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Published by the Region of Waterloo

Spring 2012

INSIDE

Protecting the environment for current and future generations Protecting and enhancing the environment is a key priority for the Region of Waterloo because a healthy environment is very important to our citizens and essential to our quality of life. The Region continues to demonstrate its commitment to the environment by making forwardthinking decisions that help protect and conserve our land, water, air and energy resources for current and future generations. The Community Environmental Fund was established in 2011 to provide financial support for community-based environmental initiatives. It assists community members and organizations who wish to carry out stewardship and sustainability projects that protect, promote and enhance our natural environment. Grant awards for the 2012 Community Environmental Fund were recently announced. The grants are funding initiatives such as putting an electric car on our streets as part of the local Carshare program and installing a solar hot water heater on a local building as a demonstration project. Other projects will include the planting

of trees in rural and urban areas of Waterloo Region and the naturalization of the Laurel Creek Corridor. Here’s a brief look at some of the Region’s other environmental priorities: • Integrate the environment into all our decisions A green purchasing initiative will help the Region buy products that are better for the environment (e.g. recycled paper, low VOC paint, hybrid vehicles, etc.); the Community Environmental Fund will give financial support to communitybased environmental initiatives. • Improve our air quality The Region will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using solar panels on Regional buildings and setting energy management targets; the amount of energy used at wastewater treatment plants will be reduced through extensive upgrades; new technology will help reduce idling in Regional vehicles; energy conservation initiatives will continue Region-wide.

• Reduce waste The amount of waste entering our landfill will be reduced by considering new disposal technologies, expanding the recycling program and enhancing the green bin (organics) program. The Waste Management Master Plan is also being updated. • Protect our drinking water The quality and quantity of our drinking water sources will be protected by upgrading our wastewater treatment plants and continuing to promote: rainwater harvesting, naturescaping, the water conservation by-law, business water conservation programs, spills prevention, the smart about salt program and the rural water quality program. • Restore and preserve green space The Region will protect our forests and environmentally sensitive lands, work with partners to add trees and shade to our communities, prevent urban sprawl and redevelop existing infrastructure in our core areas. Take a look at the EnviroNews pull-out inside this newsletter for more environmental news.

Transit more accessible PAGE 2

Help shape growth in Waterloo Region PAGE 3

Air show June 2 and 3 PAGE 3

Protect yourself from rabies PAGE 4

New GO rail service to Waterloo Region It is now a lot easier for you to travel to the Greater Toronto Area. In December, GO Transit started weekday train service with two Toronto-bound trips in the morning and two Kitchener-bound trips in the afternoon. Grand River Transit (GRT) runs shuttle buses between the Charles Street Terminal and Kitchener GO Station. The shuttle buses are coordinated with train times and serve the parking lot available to GO riders located at

the Rumpel Felt building near King and Duke Streets. As with all GRT routes that serve the Kitchener GO Station, GO riders pay only $0.50 to ride the shuttle with proof of a valid GO fare. Visit www.grt.ca for more information. There are even more travel options with GO’s bus service. Route 31 operates weekdays between Kitchener and Bramalea GO Stations and connects to train service at Bramalea. There is one eastbound trip from Kitchener in the morning and

three westbound trips to Kitchener in the afternoon. Route 31 recently began serving the Charles Street Terminal, joining GO Bus route 25, which serves Wilfrid Laurier University and University of Waterloo seven days a week. Through its Passenger Charter, GO promises to make your travel experience better and easier. Visit www.gotransit.com to learn more about the Charter, schedules, fares and travelling on GO Transit.

Better service for residents with disabilities PAGE 4

Comments or questions? Region of Waterloo Customer Service: regionalinquiries @regionofwaterloo.ca Tel: 519-575-4400 TTY: 519-575-4608

Schedule subject to change

www.regionofwaterloo.ca


Technology making transit more accessible Grand River Transit (GRT) has services and technology to make transit accessible to everyone. Our low-floor buses, which make up over 85 per cent of the fleet, are marked with a wheelchair symbol and sides do not have stairs. The operator can lower the front of the bus, causing it to “kneel”so passengers find it easier to board. A ramp located at the front of low-floor buses also allows passengers with wheelchairs and other mobility devices to board on a gentle incline.

