Key decisions and activity from Kitchener City Council – June 24, 2019
Council approves the goals and actions of Kitchener’s 2019-2022 Strategic Plan
Tonight council approved the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan for the City of Kitchener. The strategic plan sets out 5 goals and 25 action statements under the themes of Caring Community, Vibrant Economy, People Friendly Transportation and Great Customer Service.
The strategic plan was built on extensive consultation and community’s priorities. Council and staff are committed to deliver on the priorities that matter to residents: safer streets, a more caring and connected community, continuous improvement in service delivery, a strong economy and a more sustainable environment.
Key deliverables include:
- Protected cycling network that connects adjacent neighbourhoods to the downtown
- Community Climate Action Plan
- Tree canopy target and tree planting to eliminate the backlog
- Downtown vision and Make it Kitchener 2.0 economic development strategy
- Equity Diversity and Inclusion Strategy
- Affordable Housing Strategy
- Community Centers
- Arts and Culture Plan
- Customer service improvements and more
Kitchener residents will be able to see and measure our progress as we deliver on the strategic actions. In four years, Kitchener will be a more innovative, caring and vibrant city as we achieve the goals and actions within the strategic plan.
Read more in staff report CAO-19-010.
Payday loan establishments reclassified
A new type of business license has been created to regulate payday loan establishments in Kitchener, as permitted by an update to the Municipal Act. This update allows municipalities to regulate payday loan establishments through business licensing. The new licensing classification will eventually reduce the number of payday loan establishments to a maximum of 10 citywide through attrition, with no more than two establishments in a single ward.
The 18 payday loan establishments currently operating in Kitchener will be allowed to continue renewing their licenses on an annual basis, so long as they remain in the same location and continue to comply with all municipal, provincial and federal legislation. This reclassification is in line with the results of a public consultation survey conducted on this topic, in which residents overwhelmingly indicated support for limiting the number of licenses issued by the city.
Read more in staff report COR-19-024.
Public Access Technology Service to be consolidated and measured
The Public Access Technology Service provides computers and printers for free public use at twelve community centres throughout Kitchener, as well as free public Wi-Fi in seventeen additional public spaces. Tonight, council approved a service standard to measure this program to ensure it is applicable, available and reliable. Council also directed staff to consolidate funding for these services from several departments into a single line item in the next annual budget.
Staff at community centres have consistently affirmed that these public access technologies are a powerful tool in facilitating economic and social inclusion for job-seekers, new Canadians, senior citizens and children. This new service standard includes a mandate to study the use of these resources and assess how they could be used even more effectively.
Read more in staff report COR-19-208.
Fence bylaw amended and no longer requires setback on side yards
Today, council approved an amendment to the fence bylaw permitting fences of up to 1.82 meters in height in an exterior side yard with no setback. This amendment aligns with existing regulations in other local municipalities and is intended to reduce confusion surrounding fencing restrictions for residents with corner lots. A public engagement survey conducted by the city, confirmed residents are in favour of simplifying existing fencing by-laws, citing them as too restrictive. The new regulations will make fencing processes easier for residents and will allow homeowners on corner lots to enjoy the full amenity space on their property.
Read more in staff report DSD-19-075.
Truth and reconciliation
Tonight, Kitchener City Council directed staff to proceed with the implementation of the Truth & Reconciliation Calls to Action starting with two priorities:
- That council introduce a territorial acknowledgement at the commencement of Council to signal a commitment to responding to the Truth & Reconciliation Calls to Action and to demonstrate respect for the ongoing relationships we are building; and
- The implementation of a training program for staff that will increase Indigenous competency at an organizational level, resulting in improved customer service and increased capacity of non-Indigenous staff across the organization to work respectfully and appropriately on Indigenous initiatives in a municipal context.
This work will begin to address our responsibility to pursuing reconciliation, and provides us with the opportunity to better support, celebrate and deliver services to Indigenous Peoples in Kitchener.
Read more in staff report COR-19-021.
Year-round maintenance of trails and pathways around schools – pilot
Kitchener City Council has approved the direction to continue the Country Hills West winter trail maintenance pilot to inform the winter trail maintenance priorities. The pilot project was first introduced in 2016 and will continue through the 2020 winter season. The results of this pilot will be support the development of the Cycling and Trails Master Plan. Currently in the engagement phase, the Cycling and Trails Master Plan aims to address the needs of residents to create multi-use pathways that are accessible for all ages and abilities. Learn more about the Cycling and Trails Master Plan.
Read more in staff report INS-19-010.
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