Category Archives: Newsroom

Posts from the CKMS Newsroom programs, community shows, and associated news sites.

The CKMS Newsroom works to provide a deeper analysis of the issues that impact our communities, than which the mainstream news sources provide.

The CKMS Newsroom is comprised of volunteers and journalists and is organised by the Newsroom Committee:
dan kellar (@dankellar) is the current lieutenant of news with Bob Jonkman as the technical expert and newsie.

From May 2023-March 2024 the CKMS Newsroom is receiving funding from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and Heritage Canada through the “Local Journalism Initiative” project.

The journalists for the LJI project are: Trish Holmes, dan kellar

Past newsroom journalists include: Shalaka Jadhav, Ivan Angelovski, and Namish Modi.

CKMS News -2023-09-29- Discussing the unfolding greenbelt scandal with Kevin Thomason

By: dan kellar

Kitchener, ON –  As the Greenbelt situation continues to evolve, CKMS news again spoke with Kevin Thomason of the Grand River Environmental Network, and a local campaigner on a handful of campaigns to protect the Grand River watershed and the Waterloo moraine. For quite a while now Kevin has been organizing against Ontario’s conservative government’s plans to develop the ecologically important lands of the protected Greenbelt.  

First, however, some recent background. As our last interview with Kevin was set to air on September 21st, Doug Ford announced he would be reversing the Greenbelt land deals saying “I am very, very sorry… it was a mistake to open the Greenbelt.” He added his actions were “with the best of intentions”, and that he “prides himself on keeping his promises”. With the 2018 promises to never develop the Green Belt, in mind,  Ford once again promised to “won’t make any changes to the green belt in the future”. 

After Ford admitted his governments’ mistakes, the conservative premiere suggested that developers may need to be compensated. However, on September 27th, and right after this interview with Kevin Thomason was completed, new minister of municipal affairs and housing minister Paul Calandra announced that developers will not be compensated for the reversal of the Ford governments Greenbelt decision.   Thomason had said that developers do not have a special “right to develop”, and that land speculation and profit making are not protected acts. For now, it would seem, the Ford government agrees with Thomason. 

Immediately after Calandra was named minister on September 4th, he announced that the greenbelt development plans were going ahead, and that any reviews may lead to more greenbelt land being taken for housing developments. On September 25th, the NDP tabled the “Green Belt Protection Act” which the conservatives voted down at first reading. Calandra said the conservatives will table better legislation that will  “codify” Greenbelt boundaries. All these major turnabouts in policy and the handful of resignations in the past months in the conservative government only reinforce what NPD leader Marit Stiles told Allison Jones of the Canadian Press “I don’t trust this government at all to fix a mess of their own making”. 

In this interview Kevin Thomason maintains his position that despite the conservative’s recent reversal on the development of the greenbelt, the Ford government is “corrupt”. Arguing that the Greenbelt was not the only area where Ford is attempting to take develop ecologically important lands under the guise of the housing crisis, and “given it to developers”, noting that “the RCMP do not investigate favouritism, they investigate crime”.  

Kevin also spoke of the ongoing resistance to Doug Ford’s plans, including highway 413 construction, highway 7 expansion, forcing housing sprawl over other ecologically important lands with ministerial zoning orders, and other patterns of behaviour from the Ford government which “are not serving the best interest of Ontarians”. 

These problematic patterns are an issue Phil Pothen, the Ontario Environment Program Manager of the environmental advocacy organisation Environmental Defense, has also discussed. As Phil said in a September 21st press release:
“While we welcome Premier Ford’s full reversal of the inappropriate removals of Greenbelt lands, the Ontario government’s $8.3 billion gift to developers represented just the most visible part of a dishonest and counterproductive push for sprawl that will only worsen Ontario’s housing shortage. To clean up what remains of the Ontario government’s land use and environmental mess, including Highway 413, it is essential to strengthen Greenbelt protections to ensure future government’s can’t try this again.”

Pothen continued:
“We hope this change marks the beginning of a broader shift away from the government’s current misguided policies, including: forced boundary expansions in Hamilton and Halton, Waterloo and elsewhere; its lowering of Growth Plan density requirements; its gutting of Conservation Authorities; and its dismantling of regional land use planning. These damaging decisions, along with attempts to repeal laws which promote efficient land use and construction, must also be reversed.” 

In a statement to CKMS News on September 13th, days before Ford’s Greenbelt reversal announcement, Kitchener-Conestoga PC MPP Mike Harris Jr. said that he supported Ford’s direction, writing that the conservative government will continue with their plan to build homes on “non-sensitive” Green Belt lands claiming this was “requested by many municipalities”.  Harris concluded: “I want to emphasize that, under the continued leadership of our Premier, our Government will prioritize addressing the housing crisis.”

Following Ford’s greenbelt reversal announcement on the 21st, MPP Harris, responded to CKMS News with a statement regarding the quick policy changes from his government, saying:
“After extensive consultations with cabinet, caucus and upon reviewing the public’s response, the Premier decided that the Greenbelt would be preserved.”

Harris added that the government will maintain the protection on the lands they had added to the Greenbelt to compensate for the lands they removed and that “As the process of reversing the decision is complex, more information will be released as it becomes available.” 

CKMS News has asked MPP Harris about the corruption allegations and the criminal investigation but did not receive a response by the time of publication.  CKMS will continue to provide updates to this ongoing story.

 

CKMS News – 2023-09-21 – Kevin Thomason discusses mounting pressure on Doug Ford over the Green Belt

CKMS News -2023-09-21- GREN Greenbelt Update.

By: dan kellar

Kitchener, ON – 

Today show features an interview with Kevin Thomason of the Grand River Environmental Network, who is working on a handful of campaigns to protect the Grand River watershed and the Waterloo moraine, and for quite a while now organising against Ontario’s conservative government’s plans to develop the ecologically important lands of the protected “Green Belt”.  

Thomason spoke of the ongoing resistance to Doug Ford’s attempts to take land out of the green belt under the guise of the housing crisis, and “giving it to developers”.  Calling the government “corrupt”, Thomason called for Doug Ford to “do the right job or get out of the way”.  Kevin also shared hope for a better future saying “we have to succeed, or future survival depends on it”.

In a recent statement to CKMS News Kitchener-Conestoga PC MPP Mike Harris Jr. supported Ford, saying that the conservative government will continue with their plan to build homes on “non-sensitive” Green Belt lands claiming this was “requested by many municipalities”.  Harris concluded: “I want to emphasize that, under the continued leadership of our Premier, our Government will prioritize addressing the housing crisis, ensuring more people have a place to call home.”

