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../Morning Post
Posted June 2, 2011

____________________
City Council

From the Region of Waterloo Council Meeting of June 1, 2011

Council approves largest transit expansion in the history of GRT

Waterloo Region - Regional Council approved the following transit service improvements in order to help with passenger crowding and schedule reliability, and to begin the realignment of the GRT network to prepare for rapid transit:

· Increase iXpress weekday frequency from 15 to 10 minutes along the entire route and Saturday frequency from 30 to 15 minutes between the Fairview Park Mall and Ainslie Street Terminals

· Increase weekday frequency on Route 52 Ainslie Street from 30 to 15 minutes

· Increase Route 61 Conestoga College hours and include service to new Cambridge campus

· Add extra midday bus to improve reliability and provide two-way evening service on Columbia Street branch of Route 7

· Add new Fischer-Hallman express service seven days a week with 15-minute peak and 30-minute off-peak service

· Realign Route 12 Conestoga Mall so it travels the length of Westmount Road between Block Line Road and University Avenue

· Redesign Route 29 Keats Way as a two-way route connecting University of Waterloo with the Ira Needles Commercial Centre and provide 10-minute frequency during peak periods in the peak direction and Saturday service

· Modify Route 7E Columbia to provide service northbound on King Street and southbound on Regina Street between Hickory and Columbia Streets

· Route 20 Victoria Hills will also be reviewed following the completion of walkway improvements from Ingleside Drive to Fischer-Hallman Road.

Public meetings were held in March to get input on the improvements. The iXpress changes will start June 27, with the remainder starting Sept. 5.

Waterloo Region Museum receives award for design excellence

The Waterloo Region Museum and Moriyama and Teshima Architects in association with The Walter Fedy Partnership have received an award for design excellence from the Ontario Association of Architects. The design excellence award recognizes the innovative skills of Ontario architects in creating spaces, buildings and communities that respect and enhance the environment and enrich human activity. The Waterloo Region Museum was one of 15 buildings awarded out of 150 submissions.

GTA West Corridor and Niagara to GTA Corridor – Draft Transportation Development Strategies

Council endorsed the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) West Corridor and Niagara to GTA Corridor Draft Transportation Development Strategies and will request the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to confirm the Region of Waterloo’s participation in the proposed Provincial Active Traffic Management Study. The study will examine ways of managing the existing Provincial highway system to improve efficiency, safety and capacity. The Region also highlighted the need for alternative choices including GO transit from Kitchener and Cambridge.

Council approved grants to Arts, Culture and Community Organizations

Regional Council approved grants for arts, culture and community organizations including:

· $30,000 to the Grand Philharmonic Choir

· $360,000 to the K-W Symphony Orchestra Association Inc.

· $360,000 to the The Museum

· $10,000 to the Grand River Film Festival

$32,000 will be transferred to the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund and another $301,945 in grants was approved for community organizations such as the Social Planning Council and Leadership Waterloo Region. The Region will work with the new Creative Enterprise Enabling Organization and Area Municipalities to review future municipal funding for arts and culture in Waterloo Region.

Region recommends emergency departments be equipped for people at risk of suicide

The Region will forward a report recommending emergency room changes to the Chief Coroner, Chief Medical Officer of Health and Minister of Health of Ontario. The report recommends that at least one emergency department per regional hub be equipped with a completely safe physical environment for patients at risk of suicide and mental health professionals with the expertise to appropriately assess and manage such high-risk individuals. The report will also be shared with public health agencies, the local health integration network, local hospitals and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Council approves waste diversion initiatives

Regional Council approved a number of waste diversion program initiatives. The recycling charge for residential electronic waste (e-waste) will be removed as of July 1, 2011 since consumers now pay a fee for e-waste recycling when purchasing electronics as part of the Ontario Electronic Stewardship program (loads over 50 kg will still be subject to the $72/tonne tipping fee). Televisions will be added to the curbside collection and landfill e-waste ban starting August 1, 2011. Residents can either take e-waste to transfer stations in Waterloo or Cambridge or find a private recycler at www.recycleyourelectronics.ca. A pilot drywall/gypsum wallboard diversion and recycling program will also be made permanent and staff will investigate the possibility of a shingle diversion and recycling program.

Sunnyside Campus to get new public art

Regional Council approved the art selection of Tree of Life by Ernest Daetwyler for the Sunnyside campus. The artwork is an intricate tree with its branches and roots fused together to create a sun-type sphere. It represents a senior’s maturity and wisdom, the fertility and growth of new mothers and children, the renewal of life and the immortality of human existence. It will be centrally located on the Sunnyside campus. The call for interested artists was issued nation-wide with a shortlist of four providing detailed proposals. Models were displayed at Regional Headquarters and Sunnyside Home. Public comments were provided to a jury, which made the final recommendation.

Council approves Aboriginal Service Plan for Children’s Services

Regional Council approved an Aboriginal Service Plan to assist the Region in better serving the Aboriginal community. The service plan identifies two key activities:

· Updating an overview and profile of the Aboriginal community

· Developing a proposal for an Aboriginal Best Start Child and Family Centre for Waterloo Region

The Region will continue to partner with the Aboriginal community to implement the plan.

Tenders/Contracts:

The following tenders/contracts were approved by Council:

· $4,945,166.82 to Capital Paving Inc. for rural recycling and resurfacing in North Dumfries, Woolwich and Wellesley Townships

Next Meeting…
Wednesday, June 15, 2010 at 7 p.m.

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