Tag Archives: housing

CKMS News – 2024-01-05 – Council approves University of Waterloo plan to partially transform a parking lot into a 12 story student residence.

CKMS News – 2024-01-05 – Waterloo Council approves University of Waterloo plan to partially transform a parking lot into a 12 story student residence


by: dan kellar

In Waterloo’s final open city council session of 2023, site-specific by-law and zoning changes were approved to allow a new residence at the University of Waterloo. The 510 bed, twelve-story building will be constructed on the northern section of the parking lot that sits between University Ave, Seagram Drive, and the Spur Line Trail.  

First announced by the university in September of 2023, the new residence is now a collaboration with architect Diamond and Schmitt and will mainly house first year students. The University of Waterloo guarantees housing for all first year students, however, most upper-year students must compete for housing off-campus.

This show features audio from the December 11th meeting where staff presented the project, the architect spoke alongside representatives from the University of Waterloo and consultant GSP group,  and delegates proposed even more car parking lots being transformed into human living spaces.  Councilors voted unanimously for the motion.

Homelessness organization obtains funding amid accusations of unfairness and inequity

Tensions simmered when the topic of A Better Tent City (ABTC) came up at the last Waterloo Regional Council meeting of 2023. ABTC is tiny home community in Kitchener that currently houses 50 chronic homeless people.

On one side were those who supported the motion from Councillor and Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic which granted $236,390 for the next two years to ABTC. On the other side were those who said the grant was unfair and inequitable.

Several Councillors insisted the wording of Councillor Vrbanovic’s motion be removed as they felt it was insulting to staff. Another criticism arose because six other groups had been denied original funding but did not afterwards ask Council for money, some councillors felt this was unfair and inequitable

Despite the criticism, Council carried Councillor Vrbanovic’s motion granting ABTC $236,390 for the next two years

CKMS News – 2023-12-22- Cambridge council votes against investigating affordable home builds above city parking lots

CKMSNews-2023-12-22-Cambridge Rejects Affordable Housing in Parking Lots Study

by: dan kellar

Cambridge – Joined by 4 city councilors on December 19th, Cambridge mayor Jan Liggett voted against a motion to investigate the plausibility building affordable housing in raised buildings above city owned parking lots.

The motion, brought forward by ward 7 councilor Scott Hamilton was supported by all the delegates who presented at the meeting including resident Matthew Rodgers, the advocacy groups “Citizens for Cambridge”, “For the City”, and “Waterloo Region Yes In My Backyard”, and as stated by councilor Earnshaw, the Cambridge Business Improvement Association was also on board.

Despite strong support for the motion from delegates, and the voting support of councilors Kimpson, Earnshaw,  Roberts, and Hamilton, the motion was ultimately defeated, wIth Mayor Liggett suggesting churches should be converting their own parking lots for housing.  Before calling the vote, Liggett stated that voting “no” does not mean that a councilor is against building affordable housing.

CKMS News -2023-12-15- First stage of approvals for housing development on former Kraus Flooring factory site

CKMS News – 2023-12-15 – First stage of approvals for housing development on former Kraus Flooring factory site

by: dan kellar

Waterloo – On December 11th, following discussion, presentations, and legal clarifications, the first stages of a 12-tower development on the former Kraus Flooring factory lands in North Waterloo were approved through a unanimous vote from city councilors. With support for the project and the necessary changes to the site’s zoning and by-laws, the developer can move further into project planning.  

This show features clips from the council meeting, focusing on updates to the original 2021 site plan, the status of a pedestrian bridge over the adjacent highway, and questions about promises for affordable and attainable housing in this purpose built rental development which features a proposed total of 5,452 bedrooms in 3,353 residential units.

Delegates included site owner Richard Boyer of 65 Northfield Drive Inc, consultant Chris Pidgeon of GSP Group, and Waterloo resident Ashwin Annamalai. Councilors Hanmer, Bodaly, Roe, Freeman, and Vasic also spoke, as did Mayor McCabe.