As this piece was set to air, Doug Ford held a press conference announcing he would be reversing the Green Belt land deals saying “I am very, very sorry… it was a mistake to open the Greenbelt.” He added his actions were “with the best of intentions”, and that he “prides himself on keeping his promises”. With the 2018 promises to never develop the Green Belt, in mind,  Ford once again promised to “won’t make any changes to the green belt in the future”. 

CKMS News will have a follow up show with analysis of Ford’s announcement.

CKMS News has asked MPP Harris for a comment on this recent decision by Ford, and will include that response in the follow up.

 

Take Back the Night celebrates 40 years in Waterloo Region and puts the spotlight on personal safety at night.

CKMS News -2023-09-21- Take Back The Night

MP Holmes, Kitchener

The Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region is hosting the 40th anniversary of the Take Back the Night event and march this Thursday September 21.

The event and march hopes to raise awareness of the threat of sexual violence and comes in the wake of the city of Kitchener and the Region of Waterloo declaring epidemics of intimate partner violence.

A few weeks ago, CKMS aired a show on Intimate Partner Violence and explained how this Region stands out in cross-Canada data as the least safe place for women to live in all of Canada.

From 2008 to 2019, the Waterloo Region sexual assault incidence rate has been higher than the provincial average, and that rate and numbers it represents continue to increase. This report from The Feminist Shift elaborates on those findings. 

Statistics Canada reported that in 2018, just over one in five (22%) Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo residents aged 15 and older experienced unwanted sexual behaviour in public. 

Many research studies have found that in the vast majority of sexual assaults, the accused is known to the victim. According to a report by the Department of Justice only 20% were victimized by a stranger.

However, sexual assaults are considered significantly underreported to the police. Results from the 2019 General Social Survey on Victimization show that only 6% of sexual assault experienced by Canadians aged 15 and older were reported to the police. 

So, we know sexual assaults are seriously underreported, often committed by someone the victim knows, and that these assaults continue to increase. Contradicting these statistics were the conversations CKMS news had with locals on the street, who said they felt safe at night. Statistics on perception of safety are also available.

In 2020, the Statistics Canada Safe Cities Profile for Kitchener Cambridge Waterloo reported that 42% of women in the region felt very safe when walking alone after dark, while 63% of men felt very safe walking at night. 

Over three quarters of Regional residents thought crime levels in their neighbourhood were lower than the rest of Canada, however the Crime Severity Index tell a different tale. The Crime Severity Index is defined by Stats Can as changes in the severity of police-reported crime by accounting for both the amount of crime and the relative seriousness of these crimes. So while three-quarters of Regional residents thought their communities had lower crime levels than the rest of the country, the Crime Severity Index for Waterloo Region in 2022 was higher than the national average and third highest in the province behind Thunder Bay and Sudbury.

There may be a discrepancy between our perceptions and reality, however as the respondents to our street survey noted increased lighting on the streets and trails, safer transit, and staying closer to built up areas all contribute to the perception of safety. Whether or not we are safer at night than we were 40 years ago, it seems the night remains beyond our reach.

Take back the Night happens at the Gaukel Block from 6-9 on Thursday September 21.

Listen to today’s show above with Karley Doucette of the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region and hits the streets to ask people if they feel safe walking in their community at night.

CKMS News – Greenbelt accountability, “Ford Fest”, and byelection update: Interviews with Debbie Chapman and Aislinn Clancy

CKMS News – 2023-08-17 – Greenbelt accountability, “Ford Fest”, and byelection campaigning: Interviews with Debbie Chapman and Aislinn Clancy

By: dan kellar

Since Mid-January of 2023, following the resignation of NDP MPP  Laura Mae Lindo, the riding of Kitchener Centre has been without representation in the Ontario legislature. While not disrupting the balance of power in government, the conservatives deemed the by-election will occur in January 2024, the maximum time allowed by the Elections Act for the seat to remain empty.

Currently, there is no candidate for the Conservative Party in the byelection, while the NDP are running Debbie Chapman, and the Liberal Party is represented by Kelly Steiss. On September 8th, in the adjacent Waterloo riding, which is held by the NDP’s Catherine Fife, Doug Ford held the political outreach and fundraising event “Ford Fest” at Bingemans. 

Bingemans also borders the Kitchener Conestoga riding which is held by PC MPP Mike Harris Jr., who welcomed Ford Fest into the Region, telling CKMS News in a statement:

Ford Fest is a free, non-partisan community event hosted by Ontario’s Ford family.”, and, Harris added “Ford Fest offers a unique opportunity for attendees to connect with their elected representatives.”

In a piece released by CKMS News on September 8th, Waterloo Regional Labour Council president Jeff Pelich spoke about why folks were heading to protest at Ford Fest. You can listen to that whole interview at radiowaterloo.ca/news

Today’s show will feature interviews with Clancy and Chapman about Ford Fest and the conservative government, the upcoming by-election and what issues their campaigns are focusing on, and the growing calls for accountability around the Green Belt scandal.  Both the NDP and Green Party candidates said the lands removed from Greenbelt protection should be immediately returned to their protected status. The liberals have also called for the Green Belt lands to be returned and for accountability for the actions of the conservatives..

Since the interviews, the conservatives have announced the sites will be “re-evaluated”. 

In response to calls for Ford to step down over the Green Belt scandal MPP Harris told CKMS News that the conservative government will continue with their plan to build homes on “non-sensitive” Green Belt lands claiming this was “requested by many municipalities”.  Harris concluded: “I want to emphasize that, under the continued leadership of our Premier, our Government will prioritize addressing the housing crisis, ensuring more people have a place to call home.”.

 

CKMS News – Protests to to greet “Ford Fest” in Kitchener

CKMS News – 2023-09-08 – Protest to meet Ford Fest

By: dan kellar

Ford Fest, usually a once a year political outreach event, hosted by the Ford family and primarily held in Etobicoke, has had its reach expanded this summer after Doug Ford took the BBQ on the road to Scarborough, Windsor, and in the evening on Friday September 8th, to Bingemans, a park in Kitchener. There was a by-election in the Scarborough—Guildwood riding shortly after the Scarborough event and there will be a by-election in Kitchener-Centre in January of 2024.

Protests are planned at the entrances and outside the venue where Ford Fest is to take place. Bingemans is in the Waterloo riding, which is held by the NDP’s Catherine Fife, and the property borders the Kitchener-Centre riding, and the Kitchener Conestoga riding which is held by PC MPP Mike Harris Jr. One of the groups organising a protest at Ford Fest is the Waterloo Regional Labour Council. CKMS News spoke with Jeff Pelich, the president of the Labour Council about the many grievances Ford will face from the public at Ford Fest, including the anger over the Green Belt development plans, the cost of food and housing crises, and the underfunding of public services such as education and health care. 

