Published by the Region of Waterloo
Rapid Transit: Join the conversation Over the past five years we’ve asked you to provide your input on the Region’s rapid transit project at every key decision point along the way. You’ve played an important role in shaping the rapid transit project and now we’re asking for your input and involvement once again. The Region of Waterloo continues to plan for population and employment growth over the next 20 years. The region’s population is expected to grow by about 200,000 by 2031. This growth is welcome – it means jobs, vibrancy and prosperity. However, it must be managed properly in order to continue avoiding the type of outward growth that consumes farmland and countryside and threatens our groundwater source areas and environmentally sensitive areas. To achieve this and to maintain and improve our community’s quality of life, growth must be encouraged within existing urban areas. High-quality rapid transit has been identified as a key catalyst in this regard. It helps attract investment in homes and businesses along the transit corridor, making better use of infrastructure and services. It will also provide transportation choice, meeting future transportation needs and avoiding road widening through many of our mature neighbourhoods. Rapid transit will help us in shaping a prosperous, vibrant and sustainable community.
A brief history of this project so far: • In 2006, the Region began the Rapid Transit Environmental Assessment and, after consultation with the public, Council approved rapid transit as the preferred transportation strategy for Waterloo Region, rather than focusing on expanding the road network and conventional transit alone. • Extensive consultation, including public workshops and discussions with Area Municipalities, has guided subsequent decisions. Through this process, the Region developed criteria to assess a variety of rapid transit technologies, which identified bus rapid transit (BRT) and light rail transit (LRT) as the most viable and beneficial options. • A total of 91 possible configurations of routes, station locations and technologies were identified, based on four key factors: transportation, social and cultural environment, natural environment and economic impact. The Region’s rapid transit team undertook in-depth evaluation of these configurations – including further public consultation – to rank each alternative based on benefits and impacts. • In June 2009, Regional Council approved LRT as the preferred technology for Waterloo Region’s rapid transit system. To ensure affordability and to Continued on page 2
Try Something New PAGE 2
Region of Waterloo International Airport PAGE 3
Grand River Transit Business Plan to 2014 Planning for the Future of Transit in Waterloo Region The Region of Waterloo is updating the Business Plan for Grand River Transit (GRT). The purpose of the Business Plan is to guide the improvement and expansion of the GRT network and services through the next four years while adhering to the long term vision set out in the Region’s Official Plan and Transportation Master Plan and ensuring successful integration with Rapid Transit and intercity transit services. Some key objectives of this Plan are: • Develop a service improvement plan and ridership growth strategy in line with the transit use targets identified in the approved Regional Transportation Master Plan. • Update transit service standards and key performance measures. • Develop a financial plan that is fiscally sustainable and establishes an appropriate balance of municipal investment costs and transit rider fares
• Develop a strategy to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. • Develop strategies to improve customer service, employee engagement and marketing of GRT services. • Identify strategies to better integrate GRT with intercity transit services and to provide appropriate transit service levels to Township urban areas within the Region. In late May or early June 2011, there will be a public information centre to present preliminary results of study activities and gain additional community feedback. All interested members of the community are encouraged to attend the public information centre. Please visit www.grt.ca or call 519-585-7555 for updates on the study.
Comments or questions? Region of Waterloo Customer Service: regionalinquiries @region.waterloo.on.ca Tel: 519-575-4400
“Rapid Transit: Join the conversation” continued from page 1
Join the conversation! Based on public input and additional evaluation, staff will recommend a preferred implementation option to the Region’s Planning and Works Committee in April 2011. The Region will host public consultation centres in early May. We will also be visiting malls and markets across Waterloo Region. Check out our website for more information. Go to www.region.waterloo.on.ca/rapidtransit, where you can: • join the conversation on our discussion boards, • fill out an online comment sheet, • sign up for our mailing list, • find background on the project. You can also follow us on Twitter @ROWRapidTransit and on Facebook at facebook.com/ROWRapidTransit. Or call our Rapid Transit Infoline at 519-575-4757 ext. 3242. Now is the time to get involved in your community with a project that will shape the region for years to come. Make sure your voice is part of the conversation.
