A much needed minimum wage boost has come to Ontario. The nonprofit sector requires similar consideration to make the transition to higher labour costs as small businesses do. One step is to adjust Transfer Payment Agreements (TPAs) to accommodate higher labour costs in the next fiscal period as discussion begins on the 2018-19 Ontario Budget, as requested by the Ontario Non-profit Network’s pre-budget submission (PDF, 333 kBytes), supported by the Social Planning Network of Ontario. Many smaller non-profits without TPAs also require consideration for increased funding support to adjust to new employment standards and fair wage practices take effect.
From our friends at the Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries:
From: Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Friday, 1 September 2017
Subject: Affordable Transit Study – Help Get the Word Out
The Region of Waterloo is looking for volunteers to participate in a research study.
The purpose of the study is to evaluate the effects of different reduced fare transit passes. People who are selected for the study could get:
- Off-Peak Pass: $23 per month
- 20-Ride Pass: $25 per month
- Combo Pass: $48 per month
- Unlimited Pass: $65 per month
Please help spread the word and advertise in your offices / through your communications.
Community members can sign up to attend study information and registration sessions through Eventbrite links that can be found on the GRT website.
Please see the GRT webpage for more information/details of the study:
Our mailing address is:
Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries
55 Dickson St,
Cambridge, ON N1R 1T8
I have been drawing attention to the lack of affordable housing in the city of Waterloo, and how the updating of the zoning bylaw now underway could do much to bring more lower-end-of-market rental units onstream.
I have three main proposals:
- Reduce the amount of parking required when a condo or apartment building is built. And don’t always require a parking space for accessory apts created in a home. Parking makes construction much more expensive. And in a home, the lack of room for a side-by-side parking spot now means an apartment cannot be allowed – this needs to change.
- Remove many other obstacles that now exist to creating apartments in houses and detached garages.
- Bring in Inclusionary Zoning in all new developments. This means that every building, subdivision, etc, would have to include a given percentage of affordable units. This leads to a mix of income levels in the same neighbourhood, as opposed to ghettoization.
These three measures could open up the rental housing market substantially.
Here are links to some my recent articles on affordable housing in Waterloo.
Letter to Waterloo Chronicle: City officials have to hear about it on new zoning | Waterloo Chronicle (22 July 2016)
Mention in Waterloo Chronicle (interview with editor Bob Vrbanac): Concerns over new zoning bylaw | Waterloo Chronicle (14 July 2016)
Waterloo Chronicle: Editorial: Take the time to listen (13 July 2016)
Submission to the city’s public input portal on zoning review: Letter to the City of Waterloo on Zoning and Affordable Housing | KWPeace (16 July 2016)
If you think these are good ideas, please write to the papers and your city councillor. There will also be a second round of public input in fall 2016.
To Waterloo staff and councillors:
Thank you for the opportunity to give input on the review of our zoning bylaw.
My response pertains mainly to Residential zones. At the end I’ll add some brief ideas on Commercial and Employment zones.
These are the underlying assumptions I am bringing regarding what kind of residential areas would be desirable to live in:
- Remember that we are building neighbourhoods.
- Every neighbourhood needs to include green spaces and gathering spaces that facilitate casual encounters with one’s neighbours.
- Neighbourhood green spaces should be small, frequent, and linked together if possible — user-friendly.
- Every neighbourhood needs to be walkable and cyclable. No overly long blocks should be allowed, especially if they block access to amenities. Where these mistakes have already happened — on Lester St. and Marshall St. — the city must do its utmost to buy back an easement to insert a walkway. Plus easements to continue these walkways right through to the LRT station beyond Phillip St. and from Lodge St. to the plaza. Extremely important that we find a way to do this.
- Neighbourhoods would also benefit from having a community centre. Please zone in space for them. Make sure that a conversation is open between staff working on zoning and those developing a neighbourhood strategy.
- Fewer parking spaces should be required for houses, apartments, and condos.
- Many apartments and condos could be offered without parking. That is, less than one parking spot per unit.
- In fact a maximum number of cars should be set, because of the nuisance that cars pose to neighbours. In the vicinity of my house several driveways are being used as parking lots for multiple cars, continually coming and going, so that it’s never peaceful to go to my front yard. I think anything above two cars on a residential lot should have to pay some kind of fee or penalty.
- What this city lacks most is housing for the whole bottom half of the market, everyone from median income on down. No one is building for them. The young, the pensioners, and the people who serve us coffee, take care of the elderly, clean offices, and provide security at events, should be able to live among us in decency. Providing for this huge demographic should be a prime goal of zoning bylaws. We especially lack lower-end rental units.
- Every neighbourhood should be planned to include a mix of income levels, and a mix of ownership and rentals.
- As soon as Inclusionary Zoning becomes available in Ontario — expected in fall 2016 — Waterloo should make use of it for all new development.
- If density bonusing is used (and I’m not sure it ever should be), the green space and/or affordable housing created should have to be in the same neighbourhood.
- In traditional neighbourhoods we should make it easier to create secondary units, frequently without parking, to bring lots of affordable housing onstream.
- And why should we care if a family wishes to use a one-bedroom-plus-den unit as two bedrooms to make it affordable for them? The city should not be in the business of harassing and micromanaging people. Making developers change dens to dining rooms will prevent all residents from having a home office/computer room or guest room. We should do a lot less micromanaging!
- Finally, every neighbourhood should be visually appealing and where possible reflect the uniqueness of Waterloo and its heritage. New development should fit its context.
I hope these assumptions I’m coming from are also shared by Waterloo officials. How might they apply to the specifics of the zoning bylaw?
Discussion Paper on GENERAL REGULATIONS 2.10 Secondary Dwellings
If a house is spacious enough, why couldn’t it have a basement apartment and/or a coach house unit and/or an upstairs apartment or main floor addition, or even all of these?
Why should it matter that an apartment or coach house be with a detached house and not a semi-detached or townhouse?
Why couldn’t municipal services be connected up to a detached garage in the future (at the owner’s expense); why should the connection have to have existed prior to this bylaw?
Why should it matter what percentage of the floor area of the main dwelling the secondary dwelling is?
Why should every added unit have to have parking?
What DOES matter is that there be adequate green space on the property, that the added units meet standards of safety, space, and decency, and that noise bylaws be enforced. The lot frontage doesn’t matter. Whether the entrance faces the street or the side yard doesn’t matter. We need to pick our battles, so to speak.
I think we should encourage house designs that lend themselves to the future creation of accessory apartments. Give people choice. If a family wishes to create a unit for an elderly parent or a grown child, or both — or if a young homeowner or a widow wishes to add a “mortgage helper” apartment — make it easy to do these things. It should be expected that people will do it. Get rid of the rules that don’t matter. Allow there to be some units designated as no parking.
In this way hundreds of affordable accommodations could be added in the city very quickly, blending into their neighbourhoods and with no ghettoization.
Discussion Paper on LOW-DENSITY RESIDENTIAL
As above, we should anticipate greater density being added by homeowners over the years, and don’t let rules about bedrooms per hectare restrict this too much. It’s the gentlest way to increase density and provide much needed affordable housing.
Discussion Paper on HIGH-DENSITY RESIDENTIAL
I’ve only been able to view a map covering from Erb Street to University Avenue so it’s hard for me to pinpoint locations in the rest of the city.
I think our city needs more RMU-20 throughout the city to provide affordable rentals, now that the province allows frame construction up to six storeys. Not having to provide costly underground parking should allow more affordable units to be built. Don’t require a parking spot for every unit, especially Uptown.
Two good locations for RMU-20 are close to me in the core: Bridgeport Road between Peppler Street and Laurel Creek, and the houses just north of 151 King Street North.
Please change the zoning of 151-161 King Street North so that 151 with its tasteful-density additions is preserved, and the homes between there and the 12-storey building on the corner are designated RMU-20. Best use for that location.