CKMS recently spoke with both Clancy and Chapman about Ford Fest and the Conservatives, and both have called Ford Fest a distraction from the growing Green Belt scandal and for Ford to take accountability, return the Green Belt lands, and step down. 

For the full interviews with Chapman and Clancy, visit radiowaterloo.ca/news

When contacted by CKMS News for comment on Ford Fest in Kitchener, the office for  MPP Harris sent a  statement from Harris which included “Ford Fest is a free, non-partisan community event hosted by Ontario’s Ford family.”, and Harris added “Ford Fest offers a unique opportunity for attendees to connect with their elected representatives.”.  Harris then reminded folks that the event is free, and will include food, concluding “so bring the kids and come hungry!”. No comment was given before this piece first went to air on the calls for Ford to call a full public Inquiry or to resign over the Green Belt land deals.. 

This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news, and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

Butterfly tagging at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory attempts to avoid bleak future for migratory Monarchs

by MP Holmes

The Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory is hosting it’s 15th annual Monarch butterfly tagging event this weekend.

It is the local conservatory’s contribution to international conservation efforts to save a species at risk. At the annual event, migratory butterflies are caught, tagged and released before their southward journey that will take them 2,500 km to central Mexico.

Monarch butterfly numbers have plummeted in the last 30 years. Habitat destruction, herbicides and pesticide use, deforestation, unseasonable temperatures, and destructive storms that are much more frequent because of climate change have all taken their toll on the monarch. The US Fish and Wildlife Service found that since the early 1990s, the population of the eastern migratory butterfly has plummeted 90 %, and the United States Geological survey released a report in 2016 that predicted an 11–57 % probability that this population will go almost extinct over the next 20 years.

The tagging event has been organized by Andalyne Tofflemire, a naturalist and conservatory manager at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory.

Andalyne talked with CKMS about the event, how butterfly tagging works and why it is needed, and the data that has been collected. The conservatory manager also spoke about Monarch Watch (the volunteer-based citizen science organization that organizes the data collection) and what the future holds for migratory monarch butterflies.

The tagging event runs Sept. 9 and 10.

Listen to the radio program above:

The music on today’s show is called “Maple Music” by Godmode courtesy of by Expectantly Maple Music on YouTube.

This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of  this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news., and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

World Literacy Day puts the spotlight on low levels of literacy in Waterloo Region

CKMS News – 2023-09-08 – Literacy in WR

MP Holmes

World Literacy Day on September 8 coincides with the first week of school under the Ontario provincial government’s new Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act, which was passed in June of this year. This new education act overhauls what came before. It broadens the minister’s powers and among other things increases reporting requirements, provides more supports for literacy education, and allows for major changes to the language curriculum

Literacy is more complex than just knowing how to read and write, The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines literacy as “the ability to understand, evaluate, use and engage with written texts to participate in society.”

Statistics Canada defines it as “the ability to use and understand information that is fundamental to daily life at work, at home, and in the community.”

In Canada, literacy is measured with a 5-level scale, 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. If a person functions only at lower levels, they may be considered to have problems with literacy.

In the International Assessment of Adult Competencies survey, the OECD found that 49% of Canadians (aged 25 to 65), scored at or below level 2 for literacy and 55% also scored at or below level 2 for numeracy on the 5-level scale. Level 3 is the threshold required to compete in a knowledge-based economy.

In February 2022, the Ontario Human Rights Commission released the ‘Right to Read‘ report, which found, among other problems that one-third of students graduate school without attaining the level of literacy that the OECD deems necessary to function fully in today’s economy.

The Waterloo Region District School Board serves more than 64,000 students in more than 121 schools. In 2018 to 2019, only 70 per cent of WRDSB students were meeting the provincial standards for reading proficiency, according to data from the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). There are explanations for this. Historically, local students have typically lagged when compared to students in other areas of Ontario. In a November 2022 article about dropout rates, Jeff Outhit in the Record noted that in times past in this Region, people used to be able to support families by relying on good-paying factory jobs that did not need much education. Outhit notes that more than 10,000 of these factory jobs have disappeared since 2006.

In the fall of the 2021, WRDSB released a multi-year structured literacy plan. Within a year, in October 2022, local grade 10 students taking the Ontario literacy test beat the provincial average by three percentage points with 85 percent of students in the wrdsb meeting or surpassing the provincial standard. Literacy levels in the Region have risen a full 15 points to 85%. Scott Miller, assistant director of the WRDSB explains how this was achieved.

But what about those people who left school before the recent focus on increasing literacy? They may have left school 2 years ago or forty years ago.

Jane Teur of Project Read Literacy Network explains what this looks like, misconceptions about the people who fall below the literacy line, the Ontario government’s return to phonics in language curriculum, and the gaps in the system.

Regardless, WRDSB says they are ready and explain how they’ve prepared.

The music on today’s show is called “Maple Music” by Godmode courtesy of by Expectantly Maple Music on YouTube.

This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of  this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news., and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

 

CKMS News – Local Greens hosting “GreenFest” in response to “FordFest”

CKMS News – 2023-09-06 – GreenFest Aislinn Clancy

By: dan kellar

Through the afternoon on Saturday September 9th, the Green Party of Ontario will be hosting a “GreenFest” in the Kitchener Centre riding that they say will feature “music, food, a group bike parade, and bouncy castle!”

The event follows a summer of campaigning for local Green Party candidate Aislinn Clancy ahead of a byelection to be held in January of 2024 to fill the seat vacated by NDP MPP Laura Mae Lindo. GreenFest is also a direct response to the “FordFest” event PC premier Doug Ford is hosting in the evening on September 8th at Bingemans in Kitchener. Of FordFest, Clancy told CKMS News “there are lots of parts of the campaign that are missing that I don’t think any amount of hot dogs and text messages can offset.” 

There is currently no candidate for the Conservative Party in the aforementioned byelection, while the NDP are running Debbie Chapman, and the Liberal Party is represented by Kelly Steiss. All of the parties have been calling for accountability from the Conservative Party over the growing Greenbelt scandal which has now led to the resignation of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark, along with his assistant. 

 Candidate Clancy and the Green Party had called for Clark’s resignation in an August 30th statement also saying “The report from Integrity Commissioner David J. Wake confirms that the minister contravened the Members’ Integrity Act when he failed to oversee the process by which Greenbelt lands were selected for development.

