Environment Fund Spending
Two public meetings round out community consultation on future of LEAF program
KITCHENER The City of Kitchener is seeking feedback from the community on how the remaining $3 million in the Local Environmental Action Fund (LEAF) should be invested.
LEAF has been a city program for the past five years - providing funding to many successful green initiatives across the community in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Earlier this year, city council voted in favour of suspending the LEAF fund, pending a review of the program and a full public consultation.
That public consultation, led by Compass Kitchener a committee of citizens whose purpose is to engage the community in developing and achieving a shared vision for the future is now underway and will continue through June 25.
Four options have been identified as projects that warrant consideration when it comes to choosing how to invest the remaining funds:
Proceed with the LEAF program based on its approved mandate.
Allocate all or some of the remaining funds toward the city's efforts to address the effects of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) on local trees.
Allocate all or some of the remaining funds toward several unfunded parks and trails projects.
Allocate all or some of the remaining funds toward purchasing lands in the Hidden Valley community.
Residents are also invited to submit other ideas for consideration during the consultation process.
“Our main objective here is to ensure the dollars that remain in the LEAF program will make a positive impact on the local environment one way or another,” said Jeff Willmer, the city’s chief administrative officer (CAO).
There are several ways citizens can learn more about the options that have been tabled for consideration - and have a say on how the funds should be allocated:
Review a set of background documents on the four tabled options, which can be found at www.kitchener.ca/leafconsultation and then fill out an online survey, which is accessible on the same web page.
Attend one of two public meetings that have been scheduled to facilitate discussion:
o Saturday, June 9, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Stanley Park Community Centre, 505 Franklin St. N.
o Tuesday, June 12, 5 to 7 p.m., Kitchener Market, 300 King St. E.
The Kitchener Youth Action Council hosted a meeting last week, seeking opinions from local youth on how the remaining funds should be invested. Compass Kitchener also met with local advisory committees and boards to get their views.
Compass Kitchener will be analyzing all of the public feedback over the summer, and developing a recommendation for city council to consider this fall.