The Bridgeport Road site could have RMU-20 closest to the homes on Peppler, and could step up to RMU-40 nearer the creek. I hope the city will facilitate removing the H provision where the gas station used to be (in front of the carpet warehouse). A good site for development, but not 25 storeys.
These suggestions would both decrease an 81 to a 20. But I’m happy to see an upgrade to RMU-20 proposed for Weber Street, Bridgeport/Royal, and Erb Street East and West. Another spot that should be upgraded to RMU-20 is the apartments at 29 Elgin Street — I’m not sure why it’s shown as R4 on the map. I would also be OK with some R-8 townhouses on King Street between Central Street and 151 King Street North, blending in with 151. That could fit nicely. Alternatively this corner might be a good location for a community centre serving both MacGregor-Albert and Uptown North. Something to think about.
I don’t think there should be any RMU-81 on King between Elgin and Noecker, and perhaps Marshall. (What happened at King/Noecker/James is a ghastly mistake, and I believe the city owes SERIOUS restitution to the St. Sofia church congregation for permitting this encroachment.) I suggest we need a category in between RMU-40 and RMU-81. Say RMU-50, which would allow 14 or 15 storeys. Existing neighbourhoods could more easily live with that.
Less than one parking space per unit should be required, in all of the above. Mandate more and better bicycle parking (this shouldn’t be a “bonus” point but basic). And we need to keep pushing the Region for better transit and be willing to contribute more revenue for it.
So I’m saying: more RMU 20, more allowance for accessory units in R 1-4, less parking, more bike parking, and no 25-storey towers: change RMU-81 to RMU-50.
This option is more affordable for everyone, allows neighbourhoods to feel coherent, and preserves the character of the city.
Discussion Paper on OPEN SPACE …
I like the vision of “urban open space system within built-up areas”. But I didn’t see anything about improving general walkability by avoiding overly long blocks.
Walk/cycle links need to be restored where poor planning in the recent past failed to provide for them: Hickory, Lester, Phillip to LRT and Brighton, Marshall, Lodge to plaza. This must be a high priority, so neighbourhoods can breathe again.
As mentioned above, it is urgent that the city buy an easement for a walkway close to the end of Hickory Street, or else all of Northdale will be locked in forever and frustrating to live in. And make sure the walkway continues all the way to the LRT station and University of Waterloo campus, with some green space along the way.
As for Lodge Street, there’s still time to acquire the land and build a walkway from Lodge Street to the plaza, while working to find a way to get an easement through to Marshall. Please make this a priority.
The ditch running behind University Plaza is a good potential place for green space. Would it be possible to extend it out to Weber and to Regina? This would provide more foot and bike access to the plaza, reducing bicycles on University. A footbridge (or several) over the ditch to the plaza, some trees and stone benches, and a walkway out to Lodge Street and eventually Marshall and Brighton … Please act now to make this happen! Put it on the zoning map. It could be a gem.
A parkette would also be the best use of the low land around the art gallery between Regina and Peppler. And it could eventually be linked across Peppler to Brighton Park. Please pencil it in and work toward assembling it over the years.
These are two or three examples of walking links and green space potential in my immediate neighbourhood. And are there any plans to complete Laurel Trail from Weber Street to Moses Springer Park? Just five or six houses …
Much more could be done with Laurel Creek uptown as well, as regards green space.
Parkettes need to be an integral part of all future development. As mentioned above, it should not be allowed to “horse-trade” parkland fees for green space far away; the green space should have to be where the development is. Same goes for affordable housing; it should have to be on the site.
Affordable housing, walkability, and green space. Zoning can do so much to enhance them all. In these ways we can build future neighbourhoods that feel safe and fostering for all the diverse ages, incomes, cultures, household types, and occupations of people who will live here.
