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Posted June 7, 2012

Regional Report

Regional Council Report - June 6, 2012

Waterloo Region - Summary of discussion and the major items presented at Council meetings. The following tenders/contracts were approved by Council:

· $1,181,076 to Kana for Customer Relationship software for tracking and reporting customer call information so staff can improve services to the public.

· $525,000 to INIT Innovations in Transportation Inc. for GRT’s dispatch and automatic vehicle location system.

· $385,940.20 to Hotz Environmental Services Inc. for transportation and processing of municipal hazardous or special waste.

· $259,284 to MTE Consulting Ltd. for engineering, design, administration and inspection services associated with the widening of Ira Needles Blvd. from Highview Dr. to Erb St.

Regional call centre finds home

Council approved the location for the Region’s Service First Call Centre (SFCC) as a shared space with Kitchener’s operation facility on Goodrich Drive. The Region’s call centre will operate independently; however, co-locating with City of Kitchener’s call centre offers partnering benefits such as: cost and expenditure savings; possible shared technology; an established call centre environment; and; the sharing of training and best practices. The call centre will publicly launch in 2014.

Grand River Transit (GRT) service improvements

Council approved the following GRT service improvements effective Monday, September 3rd, 2012: Extended Sunday hours on most routes in Cambridge; regular-sized buses and peak-period service on Route 75 Saginaw; enhanced service coverage to the L.G. Lovell Industrial Park; new peak-period service for Route 76 Doon South and extended weekend service on the 200 iXpress and Route13 in Laurelwood.

Rent Bank gets one-time funding

The Region received one-time additional provincial funding of $10,856 for the Rent Bank Program. The Rent Bank is a loan-based program that helps prevent eviction and homelessness by providing loans to low-income individuals to help them cover the cost of rent.

Region continues to manage forest biodiversity and health

Council approved the Operating Management Plan for Hilborn Knoll Regional Forest in east Cambridge. This plan is part of the Regional Forest Management Plan which provides an overarching management strategy for the 16 woodlands owned by the Region of Waterloo. The plan for Hilborn Knoll Forest addresses a variety of issues including: biodiversity and ecological health, hazard trees, trail erosion and visitor signage.

Travel Health Clinic to close in 2014

Public Health’s International Travel Clinic will be discontinued in 2014 due to changes in the travel health services environment in the Region, including increased competition from the private sector which can offer travel health services more efficiently.

Travel immunizations will continue to be offered by private sector providers as well as family physicians.

Amendments to Regional Sign By-law

Council approved amendments to the By-law Respecting Signs on Regional Roads that permits changes to the allowable sizes of election signs. In accordance with the Region’s Notice Policy, appropriate public notice will be given regarding the amendments affecting allowable election signage.

2012 Grants to community organizations

Regional Council approved the 2012 Grants to Community Organizations. A total of $311,000 will be shared by 16 organizations. Waterloo Region 4-H Association - $2,500, Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre - $16,393, Leadership Waterloo Region - $40,000, Canadian Mental Health Association - $23,717, Central Ontario Developmental Riding Program - $2,733, Child Witness Centre of Waterloo Region - $9,156, Community Justice Initiatives - $20,046, Food Bank of Waterloo Region - $24,047, Kaljas Homes - $11,308, Independent Living Centre Community Support Services - $4,162, Independent Living Centre Kids on the Block - $9,291, Social Planning Council Community Information Centre - $80,119, Telecare Cambridge - $4,692, Volunteer Action Centre of K-W & Area Inc. - $27,591, Waterloo Regional Block Parent Program Inc. - $5 ,000, Wilmot Family Resources Centre Inc. - $15,122, Woolwich Community Services - $15,122.

Community Access Program

The Region will ask the Federal government to reconsider its decision to end funding for the Community Access Program (CAP). Industry Canada announced in April that Federal funding for CAP had ended March 31, 2012. There was no opportunity to comment on the continuing importance of this funding to many groups of citizens, particularly those served by the Region of Waterloo Library. While it is true that the majority of Canadians now have home computers with high speed Internet access, there are still segments of the population that do not. These citizens either live in areas where high speed access is still not available at a reasonable cost, or do not have a home computer due to financial or other reasons. These situations also affect some residents in the Townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich.

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