(Map by Allison Leonard)
Municipal elections will be held across Waterloo Region on Oct. 27, and the following is a city ward profile that summarizes some key information. Did we miss any key issues in your ward? Let us know; email us at email@example.com. This profile was created in partnership with the Cord Community Edition.
Waterloo’s Ward 7, known by most as Uptown, runs from the border dividing Waterloo and Kitchener and is situated between Weber Street and University Avenue. It is home to Waterloo Park, Wilfrid Laurier University's main campus and the entire Uptown business shopping area. The northwestern corner of the ward dips south at the University of Waterloo properties off Seagram Drive.
Major issue: Sustainability of neighbourhoods amid intensification
Uptown Waterloo is a rapidly changing area. With a at least five major building development projects currently under construction and at least three more already planned for the next few years, it is an area that will look considerably different by the end of the next council’s term.
The development of new condos, a revamp of the Uptown streetscape and the ION transit line that will run through the ward are mostly welcomed projects. But a number of citizens are concerned about the effects of such rapid change and growth.
Ward 7 Resident Kae Elgie is concerned that what she is seeing is "intensification without any plan for how to build a community vertically." For Elgie, maintaining the history and evolution of the ward is integral as the ward grows.
Concerns about the effect of the growth and new condo developments are a common theme among residents who are concerned that new condos are resulting in increased traffic to the surrounding neighbourhoods.
However, Melissa Durrell, the current councillor who is running unopposed for the seat, says traffic studies in the Uptown West neighbourhood indicate that there has not been any major increase in volume since 1995. Durrell insists that if the situation changes the city has plans to accommodate these changes that will preserve the urban residential neighbourhoods.
Durrell describes plans to make her ward more accessible for pedestrians, cyclists, cars and businesses but she warns the next few years will bring a lot of construction and disruption.
"There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We just need to get through the tunnel first."