It’s your move! Take the Commuter Challenge It seems the daily commute is a necessary, but sometimes tedious part of our lives. Driving in traffic and bad weather can be stressful and time consuming, but now is the time to make a change! You can check out your commuting options during the 2012 Commuter Challenge happening June 3 to 12, 2012. The entire community will be working together to save money and reduce harmful emissions by biking, walking, taking transit or carpooling to work, with a chance to win prizes and compete for bragging rights against communities across Canada. Don’t know where to begin? Great tools are now available to help. Grand River Transit’s EasyGO can help you plan your transit trip and will even send you a text message when your next bus is set to arrive. If you’re looking to try transit, why not take advantage of 2 for 1 Transit day? Check out www.grt.ca for details. Google maps also offers cycling and walking trip planning around Waterloo Region. Head to www.CommuterChallenge.ca to sign up with your workplace and track your trips for a chance to win great prizes!

Other GRT accessibility improvements include: • A new automated bus stop announcement system audibly states the location in advance of a stop to help people unfamiliar with the neighbourhood or riders who cannot see the route. • New pre-boarding announcements Customers can request the bus operator to provide them with trip and destination information when they board the bus as well as announce the route and destination, including any “via” directions in a clear statement loud enough so the customer can hear it. • Priority seating at the front of the bus is reserved for people of all ages with disabilities and mobility challenges. Priority will be given to customers who use wheelchairs, scooters, mobility aids and customers with a disability.

Don’t

feed the

landfill

Ontario regulations require that passengers, other than persons with disabilities must vacate these seats if it is required and requested by a passenger with a disability. New and more visible “Priority Seating” decals have been placed on all GRT buses near the front of the bus.

• Transit Bus Stops Not all GRT bus stops are accessible for customers with a disability. If an official bus stop is not accessible for a passenger with a disability, the bus operator will ensure that customers with disabilities are able to board or exit the bus at the closest available safe location.

Don’t waste another day. Use the green bin and the blue box.

www.regionofwaterloo.ca/waste Did you know there are now cameras on many GRT vehicles? Grand River Transit has installed security cameras on many of its conventional buses and MobilityPLUS vehicles. The Region of Waterloo makes use of security cameras to help keep employees and riders safe and to monitor and protect physical assets. Camera images will not be continuously monitored on a real-time basis.

Saturday June 2, 2012 A fun-filled day to celebrate our environment!

9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Free Admission!

10 Huron Road, Kitchener 519-748-1914 • TTY: 519-575-4608 www.waterlooregionmuseum.com

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Help shape growth in Waterloo Region The Region is once again turning to the community for input as part of the planning process to integrate rapid transit into Waterloo Region. The Central Transit Corridor Community Building Strategy will inform planning, development and investment decisions along the Central Transit Corridor (CTC), which connects the Region’s downtowns and includes the rapid transit route and station areas. The Strategy will support community building objectives, relating to enhancing mobility and creating great places. Community input opportunities during the development of the Strategy will include a speaker series, information sessions and workshops, a project website, blog and storefront at 220 King St. W., Kitchener. Community input will help shape a collaborative vision for how the corridor will develop in the future. More information about these community input opportunities will be available at www.centraltransitcorridor.ca. The public will also be asked to participate in the planning process to develop the new transit hub at

the corner of King and Victoria streets in Kitchener. The transit hub will bring together the various forms of transportation in the region in one centralized location and provide a seamless transportation system that integrates rapid transit, Grand River Transit bus service, intercity rail and bus service provided by GO trains and buses and VIA Rail, and other forms of transportation such as taxis, car share, cycling and pedestrians. Plans for the transit hub could also include commercial, retail and office space as well as amenities for the larger community and those using the facility. Watch the Region’s transit hub page at www.regionofwaterloo.ca/transithub for details on how you can get involved.

