What is Your Ideal City?
May 2018 l Kitchener Citizen l Page 11
In the sixth annual My Ideal City contest, students aged 10 to 12 years were invited to tell Kitchener City Council about their “ideal city” by submitting essays. The 14 top essays were chosen, and those students were invited to participate in a mock city council debate that will be televised on Rogers Cable 20 on May 20 at 6pm. The Kitchener Citizen is proud to sponsor this event, which helps students learn about municipal politics in a fun way. Here are the winning essays as submitted to the contest.
Laura Knight & Acting Mayor Paul Singh by Laura Knight We live in a pretty good society, but I think if we made some improvements to Kitchener, our city could be even better. I think there should more bike lanes, homeless shelters, and community centres. My first improvement is that Kitchener should have more bike lanes. I love to bike, but I don’t always feel safe on the roads because some drivers are distracted by phones and other things on the road. If we had more bike lanes than more people might decide to bike because they will feel safe. Also it allows more safety for cyclist, and the more people who bike the less traffic there would be, and less carbon dioxide in the air. My next idea is that our city should add more homeless shelter. I live pretty close to downtown and unfortunately I see a lot of people who don’t have a home or enough money to buy food. Other people I have seen are not being very safe, and sometimes I don’t want to go outside just because these people are down the street from where I live. If we were to have another homeless shelter the community would be more safe, and provide people without a home food and shelter. My final Improvement to Kitchener is that we should add more community centers. Community centers have lots
of activities for all ages and you can learn new skills. Not only do community centers have lots of activities but they also keep kids out of trouble, bring a community together, and some community centers have a homework club! In conclusion I think if the government of Kitchener added more bike lanes, homeless shelters, and community centers then our city would be even better and more enjoyable to live in. by Norah Leis When I think of an ideal city I imagine that it would have lots of natural resources, friendly neighbours and medical professionals. These are my reasons why I think this would make my city great. My ideal city would have natural resources because then there would be space for animals like squirrels and deer to run around and it would make up for all the space we took from them to make highways, roads and houses. Having natural resources would also be good for trails so people can enjoy nature. In my city there would be awesome hospitals close by or in town so people don’t have to go two hours away to get treated. Someone in my class had to go to Sick Kids hospital all the way in Toronto to get treated. Having amazing hospitals in my city would also mean that we would have medical professionals
Councillor John Gazzola & Leah Fish
to find cures for everything so everyone can live a happy, healthy life. Also if we had medical professionals in our city our city could become famous for that. Lastly, my ideal city would have friendly neighbours and community events so we can get to know each other better. Some of the events would be community Easter egg hunts and a big Thanksgiving feast and a Christmas concert, etc. My ideal city would have natural resources, friendly neighbours and medical professional. Having all this would make me feel happy and safe and that to me is what makes an ideal city. by Addie Clasper All citizens in Kitchener deserve an ideal city and this is my community plan. First, to make an Ideal city, we need to convert to Electric vehicles now! Converting to Electric vehicles will save us money! Vehicles like Ambulances and Firetrucks drive a lot around town. If we use Electric vehicles we will save our fossil fuels. By Switching to Electric vehicles our air will be cleaner. If we save our fossil fuels they will last longer. Don’t you want clean air and fossil fuels for your kids? Second of all, for this Ideal city we. need to have way more open spaces and community parks. More open spaces allow more options where kids can play. We also need to put in water fountains and plant trees and flowers to make kitchener more
presentable! So if we build more open spaces and parks kids can go outside and play, instead of just being inside on their electronics. Also, if we build open spaces and trails everyone can get outside and play, bike and walk in nature. We also should build sports facilities for everyone. Also in this amazing city, we all need to use green energy e.g. solar panels 1d biomass. Solar panels will save electricity, even though they only work in the sunlight, they will still be saving electricity. We can also use solar energy to power our homes and save money! Biomass is great for earth, using biomass will get rid of most of our landfills so we will have cleaner air, less garbage and more open spaces to build parks. That’s great! Even though, these things might be hard to build (e.g. more open spaces), this will make Kitchener a amazing place to live in and visit! Lastly, an Ideal city needs culture. Culture means festivals, street parties, food and much more. So on every May 7th this Ideal city would have a huge festival to celebrate each and every person in Kitchener. If we had this festival it would be great to meet people! This festival would involve great tasting food from citizens, food trucks and it would have live bands! we would also give recognition to all of our volunteers and parents! If you want this City to be a reality we are running out of time people, let’s make this
Councillor Yvonne Fernandes & Carson Moraitis
