the community. 
  4. A sustainable urban forest maximizes benefits while minimizing the associated costs and risk. In contrast to traditional corporate assets trees provide their greatest benefits during their latter stages of life.

Read more in staff report INS-19-008.

For more information:

Nicole Amaral
Interim Communications Director
Communications and Marketing
519-741-2200 x 7861