Council Connects - October 24, 2023

Posted on Tuesday October 24, 2023

October 24, 2023

Council unanimously supports Bill 21 Fixing Long-Term Care Amendment Act

Tonight, Cambridge City Council passed a motion declaring their unanimous support of Bill 21 – Fixing Long-Term Care Amendment Act (till death do us part). Bill 21 ensures that residents who enter long-term care facilities not be separated from their spouse and receive accommodations that allow them to continue to live together.

Bill 21 was first introduced in the provincial legislature in 2019 and was reintroduced in 2022. On November 15, 2022, Bill 21 passed its second reading in the provincial legislature and was subsequently ordered referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy. It has yet to be called to the Standing Committee. The Conservative provincial Government may bring forward a new Bill that in principle supports the intent of Bill 21 to Fix the Long-Term Care Amendment Act.

Today, within the Province of Ontario, couples do not have the right to be accommodated together when entering long term care facilities. The separation of spouses upon entering long term care facilities is a common occurrence across Ontario.

This evening, Council heard the compelling story of Jim McLeod, who has been working diligently to be reunited with his wife. The couple have been living in separate facilities for the past five years.

As the care, support, and happiness of older adults in Cambridge is a priority for City Council, they are requesting that the provincial legislature enact Bill 21 or any future proposed Bills to fix the Long-Term Care Amendment Act.

Council approves the addition of a food concession to Rec Complex design

Tonight, City Council approved staff’s proposal for a food concession to be added to the Recreation Complex floor plan representing a project budget increase of $804,640.

Highlighting the importance of providing a concession/commercial kitchen amenity that serves quality food and has the flexibility to host events, at the September 26 meeting, Council directed staff to return to the October 24 Council meeting to present a more substantial food concession option with associated costs.

Based on the movement and use of spaces within the recreation complex, the design team recommends locating the concession in the lower atrium adjacent to the multi-purpose rooms.  This location will provide convenient access to multi-purpose rooms, an open flexible seating area, good visibility to the gymnasia, good visual connectivity to the rest of the atrium, and convenient access to the exterior courtyard where public events will be hosted.  Locating the concession deep into the atrium space will not contribute to line-ups and congestion at the main facility entrance.

The concession will be designed to meet or exceed AODA and City Facility Accessibility Design Standards in consultation with the Cambridge Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Construction is still on track to begin next year with an anticipated completion date of September 2026.

Zoning amendments create more affordable housing options for residents

Tonight, Council approved an amendment to the City’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law that will allow for the development of two low-rise apartment buildings with approximately 104 market rate and affordable residential units at 30 Lauris Avenue in Galt.

The affordable housing units will be managed through the Region of Waterloo as social services provider.

Located within the established Alison neighbourhood, the site is part of a former school site that has been vacant since the school was demolished in 2009. The location features both pedestrian and transit options and is approximately a 20-minute walk from a wide range of amenities and services. The design concept includes outdoor amenity spaces for future residents including balconies, a covered patio, and substantial landscaped areas surrounding the building and parking areas. 

Regional Staff held two in-person neighbourhood meetings on May 18, 2023, and on July 12, 2023, to share information regarding the proposed development and to accept comments and questions from interested members of the public. Comments were generally in support of the proposed development for affordable housing, but there were some concerns mentioned with respect to future construction and the impact on surrounding neighbours, the proposed reduced parking on the site, and the current state of the property.    

This development will allow the City to continue to work towards its pledge of building 19,000 units by 2031 while addressing anticipated population growth over the next 25 years.

City offers more options for cemetery services in Cambridge

Expanding cemetery options

Tonight, Council approved changes to the City’s Cemetery By-law to provide expanded cemetery services to the community.

In 2021, Council approved the creation of the Memorial Scattering Garden and columbaria at Parklawn Cemetery. Columbaria are permanent structures with cremation niches that hold cremation urns. The Memorial Scattering Garden provides a place for staff or family members to scatter cremated remains within the garden.

With construction now completed, these revisions to the Cemetery By-law will allow for the scattering of human remains within a defined area.

Other revisions include the removal of the non-resident fee requirement. In the previous By-law, the City implemented a Non-Resident Premium to discourage non-residents from purchasing cemetery services in Cambridge, if our services were found to be cheaper than their home location. A scan determined that that Cambridge cemetery rates are on par with the rest of the region and the fee was no longer needed.

Other changes include administrative updates, clarity around city services and expectations for visitors to cemetery properties in Cambridge.

As part of the 2024 budget process, Infrastructure Services staff will request approximately $200k to implement the additional resources required to ensure service levels can be met for these expanded offerings for the public.

Council approves land transfer of Old Blair Memorial Cemetery to City

City Council has approved the transfer of Old Blair Memorial Cemetery to the City to ensure continued cemetery services for the residents of Blair Village.

For the last 60 years, Betty Chislette and her mother Evelyn Sage have served the community by volunteering their time to manage this cemetery. In April 2023, Harry Chislette, the last remaining board member of the Old Blair Memorial Cemetery, contacted the City to inform them of their intent to transfer responsibility of the cemetery to the City of Cambridge.

To add this cemetery to the current complement of Cambridge, cemeteries requires a one-time investment of $60K to complete much-needed restoration work and land development to be in compliance with the Funeral, Burial, Cremation Services Act 2002 (FBCSA). The net annual operating impact is estimated to be $126K and will be presented to Council as part of the 2024 budget process.

This historical site has been in operation since 1898 and serves as the resting place of Cambridge’s first mayor, Claudette Millar, and other notable Cambridge residents.

Old Blair Memorial Cemetery becomes the fifth active cemetery in the community with Parklawn, Mountview, New Hope and St. Mary’s.