Council Connects - November 28, 2023

Posted on Tuesday November 28, 2023

This update will serve to connect residents to important discussions and decisions being made by Cambridge City Council. The Mayor and Council make up the local government for the City of Cambridge. They develop laws and policies, which the City's administration implements.

New Ward 1 Councillor Helen Shwery sworn in

Helen Shwery was officially sworn in as Ward 1 Councillor following the November 13 By-Election.

“On behalf of Cambridge City Council and the residents of our city, I want to extend a warm welcome to Councillor Shwery our newest member of council,” said Cambridge Mayor, Jan Liggett. “I am confident that Councillor Shwery will bring a unique point of view to decisions made at Council be a valuable asset to discussions and a passionate advocate for residents of Ward 1. It will be good to have a full complement of council once again and we look forward to working with Helen as part of our team. Congratulations!”

Shwery replaces longtime Ward 1 Councillor Donna Reid, who passed away in August.

The By-Election was held by internet voting and paper ballot with manual count. A total of 1,940 votes were cast, representing 13.7% of eligible voters in Ward 1. Shwery was elected with 944 votes.

Council awards construction contract for Preston Memorial Auditorium

Council has awarded Ball Construction Ltd of Kitchener, ON, with a $29M contract to renovate and expand the Preston Memorial Auditorium.

The renovation will include improvements to existing change rooms, ice pad, ice resurfacing room and other amenities and the twinning of the auditorium with the addition of a new NHL size ice pad, seating, change rooms, washrooms and office space.  Demolition of the existing Parks Services, Gymnastics and Club/Storage buildings will be completed to accommodate parking and the new addition to the arena.

Construction is expected to be completed by fall 2025.

Significant Weather Event officially added to winter weather declarations

Council approved a proposed by-law formally adopting the Ontario Regulation 239/02, Minimum Maintenance Standards (MMS) for Municipal Highways, made under the Municipal Act.

This includes the declaration of a Significant Weather Event (SWE) during severe weather and delegates the authority to declare a SWE to the Director of Operations or designate.  

SWE’s are declared under defined criteria as per the MMS. The intent is to notify the public that due to the current or forecasted weather conditions, the City’s MMS obligations are lower than usual, this means it may take longer than usual to restore roads and sidewalks to typical winter conditions. It also warns the public to exercise caution when travelling on the sidewalks, and roadways, including Regional Roads maintained under contract by the City.

The SWE is in addition to the City’s Snow Event declaration process, which prohibits on-street parking to allow road crews to provide efficient and timely winter maintenance.

The City of Cambridge is working collaboratively with the other cities in the region to educate the public on the difference between SWE’s and Snow Events.

Council approves changes to private tree by-law

Changes to the City’s private tree by-law to make it easier for residents to understand and follow, and easier for By-law to enforce were approved by Council.

The changes incorporate feedback from the public and process improvements identified by City staff following public engagement in 2022. They include a simpler permit application process & tree planting compensation model to encourage replacement tree planting.

As part of the City’s Urban Forest Management Plan, a city-wide private tree by-law was implemented in 2018 to assist in achieving the City’s urban forest targets. A key objective was to increase the numbers of replacement trees planted on private property as a result of landowners removing trees. Landowners are required to apply for a permit if they plan to injure or remove a tree, unless the tree is declared a hazard or dead by a certified Arborist. Since implementation, staff have seen a regular increase in requests for permits.

The City anticipates that with these changes and increased awareness of the private tree by-law more replacement trees will be planted when existing trees are removed by property owners.

Generous donation made to support new playground in Sault Park

Council recognized the Cambridge Highlands Lions Club for their generous donation of $30K towards the construction of a new playground in Sault Park. 

Over the years, residents from the area have requested an additional playground on the east side of the park to accommodate a growing need in the community as the current playground is heavily used.

The project will include a pathway from the parking lot to the playground, benches, trees, excavation of soils and construction.

The new playground project was submitted through the 2024 Capital Budget process at an estimated cost of $217,800. Public consultation will take place 2024.

Council green lights new Automated Speed Enforcement locations

As part of the City’s commitment to create safe and healthy neighbourhoods, Council endorsed the addition of four new Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) locations in the city.

The locations include:

  • Myers Road (between Holy Spirit Catholic Elementary School and Moffat Creek Public Elementary School)
  • Holiday Inn Drive (at Jacob Hespeler Public Highschool)
  • Saginaw Parkway (at Clemens Mills Public School)
  • Avenue Road (at St. Peters Catholic Elementary School)

Currently, 16 School Zones within the Region of Waterloo are equipped with ASE, with two locations in Cambridge on Guelph Avenue and Elgin Street North. 

ASE has been used in School Zones in Waterloo Region since 2021 with the program being led by the Region of Waterloo in collaboration with other area municipalities. The primary objective of ASE is to lower vehicle operating speeds near schools to be more in line with posted speed limits and reduce the risk (and severity) of collisions with the most vulnerable road users.  The use of ASE in school zones is also intended to provide a more comfortable walking, rolling and cycling environment at and near schools.

In May 2023, Regional Council endorsed a plan to further expand the existing ASE program to 32 School Zones by the end of 2023 and subsequently approved the rapid expansion of ASE to all School Zones by 2028.