Federation of Canadian Municipalities to hammer out election priorities in Kitchener-Waterloo

Kitchener and Waterloo will jointly host the board of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities this week. The board will spend the week hammering out a list of municipal priorities in advance of the 2019 federal election.

The two cities will jointly host the federation's board meeting this week

The board of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities will be in Kitchener and Waterloo this week to decide a list of priorities in advance of the fall federal election. (Google StreetView)

The board of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities will be in Kitchener and Waterloo this week to decide a list of priorities in advance of the fall federal election.

The federation represents more than 2,000 municipalities from across the country. Its stated mission is to ensure municipal priorities are reflected in federal policies.

Both Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic and Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky said they want the federal election to reflect those priorities in the areas of infrastructure, affordable housing and public transit.

Climate change, they agreed, is another area of concern.

"Municipalities are going to increasingly be dealing with climate adaptation and mitigation," said Vrbanovic.

"We know there's a lot more work that's going to need to be done in our community and others over the coming years as a result of climate change. And so that's going to be a primary focus as well."

As of Sunday, a preliminary list of election focus areas on the FCM website includes:

  • Permanently doubling the Gas Tax Fund.
  • Rural community investment.
  • Building better public transit.
  • Making housing more affordable.

An official election platform will be released following the board meeting.

Showcasing Waterloo region

Waterloo mayor Dave Jaworsky is pictured with bowls from the Waterloo Potters Workshop, which will be given as keepsakes from the event to promote the region's art industry. (Submitted by Dave Jaworsky)

In addition to the election lead-up, the meeting is a chance to compare notes with other municipalities about how they're dealing with thorny issues like cannabis legalization and the opioid crisis, said Jaworsky.

It's also a time to hype up the tourism, post-secondary institutions and entrepreneurship in Waterloo region, he said.

"It's an opportunity of people to you know to go back to their home cities and tell their other elected officials of the 'wow' of Waterloo Region," said Jaworsky.

To that end, representatives will be given ION LRT tickets during their stay and will take home bowls made by the Waterloo Potters Workshop.

"Having that artistic bowl brought to you by the Waterloo potters in their hands, on their desks, in their offices across Canada, I think it's key," he said.

About 150 people from the FCM board and committees will be in town for the board meeting from Monday to Friday, Vrbanovic said.

Kitchener last hosted the board in 2012 when Vrbanovic was president.

The opening reception will be held in Kitchener, and the closing reception will be held in Waterloo.

In November, the FCM board will meet once more in Ottawa for "advocacy days" in advance of the federal budget season.


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