Minister Clark was responsible for the corrupt process that allowed a handful of wealthy well-connected insiders to make $8.3 billion on the removal of their lands from Greenbelt.”

Previous to the 2018 election Doug Ford repeatedly promised he would not develop housing on the Green Belt, now with the Auditor General’s report, the Integrity Commissioner’s report, an RCMP investigation, and now calls for a public inquiry, keeping that promise may be forced upon the beleaguered premier.  On September 5th Ford announced the lands that were removed from the Green Belt will be re-reviewed in a process under new Housing minister Paul Calandra.  

CKMS news spoke with Kitchener Centre Green Party candidate, Aislinn Clancy about Greenfest, FordFest, a bit about the GreenBelt fiasco. 


This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news, and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

CKMS News – 2023-09-03 – City of Kitchener recognises an epidemic of Intimate Partner Violence in Waterloo Region

CKMS News – 2023-09-03 – Intimate Partner Violence Epidemic Declared in Kitchener

by: MP Holmes

In March 2019, Waterloo Region was ranked the least safe and least healthy place for women among the largest metropolitan areas in Canada.

In 2022, one-quarter of all criminal charges laid in Waterloo Region were related to intimate partner violence.

In ten years of data, the Waterloo Region Police Service fielded an average of 18 calls related to intimate partner violence a day and laid an average of 10 charges per day within the same timeframe.

In response to this kind of data, on August 29, the city of Kitchener, Ontario passed the motion to declare gender-based violence an epidemic.

CKMS News discussed how and why this declaration is a positive development with Jenna Mayne, the Communications and Fund Development Manager, of the Women’s Crisis Centre of Waterloo Region. She also talked about the types and impacts of intimate partner violence, and what support resources do we need more of to curb this disturbing trend.

In Waterloo Region, there are 990 shelter beds for women, trans individuals and gender-diverse people. Forty-five beds are in Kitchener and another 45 are in Cambridge. The transitional home, Aspen Place, offers at least 10 beds. The shelters are full and lengths of stay are long, up to year in some cases because there is nowhere to go. The affordable housing crisis has reverberations across the social landscape, but nearly none so devastating as for women seeking to leave abusive relationships. And of course, it’s not only women who are being impacted. In 2022, of the 383 people in shelters, almost half of them were children.

The abuse takes many forms, — physical, emotional and controlling finances and socialization. Since November 26, 2022, 38 women have been murdered by their partners in Ontario. While demand for help is high, it is no doubt a small portion of the whole. While 383 people used the shelters, more than 2,400 calls came into the agency’s support line and online chat last year, and over 1,100 people were supported through their outreach services.

This declaration pertains to the city of Kitchener only. Regional Council is expected to declare intimate partner violence an epidemic at council meeting on September 12, 2023. Women’s Crisis Services will be presenting to council alongside their partners in the Family Violence Project asking the council to declare the epidemic and to integrate partner violence in the Region’s Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan.

If you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner violence, call:
Anselma House in Kitchener – 519-742-5894
or Haven House in Cambridge – 519-653-2289
or online at www.wcswr.org

Anonymity is assured regardless which method is used.

The music on today’s show is called “Maple Music” by Godmode courtesy of by Expectantly Maple Music on YouTube.

 

Requiem for the ash tree

By MP Holmes
Kitchener

Ash trees might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about climate change, but since the arrival of an invasive beetle, untold environmental and economic damage has led to the species to the edge of extinction. CKMS News talked to Josh Shea, the manager of Forestry and Natural Area Management at the city of Kitchener to find out what is happening to the ash tree generally and the  city of Kitchener’s approach to the infestation. 

In less than 15 years, the invasive emerald ash borer, has destroyed the ash trees in Kitchener, Waterloo Region, much of Ontario, including as far north as Sudbury, and in 36 US states. This tiny beetle has become a major environmental and economic problem. In a bid to control and starve out the emerald ash borer, the city of Kitchener has removed more than 5,000 trees from city streets and parks. There are about 600 ash trees remaining, some of which are alive, but all will be removed within the next few years. The Grand River Conservation Authority’s website reports that they have removed over 16,000 ash trees at the cost of three million dollars. 

Economic estimates keep growing as the beetle and the trouble it presents become clearer. In 2014, the city of Kitchener estimated dealing with the damage and making the city borer-free would cost $11 million. In July 2019, the Invasive Species Centre found that, on average, Ontario municipalities spend approximately $22,426,763 million each year combating the emerald ash borer alone. 

The conversation touches on the use and role of pesticides, the role of winter and the impact of milder less severe winters in the life cycle of the emerald ash borer. While municipalities fight this small beetle, the province under Doug Ford’s government, has done little to combat this invasive species, putting our forests, economic health, and our municipalities at risk. 

 

The music on today’s show is called “Maple Music” by Godmode courtesy of by Expectantly Maple Music on YouTube. 

This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of  this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news., and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

 

Gaukel Block and beyond – Sam Nabi on place-making in Kitchener

CKMS News – 2023-08-27 – Gaukel Block and Beyond: Sam Nabi on placemaking in Kitchener

By: dan kellar

The practice of “place making” in urban design and “pedestrianisation” of urban spaces and downtown cores have been methods used to address well-being and connectedness of a city’s residents and boost health and safety of an entire population.

In 2019, noting the lack of a permanent pedestrian zone in the downtown and being long concerned about the safety of residents when getting around the city while not in their cars, local musician, community organiser, downtown shop owner, and Kitchener resident Sam Nabi amplified an idea on twitter – transform  “Gaukel Street”, the short quiet road starting at city hall and leading down to the entrance to Willow River Park (aka Victoria park), into a pedestrian zone.

In Waterloo Region, while the number of collisions involving automobiles being driven into pedestrians and cyclists has been trending down for years, in 2020 (which is the most recent year with data available) there were still 67 people not in a car or on a bike who were driven into by driver of an automobile, and another 78 collisions involving people driving automobiles and people on bicycles. The plurality of these collisions occur at intersections or in crosswalks where the pedestrian or cyclist has the right of way, and the driver of an automobile was found to be inattentive. 

Over the years in Kitchener, local advocates and some dedicated city staff have worked to implement more accessible, friendly, and safe neighbourhoods with a lot of attention being focused in the downtown core. For many years, King St through the downtown has been occasionally closed to car traffic during certain days or weeks for special events or holiday markets, but the area was always returned to its car-centric design for the majority of the year. 

As popular “human scale” urbanist Brent Toderian has said, “The truth about a city’s aspirations isn’t found in its vision. It’s found in its budget.”, and through the cooperative efforts of community members and city staff, funding for Gaukel St pedestrianisation was included in the 2019-2020 budget. Subsequent years’ budgets have seen continued funding to accomplish a more comprehensive project.