Here are two articles on visioning urban growth that I found inspirational:
Density at a Human Scale, by Kaid Benfield:
Zoning for Happiness in Edmonton:
And new info: Ontario’s Climate Action Plan will legislate away cities’
ability to require parking minimums:
Let me conclude with a few thoughts on Commercial and Employment zones:
Less parking! Less parking! Less parking! I support the points regarding parking made by TriTAG at:
Employment districts in north Waterloo need much better bike and bus access. They need to be much better integrated with the city and include mixed uses.
I also think we need a rule that nothing can be built that’s only one storey. Industrial “parks” are huge space wasters. If production needs to be on one level, some other use could be built above.
There also need to be strong incentives to include on-site renewable energy and green roofs.
Thank you for your time in considering all these suggestions regarding how Waterloo should grow. Our residential areas, and commercial and employment areas too, should promote neighbourliness and inclusion, and commitment to place, and good stewardship.
Alliance Against Poverty Information Walk for CBC-KW “Sounds of the Season”
3 December 2015 Kitchener-Waterloo
The Alliance Against Poverty (the AAP), a local grassroots group pressing for economic justice for everyone, will hold an Information Walk outside of THE MUSEUM at 10 King Street West, Kitchener, from 6:00am to 8:30am., where the CBC “Sounds of the Season” broadcast will occur tomorrow, Friday, 4 December 2015.
The AAP believes that rather than treating the symptoms of poverty, such as lack of food, with food banks and a lot of expensively administered, overlapping social programs, a simpler and more effective approach is a cure for poverty that eliminates the need for perpetual treatments of poverty’s symptoms. That cure is a Guaranteed Livable Income, also known as a Basic Income.
The idea of a GLI is supported by a wide range of people and groups from conservative to progressive. Martin Luther King Jr., for example, stated “the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.” Canada’s former Conservative Senator Hugh Segal also has been an advocate of a GLI for decades.
In August 2015 the Canadian Medical Association passed a resolution recommending a GLI for Canadians, because doctors know that poverty has a huge impact on health, which drives up the costs of health care. A GLI would cost all levels of government a lot less than the present system of meagre social assistance. In addition, the Green Party supports a GLI.
The AAP wants to see a GLI implemented in Canada to wipe out poverty and make food banks unnecessary. During the Information Walk, AAP members will distribute handouts on the GLI.
However, the AAP says: “Until there’s a GLI, keep supporting the Food Bank.”
Richard Walsh email: email@example.com mobile: 519-897-3630
An initiative of the Kitchener Waterloo Peace and Social Justice Community Symposium, the new site gives more flexibility to add things like a comprehensive calendar of all Peace and Social Justice events in the Kitchener–Waterloo area, and mailing lists for the KW Peace groups to coordinate those events.
Thank you for joining us on our new site!
KWPeace Blog System Administrator.
A large rally is planned in Toronto for jobs, justice and the climate.
If you would like to attend but don’t want to drive, there is a bus going from Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph.
Canada needs a new economy that works for people and the planet
From Alberta to the coasts, Canada is ready for an economy that creates good jobs for all, protects the air, land and water, and tackles climate change.
We don’t have to choose between the economy or the environment. By taking climate action, we can create an economy that is more fair and equal and generates hundreds of thousands of good green jobs. It means supporting the labour that takes care of people and the planet — education, healthcare, childcare and the protection of the land, much of it done by women. It means expanding localized agricultural systems to use less fossil fuels and provide affordable, nutritious food for everyone in Canada.
We want an economy in which workers earn a living wage – starting with a $15 minimum – and which prioritizes people who are unemployed, struggling in precarious, temporary, or non-unionized jobs or in industries being shut down. Which honours Indigenous peoples’ rights and recognizes their role in protecting the land, air and water for everyone. Which guarantees migrant and undocumented people are not excluded and receive full immigration status. Which ensures that black and brown lives matter as much as white ones and are free of racism and police violence. Which respects the limits of the environment made clear by climate science.
Climate action means protecting and expanding public control over our energy systems to ensure cheaper rates and a transition to clean energy sources. It also means building affordable, energy-efficient housing and better public transit.
