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 a new vision for safer roads

As part of the City’s strategic goal to create people-friendly transportation, Kitchener Council approved a Vision Zero Strategy. The Vision Zero concept was first introduced in Sweden in 1997 and has since spread around the globe. The Vision Zero Strategy aims to improve street safety for all street users regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. The long-term goal of the strategy is to achieve zero serious injuries and fatalities on city streets. Road geometry modifications, enhanced signage, and educational campaigns are some of the strategies used in Vision Zero strategy. Action items included in the strategy were selected based on public and stakeholder engagement, data analysis, background research, and the city’s strategic goals. The strategy will be carried out over a four-year period from 2022 to 2025.

Compass Kitchener citizen committee says City meets or exceeds resident expectations

The City of Kitchener’s Compass Kitchener citizen advisory committee has said that the City has met or exceeded its expectations as it delivers on strategic projects committed to as part of its 2019-2022 Strategic Plan. Compass Kitchener presented its report to council outlining that six of the strategic projects it evaluated met their expectations, and six met them. None failed to meet their expectations. Compass Kitchener is a volunteer organization comprised of Kitchener residents that provide independent feedback to City staff and council on how well it delivers on its commitments.

Citizen appointments confirmed for new Equity & Anti-Racism Advisory Committee

Council approved 11 citizen nominees to serve on the City’s new Equity and Anti-Racism Advisory Committee for its inaugural 10-month term. The new committee will fulfil an advisory role, providing advice and recommendations to Council on matters related to equity and anti-racism to support and further the City’s strategic directions prioritize voices who have been historically underrepresented or excluded, including Black, Indigenous, racialized, 2SLGBTQ+ identified, people with disabilities, religious minorities, and the intersections of these identities. An interim nominating committee made up of members of the Mayor’s Task Force for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, reviewed applications selected candidates for appointment to the committee.

Conrad Centre for Performing Arts establishes grant to support local performing arts groups

Council approved a grant program for the Conrad Centre for Performing Arts (CCPA).  The City will enter into a two-year lease agreement with Kitchener Waterloo Symphony and will implement a grant program for performing arts groups to make renting the space more affordable. Increasing use of the centre is a key component for achieving the City’s Make it Kitchener 2.0 vision for strong creative industries. By supporting local arts groups, the centre can increase the number and diversity of performances offered in 2022 and 2023. Priority for the grant will be given to local performers, non-profit performing arts organizations, including theatre, dance, and music; and equity-deserving applicants.

My Main Street Ambassador program to aid local businesses’ recovery efforts

Council approved a funding agreement to execute the My Main Street Ambassador program. As a Federal economic recovery initiative, the City applied and was approved for funding to hire four ambassadors, who will provide direct supports to impacted main street businesses, such as restaurants, retailers, etc. They will also support businesses in accessing $10,000 grants available from the My Main Street organization. In total, up to $400,000 is available to support businesses in the main street areas of Kitchener.  This program bolsters the City’s existing Make it Kitchener 2.0 economic recovery framework, providing additional supports for hundreds of Kitchener businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Council and community to receive quarterly updates on planning applications

To help provide a snapshot of the significant development applications in Kitchener, City staff will provide residents and Council with a quarterly update report every March, June, September, and December of each year. The quarterly updates will provide greater transparency for the community and serve as a resource for Council to track applications. Additional details on development applications can be found using the City’s new online mapping tool available at www.kitchener.ca/planningapplications. Applications to divide land and to amend the City’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law are currently included in the map, with additional application types to be added in 2022. 

Rotary Club sponsorship will update Victoria Park bandstand, Duke Street Plaza

Council approved a sponsorship agreement with the Rotary Club of Kitchener in recognition of their 100th anniversary. The Rotary club will contribute $100,000 towards the refurbishment of the Victoria Park Band Stand, which will be renamed the Rotary Band Stand. In addition, the Duke Street outdoor space of City Hall will be named Rotary Plaza to commemorate Rotary’s 100 years of contribution to the City of Kitchener community. Rotary will contribute $10,000 to include new seating and a commemorative plaque. Work on both projects will begin next year. Read more here.

Digital Kitchener Strategy evolves to meet community needs

Council received a progress update on the City’s Digital Kitchener Strategy, which was approved in January 2017. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital growth in the city and city staff quickly adopted new technologies and processes to provide more online services. As part of Digital Kitchener's strategy, the Innovation Lab has offered opportunities to connect with the city's tech community and to establish partnerships with universities to work on innovative projects. The Innovation Lab has developed significant projects using design thinking, rapid prototyping, and exploring innovative technologies such as machine learning and augmented reality. Digital Kitchener will continue to evolve and respond to emerging trends and community needs over the next five years year as we emerge from the pandemic before staff look at updating the digital strategy. For more information on the Digital Kitchener strategy, visit www.kitchener.ca/digitalkitchener. 

Artist in residence program to partner with Textile Magazine

Council was informed of a new partnership between the City’s artist in residence program and Textile Magazine. To diversify the artists served by the program, the City will partner with Textile Magazine to offer a pilot mentorship opportunity that will allow artists to expand their writing skills and knowledge of the publication process and the ability to leverage the magazine’s networks to establish community connections. As an arts organization, publication and mentorship program based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Textile has a history of working with artists and community groups to empower equity seeking and underrepresented writers and artists across the region.

For more information, contact:
Bethany Rowland
Director, Corporate Communications and Marketing
bethany.rowland@kitchener.ca