Addie Clasper & Councillor Dave Schnider come true! those materials that were not by Leah Fish used and beautify our parks. The citizens of Kitchener We could add in planters, park deserve an ideal city. Have benches, rocks, and attractive you ever wonder what makes ponds. Then this way people a really good city? An important can get outside and EXPLORE fact is that we need to be instead of being a sloth. We connected with the Internet could get gray water and filter it of Things (lOT). lOT can help to make gorgeous ponds. Also, with multiple things. Wifi and use that gray water and give it bluetooth devices can connect the grass in the fields to make with sensors, these sensors them green again. can detect if garbage bins are Although it’s going to be full or if there’s a pipe leak, This expensive having a clean, could help because instead attractive playful environment of picking up empty garbage is worth it. Isn’t it? bins there could be sensors Most importantly, we need so we know if its full instead to start using renewable of wasting time and gas (fossil energy sources. We can add fuels). By putting this on various solar panels and wind farms things we can also detect if the if we add these things and on grass needs to be cut instead renewable energy sources. of cutting short grass. Also, we could use geothermal Another important part of an and biomass we could use Ideal city is that we need hybrid animal waste instead of vehicles. Hybrid vehicles are producing tons of greenhouse great for the environment and gases. Running our city on your wallet. You can save biomass,solar panels and wind landfills of money by not buying farms is a great idea. gas since they barely use After looking at this evidence gasoline. Unlike regular cars I hope you consider these they don’t release emission. options. Living in a complete Normal vehicles release tons dump is a horrifying nightmare. of greenhouse gases. Since By considering my options you they run on both electric and and your kids can have fun and gasoline motors. Which means EXPLORE. Be creative. Be you would be using less fossil you! Bring back the fun to our fuels. Fossil fuels are an non- Ideal City! renewable resources and we by Carson Moraitis need to save them for other What would make an ideal generations. city? First of all, an Ideal City Thirdly, Kitchener needs has affordable day care. So more open spaces. We need if people don’t have a lot of to make open park spaces money that’s not a problem. A.S.A.P. By reusing wood, Well let’s start making day care concrete, stone and gray water affordable for so anyone and from construction, we can use everyone can afford daycare.
Councillor Kelly Galloway-Sealock & Elyssa Reiter
Page 12 l Kitchener Citizen l May 2018
Jessica Assuncao & Councillor Paul Singh Secondly, having fast and energy efficient public transportation will help the city a lot. If it’s fast it could get people that are going to be late for work can get there in time for work. It needs to be energy efficient with electric buses and trains to keep the environment looking beautiful. Thirdly, there should be more green roofs to make the city look good and maybe be a tourist attraction. Most importantly, there is a TON of green renewable energy sources so in a ideal city we half to use at least one like solar energy. Using solar energy will be a good renewable energy source since we can make parking lots with solar panels to cover the cars so on the hot summer days your car is not burning hot when you touch it. Also, having solar power you don’t need to build the solar panels far from the power plant. Even though solar panels are a lot of money it will help by reducing the pollution in the environment. Finally, make more open spaces, sports areas and park and every park; sports areas and open spaces need to be accessible to everyone so nobody is left out of the fun outside. So now you have two choices you can live in a dump or you can live in a beautiful ideal city? Pick one before it’s too late!
by Elyssa Reiter The citizens of Kitchener deserve a great city! Have you ever wondered what would make our city really great? To start off our city really needs to convert to green renewable energy sources. There are tons of renewable energy sources like solar, wind, hydro and tidal that are way better for our planet and our city but we are choosing to use fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are a non renewable energy source which means that one day they will run out and the faster we use them the faster they will disappear. Earth is the only planet that us humans can live on and by using fossil fuels we are polluting our planet which means we are ruining our one chance at survival. This especially applies to our community. Secondly, an ideal city has fast, affordable, and reliable public transportation. Public transportation reduces the amount of traffic jams on roads and they are fast and efficient. Buses and subways are 2 kinds of public transportation in our city and Kitchener and Waterloo are working on a new kind of transportation called the light rail transit or the LRT. The LRT is going to make it much easier to get around our city. Another important idea is to build more open spaces these
Councillor Frank Etherington & Reiner Faulstroh
Zoey Kiff and Councillor Bil Ioannidis include soccer fields, parks, nature areas and much more. the best cities have parks, sports fields, and basketball courts that are big and accessible to all citizens. Every neighbourhood in kitchener should have parks and fields close by so that everybody has access to them and so that everybody gets fresh air and exercise. Although, all these things won’t be cheap and they will take time, time is something we have however, if we just wait around and do nothing nothing is going to happen so we need to take action. Putting in time and money to make Kitchener a better place is worth it, right? Most importantly, in Kitchener we really need to reduce the amount of things that we throw out, there are so many things that could easily go into a recycling bin but we are putting it in a garbage bag, why? Our landfill is almost full and if we don’t do something it’s going to fill up very soon. One easy way to fix this is biofuel. Biofuel turns garbage and other stuff that we throw out into gasoline by burning it. So if we started using biofuel not only would we reduce the amount of garbage in the landfill but we would also be using less fossil fuels. I believe that if we all put in the time and energy we could really make Kitchener an even