In May and June 2023, after several years of more casual organising around the space, as approvals and permits were worked out, the first section of the fully pedestrianized Gaukel Block opened with more permanent features, dedicated booking options for the public, and a full schedule of community events through the summer. 

Today’s show features an interview with Sam Nabi about the successful campaign to have Gaukel Street in downtown Kitchener, converted into the “Gaukel Block” pedestrian area, as well as a discussion of budget priorities, the effects of neoliberal economic thinking on public space, the importance of grassroots place making initiatives, and what is happening on Gaukel.


This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news, and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

CKMS News – Resisting Renovictions in Waterloo Region

CKMS News – 2023-08-13 – Resisting Renovictions in Waterloo Region

By: MP Holmes
Kitchener

Over the last few months there have been several rallies and multiple media stories on the group of tenants in the residential building at 267 Traynor Avenue in Kitchener, who have organized against an impending renoviction. Their building was recently purchased by a wealthy investor landlord who then issued N13 notices to at least 20 residents in the building and more in another on Ahrens St. in Kitchener

According to the 2023 Housing Hardship Report from the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, almost half (46%) of renters in Ontario are concerned about their landlord wanting to evict them for some reason.

In Waterloo region, the Report notes that 37% of all tenant households are spending a third or more of their income on housing costs, and a person needs to make at least $24 an hour to afford a 1-bedroom apartment here.

Maribel Jagorin organized the tenants at 267 Traynor Ave., and she talked with CKMS about her situation and fight to save her home and prevent her own and her building’s renoviction.

CKMS news also talked with Jenaya Nixon, who up util recently was an outreach worker for the Eviction Prevention Program within the Social Development Centre. Jenaya was one of the initial supports for the Traynor Ave residents and she talked about how renovictions generally occur and how municipal and regional governments can play an important and meaningful role, regardless of  the provincial and federal initiatives.

Information and support to access if you are facing a renoviction in Waterloo Region:
The Eviction Prevention Waterloo Region at the Social Development Centre:
https://www.waterlooregion.org/eviction-prevention-waterloo-region

Easy to access and up-to-date legal information specific to Ontario:
https://stepstojustice.ca/legal-topic/housing-law/eviction/


Check out the archived versions of  this program on
radiowaterloo.ca/news., and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

CKMS News – ‘Falling through the cracks’ photo exhibit explores lived experiences of displacement

For one night only on Wednesday August 16

By MP Holmes
Kitchener

“These photos are very powerful. A lot of these photos are tied to some pretty intense experiences, especially if you were aware in April when there was a big wave of overdose deaths that were happening. These photos are taken in the midst of that crisis. It is reflecting the voices of people  who are navigating intense experiences of displacement.”

 

“Waterloo Region had shelter capacity for less than half of the number of homeless people that we had in 2020, and we know the number is bigger now and there is a huge shelter capacity gap and we also know that shelters are not going to meet the needs of everyone.”

David Alton, the Facilitator Lived Expertise Working Group, Kitchener’s Housing Strategy of the Social Development Centre, talked to CKMS news about a photography exhibition, the value of using lived expertise, the scale of homelessness in the Region and the problems and consequences of not having accurate data, and the barriers between unsheltered and sheltered communities.

The Lived Expertise Working Group is a two-year pilot project hosted by the Social Development Centre in partnership with the City of Kitchener to advise on the implementation and monitoring of the Housing for All Strategy. The working group consists of twelve lived experts who have met twice a month from May 2022 and were expected to continue until April 2024, but the group’s second year of funding, worth up to $30,000, is up in the air because City Council did not like the Social Development Centre commenting on city actions at the Roos Island protests in April. City council delayed the vote on continuing to fund the second year of the Lived Expertise Working Group until the council meeting on August 28.

Falling through the cracks, a fundraiser and photography exhibit, will be held at the downtown Kitchener Public Library, at 85 Queen St, for one night only on Wednesday August 16 from 5-8 pm. The photographs, 16 in total, depict the meaningful ways unsheltered communities support one another, memorialize each other, and resist marginalization. The gallery opens at 5 and the presentations will start around 6.

 

The music on today’s show is called “Maple Music” by Godmode courtesy of by Expectantly Maple Music on YouTube. 

You have been listening to CKMS News on 102.7FM, Radio Waterloo. This is MP Holmes, and thank you for tuning-in.

CKMS Community Connections for 31 July 2023 with Megan Ruttan of Waterloo Region ACORN

Show Notes

Megan Ruttan (a woman wearing a summer dress and a grey N95 mask sitting at a microphone with a blue sock on it)
Megan Ruttan
ACORN CANADA ( white line drawing of an acorn in an '@' sign, with text curving along the botton, all on a red background)
 

Megan Ruttan of Waterloo Region ACORN joins Bob Jonkman to talk about evictions, renovictions, tenants’ rights, and setting up a tenants’ union in Waterloo Region.

The interview starts at 10m02s.

ACORN was previously on CKMS News on 23 June 2023, 17 June 2023, and 7 June 2023.

Waterloo Region ACORN:

ACORN Canada:

Meg Ruttan Online:

Other:

Upcoming Events

Podcast

Download: ckms-community-connections-2023-07-31-episode135-Meg-Ruttan-of-Waterloo-Region-ACORN.mp3 (50 MB, 54m11s, episode 135)

Index

Time Title Album Artist
0m00s Theme for CKMS Community Connections ccc CKMS Sunflower logo (yellow petals surrounding a black centre with white wavies all on a teal background)
CKMS Community Connections
Steve Todd
1m02s Black Eyed Suzie Foul Weather Friends | Onion Honey (illustration of a snail on a mushroom, a mouse, and two frogs, all sheltering from the rain under a leaf)
Foul Weather Friends
Onion Honey
2m51s 4 All The Animals 4 all the Animals | (Save The World) | VEFO | Prod. GuruuuV (green and purple lettering on a background of a green sky with orange clouds, there's a picture of a pig's snout in the middle)
(single)
VEFO
6m35s Unknown Monster Genre-Bending P2 | GuruuuV (purple letters on a swirly purple background)
Genre-Bending Pt. 2 (Beat Challenge)
GuruuuV
6m41s try and catch me next time
7m42s Shake the House
10m02s Introducing Megan Ruttan and ACORN: The Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now, a low- to moderate-income tenants union, but they take on any issues that their members want to take on, for example payday loans. The union is just getting set up now to help fight renovictions and demovictions. Megan herself is experiencing attempts at renoviction. This has been happening for at least six years. This pre-dates ACORN, but ACORN would have fought it by drawing attention to it by direct action such as protests. There have been rallies against other renovictions in Kitchener. Landlords intimidate tenants by withholding information, so that tenants do not know what their rights are, or even who their landlord is. ACORN in Hamilton has helped create a by-law that makes it illegal to evict people in Hamilton for renovations. But each municipality will have different by-laws. ACORN has just held a national day of action on the financialization of housing. They’re asking for a law that will give first right of refusal will go to housing organizations, co-ops, and other businesses that want to build affordable housing. Waterloo Region ACORN has about 500 members; about 15 full members who pay $15/month in dues, but many people can’t afford that. Waterloo Region ACORN started about three months ago, in April.
19m44s Beam Blues Live Nick Bordman | Beam Blues | (Live at Locust Ridge Studios) (black and white photo of a man with a beard and wearing a cowboy outfit leaning against a sporty-looking car)
(YouTube)
Nick Bordman
23m59s Waterloo Region ACORN has a three month plan, meeting in August to plan an action to take place in September. They’re building membership; anyone is welcome to join, not just renters. The August meeting will be hybrid, both in-person and online for Covid safety. The national organization in Ottawa and the chapter in London have provided a lot of help in the form of flyers, handouts, mailing lists, &c. The money from dues goes towards copying costs and SDCWR for use of their facilities. The entire region of Waterloo has an epidemic of unsheltered people. The chapter was named Waterloo Region ACORN to include everyone in the region; it’s not just a Kitchener issue.
28m47s “The financialization of housing” treats housing as an investment, not as shelter or homes, or as a human right. Municipalities are not building purpose-built rental housing; many politicians to make this happen to own rental properties, and seem disinclined to reduce their holdings to build affordable housing. Globally, the climate crisis is creating climate refugees, who need housing. Do we have shelter for these people? We need to build housing. The municipalities need to build the housing, not just pass by-laws or re-zones. The City of Kitchener is not acting to build housing or reduce renovictions when they had the chance to vote on zoning changes. Their answer seems to be to police housing. If they don’t build housing, people will die. Who could be affected by the housing crisis? Almost every renter. What happens with the laws that require landlords to provide the renovated units to former tenants? It gets ignored, landlords just rent to new, higher-paying tenants. People in this situation don’t have the capacity, “the spoons”, to deal with this. Megan has the spoons to deal with this because she’s connected in the community, and knows the resources.
38m14s How did Waterloo Region ACORN get started here? There were already people with memberships in other chapters; people contacted the national chapter; they already had a mailing list! Everything is connected, Megan was already active in climate organizing, political organization; if one issue is advanced, the others are too.
39m36s Who’s Gonna Suffer FOG Blues & Brass Band | Twelve Bar Prescription (B&W photo of band members centered on a blue background, typeface as though made from shiny cut metal)
Twelve Bar Prescription
FOG Blues & Brass Band
43m04s How do people get involved if they have no background in tenant organization? Come to the meeting in August, ACORN will provide training on door knocking, &c. They’ll knock on the doors of tenants to let them know help is available. They’ve reached out to local politicians, but not all have responded. Talking about other events where ACORN has had a presence. Giving credit to Maribel and other leaders, their appearances in local media.
48m25s What about all the local construction? It’s mostly condominiums, only 15% affordable housing. Condos aren’t affordable housing. The tenants’ union is the opposite of a Home Owners’ Association, the union lifts you up, doesn’t repress your rights.
50m36s Reviewing Waterloo Region ACORN‘s presence on social media. Talking about Project Mushroom, an online presence for social activists. It had some setbacks when the founder discovered it could not be monetized, but Megan and others are still keeping it alive.
53m12s Bob gives the end credits.

CKMS Community Connections Hour One airs on CKMS-FM 102.7 on Monday from 11:00am to Noon, and Hour Two airs alternate Fridays from 3:00pm to 4:00pm.

Got music, spoken word, or other interesting stuff? Let us know at ccc@radiowaterloo.ca or leave a comment on our “About” page.

CKMS logo with wavies coming out the sidesSubscribe to the CKMS Community Connections podcast!

CKMS | 102.7 FM | Radio Waterloo | Community ConnectionsSee all CKMS Community Connections shows!

Bonus Video

CKMS Community Connections for 31 July 2023 with Megan Ruttan of Waterloo Region ACORN

YouTube: CKMS Community Connections for Monday 31 July 2023

Show notes and podcast interview content is Copyright © 2023 by the participants, and released under a CC BYCreative Commons Attribution Only license. Copy, re-use, and derivative works are allowed with attribution to Radio Waterloo and a link to this page. Music selections are copyright by the respective rights holders.

CKMS News – Mobilising to defend the Greenbelt and “Stop the Sprawl”

Listen: 2023-07-29 – Mobilising to defend the Greenbelt and “Stop the Sprawl”

By: dan kellar
Kitchener

Premier Dog Ford and the Ontario Conservative party have pushed forward with legislation which will allow housing development across swaths of the previously protected land, despite previous promises to leave the Greenbelt alone.

Across the province residents have organized against the changes to Greenbelt protections, and in Waterloo Region many groups and individuals have been working to “Stop the Sprawl”. Ahead of the July 29th “Rally Against the Big Sprawl” in Waterloo, CKMS News spoke with Kevin Thomason of the Grand River Environmental Network and a number of other social and environmental justice oriented organizations.

Thomason spoke about efforts to mobilize against of the Ontario government’s actions and legislation which they he argues will dismantle the rules protecting the Greenbelt from destruction by development (such as with Bill 23) and undermine local democracy (such as with Bill 39). He also spoke of continuing to engage in public participation processes, the work of GREN, and some of the solutions that could be implemented to address the housing crisis without causing further damage to the ecological services associated with Greenbelt lands.

People and signs on both sides of a road, with pepole and signs in the grassy median as well. Signs reading "Stop The Sprawl" Among Others.
Photo: dan kellar

Lawn signs placed on either side of the road and in the median ahead of the Stop the Sprawl Rally. The first sign, red and dark green with white text which reads: "Stop Sprawl. Respect Waterloo Region's Plan. Stop Forced Urban Boundary Expansion on Farmland and Natural Spaces.
Photo: dan kellar
Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles standing with local NDP MPP Catherine Fife. They are having a friendly chat with a rally participant. Others at the demo are in the background.
Photo: dan kellar
A crowd of folks at the demonstration.
As the Ontario government works to overrule local decision making and accelerate the dismantling of the ecologically significant lands of the Greenbelt to facilitate suburban sprawl, groups across Ontario have organised to resist these actions.
Photo: dan kellar

This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news, and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

CKMS News – CAFKA’s 22nd biennale festival invites people to reflect and come together after challenges of COVID

Listen: CKMS News – 2023-07-20 – CAFKA

By: MP Holmes
Kitchener

The theme of this year’s CAFKA (Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area) festival is ‘Stay with Me’.  Tara Cooper, CAFKA’s Chair of Programming and Board Director, explained,

“In a way, it came out of our last biennale, which was during the pandemic two years ago. And the idea was literally just to stay with me, the idea of being together but also the idea of giving room for the things that are uncomfortable or hard to talk about.”

Tara also talks about the history, some of this year’s unique artworks within the exhibition, and what it takes to produce the exhibition. 

CKMS news also talked to the Director of Cultural Services at the Region of Waterloo Helen Chimirri-Russell about how the Region approaches funding arts organizations, such as CAFKA.

CAFKA runs until Saturday July 22, 2023, and you can find information on exhibits and shows at CAFKA.org.

On Friday, July 21, 6:00–7:30 pm, join CAFKA for a walking tour of Stay with Me installations in the Kitchener exhibition zone. Admission is free. Meet in front of Kitchener City Hall (200 King Street West, Kitchener) at 6pm. 

 

The music on today’s show is called “Maple Music” by Godmode courtesy of by Expectantly Maple Music on YouTube. This music is copyright free and used with gratitude. 

Check out the archived versions of  this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

CKMS News – Food insecurity and the federal grocery rebate.

CKMS News – 2023-07-16 – Grocery Rebate

By MP Holmes
Kitchener, ON

How has the grocery rebate impacted people in Kitchener-Waterloo, and are there alternatives that can be implemented to address sharply rising costs, including a universal basic income?

Today’s show talks to Kim Wilhelm, interim CEO of the Food bank of Kitchener-Waterloo and MP for London North Centre and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue, Peter Fragiskatos, and listens in to the testimony of Neil Hetherington, the CEO of the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto, in front of the the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance about the recently announced grocery rebate as part of the 2023/24 budget.

——————————-  

The music on today’s show is called “BAIKAL” by @scandinavianz courtesy of by BreakingCopyright on youtube.

 This music is used under a Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0) license.

This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news, and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca 

CKMS News – 2023-07-15 – Headlines – Food inflation cheques from the Federal Government arrive in local mailboxes

CKMSNews-2023-07-15-headlines:

By: M.P. Holmes

a pile of grocery receipts from stores in Kitchener-Waterloo

 

  • Food inflation cheques from the federal government arrive in local mailboxesMonths after Parliament passed the one-time benefit first unveiled as part of the 2023 federal budget, the payment was distributed on Wednesday.The food-inflation focused affordability measure is set to roll out to approximately 11 million low- and modest-income Canadians, and over 100,000 people in Kitchener. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Revenue Peter Fragiskatos came to Kitchener to explain the rebate and answer questionsFor more information on the grocery rebate, you can contact the CRA or go to their website at:  https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/goods-services-tax-harmonized-sales-tax-gst-hst-credit/grocery-rebate.html
    Also in headlines for July 11, 2023:
  • Queen Victoria statue in Kitchener’s Willow River Park vandalized for sixth time in three years
  • Two new WRDSB trustees appointed, including son of late trustee
  • Council approves construction of over 5000 residential units and more are on the way
  • Laura Mae Lindo, outgoing MPP for Kitchener Centre, endorses Debbie Chapman in the race for MPP.

 

The music on today’s show is called “Reggae Music Upbeat Chilled Happy Island | EASY JAM”  and it’s by We Have A Tripod.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of  this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news., and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

CKMS News – 2023-07-04 – Jim Stewart of the Waterloo Region Health Coalition discusses protecting Ontario’s public healthcare from privatization

Listen: CKMS News – 2023-07-04 – Jim Stewart of the Waterloo Region Health Coalition discusses Protecting Ontario’s public healthcare from privatization


By: dan kellar

As the efforts by the Ontario government to privatize public health care in Ontario accelerate, protests by health care workers and local residents have taken place across the province.  On June 26th over 200 people demonstrated in front of St. Mary’s hospital in Kitchener to tell the government “Healthcare is a Human Right, Hands off our Hospitals!”.

Attending the event were representatives from the Waterloo Region Health Coalition and today’s show features an interview with Jim Stewart, the chair of the Waterloo Region Health Coalition, a node in the Ontario Health Coalition whose goal is to defend public health care against privatization.

In the interview Stewart speaks on Doug Ford’s and the conservative government’s continuing privatization agenda, the work the Waterloo Region Health Coalition is undertaking and the growing movement within the healthcare system, and across the public sphere, that is organizing to support health care workers and protect public healthcare in Ontario.

For more information on the Waterloo Region Health Coalition, visit waterloohealthcoalition.org.

 


This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news, and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

CKMS News – 2023-07-02 – Community Grieves after Three People Stabbed at the University of Waterloo

Listen: 2023-07-02 – Campus grieves for stabbing victims

By: M.P. Holmes

Twenty four hours after three people were stabbed in a classroom, the University of Waterloo and the wider community came together in two separate rallies to show solidarity and support . University President Vivek Goel and the Dean of Arts Sheila Ager offered support and encouraged those impacted by the event to seek counseling and focus on healing by taking a step back from work or studies if they felt the need to do so.

After the University’s gathering, another rally, organised at by students and community members, began at Hagey Hall. This gathering gave people an additional opportunity to speak on what happened, show support, and consider where to go from here.

Around 4pm on June 28th, Geovanny Villalba-Aleman, A 24-year-old former international student has been charged in the stabbings . Villalba-Aleman is charged with three counts of aggravated assault, four accounts of assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, and mischief under $5,000.

Community members have been vocal and quick to point out the lack of any notification from the WatSafe app, an app developed by the UW and intended to, among other things, inform community members about major campus emergencies.

This show features a variety of voices from those attending the events.

A crowd of folks with signs at the gathering in response the stabbings at UW. The signs read "All genders deserve safety", "Protect Trans Kids", "CIS is Not a Slur", "No More Shit", "We Deserve to feel safe", "misogyny is an Epidemic", "UC and UW Against Hate", and "This is why we need PRIDE".
After the University’s gathering, another rally began at Hagey Hall, which gave people an additional opportunity to speak on what happened, show support and consider where to go from here.
Photo: M.P. Holmes

The music on this show is called “Documentary Intro” by MUSIC4VIDEO courtesy of the Music for Video Library on YouTube.

This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news, and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.


