Engage Kitchener is a website where citizens can provide feedback to the City of Kitchener on a wide variety of issues and topics. Past survey topics included the urban tree strategy, budget priorities, and customer service improvements. The city is looking to hear from more residents about current municipal issues. I am working toward a city that is more inclusive, engaged, and supported so I appreciate Kitchener’s ongoing efforts to increase its level of engagement.
Seeking to engage with residents throughout my campaign, I have attempted to open up many lines of communication. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on my website. You can email, call or text as well. You can always chat with me in person at the many events and meetings I attend. And soon I’ll be at your doorstep as I begin canvassing!
You can also sign up for my newsletter. Each newsletter includes a more in-depth look at a current local issue. Past newsletters have focused on why I am running, Kitchener’s neighbourhood strategy, and development in our city. My newsletter also announces upcoming local events and highlights some of the events and meetings I have recently attended.
I believe it is essential for citizens to engage with their local political candidates and elected officials. It is also important for residents to understand municipal issues that impact them. On that note, I hope you will sign up for my newsletter and engage with me online and in person.
Planned upgrades to Sandhills Park in ward 9 currently involve a process new to the City of Kitchener: participatory budgeting. This process invites resident involvement in decision making by first allocating municipal funds to a particular project, then letting residents decide the shape of the final outcome.
The city sought input from residents through three different public meetings as well as online surveys and voting. Priorities for the park were identified through this process. Those involved in the Sandhills Park improvements chose a natural playground, perennial gardens, as well as a community event space.
It is exciting to see Kitchener willing to utilize innovative processes such as participatory budgeting. I believe participatory budgeting helps create the type of city I want to see, one that is inclusive, engaged, and supported. By offering a variety of ways for citizen involvement in this budget allocation process, the city hears and includes a wider variety of voices and opinions. Engaged neighbours provide input, feedback, and vote on next steps. The city supports residents by funding the new park improvements.
I applaud the city’s participatory budgeting pilot. Continued feedback from residents about the process will help guide its effective use and possible expansion into a wider range of future projects.
Urbanist Jane Jacobs stated, “The point of cities is multiplicity of choice.” An inclusive, engaged and supported city provides a variety of transportation choices. Whether you cycle, use transit, walk, or drive, good urban design must include quality options for all. Recent and upcoming events in ward 9 highlight multiple modes of transportation.
Cruising on King displayed a vast array of classic cars this past Friday. People connected with each other around shared stories and memories of their favourite classic cars on parade.
The focus shifts from four wheels to two on July 27th when the Kitchener Twilight Grand Prix comes to Victoria Park. Gather with friends and neighbours to watch these exciting bike races through the Park and downtown streets!
As well, ION will operate later this year, so Grand River Transit is updating its routes and systems. They are offering several engagement opportunities this summer, entitled “New Directions.” These workshops will highlight: LRT and bus route connections; ION station features; safety and accessibility; and fare payment.
Additionally, several other events are coming up right in our ward in walking distance such as the Non-Violence Day in Victoria Park and the Schneider Creek Porch Party.
Summer in Kitchener clearly means festivals and fun. There is always plenty happening in and around ward 9. How you choose to get to each of these events may vary but an inclusive, engaged, and supported city allows all citizens, in all seasons, the ability to move around freely and safely.
One of the unexpected highlights of running in the municipal election is meeting so many passionate people in the ward who are working to make this city awesome. I was aware of numerous wonderful events and activities happening in the area prior to running, but am now learning of so many other great things happening. One of those things making #ward9awesome is Globe Studios. Home to many local artists, it's located in the old Bonnie Stuart factory right in our ward. I recently wrote about Globe Studios for the Community Edition, and the article was just published today; you can read my article here.
There are many creative and unique things happening in our own neighbourhoods that can feel like hidden gems. For me, one of those hidden gems is Globe Studios. I hope to share in the future more hidden gems I discover on the campaign trail.
What are some hidden gems you've discovered in your neighbourhood?