better place, we could make kitchener a truly fantastic city for ill! of its citizens. by Jessica Assuncao All schools should be affordable and offer great education. When kids have a great education they can get good jobs, and do their jobs well. There should be a daily physical activity every day. Daily physical activity is important so that kids are active and their health is better. There should also be a well-numbered amount of books in the classroom, and school library. A wellnumbered amount of books is important so that kids can have a big selection of books to chose from, and so that kids imagination can run wild. There should be af ordable public transit, like buses, taxis, and trains. People should be able to get places without having to pay A LOT of money. This also helps to cut down pollution because there are less cars on the roads. You should have more parks and trails for people to walk on and kids to play on. Some parks should have playgrounds, benches, and picnic tables. Other parks should just have hills, grass, beautiful flowers and trees. There should be more pools and splash pads. Pools and splash pads give the community a fun place to cool
Councillor Sarah Marsh & Tamer Shiekhai
Michael Persaud & Councillor Zyg Janecki of on a hot day. Pools and splash pads Are important so that people can cool of and they won’t get too hot, plus it’s also very fun. There should be more friendly neighborhoods. Everyone should spend time together to get to know each other a little more. Friendly neighborhood are important so that people cannot be painfully shy and can be very social. by Zoey Kiff One thing I would do to shape Kitchener for the future is add more small local business. I love walking into a small business and discovering what it’s all about. Small business can get a lot of business, and are great for the community. This one business in my community called Jimmy’s Minis had such good doughnuts! You would never get that from Tim Hortons. I would also add more picnic areas for families to enjoy. Lots of families enjoy going for a lovely spring walk and picnic when the weather’s nice. They could enjoy their picnic with nature filled scenery, and birds chirping all around them. I would do more to take care of the grass beside sidewalks and school yards. In the Kitchener Victoria Park I would hire high school kids or maintenance workers to pick up goose poop, or trim the hedges. They could also pick up any garbage they see. I would suggest to people that they should use pet friendly rock salt instead of regular rock salt. For that I would hand out a pamphlet telling them the dangers of regular rock salt. Some dangers include pets getting a burn from regular rock salt. I would add one or two more small parks just around
the neighborhood too. by Michael Persaud All of the people in Kitchener know that it is growing and becoming similar to Toronto, well not in space but style (by style I mean the taller buildings replacing our older buildings). But if we are growing in style we also have to grow in technology and maybe even get bicycles to rent. My first idea for an ideal city would be to add water fountains around the city because à lot of university students walk around Kitchener and Waterloo. These water fountains can be for people, water bottles and if we put à section lower we can include pets because many people have pets and lets say they are walking around for the entire day, their pets might become thirsty and we don’t have water fountains around Kitchener. We have a down town but we cant give the downtown everything, our home areas require things as well. Maybe for the home areas such as Williamsburg where I live and more home areas with schools we can have parks, well not really parks but more parks. The closest park we have is approximately ten minutes away and that would be Mount Trashmore or now known as McLennan Park. By our area and many other areas we have a very open area that is not owned and possibly approximately 1 acre of land which can become a natural reserve, playground or even dog park, maybe if there is enough space we can do all of those. This can protect species of plant such as the trillium and maybe protect animals such as pine martens. If we utilise this
Nygemah Olembe & CAO Dan Chapman
May 2018 l Kitchener Citizen l Page 13
Alice Newell & GM Development Justin Readman space for natural parks we can make a nice beautiful and eco environment for everyone and creature. The last idea that I have is that we should put the action of function of our buildings and make them into historical sites. this can boost the amount of visitors that come to Kitchener and probably make a good income for the city for tourism and make a good set of taxes allowing us to rebuild roads and build up our schools in STEM. thank you Mayor Berry Vrbanovic for reading this and i hope that this can work. by Reiner Faulstroh Kitchener is a great city but I think we need better hockey arenas, homeless shelters, and more downtown concerts these are things I think can make kitchener a better city. Hockey arenas need more improvement for example Don Mclaren and Grand River. For example the locker rooms are tiny and making them bigger would help. Also the boards are a lot taller than other arenas. Have you ever tried to get out of the auditorium after a ranger game it’s so BAD. One day I was trying to get out after a game I waited 15 minutes after a game and it took 10 minutes to get out. People do that every game and that’s why I think the Aud needs a bigger parking lot. Homeless shelters, I don’t know about you but when I’m Downtown or any where in Kitchener, there are a lot of
people that don’t have homes. If Kitchener gets more homeless shelters people will feel a lot more safe and homeless people will not have to eat in gangs. Also they don’t take drugs in homeless shelters and they can all survive. Lots of people don’t have things to do on weekends in the summer so there could be more concerts. It would be good for the city because the city would get more money, for drinks and foods. It’s also good for all the food store downtown because lots of people like to eat. This is what I think Kitchener needs to improve on hockey rinks, a homeless shelter, more downtown concerts. by Tamer Shiekhai An ideal city is a community full of prosperity, care, wellbeing and love. An ideal city caters to all people no matter their race, gender, ethnicity or age. Adults, youth and the homeless all deserve care. Facilities for children to have fun and learn important skills are crucial. Adults have much to worry about and should be supported by the city and its people. In my ideal city, people will wake up with a smile on their face. Youth are still young and have many lessons to learn. A city should have a space where youth can interact and be social while learning. A community centre is the perfect place. A place known for programs and
Sydney Dorsch & Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Leutenbach
activities is great for attracting youth. Also, youth should be involved in the community this way they will make the youth of our future involved as well. An example is youth helping bring people together by providing food for the impoverished. Adults are the role models of this world. Adults don’t get much help so the city should help them. Many adults work grueling hours for not much money and can’t provide for their families. Houses fit for the whole family should be affordable and easily accessible. Subsidy should be provided voluntarily without much hassle. In my ideal city, social justice would be as present as the sun. The city would share its resources with other cities and communities. But, while all the things mentioned above were important. The most important thing is the attitude of the people. by Nygemah Olembe My ideal city would have more jobs, then more people with less knowledge could apply to the jobs they want. This city should understand that there is alot of homeless people because the condos are too expensive, young adults can’t afford them. There should be more affordable houses and condos throughout Kitchener Waterloo. If Kitchener had more jobs for people that aren’t as successful in the city there wouldn’t be homeless people
around every corner. Starting now we should have people from all around aloud to work wherever and whenever. Then we could get the homeless in an affordable condo. In the city there could be more community centres, then more people could get to the gym or go to the pool on a hot summer day. Also there should be more parks around your area so neighbors can go hang out. There should be more parks around this city because on a nice summer day kids should be aloud to go outside and have fun and not be inside all day because there is no parks around them and the closest park is a fifthteen minute walk. Another thing that this city needs is a big clean up when I walk to a park there should not be trash everywhere. I know you can’t control people’s minds and make them put their trash in the garbage can but if there is no garbage cans then where are you going to put your trash so therefore you should put more garbage cans around the park area. That’s all for my ideal city. by Alice Newell Have you ever been hurt or know someone who was hurt when riding a bicycle when biking on the road? In my “ideal city” I think there should be more bike lanes on busy roads to make it a safer city for bicyclists, especially young ones. My name is Alice. I am 10
The view from the 10th floor on the City Hall tour. years old and l always ride my bike to school, but I do not want to start biking on the road! I’m afraid of a car bumping into me. According to a government website about road safety, it says you should start to go on the road when you are around 10-12 years old. If this is to happen, then we must make it more safe by adding more bike lanes. Yes, it is true that there are some bike lanes, but if you wanted to bike to certain places, they are not everywhere that they are needed. To make Kitchener a more “ideal city”, please put more bike lanes on busy streets. This would mean that less kids my age will be afraid to ride on the road, or worse, get injured and need to go to the hospital! by Sydney Dorsch In my ideal city, here are are some things that I think every good city needs. I hope you consider some of my ideas! I think an ideal city needs affordable houses, because not everyone can afford a home/apartment. People who have no place to live, have to live on the street, and that is not safe or healthy. It also needs good paying jobs and more job opportunities for everyone, because, some people have to make decisions. “School lunches for my kids?” “Groceries?” “House bills?” No one should have to make those decision. Easy transportation is also good for a city, for people if they don’t have
a car, or they need another way to get somewhere, also, its better for the environment if 50 people take public transportation rather than 50 people take separate cars. Another thing a city needs is, more green space, because, people always take away green space for more big buildings, or anything else. People love the green space, for a nice place to sit and relax, people would much rather walk and be surrounded by green space more than be surrounded by big buildings. We also need 911 services, for obvious reasons. Last thing I think an ideal city needs is stores, and places to shop with reasonable prices, so it is easier for everyone to afford. I hope you enjoyed my side of what an ideal city needs, and I hope you take my ideas into consideration. Student Debate on Rogers Topic: The city is proposing to convert to solar power as a green energy source. While this will make the city more environmentally friendly, some residents have expressed concern about what this change will mean for them financially. Rogers TV taped the mock student debate it will be aired on Sunday, May 20th at 6pm. The City of Kitchener will livestream the mock debate on its website at https://www. kitchener.ca/en/city-services/ watch-a-meeting.aspx.
Students from schools across Kitchener attended the My Ideal City reception and tour of Kitchener City Hall on April 30, 2018. The Kitchener Citizen is the media sponsor of the event.
The Kitchener Citizen sponsors this event for students in Kitchener to learn more about municipal politics.