Key decisions of Council is a summary of major discussion items presented at Kitchener City Council meetings. It is circulated immediately following each meeting. Please refer to the minutes for an official record of the meeting.  

Development at 30 Francis Street South to bring more housing options to downtown Kitchener
Council approved a revised Zoning By-law Amendment application to allow for a 44-storey mixed-use development at 30 Francis Street South. The development will include 532 residential units and five ground-floor commercial units. Significant community benefits are proposed for the development in exchange for an increase in building size. As part of this agreement, the developer will incorporate LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) inspired building design features and will provide 20 electric vehicle parking spaces, in addition to 19 per cent barrier-free accessible units. The developer will also support an upgrade to Francis Green Park and will provide an $875,000 donation to St. Peter’s Lutheran Church to increase affordable housing in the downtown area. Located in Kitchener’s ‘innovation district’, new development will support increased growth and provide additional housing opportunities in downtown Kitchener. 

Housing for All strategy update – 2022 Year in Review  
Council received a progress update on the City’s Housing for All strategy, as well as the proposed 2022-2023 workplan. In its first year of implementation, 14 of the 44 actions included in the strategy have been completed and eight are currently underway. City staff continue to collaborate across the organization, with community partners, area municipalities and the Region of Waterloo to prioritize and facilitate the creation of more housing opportunities and support the implementation of the right to housing locally. In 2021, the Housing for All strategy was recognized by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) as an innovative strategy and received its P.J. Marshall Award for Municipal Innovation. The strategy aligns with the City’s strategic goal to build a more caring community. 

Corporate Climate Action Plan – 2022 Progress Update 
Council received a progress update on the City’s Corporate Climate Action Plan (CorCAP) and learned that Kitchener has met its corporate greenhouse gas reduction target of eight per cent. Having met initial CorCAP reduction targets, the City of Kitchener will begin the process for developing a new Corporate Climate Action Plan. The next generation of CorCAP at the City of Kitchener will incorporate the minimum targets, pathways and actions included in the TransformWR community climate action plan which was unanimously endorsed by Council in 2021. Throughout 2022, staff will continue to implement initiatives that align with planned work in facilities management, fleet, street lighting and corporate waste, while also planning for the next CorCAP targets and identifying potential pathways to achieve those targets to support Kitchener’s strategic goal of environmental leadership. 

Council approves zoning changes to add housing supply, protect natural features  
As part of the second stage of the City’s Comprehensive Zoning By-law Review (CRoZBy), Council approved a City-initiated zoning by-law amendment. The purpose of this change is to bring residential properties from the old zoning bylaw into the new zoning by-law, apply new conservation zones to protect natural features from development, and provide more options in zoning to add additional housing supply to Kitchener neighbourhoods. Since the review process first began in 2015, staff have continued to engage with property owners throughout the various phases of this project to inform them of changes and address resident concerns.  

Council approves by-law changes to improve road safety 
Council agreed to amend the Uniform Traffic and Parking By-Law for consistency with the Highway Traffic Act which allows for lower speeds in school zones. Changes to the school zone by-law were requested by the Region of Waterloo to support the deployment of automated speed enforcement on behalf of all municipalities within the region. In addition to the Region’s automated speed enforcement program, these changes will support the City’s implementation of 40 km/h neighbourhood speed limits and the cycling and trails master plan, as well as its people-friendly transportation goal, as outlined in Kitchener’s strategic plan. Community engagement to support the proposed by-law changes was conducted through the vision zero strategy and neighbourhood speed limit project. 

Council acknowledges two years of COVID-19 
Mayor Vrbanovic acknowledged the two-year anniversary of COVID-19. In 2020, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11, Ontario declared a state of emergency on March 17 and Kitchener and local municipalities declared states of emergency on March 25. The Mayor thanked Council and staff for their collective commitment to public service and highlighted the sacrifices and resilience of community members who weathered the pandemic with hope, humour and creativity.

Council observes International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 
To mark International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Mayor Vrbanovic provided opening remarks reaffirming the City’s commitment to taking a stand against racism and bringing about deliberate and measurable change for marginalized groups. In his remarks, Mayor Vrbanovic highlighted the need to take an antiracist approach which is evident in recent actions taken by the City to work towards making change within the organization. Some of these actions include creating the Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Equity (RISE) Fund, establishing the Equity and Anti-Racism Advisory Committee, and the rollout of a new policy and training strategy for City staff. Read Mayor Vrbanovic’s full statement here.