Waterloo Region council briefs

  • Council   Fri, Jul 1st, 2022   Wilmot-Tavistock Gazette Staff

By Wilmot-Tavistock Gazette Staff
The following excerpts are a summary of major decisions made by Waterloo Region council members on June 22.
Council to lower speed limits in 31 school zones on Regional roads
The Region is lowering speed limits in 31 school zones along regional roads to “enhance road safety.” The changes will be in effect during school hours, from Mondays to Fridays 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and implemented September through June.
The decision comes after council directed staff to review speed limits in school zones that are higher than 40 kilometres an hour. There are 35 school zones fronting regional roads, 31 with a posted speed limit great than 40 kilometres an hour.
Council invests in upgrades to protect local water resources
Regional council approved vendors for upgrades to protect drinking water, enhance wastewater treatment services, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the region.
• Replacing power supply unit equipment for two generators at the Mannheim water treatment plant ($1,185,200).
• Elmira wastewater treatment plant upgrades ($4,249,600).
• Landfill gas system upgrades at the former Kitchener landfill site ($8,328,000).
• Replacing Kitchener wastewater treatment plant turbo blowers ($2,387,400).
• New biosolids storage facilities at Galt and Waterloo wastewater treatment plants ($26,562,900).
• Five-year operation of the liquid biosolids management program ($531,000).
• Five-year operation of the cake biosolids management program ($4,048,700).
• Clay capping and regrading ($741,900).
Airport shuttle service to launch in September
As the Region of Waterloo International Airport expands due to increase demand, council approved the vendor for an airport shuttle service. The service will transport passengers between the new parking lot and the terminal building. The new parking lot, which adds 611, is scheduled to be up and running in September. Currently, the airport has 728 public parking stalls and was at capacity in August last year and 33 weekly flights.
Region to showcase local artists at new airport terminal
Council approved a plan to install six pieces of public art in the terminal expansion at the Region of Waterloo International Airport for up to two years. “Public art contributes to a community’s identity, culture, and economic strengths,” said the region. “Pieces will explore themes of travel and movement.”
The region issued a call to artists in May, after being advised by the Public Art Advisory Committee. The committee recommended issuing to call to ensure art could be found and installed more quickly than a commission and benefit artists who had few opportunities to exhibit their work throughout the pandemic.
Council approves reduction of child care fees through federal plan
Council has approved the 2022 $24-million federal funding allocation received as part of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Plan (CWELCC). The first priority is to reduce child care fees by 25 per cent, retroactive to April of this year and to increase wages for the lowest paid early childhood educators.
Goals of the CWELCC include lowering child care fees to an average of $10 per day before September 2025, helping create new childcare spaces, increasing the wages of early childhood educators, and removing barriers to care for diverse and underserved populations.
As the child care service manager, the region will develop new policies and procedures to put the CWELCC plan in place. Staff is working with the province and other service managers to share and align policy practices where possible. They were also meeting regularly with partners and will create a working group to support policy development.
Vendor approved for workspace redesign that will reduce carbon footprint
Council has approved the vendor for a regional workplace redesign that will reduce the region’s carbon footprint. The redesign involves renovations to existing buildings, which will take place over several years at the region’s headquarter campus in Kitchener. Staff estimate the project will save $1.2-million annually in leasing costs, to start.
The project is part of the Region’s Corporate Accommodations Master Plan, which works to minimize building space needs while effectively and efficiently delivering services to the community.