This July, Toronto will host a Pan American Climate Summit and an Economic Summit, where politicians will face a choice: listen to corporate leaders from across the Americas gathering to advance an economic austerity agenda that is increasing inequality and causing a climate crisis felt disproportionally in the global south – or listen to the people.
On the eve of those summits, let’s make sure they hear our demands: a justice-based transition to a new energy economy, in which corporate polluters pay and ordinary people benefit.
The only way to overcome a small, powerful group who have a lot to lose is to build a massive movement of people with everything to gain.
On Sunday July 5, join the March for Jobs, Justice & the Climate in the streets of Toronto.
Just a reminder of Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter‘s panel discussion on CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. On the panel are Stephen Woodworth, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre, and Angelo DiCaro, trade researcher for Unifor. The discussion will be moderated by Cathy MacLellan.
What: CETA Panel Discussion
When: Thursday, 1 May 2014 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm [iCal]
Where: Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work, 120 Duke St., Kitchener, Ontario [map]
Who: Hosted by Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter (@FairvoteWRC)
Research: Canada-EU Trade Agreement | Canada’s Economic Action Plan
A lot going on these days!
Please sign these action alerts and tell others.
VOTE Sat April 5 to Save our Local Hospitals!
Please go to Ontario Health Coalition for location of “polls” in KW where you can express your preference for maintaining our public hospitals.
If you miss the poll you can vote on-line.
Ontario’s Wynne Government Plans to Bring In Private Clinics: Threatens
Non-Profit Community Hospital Care
The Ontario government plans to introduce private specialty clinics to take the place of local community hospitals’ services. The government’s proposal would bring in legal regulations under the Independent Health Facilities Act and the Local Health System Integration Act to usher in private clinics and shut down services in community hospitals. Ontario’s Auditor General reported in 2012 that more than 97% of the private clinics under the Independent Health Facilities Act are private for-profit corporations. The Ontario Health Coalition warned about the costs and consequences of private clinics for patient care in a press conference at Queen’s Park today. In addition to the danger of for-profit privatization, coalition director Natalie Mehra raised concerns about poorer access to care and destabilization of local community hospitals.
The coalition challenged the government to:
- Amend the IHF Act to specify that no future Independent Health Facilities
can be for-profit.
- Amend the LHINs Act to specify that LHINs cannot transfer services to
- Ensure that all clinics or satellites are brought in under the Public
Hospitals Act and therefore covered by its legislative and regulatory
protections for quality of care, non-profit governance, and the public
ALSO, as the Canada Health Accord for federal transfers to the provinces for health care expires TAKE THE MEDICARE PLEDGE.
STOP THE UNFAIR ELECTIONS ACT !
Council of Canadians: PETITION: Investigate and prevent electoral fraud with a truly fair Elections Act
Background Articles from the Cambridge Times
DONE YOUR TAXES YET?
How much revenue does Canada lose every year to tax havens? Please visit Canadians for Tax Fairness to send a message to your MP to look into this.
AND IF YOU LIVE IN WATERLOO
At 6:30 Monday night, April 7, Waterloo city council will consider a zoning change that would allow a COSTCO store to be built on Erb St W, right across from the dump.
Here’s a backgrounder from Kevin Thomason of Grand River Environmental Network (GREN).
Please send a message to your city and regional councillors – links at end of Kevin’s message. I will be one of many delegations at the council meeting Monday. Come out if you can!
Hello GREN folks,
This coming Monday, April 7th, Waterloo City Council will vote to approve a proposal to build a Costco Membership Warehouse on Erb St. across from the Waterloo Landfill. The facility is expected to total over 200,000 square feet with a 975 car parking lot, a 16 pump gas bar, and additional big-box stores. It is estimated the development will attract more than 5,500 cars per day with weekend peak hours surpassing 1,400 cars per hour. The projected opening date is December, 2014.
