Kitchener needs to grow while respecting neighbourhoods: Mayor Vrbanovic

Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic reflects on 2018 and what challenges are ahead for the city in 2019.

Affordable housing a top priority for the city, Vrbanovic says

Portrait of a man wearing glasses and a suit.
Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic says affordable housing is a priority for 2019. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Kitchener needs to grow, but it needs to happen in a way that's respectful to existing neighbourhoods, Mayor Berry Vrbanovic says.

He appeared on The Morning Edition with host Craig Norris for a year-end interview to discuss what issues the city is facing as 2018 comes to a close. The city's growth, and ensuring there's affordable housing, are top concerns, he says.

"As the community grows and many people are doing well, that we make sure that everybody is doing well and that we build a community that takes care of, not only our successful folks, but also those who need a hand up," Vrbanovic said.

Some people feel like they're being pushed out of the downtown core, with expensive condos going up where affordable housing used to be. Poverty advocates have said it makes it more difficult for people living on low or fixed incomes because it pushes them away from services located downtown.

Vrbanovic says they continue to advocate to the provincial and federal governments for funding, but the city also needs to look at what it can do.

"Looking at the full length of the corridor - the ION corridor - I think that there are numerous options that will be available over the coming years to look at what we can be doing, including, I think we need to look at some of our own land assets and see, can we be part of the solution as a municipality," he said.

Listen to the full interview with Mayor Berry Vrbanovic:

Read more of the top stories from Kitchener city hall this year: