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____ Thursday March 3, 2016 ____


Council Matters

Council Info from March 2, 2016

Waterloo Region - Council Info is a summary of discussion and the major items presented at Waterloo Regional Council meetings. It is circulated immediately following each meeting.

Moody’s maintains Region’s Aaa (Triple A) credit rating
Moody’s Investors Service has rated the Region of Waterloo with the highest credit rating possible for the 16th year in a row. The Region’s Aaa rating reflects prudent financial management and long-term planning as well as a proven track record for positive operating outcomes. The top credit rating was awarded for the following strengths: a diverse and robust local economy; consistent, positive operating results; strong management practices; and a mature and supportive institutional framework.

Council approves funding for environmental projects
Council approved project funding allocations totalling $84,355 from the Community Environmental Fund to support 20 local Environmental Stewardship projects. Projects must fall within one of five categories: enhancement and restoration of natural areas; naturalization projects; buying ecologically significant natural areas; public education on some aspect of environmental stewardship; or; research related to stewardship of natural areas. It is estimated that for every Regional dollar, applicants will contribute approximately five dollars in cash or in-kind to achieve their projects.

Region of Waterloo International Airport (ROWIA) begins 2016 Master Planning Process
As a key element in the Region’s infrastructure and economic landscape, business at the ROWIA continues to grow. It was identified as one of the top 20 busiest airports in Canada and experienced a record year in 2015 with almost 154,000 passengers travelling through the terminal building. Regional Council has approved the following actions to begin a new Master/Business Plan for the airport. An updated ROWIA Master Plan Steering Committee will be created, the Committee will consult with the ROWIA Business Advisory Committee and the Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation, public consultation sessions are also planned in the spring and fall of 2016 and a new online consultation portal will be available for public engagement. Input collected through the master planning process will be brought forward to Regional Council for consideration by the end of 2016.

Regional Council endorses recommendations to prepare the King-Victoria Transit Hub for future development
Regional Council endorsed recommendations to help make the King-Victoria Multi-modal Transit Hub ready for development at the corner of King and Victoria Streets in Kitchener. The Transit Hub will connect ION LRT, GO Transit (rail and bus), intercity bus and GRT, as well as cycling facilities, car share, park ‘n’ ride and kiss ‘n’ ride. Regional Council endorsed the following actions: hold a public open house to update residents and nearby land owners; retain Infrastructure Ontario as the Procurement Advisor for the project; amend the Region’s 2016-2025 capital budget and forecast to include the Transit Hub; and seek funding opportunities from a variety of sources, including Metrolinx, VIA Rail, and the Federal and Provincial governments. Senior government funding assistance is required before the Region will move forward with the development of the Transit Hub.

Immigration Partnership to provide grants for refugee resettlement
The Region is supporting the Immigration Partnership to collect grant applications and provide grants to local community agencies and private sponsors directly involved in the resettlement of Syrian refugees. The Immigration Partnership will hire a 0.6 temporary full-time staff person to manage the grant applications through the Immigration partnership website. Council approved an agreement with the province to provide funding of $40,000 for this initiative.

Waiting list assistance program approved
Council approved a program that will provide $350/month to households on the Region’s Community Housing Waiting List to assist with rent costs until they move into affordable housing. About 75 households will be able to receive this assistance at a time. The average wait time for affordable housing is a minimum of three years for a family and six years for a non-senior single or couple.

Curatorial Centre expansion
Regional Council approved the initiation of an application to the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund for submission in 2016, seeking funding for the expansion of the Region’s Curatorial Centre. The Region is continually planning for and implementing improvements to artifact collections development and management at its museums. The Region’s goal is to preserve and develop collections that represent the history of the Region and its relationship to the world. The Region of Waterloo Curatorial Centre, located on the Waterloo Region Museum campus, is estimated to be at 90 per cent capacity, and potential new acquisitions are being carefully screened. The proposed expansion of the Curatorial Centre would address these needs.

The following tenders/contracts were approved by Council:

· $450,000 to eGovsolutions for the implementation of a work management system.

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