If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

CKMS News – 2023-07-01 – Engage Barrie discusses Barrie City Council’s repressive agenda targeting homeless people.

Listen to CKMS News – 2023-07-01 – Engage Barrie discusses Barrie City Council’s repressive agenda targeting homeless people:

By M.P. Holmes

The Barrie city Council tried to push anti-homeless legislation through at a meeting this week but backed down due to the strong country-wide backlash. The by-law would have prohibited both encampments and anyone from sharing food, water, tents or any other survival items with people experiencing homelessness on city property.  I talked to Rob Romanek of EngageBarrie and he explained the basic situation.

In the end, and amid an outpouring of criticism from across the country, and once a local outreach centre agreed to stop handing out food and supplies along Barrie’s waterfront, and instead move their outreach to private property as suggested by city government,  the local government withdrew the amendments, commenting that the bylaw amendments were “no longer necessary”. The mayor said the council sent the bylaw amendment back to city staff to amend wording that did not represent the council’s point of view.

If the bylaw had passed Council, it would have been challenged legally, surely citing the Superior court case of The Regional Municipality of Waterloo v. Persons Unknown and to be Ascertained, 2023 from earlier this year, in which the Superior Court rejected The Region of Waterloo’s plan to evict individuals encamped on Region-owned property (at Victoria and Weber). The Region argued that the  people encamped were in breach of a local By-Law and the Charter of Rights did not apply in this case, but the Judge disagreed, finding that forcing homeless people to leave an encampment when there aren’t enough shelter spaces violates their rights to life, liberty and security of the person – all of which are protected in Section 7 of the Charter.

You can find more information about Engage Barrie on social media @engagebarrie, or on their website engagebarrie.org

 

This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of  this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news., and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

Headlines – Massive housing development nears approval, Health Care Workers Protest at St. Mary’s, Changes to community engagement process.

Headlines for June 25th 2023, from dan kellar of CKMS News:

1 – Massive housing development on former Schneiders meat plant property nears approval.

City of Kitchener seems prepared to make a decision on the housing development on the old Schneider’s meat plant as early as the next council meeting on Monday June 26th.

This features excerpts from the meeting.

2 – United healthcare protest outside St Mary’s General Hospital

A demonstration is planned at St Mary’s general hospital in Kitchener on Monday June 26th demanding more support for health care workers and an end to the efforts to privatize public health care in Ontario.

Ahead of the demonstration, we spoke with Jim Stewart, the Co-chair of the Waterloo Region Health Coalition, a node in a network of organisations working at “Protecting Public Health Care For All”

3 – Changes on the way to development by-laws in response to new provincial laws
In response to the Ontario government’s legislative changes with Bill 13, Bill 109, and Bill 23 regarding housing developments, Kitchener City council will be making changes to their by-laws and procedures around approval processes.

This features discussion from the council meeting focusing specifically on the implementation of digital-only meetings for public consultations for developments.

 

This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of  this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news., and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

Headlines – Section 7 Charter violations against homeless people in Barrie, GRT fare increase, DTK Health Centres merge, ACORN protests landlord.

CKMS Headlines for June 23rd 2023:

By: MP Holmes

1 – City of Barrie backs down after threatening drastic measures against the homeless population

The Barrie city Council tried to push anti-homeless legislation through at a meeting this week but backed down due to the strong country-wide backlash. That backlash included presenting the legal precedent from the Superior Court case The Regional Municipality of Waterloo v. Persons Unknown and to be Ascertained, 2023, which blocked the eviction of people living at the Victoria and Weber encampment in Kitchener.

There is a clip from Rob Romanek of EngageBarrie

2 -GRT fares increasing as was decided by Regional Council in February

GRT fares are increasing on July 1, following an earlier budget decision by Regional Council who voted for the increase. The Cash fare will go up 14% to  $3.75 per ride, a more expensive fare than nearly all other public transit in Ontario, including that of Toronto, Hamilton, London, and Guelph.

3 – Long standing health centres merge

Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre and Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre have merged and are now called Community Healthcaring Kitchener-Waterloo. There are two locations at both ends of the downtown core in Kitchener.

4 – Protest march against renoviction of more than 20 Kitchener residents from their homes

On June 19th, more than 50 people were at the protest and march to draw attention to Mississauga based investor landlord Mike Beer who has moved to renovict more than 20 Kitchener residents from their homes. Marching from the Fairway Ion station to 267 Traynor Ave, the protestors were welcomed by the neighbourhood.

There is clip from Maribel of ACORN. 

This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of  this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news., and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

Enough is Enough demonstration, march held in Kitchener

 

By: MP Holmes

On June 4, the one-year anniversary of Doug Ford’s re-election in Ontario, thousands of people across the province came together for the Enough is Enough expo, march and rally.

In the Waterloo region, the demonstration was organized by the Waterloo Regional Labour Council and took place at Kitchener City Hall. The goal of the event was to draw attention to the cost-of-living crisis, the housing crisis and many other social, political and climate crises, and to show solidarity and exchange ideas. 

After a little less than two hours, the expo closed up and the participants marched down King Street to rally outside Grand River Hospital where six speakers talked about the situation and what can be done about it. 

A rally participant standing in front of a group with a sign reading "Stop the Sprawl... Respect Waterloo Region's Plan". The setting is on the sidewalk with the empty road on the right or the photo.
The Grand River Environmental Network joined in the coalition building rally Enough is Enough! Photo by Trish Holmes.
A close up shot of blue and red socks with a bird declaring "This is my Protest Sock"
Enough is Enough demo participants had style on lockdown. Photo by Trish Holmes.

CKMS News – 2023-06-19 – MP Mike Morrice discusses Bill C-22 as The Canadian Disability Act nears approval.

by: dan kellar

An interview with Kitchener Centre Green Party MP Mike Morrice.  Mike shares his reactions on the impending approval of Bill C-22, the Canadian Disability Act, which he sees as a stepping stone for more concrete supports – supports many Canadians have been waiting a very long time to materialize. 

We discussed some of the problems with the bill due to push back from the Liberal government, which includes, ending the support at the age of 65 when the recipient becomes eligible for old-age-support. Morrice, who has been championing the bill for the past years noted that “disability does not end when you turn 65”.

With C-22 back to the senate after amendments, we should expect the bill to be approved in the coming weeks. Then the work to get the benefit in the budget will have to begin.

Mike’s twitter thread on the passage of C-22: https://twitter.com/morricemike/status/1669406607778693120?s=20
Read Bill C-22 and follow the progress here:
https://www.parl.ca/LegisInfo/en/bill/44-1/C-22

This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news, and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca