Cambridge needs development exemption around LRT

Published Letter to the Editor

The LRT has helped create a core development boom in Kitchener and Waterloo.

A development charge exemption may no longer be needed to spur downtown core development. We sincerely wish that Cambridge was in that position as well!

Personally, when I first heard about the idea of the LRT coming to our region, I was a skeptic; this skepticism continued until I visited one of the first LRT public information sessions held in Cambridge.

As I walked around the room trying to absorb the future vision laid out, my attitude quickly changed. I left that meeting with an understanding that the LRT was about much more than transportation, it was a tool to transform our cities and stimulate development around a central spine. The potential development benefits, particularly for our core areas, became paramount in my new-found support for the LRT.

This vision appears to be coming true in spades for Kitchener and Waterloo. Cambridge really needs the LRT so we can also experience some of the key development benefits.

Continuing a core area development exemption for Cambridge will improve the LRT business case by increasing the density of residents and jobs, as well as increasing transit ridership. We understand that this is the City of Cambridge’s position, and we endorse it completely.

In a spirit of fairness, we ask our regional council for support on this exemption, at least until Cambridge gets ION Phase 2.

Dan Clements
Citizens for Cambridge

Citizens for Cambridge Founder honoured for contributions with 2019 Waterloo Volunteer Impact Award

Volunteer Action Centre.jpg

Dan Clements, Past President of Citizens for Cambridge, was recently presented a Grassroots Involvement Award at the 14th Annual Volunteer Impact Awards Gala dinner celebration.

This award recognizes a community leader who has gone out of his way to bring people together to address issues related to the well-being of their community.

The Gala was held at Bingeman’s Park in Kitchener. Dan had the honour of delivering an acceptance speech to a supportive crowd of committed community volunteers and leaders, as well as civic leaders.

Smart Waterloo Region submits final application to the Federal Government’s Smart Cities Challenge

We have enjoyed participating in the Smart Waterloo Region initiative.

Smart Waterloo Region.jpg

The goal is to become the benchmark community in Canada for child and youth well-being by using early intervention, youth engagement and a connected-community framework to create adaptive, data-driven programs and scalable learning technologies that improve early child development, mental health and high school graduation rates.

Here are some compliments to all citizens who participated:

“We are truly grateful for all of the feedback we received from residents, partners, and children and youth. All input on engagement, solution development, and creative ideas directly informed our application. We couldn’t have put together such a visionary application without your contributions – thank you!” . . . from the Smart Waterloo Region Team.

Ending chronic homelessness by 2020 - free public forum being held on May 29 at Cambridge City Hall

Waterloo Region has a plan to house community members who have been homeless and struggling with the most complex needs for the longest period of time.  The goal is to end chronic homelessness by 2020. 

Ending Chronic Homelessness Public Meeting May 29 2019 Small.jpg

How did we get here?
Why does this issue matter to the health of our city? 
Why should you care? 
Is this even possible?
 

Join Citizens for Cambridge on May 29th to learn more about the challenge, how the Region, City and local social service agencies are working together and the part we each have to play in building a brighter future for all. 

We look forward to seeing you at the meeting!

New insights into the intersecting challenges of Healthcare and Opioids, discussed by community leaders.

We attended the Chamber of Commerce "Good Morning Cambridge" Breakfast - A Conversation on Healthcare, Opioids and Our Community. The meeting featured Lynn Perry Executive Director of the Bridges, Regional Councillor Helen Jowett and Cambridge Memorial Hospital CEO Patrick Gaskin.

Emergency visits up 50%

A very informative discussion revealed that to date CMH emergency has seen nearly a 50% increase in opiod related visits over 2018. Lynn Perry related that the Bridges has worked hard to improve relations with EMS, with whom they depend on in partnership and the presence of an EMS vehicle doesn't necessarily mean an emergency - it could mean planning, training, or a social visit to build trust with residents and staff who must collaborate smoothly during emergencies.

Overdoses are changing shelter roles dramatically

Six years ago there was never an overdose, but now it is a regular and all too frequent occurrence. The necessary training and skills required of Bridges staff is significant and expensive. Dealing with the stress of finding someone unconscious and blue, then the adrenalin rush of fighting to save them is now an occupational hazard requiring careful management and support.

All services becoming stressed out

Helen Jowett related the need for and difficulty in finding additional police and EMS staff to replace the number of employees on LTD stress leave which has recently grown from 12 to 18%.

Community can remove Stigma as a barrier to success

Lynn Perry discussed how to reduce the stigma that is a barrier for those navigating disability, by chosing words carefully and acting respectfully towards people facing challenges. She appealed to the chamber audience by talking about managing mental health issues from a health and safety perspective. Lynn reminded the audience of the Bridges primary mission, to work hard each and every day to sustain sobriety and to provide the tools and training to sustain housing.