maximize benefits, Council endorsed implementing light rail transit in stages, subject to federal and provincial funding. • In 2010, other levels of government confirmed their funding contributions. The Province of Ontario announced an investment of $300 million toward capital costs for rapid transit in Waterloo Region, and the Government of Canada announced that it will provide one-third of eligible costs, up to $265 million, to support construction of the project. • These announcements changed the funding picture for Waterloo Region. Based on this new information, during the fall and winter of 2010 staff revisited the different rapid transit alternatives. At Council’s request, this review included both BRT and LRT options. The latest review has identified 11 different implementation options. One is full BRT, and one is full LRT, each connecting Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo. The other eight options are various combinations of LRT in the north and adapted bus rapid transit (aBRT) in the south. The 11th option is “business as usual” – i.e., no rapid transit at all. However, it has been concluded that this option is not viable, both for economic reasons (including forfeiting all of the funding from the provincial and federal governments) and for the negative impact it would have on quality of life throughout the community. Now, the Region wants to hear your views on these various approaches. The Region is in the midst of another extensive public consultation process. Information on costs, ridership, property tax impacts and more about each route can be found at www.region.waterloo.on.ca/rapidtransit.
A closer look at the options:
This spring, try something new! As Waterloo Region prospers and grows, traffic congestion becomes a greater issue particularly during the morning and afternoon rush periods. There is limited space to build new roads, and just building more roads is not a sustainable or long term solution to congestion. A transportation network that provides balanced opportunities for various types of transportation (walking, cycling, public transit, and carpooling) is important to our economic success and our community’s health! Here’s how you can help: • Try making a few errands a week by walking or cycling. It’s a great way to work activity into your daily routine. • Combine trips and make the most of each journey. • Consider flexible work hours to avoid the rush or to commute by transit more conveniently.
• Ask your employer about joining the Region’s TravelWise program to offer things like: • Bike racks • Discounted transit fares • Carpool matching • Access to showers to freshen up before work • Preferential carpool parking • Promotion of sustainable commuting options Taking these steps means better air quality and reduced traffic congestion. So this spring, why not try something new and leave your car at home. To find out more about TravelWise visit www.regionofwaterloo.ca/travelwise, or contact John Hill at email@example.com or Sanchari Quader at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Combined Service Facility at the Region of Waterloo International Airport Construction of a new Airport Combined Services Facility is well underway at the Region of Waterloo International Airport (YKF). The 25,000 square foot single-storey building located at the end of New Germany Lane just off Kossuth Road will be home base for the Airport’s Airfield Maintenance and Fleet Services Team providing maintenance and vehicle storage, fire hall, office, change rooms, storage space, and a new fuelling station. This building is designed to meet LEED Silver Certification Standards and is an energy efficient/sustainable construction project with a scheduled completion date of March 2011. Passenger traffic at the Airport continues to grow and last summer fire service was brought in house. This new facility will ensure that the Region of Waterloo International Airport has the necessary infrastructure to continue to provide safe and predictable operations for years to come.
Airport Gets a New Gateway Sign The Region of Waterloo International Airport is a modern facility that supports commercial, corporate and general aviation but the existing gateway sign on Fountain Street does not convey that image. Installed in 1987, the sign is now in poor condition. The metal has rusted and colours, once vibrant, are now faded. A team was assembled with a goal of creating a sign that would be iconic, built to withstand the test of time and instill a sense of community pride. The new design incorporates a number of visual cues including a directional aircraft symbol and aircraft tail. “We’re pleased with the new design,” said Chris Wood, Airport General Manager. “This sign is representative of our airport and the significant community investment that has transformed it into a world class gateway.” The Airport is currently home to three Canadian Airlines - Bearskin, WestJet and Sunwing. For more information please visit www.waterlooairport.ca.