Come out to the Waterloo Air Show in June! Kick-start your summer by experiencing amazing aerial displays at the 2012 Waterloo Air Show, June 2 and 3 at the Region of Waterloo International Airport. With aviation showcased both in the air and on the ground, there’s plenty to entertain the whole family for the day. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds will highlight the amazing air show. While on the ground, there will be displays, vendors, family activities, rides, performer autographs, food, and a great static display. Get up close to aircraft, take photos, and speak to the pilots. Gates are open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Visit our website to become an Air Show Insider and receive early admittance and other special offers. Bring your chairs and cameras out to one of the summer’s best outdoor events and let your wings soar!

For more information visit www.waterlooairshow.com, email info@waterlooairshow.com or call 519-465-0780.

In February 2012, Regional Council approved the recommended Design-BuildFinance-Operate-Maintain (DBFOM) procurement and delivery option for stage 1 of the light rail transit system. This option is expected to help keep the project on time and on budget. The private partner will design, build and help the Region operate and maintain the LRT system. The Region will own the system, set fares and schedules, receive fare revenue, integrate buses with the LRT and take customer calls. Visit www.regionofwaterloo.ca/rapidtransit for detailed information regarding the rapid transit project.

Doon Heritage Village opening day The season opening of Doon Heritage Village takes place Tuesday, May 1. Doon Heritage Village is a picturesque living history village that shows visitors what life was like in the year 1914. The village comes to life with knowledgeable interpreters dressed in authentic 1914 clothing and features historic buildings, farm animals and fun activities the whole family will enjoy. Admission includes entry to Doon Heritage Village, as well as indoor museum exhibit galleries. Museum exhibits have been open since November 2011. Doon Heritage Village hours: May 1 to September 3 Monday through Sunday: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. September 4 to October 8 Monday through Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. October 9 to December 23 Monday through Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: Closed except for special events. Doon Heritage Village is located at Waterloo Region Museum. The address is 10 Huron Road (just off Homer Watson Boulevard) in Kitchener. For more information regarding Waterloo Region Museum and Doon Heritage Village, visit www.waterlooregionmuseum.com or call 519-748-1914.

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COUNCIL CONTACTS REGIONAL CHAIR Ken Seiling kseiling@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4585 (R) COUNCILLORS CAMBRIDGE Jane Brewer jbrewer@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4404 Ext. 3402 (R) 519-653-3315 (H) Doug Craig dcraig@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4404 Ext. 3404 (R) 519-740-4517 Ext. 4215 (W) Claudette Millar cmillar@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4404 Ext. 3408 (R) 519-621-7202 (H) KITCHENER Tom Galloway tgalloway@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4404 Ext. 3401 (R) 519-578-2112 (H) Jean Haalboom jhaalboom@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4404 Ext. 3406 (R) 519-748-1508 (H) Geoff Lorentz glorentz@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4404 Ext. 3413 (R) 519-741-1494 (H) Jim Wideman jwideman@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4404 Ext. 3409 (R) 519-576-5150 (H) Carl Zehr czehr@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4404 Ext. 3403 (R) 519-741-2300 (W) NORTH DUMFRIES Rob Deutschmann rdeutschmann@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4404 Ext. 3407 (R) 519-621-0340 (W) WATERLOO Brenda Halloran bhalloran@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4404 Ext. 3400 (R) 519-747-8700 (W) Jane Mitchell jmitchell@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4404 Ext. 3411 (R) 519-886-9626 (H) Sean Strickland sstrickland@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4404 Ext. 3414 (R) 519-503-0613 (C) WELLESLEY Ross Kelterborn rkelterborn@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4404 Ext. 3410 (R) 519-699-4611 (W) WILMOT Les Armstrong lesarmstrong@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4404 Ext. 3412 (R) 226-748-8971(C) WOOLWICH Todd Cowan tcowan@regionofwaterloo.ca 519-575-4404 Ext. 3405 (R) 519-669-0591 (H) General Fax for Council 519-575-4048 TTY: 519-575-4608 W-work R-region H-home C-cell

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Protect yourself from rabies You can’t tell by looking at an animal if it has rabies, but a clue may be if the animal is acting strangely. Never feed or approach a wild animal and be careful of pets you don’t know. If you see a stray dog or cat, don’t pet it.