CKMS News 2023-11-21 – ACORN Ontario’s Rental Registry

CKMS News -2023-11-21- ACORN Ontario’s Rental Registry

by: dan kellar

Waterloo – Over 8,000 renters have registered their units with ACORN’s Rental Registry since the grassroots social and economic justice organisation launched their map based online database at the end of the summer. ACORN Ontario told CKMS News in a statement that “the rental registry will track rising rents across the province.” which they say will “lead to better, publicly-available housing data that can help protect and create more affordable housing”.

Today’s shows features interviews with Acer Bonapart, the chair of ACORN Waterloo Regionwhich since its launch earlier this year, has focused primarily on tenant rights and housing issues. Additionally, CKMS speaks with Geordie Dent of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations (FMTA), a non-profit organization founded in 1974 which advocates for better rights for tenants.  The show also includes comments that the ACORN Ontario chapter provided to CKMS News. 

ACORN Ontario told CKMS News that the registry was created by the Montreal based non-profit Vivre en Ville,  saying  “The registry was first introduced in Quebec and has over 30,000+ rents voluntarily registered. The rental registry is easy, quick and secure as it was designed to be compliant with SOC2 cybersecurity standards., standards that meet requirements for governmental use.

According to rentals.ca, which has for years tracked such data, average rents across the country are still rising at over 100$/month, with a one bedroom apartment in Waterloo averaging 1,944$ a month in October.  Two bedroom apartments are now averaging 2,543$ a month, nearly a 15% increase from last year at the same time.  

While many provinces have some form of rent control, in Ontario since Doug Ford dismantled the existing system in 2018, that control comes in the form of a 2.5% maximum allowable increase to the rent after a 12 month period. 

However, the Landlord and Tenant Board, an arm of Ontario’s legal system, often allows this maximum to be exceeded after being convinced by a landlord’s request. As Geordie Dent explains, the board approves the above guideline increase “in the neighbourhood of 90-95% of the time”. Additionally, the maximum increase also does not apply between tenants, meaning the landlord can increase the rent any amount they want on new tenants once the old ones move out.

The Landlord and Tenant Board does not specifically track how often they approve AGIs and their 2022-2023 report has a lot of incomplete data. A brief review of cases  by CKMS News centering on Above Guideline Increases on the Canadian Legal Information Institute, where all such cases are listed, reveals the 10 most recent cases were all decided in favour of the landlord, with the majority declaring: “The Landlord justified a rent increase above the guideline because of capital expenditures.”  

 While above guideline increases continue to have harmful effects on renters, ACORN Ontario told CKMS News the registry will provide “Greater transparency for renters so they can make informed decisions about where they choose to live”.  The statement concluded “Better housing data can help inform stronger affordable housing policies like those supported by Ontario ACORN’s ‘Real Rent Control’ Campaign. Over time, the registry will clearly show that rents increase astronomically in between tenancies on units that aren’t subject to rent control, and as a result of above guideline rent increases. These loopholes in our current rent control laws create incentives for landlords to renovict or demovict their tenants or neglect repairs until tenants get fed up and leave”. 

 

CKMS News – 2023-11-17 – Reviewing the effects of the financialisation of housing

CKMS News – 2023-11-17 – Reviewing the effects of the financialisation of housing

by: dan kellar

Waterloo – On Oct 30th ACORN, the grassroots social and economic justice organisation with chapters across the country, delivered over 400 tenant testimonials to federal liberal MPs including Waterloo’s Bardish Chagger. This action coincided with ACORN’s national housing spokesperson Tanya Bukart giving testimony to the National Housing Council’s review panel on the financialisation of purpose built rental housing.  Bukart’s testimony highlighted the effects on renters created by the stress of living in a precarious housing market, which has been transformed over the past decades, into an investment industry with profit seeking constantly driving up housing and rental prices.