Waterloo Region Getting Smart on Crime
Region of Waterloo Plans for Accessibility The Region of Waterloo is pleased to present our annual plan to make services and sites more accessible for people with disabilities. Copies of the Region of Waterloo’s 2011 Accessibility Plan are now available free of charge. You can get your copy of the 2011 Accessibility Plan by: • Visiting our website at www.regionofwaterloo.ca/accessibility • Stopping by 150 Frederick St., 2nd Floor, Council and Administrative Services between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. For more information please contact Vanessa Lopak, Social Planning Associate at email@example.com or by telephone at 519-575-4757 ext. 3864 or by TTY at 519-575-4608. The Region of Waterloo 2011 Accessibility Plan is available in accessible formats upon request, including electronic copy in textonly or PDF, large font, Braille and audio.
The Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council recently released a strategic plan that focuses on what works best to prevent and reduce crime, victimization and fear of crime. Based on public input, “Smart on Crime in Waterloo Region” provides a shared direction for the Crime Prevention Council over the next four years (2010-2014) to further the work of crime prevention by “Smart communities addressing the root invest today for the needs goal to engage causes of crime. the entire region of tomorrow.” right from the “Smart on Crime” grassroots to the outlines the Crime highest levels of decision-making in Prevention Council’s priority creating one of the safest directions, goals and activities. municipalities in Canada. Quite With a focus on Research, simply, preventing crime before it Education, Strategic Leadership happens is the smart thing to do.” and Organizational Development, “Smart on Crime” is about planning The Crime Prevention Council for the future while being flexible to remains committed to developing a respond to emerging community healthy foundation to further needs. support our vision for a safe and healthy community in which to “Community safety is the work, live and grow. cornerstone of a healthy and vibrant community,” said John To find out how you can be Shewchuk, Chair of the Crime “Smart on Crime” visit Prevention Council. “It remains our www.smartoncrime.ca.
COUNCIL CONTACTS REGIONAL CHAIR Ken Seiling firstname.lastname@example.org 519-575-4585 (R) COUNCILLORS CAMBRIDGE Jane Brewer email@example.com 519-575-4404 Ext. 3402 (R) 519-653-3315 (H) Doug Craig firstname.lastname@example.org 519-575-4404 Ext. 3404 (R) 519-740-4517 Ext. 4215 (W) Claudette Millar email@example.com 519-575-4404 Ext. 3408 (R) 519-621-7202 (H) KITCHENER Tom Galloway firstname.lastname@example.org 519-575-4404 Ext. 3401 (R) 519-578-2112 (H) Jean Haalboom email@example.com 519-575-4404 Ext. 3406 (R) 519-748-1508 (H) Geoff Lorentz firstname.lastname@example.org 519-575-4404 Ext. 3413 (R) 519-741-1494 (H) Jim Wideman email@example.com 519-575-4404 Ext. 3409 (R) 519-576-5150 (H) Carl Zehr firstname.lastname@example.org 519-575-4404 Ext. 3403 (R) 519-741-2300 (W) NORTH DUMFRIES Rob Deutschmann email@example.com 519-575-4404 Ext. 3407 (R) 519-621-0340 (W) WATERLOO Brenda Halloran firstname.lastname@example.org 519-575-4404 Ext. 3400 (R) 519-747-8700 (W) Jane Mitchell email@example.com 519-575-4404 Ext. 3411 (R) 519-886-9626 (H) Sean Strickland firstname.lastname@example.org 519-575-4404 Ext. 3414 (R) 519-503-0613 (C) WELLESLEY Ross Kelterborn email@example.com 519-575-4404 Ext. 3410 (R) 519-699-4611 (W) WILMOT Les Armstrong firstname.lastname@example.org 519-575-4404 Ext. 3412 (R) 226-748-8971(C) WOOLWICH Todd Cowan email@example.com 519-575-4404 Ext. 3405 (R) 519-669-0591 (H) General Fax for Council 519-575-4048 W-work R-region H-home C-cell
The Region is setting priorities based on public input The Region is updating its strategic plan for 2011-2014 to ensure that it remains focused on the most important priorities of our community. Community consultation is a key component in the development of this strategic plan. Since last November, we’ve been gathering public input on: • What residents like best and least about Waterloo Region? • Experience and satisfaction with Region of Waterloo services (barriers and suggestions). • Communication and engagement preferences. • Suggestions to boost trust and confidence in government. • Community priorities for the next four years. The Region has asked the public for input through: • A statistically valid telephone survey with 1,160 residents • 21 focus groups with diverse community groups • An online/paper survey
PUBLIC INPUT RESULTS Results indicate that people like living in Waterloo Region. They believe it is a safe community that has a small-town feel with big-city advantages. The blend of rural and urban areas and the region’s geographic
location in relation to other cities, received considerable positive praise. Being home to two reputable universities and a college was something residents often liked best about living here. Many felt the universities and the technology sector help create an innovative and forward-thinking community while helping the economy. Like any other growing community, Waterloo Region has its challenges including traffic, managing growth, poverty, the environment, as well as ensuring Regional services meet the growing demands of the population. Although many people cited that they like the sense of community and felt like they were connected to others in their neighbourhoods, others cited that this was not the case. This was especially noted in more vulnerable groups such as people who were living in poverty and immigrants/refugees.
NEXT STEPS Based on this public input, draft objectives for the Strategic Plan will be available for community input through an online/paper survey and more focus groups, being held throughout the spring. For more information, visit www.regionofwaterloo.ca or contact Lorie Fioze at 519-575-4758, firstname.lastname@example.org or TTY 519-575-4610.
Why should you fill in your census questionnaire? Because the census is important to everyone who lives in Canada In Canada, a census is taken every five years. The next census is in May 2011. A census includes everyone who lives in Canada. When Statistics Canada receives your answers to the census, it adds your answers to the answers of everyone else living in Canada. Together all our answers are used by Canada, Ontario and Waterloo Region to prepare for the future. The census means services for your community The answers you provide on the census are used by your community to plan services such as schools, seniors housing, health care, daycare, police services
and fire protection. These services are important to every one of us. We depend on you! Completing the census is both a civic responsibility and a legal requirement for all people living in Canada. When you fill in your census questionnaire you continue a tradition that goes back over 340 years – from a few pioneer villages in 1666 to today’s large and prosperous country. If you need help: Please call Statistics Canada’s free telephone service at 1-877-777-2011 from May 2 to 31 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Operators who speak other languages will be available.
Home Child Care takes technology on the road to reduce greenhouse gases The Home Child Care program is piloting a new caseworkers to complete many administrative tasks initiative to reduce greenhouse gases and modify while out in the community. Reducing travel time business practices. Home Child Care and mileage provides cost benefits and “Treat the caseworkers are driving in Waterloo increases efficiency. Funding for this Earth well … it was Region up to 70 per cent of their work day project was provided by the Region’s not given to us by our Corporate Sustainability Fund. in order to meet with caregivers and parents … it was parents. In the first three months of the project, loaned to us by our In September 2010, Home Child Care mileage costs have been reduced by children …” introduced the use of technology to save 23 per cent. As the project continues it is Kenyan proverb time, mileage and improve services to anticipated there will be greater use of clients. Each caseworker now has a laptop and electronic data transfer that will add to the printer that they travel with each day while out in the success of saving time and resources. Reduced use community meeting with caregivers. This allows of cars has a positive impact on the environment.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter The Region started posting regular updates on Facebook and Twitter at the beginning of the year. Updates include videos and photos, media releases, Council Info, newsletters, information about jobs at the Region, updates from Public Health, Waste Management, Grand River Transit and much more. “It was really important to us to jump into social media because we not only want to be providing information to the public, we also want to hear from our citizens,” said Bryan Stortz, Director of Corporate Communications. The Region is finding that there is more immediate two-way dialogue happening than was ever possible before. “People are expressing their opinions and getting their questions answered,” said Stortz. The Region is also using many forms of social media to promote exciting job opportunities. Sign up for automatic updates on current opportunities by visiting www.regionofwaterloo.ca and clicking on Job Opportunities. Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/RegionWaterloo, www.twitter.com/RegionWaterloo.