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. 

Council approves Love My Business support program 

Council has approved the Love My Business program, which will offer community support for local businesses in suburban areas of Kitchener that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Love My Business program was launched as part of the Make It Kitchener 2.0 Economic Recovery Framework, which supports local businesses in re-engaging their customers and attracting new ones. The Love My Business program aims to inspire residents to spend their money in their own neighbourhoods, while also creating connections that would allow businesses to collaborate. Supports provided by the program include funding for community events held in partnership with other Kitchener businesses, funding for collaborative marketing initiatives, and one-on-one consultation with city staff to help support digital content creation. Businesses can apply to participate in the program from May 1, 2022, until Oct. 31, 2022. This new program was developed in consultation with the Kitchener business community and supports the City’s strategic goal to create a vibrant economy.  

Façade Grant Program will support improvements for small businesses 

Council has reinstated the Façade Improvement Grant Program, which provides a matching grant of up to $10,000 for small businesses undertaking storefront upgrades, including signage. The program, which began in 2009 and expired on Dec. 31, 2020, has provided support for over 90 storefronts as part of the Downtown Community Improvement Plan (CIP). As small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, continuing the Façade Grant Program will further support impacted businesses while acting as an incentive to attract new businesses to Downtown Kitchener. While the Façade Improvement Grant Program was renewed and will accept applications until Dec. 31, 2027, the Startup Landing Pad Grant was not extended. Businesses that have already made inquiries or registered interest will be considered for the grant program. Continuing the program reflects the City’s strategic goal to build a vibrant economy and supports the City’s Economic Recovery Framework associated with Make it Kitchener 2.0. 

Development charges waived for non-profits to encourage more affordable housing 

Council has approved an Affordable Housing Development Charges Waiver policy to help increase affordable housing in Kitchener.  As part of this new policy, non-profit housing developments in Kitchener will have their development charges waived by the City, making their projects more viable.  It is estimated the $2M Council earmarked for affordable housing during the 2022 budget will benefit between 190 to 280 qualifying units, and the impact could grow if Council approves ongoing funding for this purpose through the 2023 budget process.  The policy, which supports the City’s Housing for All Strategy and strategic goal to build a caring community, will be retroactive to January 1, 2020. 

Community grant funding approved for 42 groups in 2022 application cycle 

Council has approved 42 community grant (Tier 2) totalling $172,215 for the 2022 application cycle. Community grants assist organizations and groups providing not-for-profit services in the areas of arts and culture, special events, community support and development and minor sports or recreation. Applications were reviewed by a Peer and Staff Review Committee (PSRC) which included three community volunteers and six staff from arts/creative industries, special events, sport development, community development and grant administration. As part of this review cycle, some groups/organizations that have received community grant funding for five or more years will be considered for Tier 1 grant funding, which provides operating support for foundational not-for-profit organizations/groups delivering services essential to a healthy and vibrant community.   

Council approves City affiliation with 25 Neighbourhood Associations for 2022  

Council has approved 25 Neighbourhood Associations for affiliation in 2022. As part of the City’s Affiliation Policy for Kitchener Neighbourhood Associations (NAs), the 25 groups will receive access to City of Kitchener supports and resources and will be added to the City’s third-party liability insurance program. Neighbourhood Associations are volunteer-run and play a key role in the delivery of programs, services and events in Kitchener neighbourhoods. Kitchener City Council approved the introduction of an Affiliation Policy for Kitchener Neighbourhood Associations in July 2002. This policy and approval/renewal process was developed in collaboration with staff and Neighbourhood Association (NA) representatives to ensure that NA groups on the official list receive support from the City of Kitchener.  

New Huron Brigadoon Community Centre prepares for opening  

Council has approved the creation of two full-time positions and one part-time position in preparation for the opening of the new Huron Community Centre on Tartan Avenue. The permanent staff positions include one Full-Time Facilitator; one Full Time Office and Program Assistant and one Permanent Part-Time Office and Program Clerk. The Community Centre, which is expected to open later in 2022, has been developed in partnership with the Waterloo Region District School Board and will include approximately 8,000 square feet of dedicated space and shared community space with the school board and YMCA EarlyOn program. The new centre reflects the city’s strategic goal to build a caring community by providing welcoming community spaces and programs and better engaging, serving and supporting Kitchener’s diverse populations.