CMH rebuild prevents hosting CTS, no Ontario hospitals do

Patrick spoke of the CMH focus on meeting community needs and that despite this during the current construction and follow on rehabilitation and upgrade of wing B, there just isn't space to accommodate a Consumption and Treatment clinic. He also noted that none of Ontario's 21 current and 15 recently approved clinics are located in a hospital.

Online tests show nearly anyone at risk for addiction

Helen Jowett spoke about the determinants or risk factors for opioid dependency mentioning that there are simple tests on the internet that are a real eye opener regarding who can be affected. Each of us may be only one unfortunate event away from addiction.

CMH and Stonehenge place Peer Worker in Emergency Department

Patrick also spoke about how a partnership with Stonehenge Therapeutic has placed a peer worker with lived experience and street involvement in CMH's Emergency Dept 5 days per week to support people and their families in an overdose crisis while assisting and training hospital staff in caring effectively for this special needs population.

GRCA challenged by rough living

Helen spoke about the challenges faced by the GRCA in dealing with campers living rough and how they will simply pick up and move to another location out of view.

Prevention starts in schools and funding beyond property taxes needed

Helen noted that childhood trauma is a frequent underlying cause of addictive behavior and so intervention on signs of trauma evident in elementary schools needs emphasis. In order to fund the necessary resources, we need sources beyond property taxes.

Community support urgently needed

All spoke of the need for a positive community response. Lynn Perry appealed to everyone for donations to support the Bridges in this expensive and resource demanding work which has significantly increased costs which depend on community donations. Helen noted that the community needs to come along and be supportive as the best success factor will be that "we are all in".

Durocher thanks all who deal with this crisis on our behalf

Greg Durocher thanked all speakers and especially Lynn Perry and the Bridges staff, EMS personnel, and CMH emergency staff for battling on the front lines of this community crisis serving our citizens navigating disability.

HHUG is helping end chronic homelessness in Cambridge, rooming spaces are needed

Wellbeing Waterloo Region was formed with the goal of making transformative and large scale change for chronic homelessness. This is only possible when the whole community works together in new ways. ALL IN 2020 supports the excellent work being done by local service agencies by creating more awareness and mobilizing increased resources.

Are you wondering if you have a room or space in your home that might help, but are not sure where to start?

Learn from the experts. Attend a free public information session! Topics include:

  • How to make it legal - zoning, building code etc.

  • Funding available to help pay for build-out

  • Business case for in-law (secondary) suites

Date: April 24th, 2019
Time: 7:00 P.M.-9:00 P.M.
Where: Cambridge City Hall-Bowman Room

For more information, contact the Homelessness Housing Umbrella Group (HHUG) at hhug@lutherwood.ca or 519-749-8305 ext. 1417

150 Main Street dropped as CTS candidate, new location for Cambridge being sought

Public Health has released it’s report and recommendations for Consumption Treatment Site locations in Waterloo Region. The report will be presented to the Community Services Committee of Regional Council on Tuesday, April 9th. Information about this meeting can be found on the Region of Waterloo website.

The key recommendations to Regional Council include:

“That the Regional Municipality of Waterloo take the following actions regarding Consumption and Treatment Services in Waterloo Region:

  1. Seek approval from the City of Kitchener to support an application to the provincial government for funding to operate Consumption and Treatment Services at the location of 150 Duke Street West, Kitchener.

  2. Pending approval from the City of Kitchener, submit an application to Health Canada for a Federal exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act allowing for the legal operation of supervised consumption services at the location of 150 Duke Street West, Kitchener; and submit an application to the provincial government for funding of capital and operating costs for Consumption and Treatment Services at the location of 150 Duke Street West, Kitchener.

  3. Continue to work with City of Cambridge staff and council to identify an alternative site that meets provincial and federal program criteria for Consumption and Treatment Services in as timely a manner as possible.

  4. When an alternative location has been identified by the City of Cambridge staff and Council and Public Health; proceed with consultation on the new location using the same methodology as per PHE-IDS-19-02.”

How I clawed my way back from an opioid addiction

“It can happen to anyone” is well illustrated in this chronicle of one man’s addiction to prescription opioids associated with a routine hip replacement, his downward spiral into near suicide and the long and difficult road to recovery.

This real story provides an intimate view of the vice-like grip drugs can have on a resourceful person free of adversity while also demonstrating the critical importance of strong connections and robust support. It is a call to establish much more vigorous support and connection with those suffering addiction.