Tag Archives: neoliberalism

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 – 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 – 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.

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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 – 2023-07-04 – 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 – 2023-06-19 – 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