While many people in Waterloo are excited about a Costco coming to town, few are aware of the significant issues we face. There are a numerous unanswered questions and issues that need to be addressed before a final decision is made:
- Widespread Traffic Congestion – Almost all other Costco’s are located near multiple arterial roads and freeways designed to handle high traffic volumes. This Erb St. location is a two-lane road already facing traffic issues. As a result planners are predicting:
- Severe delays and widespread congestion on area roads with overflow traffic impacting residential streets and even rural roads in Wilmot Township
- Travel times to increase dramatically, as speeds on some roads during peak times drop to below that of walking speeds. For example, parts of Erb Street with current travel times of less than 1 minute, are expected to increase to 7 to 9 minutes to travel less than 750 meters. This is even after a widening to four lanes in 2018.
- Infrastructure Issues – Commercial development is part of the City Official Plan but development was not expected until 2018 after area roads such as Erb Street, Ira Needles and Columbia Street are widened. And such large scale development surpassing 200,000 sq ft was never anticipated. Other necessary infrastructure such as sidewalks, trails, bus routes, etc. isn’t expected to reach the development until several years after opening.
- Communications and Public Engagement – Neither the City of Waterloo, The Rice Commercial Group (the developer), or Costco are planning any public information sessions, open houses or consultation events about this proposed development prior to the final vote this coming Monday, April 7th. Staff reports and most studies were just released to the public days ago and most citizens have learned about this plan in recent newspaper articles from the Waterloo Chronicle:
- Other Area Impacts – Both Costco and the Regional Landfill share the same peak hours. The landfill is already experiencing queuing issues, causing cars to back up out onto Erb Street right where new roundabouts are to be located for Costco. This would bring traffic to a standstill as cars would be unable to get through the congested roundabouts.
- Severe congestion could restrict the ability for Fire, Police and Ambulance services to reach the Costco area, the communities beyond, or even return to the city from the EMS training center in case of an emergency.
- Environmental and ground water recharge areas to the north could be overwhelmed by traffic seeking to avoid the predicted severe traffic congestion on Erb St, Ira Needles Blvd, Columbia Street, etc. This could reverse years of efforts to protect these vital parts of our community.
Few can fathom that a high volume store such as Costco could be built with only one two lane road for access on the onset and ultimately only two roads reaching the store by 2018. The resulting long-term congestion could so negatively impact so many Westside area roads and neighbourhoods. However, this is the plan being recommended by City Staff (report link below) for final approval this Monday night.
What You Can Do
It is really important that we raise the awareness about the importance of Monday’s City Council vote as our community could be impacted by a hasty decision here for decades. Here are some easy things that you, your family, friends, and neighbours can do:
- Contact City and Regional Councillors: Tell them that an approval would be premature and ask them to support a motion to defer decision until after public consultations and integrated traffic plans have been completed. You can reach all City Councillors at one simple e-mail address – firstname.lastname@example.org and Regional Councillors at email@example.com
- Get your social networks involved: Start conversations and ask questions on Twitter and Facebook about the issues that concern you the most. Use the hashtag #WCostco so the community can easily follow the conversation;
- Write a letter to the editor and get local media engaged in the vital community discussions surrounding this proposal and what sort of community we seek to become;
- Attend Monday’s City of Waterloo Council meeting for the vote on the Costco development proposal. Register to speak if you like or simply be present to support other presenters. A strong attendance and showing of concern from the community will be important as an empty room sure wouldn’t send a strong message to Council;
- Learn more by reading the City and Developer Reports.
Hopefully we can collaborate as a community with the City, the Region, the developers, and Costco to find the best path forward for our community and not rush into a situation with so many unanswered traffic, EMS, environmental, and financial questions with no way out after the zoning approval being sought on Monday.
Please let us know any questions, thoughts, or ideas.
1115 Cedar Grove Road
Waterloo, Ontario Canada N2J 3Z4
- Stuart Trew, Council of Canadians trade campaigner (confirmed)
- Stephen Woodworth, CPC Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre
- Jacqueline Romanow, the GPC‘s trade critic
- Don Davies, NDP trade critic
- Chrystia Freelander, the LPC trade critic