Today’s show features interviews with Acer Bonapart, the chair of the Waterloo Region chapter of ACORN, and Mike Morrice, the Green Party MP for Kitchener Centre, who has been pressuring the government over the ongoing crisis in the affordability of housing in Canada since being elected in 2021.  Additionally, Geordie Dent of The Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations (FMTA), which advocates for better rights for tenants, adds comments on the financialisation of housing.

For the purposes of this review, the National Housing Council is using the Federal Housing Advocate’s definition of the financialization of housing which is “the growing dominance of financial actors in the housing sector, which is transforming the main function of housing from a place to live into a financial asset and a tool for investor profits.”  The definition continues “These may include asset management companies, hedge funds, pension funds, private equity funds, real estate investment trusts (REITs), real estate operating companies and sovereign wealth funds.”

The National Housing Council, which refers to reports commissioned by The Federal Housing Advocate adds “The financialization of purpose-built rental housing has been linked to a range of negative impacts for renters, such as evictions, rising rents and reduced building services and maintenance.” On this point the National Right to Housing Network, a grassroots tenants rights organisation also focusing on the national panel explains “Financialization of housing refers to the treatment of housing primarily as a financial asset and tool for maximizing investor profit at the expense of human rights among tenants and tenancy-seeking individuals.”

The show focuses on the financialisation of the housing market, immediate steps which could be taken to start addressing the affordability crisis, and the longer term role of government in creating and maintaining an affordable and quality housing supply to meet the needs of growing populations.

 

CKMS News -2023-10-27- Delegates tell council to reaffirm the Regional Official Plan in response to Ford’s policy reversal.

CKMS News 2023-10-27-Reaffirming The Regional Plan

by: dan kellar

During presentations on October 25th to Waterloo Regional Council, 2 delegates asked the council to respond to the Ontario government’s reversal of the forced expansion of the region’s urban boundaries by reaffirming their commitment to the 2022 Regional Official Plan and by informing the Government that no changes will be identified.  

In today’s show, we hear excerpts from the delegations of Sam Nabi, the director of  Hold the Line Waterloo Region, and Kevin Thomason of the Grand River Environmental Network to the regional council, along with responses from councilors Rob Deutschmann and Dorothy McCabe. 

These delegations were in response to the October 23rd announcement from the  Ontario minister of municipal affairs and housing, Paul Calandra, that affected municipalities had 45 days to respond to his government’s policy reversal.

Before we get into those presentations, here is a bit of background on the situation.

On October 23rd Ontario’s minister of municipal affairs and housing Paul Calandra announced the reversal of his government’s plans which would have forced the extension of the urban boundaries of 12 Ontario municipalities.  In the case of Waterloo Region, this reversal could be accompanied by a return to the 2022 Regional Official Plan which was the product of an extensive public consultation and negotiation. 

This recent flip-flop by the PC government, follows the reversal of the Greenbelt development plans which received widespread condemnation, was the catalyst of province-wide protests, and is also the focus of an RCMP investigation.  

In April 2023, Ford’s Progressive Conservative government upended the plans of many municipalities by overturning their urban boundary and development plans, forcing municipalities to start new processes to approve previously protected land, for new urban sprawl. 

At the time of the original upending of the region’s official plan, local grassroots organisation Hold the Line WR were adamant the Region needed to fight back against the conservative government’s plans. Now, Sam Nabi, the director of the group, and Kevin Thomason of GREN are asking the regional council to reaffirm their commitment to the 2022 Regional Official Plan and to tell Minister Calandra, within his 45 day limit, that there will be no changes identified.

 

Kitchener City Council approves motion to examine construction of fourplexes on single residential lots

by MP Holmes
Kitchener, Ontario

Kitchener City council unanimously passed a new motion to begin the process to increase the missing middle housing stock by allowing fourplexes on single residential lots.

The housing advocacy group YIMBY delegated in favour of the motion at the Council meeting. “YIMBY” is an acronym which stands for “Yes In My Back Yard”.