Rabies is a disease that affects the brain. It is usually passed from animal to animal but it can be passed from animals to people. Rabies is a serious disease that is usually fatal but can be prevented. That is why it is important to seek medical attention if you are bitten and report the bite to Public Health. In 2011, Region of Waterloo Public Health Inspectors investigated over 900 animal bites and 74 people received vaccine after an animal bite to prevent rabies. All dogs and cats over the age of three months must be vaccinated regularly to protect them

against rabies. It’s the law and you could be fined $90 per day if you do not vaccinate your pet.

If you are bitten by an animal, wash the area thoroughly with warm water and soap and seek medical attention. Report the bite to Public Health at 519-883-2008, ext. 5147. You will be asked to provide as much information as you can about the animal (description of the animal and the name and contact information of the animal’s owner).

Better service for residents with disabilities Improving accessibility for those with disabilities is an important part of the Region of Waterloo’s service. An official Accessibility Plan has been approved and includes actions to identify, prevent and remove barriers to service for people with disabilities.

• Transportation enhancements like same fare options for those who use MobilityPLUS buses and priority seating on Grand River Transit buses. • Upgrading customer service standards for accessibility in the Waterloo Regional Police Service.

Some of the improvements in the 2012 Accessibility Plan are: • Launch of a single TTY number for all Region of Waterloo services. People who are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or with speech disabilities who use a TTY can now call 519-575-4608 to access all Region of Waterloo services, including Grand River Transit, garbage and recycling, Provincial Offenses Court, Waterloo Regional Museum, Public Health, Social Services, and much more.

• Implementation of over 30 items listed in the integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation like providing emergency and public safety information in accessible formats, ensuring employees with disabilities are provided with accessible emergency workplace information and providing accommodations to job applicants with disabilities in the recruitment process.

• Launch of the redesigned Region of Waterloo website including BrowseAloud technology.

• Create an educational campaign to raise awareness of service animals.

While the Region has an Accessibility Plan, the act of identifying and removing barriers is an ongoing process. Feedback on the accessibility of sites and services at the Region is always welcome. The 2012 Accessibility Plan is available at www.regionofwaterloo.ca/accessibility. The plan is available in alternate formats such as: text only, audio, electronic copy and plain language summary. For more information, contact Vanessa Lopak at 519-575-4757 ext. 3861, TTY: 519-575-4608, or access@regionofwaterloo.ca.

Celebrate spring on the Kissing Bridge Trailway Spring is in the air, and there’s no better way to celebrate than getting outdoors and enjoying one of Waterloo Region’s many trails. On May 12, 2012, you can also show your support for the Kissing Bridge Trailway by hiking, biking, running or walking the trail during the second annual Spring on the Trail event. The Kissing Bridge Trailway Advisory Group will once again be selling Kissing Bridge Trailway passports to raise funds for the cost of ongoing trail infrastructure. You can purchase an individual/family, group, business or corporate passport, which provides access to local events and qualifies you for some great prizes, including a $2,500 travel voucher, a Blackberry Playbook and much more. For more information about the Kissing Bridge Trailway, the Spring on the Trail 2012 event, and the passport fundraiser, please visit SpringOnTheTrail.ca.

Region of Waterloo creates a Seniors Advisory Committee The Region of Waterloo Seniors Advisory Committee (RWSAC) held its inaugural meeting on January 27, 2012. The purpose of this committee is to provide counsel and advice to Regional staff and Council on Regional planning and services that impact seniors. The committee provides a venue/forum for stakeholder and community input to improve the quality of Regional services for seniors. In addition they provide advice and feedback on policy, planning and services delivered by Social Services and other Regional departments supporting seniors. The committee is comprised of five citizen representatives, three community agency representatives, seven Regional staff representatives, and one Regional Councillor. The RWSAC is co-chaired by Councillor Jean Haalboom and Michael Schuster, Commissioner, Social Services. For more information about the committee, please contact Kelly Buxton, Social Planning Associate at 519-575-4757 ext. 5402.

www.regionofwaterloo.ca

Region News Spring 2012  

Region News is a community newsletter about the programs and services offered by the Region of Waterloo.