The ‘missing middle’ is defined as medium-density housing that sits somewhere between single-family residential properties and high-rise condominiums. The intention behind missing middle housing is that it is cheaper for each resident because costs of living on a property are split between four residents rather than one. Currently, fourplexes need special zoning approvals to be built in Kitchener. This new possible bylaw would legally allow fourplexes under the municipality’s zoning bylaw, so special permission to build will not be needed.

Councillors were mostly open and optimistic although wary of opposition. Councillor Paul Singh encouraged city staff to prioritise issues of parking in their development. Councillor Debbie Chapman raised the issue of affordability and how the city will ensure this initiative doesn’t fall prey to the allure of AirBnB revenue, and Councillor Bill Ioannidis lamented the community’s expectations related to housing.

The idea of fourplexes has been brought forward in other Ontario municipalities. Mississauga has decided to not move forward on fourplexes, while Toronto passed a motion to allow fourplexes back in May.

The motion in Kitchener City Council was similar to a motion the mayor of Guelph brought to a council meeting in Guelph on Tuesday afternoon. That motion was passed unanimously as well. Waterloo City Councillor Royce Bodaly has also brought forward a motion looking at permitting four units on one lot in Waterloo. That motion is set to be discussed at the October 30 Council meeting.

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

Listen to the radio story above:

 

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

CKMS News – 2023-09-29 – Greenbelt updates, no compensation for developers.

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 – 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

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 – 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 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

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.

Headlines: Tenants Organising, C-22 finalizing, Solidarity Day Unity Jam, and worst air quality in a decade.

Headlines for Saturday June 17th, 2023 from host dan kellar:

1 – Tenant Union pushes back against “high-pressure” landlord.
The recently launched ACORN Tenant Union of Waterloo Region is organising a demonstration targeting a landlord whom tenants say is trying to renovict all the residents in two buildings who are paying less than market rates.

2 – The Canadian Disability Act finally heading for final approval in the Senate
Disabled folks in Canada may soon receive a bit more support due to the impending approval of Bill C-22.

3 – Indigenous Solidarity Day Unity Jam in Waterloo Park.
With the tag line “Love, Lax, and Land Back”, a Solidarity Day Unity Jam and Lacrosse game, hosted by Protect the Tract, will take place in Waterloo park on June 21st.

4 – Forest fires push Waterloo Region’s air quality to the most dangerous levels in a decade.
Last week’s combination of the smoke from climate change fueled forest fires and a low pressure system off the east coast, led to Waterloo Region suffering its worst air quality levels in at least a decade


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

The Unhoused Experience Protest in Victoria Park

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By MP Holmes

On Friday May 26th, a month after the City of Kitchener closed public access to Roos Island in their effort to relocate people who had been living in an encampment on the island, a demonstration was held to remind the public that just because the tents are gone does not mean the housing crisis is over.

The Region of Waterloo currently has less than 250 emergency shelter beds, but there are more than 1,000 unsheltered community members, and this number is growing all the time.

In response, the Unhoused Experience: 24hr Challenge invited people to pitch tents for 24hours in the park, and despite a heavy presence from by-law and security, around 50 people participated in workshops and to listened to advocates and people who have experience being unhoused tell their stories.

We talked to organizers and participants about the housing and homelessness crisis and their 24 hour event.

 

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 Headlines for 7 June 2023

Listen to CKMS News headlines here:

Headlines for June 7th 2023:

1 – Waterloo’s Trinity Bible Chapel at the forefront of christian fundamentalist  anti-LGBTQ movement.

Waterloo based pastor Jacob Reaume of the Trinity Bible Chapel again brings national attention to Waterloo through his anti-LGBTQ sermons and involvement in nationwide network Christian fundamentalist churches who have been supporting anti-LGBTQ candidates in municipal and school board elections across the country.

2 – Former teacher has her day in court over book censorship presentation “censorship”.

Former teacher Carolyn Burjoski’s has taken the Waterloo Region District School Board to court demanding she be allowed to continue her presentation which was arguing that some books available to students with LGBTQ themes were not appropriate and could mislead those who read the books about sexuality and gender.

3 – WRDSB trustee Mike Ramsay takes the school board to court over “free expression” suspension.

Represented by the the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, WRDSB trustee Mike Ramsay was in Ontario Superior Court on June 6th as he tries to have a suspension struck from his record and for the court to declare that the School Board violated his charter right to free expression. The school board still holds that the suspension was based on an accurate assessment of the situation, and that freedom of expression does not mean freedom from consequences.

4 – ACORN launches in Waterloo Region to support tenants’ rights.

On May 25th, 2023 a chapter of the Canada-wide social and economic justice organisation ACORN launched in Waterloo Region in an effort to support tenants and form strategies to combat “High Rents, Renovictions, and Slumlords.”

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 – 2021-08-14 – Supporting Youth through the housing crisis in KW – Part 2

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Host: Sherice Alishaw

The housing crisis leads to more barriers for the marginalized individuals within our community. Residents are facing an affordable housing crisis in Waterloo region. The low income housing waitlist is almost 6 years until you are able to be offered a unit. Marginalized members of this community are struggling to find and maintain stable housing in this region. 

On this episode of CKMS News, we interview Sandy Dietrich-Bell, CEO of OneROOF a youth shelter in Kitchener. Part 2 of the interview focuses on some solutions to the housing crisis and the barriers that youth  face while trying to obtain stable housing.

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

Check out the archived versions of this program and other episodes on radiowaterloo.ca/news, and other stories commissioned under the Local Journalism Initiative at canada-info.ca

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

CKMS News – 2021-08-12 – Supporting Youth through the housing crisis in KW – Part 1

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Host: Sherice Alishaw

The housing crisis leads to more barriers for the marginalized individuals within our community. Residents are facing an affordable housing crisis in Waterloo region. The low income housing waitlist is almost 6 years until you are able to be offered a unit. Marginalized members of this community are struggling to find and maintain stable housing in this region. 

On this episode of CKMS News, we interview Sandy Dietrich-Bell, CEO of OneROOF a youth shelter in Kitchener. We discuss the barriers that marginalized members of our community face while trying to obtain stable housing as well as how the community can come together for a solution to this housing crisis. 

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

Check out the archived versions of this program and other episodes on radiowaterloo.ca/news, and other stories commissioned under the Local Journalism Initiative at canada-info.ca

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

CKMS News – 2021-08-11 – Impacts on housing affordability – Short term rentals and “bandit signs” in Waterloo Region

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Host: Trish Holmes

This episode of CKMS News examines the growing number of short-term rentals (e.g., AirBnB) in Waterloo Region and the impact of this on our long-term rental housing market and the need for data collection specifically targeted to gather information about the housing stock.  We talk to the Waterloo By law office and a Kitchener City Councillor about lack of regulations and the lack of data.

The episode also explores the bandit signs advertising house buying, that are illegally displayed alongside roads and high traffic areas throughout our Region. We talk to the Kitchener bylaw office about the signs and what can be done about them.


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

Check out the archived versions of  this program and other episodes on radiowaterloo.ca/news., and other stories commissioned under the Local Journalism Initiative at canada-info.ca.

You can  follow us on twitter @RadioWaterloo. If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca

CKMS News -2021-07-02- Waterloo Region Weekly Roundup

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Host: Melissa Bowman

Today’s Waterloo Region Weekly Roundup episode focuses on the June 22nd Region of Waterloo council meeting. This was a rather full agenda as it was the last council meeting prior to the summer break.

Topics discussed at this meeting included the Climate Action Plan, several housing projects, and an update regarding the Region’s child care plan since closing the 5 regionally owned centres last year. There’s also a discussion regarding plans for the Charles Street terminal redevelopment and ReallocateWR’s proposal for an Indigenous Community Hub on that land.

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

Check out the archived versions of  this program and other episodes on radiowaterloo.ca/news., and other stories commissioned under the Local Journalism Initiative at canada-info.ca.

You can  follow us on twitter @RadioWaterloo. If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca