SPECIAL EDITION 13
Waterloo is listening and learning
Welcome to the 13th edition of Neighbours helping Neighbours, a weekly newsletter from the neighbourhoods team, with a focus on good news stories, important community updates and an ever growing list of support resources.

If the events of the past week have taught us anything, it's the importance of raising our voices towards a collective purpose. This happens best when we listen and learn from the lived experiences of our neighbours and friends. It helps us to do the hard work of developing our own point of view, owning it and sharing our intent and ideas clearly to others.

If you have ideas for resources to share or shareable stories of kindness, please send them to: neighbourhoods@waterloo.ca

P.S. Was this email forwarded to you?  You can get your own !
Distanced teamwork
Community Gardeners were busily working to open Vermont Park Neighbourhood Association/L'Ecole Harmonie's community garden last week. Enjoying the weather, the work and time together.

Photo credit: Jen Vasic, Ward 5
This invasive plant could be growing in your backyard
Known for its garlic scent when its leaves are crushed, Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a non-native invasive plant that can be found within shady woodlands, waterways, along trails and even your own backyard!

This plant was introduced by European settlers in the early 1800s as an edible herb. It is considered one of Ontario’s most damaging forest plants as it spreads easily, out-competing native species.
If you find this plant on your residential property from April to June, carefully identify it, hand-pull and dispose of properly.  Learn more about Garlic Mustard

Residents planting invasive species in private gardens are an increasing concern, especially where they grow close to public green spaces. The  Grow Me Instead guide provides tips on growing species that are best suited to growing in our environment.
Many city events moving to online and pop-up format this summer
The city is cancelling its in-person arts and culture events this summer, replacing some with online versions, in support of physical distancing guidelines.

In addition, the city’s arts and culture team will be hosting special “pop-up” events, when permitted by public health guidelines. 

Chalk with us!
Sherri Flegel and her 9 year old son live on a busy walking route in Northlake. Their driveway often has drawings both by them, and others who draw or write messages back. They have met new neighbours this way, and (distance) socialized with old ones.
COVID-19 impacts to parks and forestry services this summer
Due to reduced seasonal staffing numbers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents will notice changes in service levels within parks and forestry this summer.

All municipalities throughout the region are similarly impacted but due to differences in size, number of facilities, staffing levels and contractor use, not all will experience the same service level impacts.

Hours of work
In an effort to maintain physical distancing, staff are starting earlier, working on staggered start times and working day and afternoon shifts. Residents may notice additional noise in the mornings as well as after 3 p.m. 

Washroom facilities
Permanent park washrooms are anticipated to be open on July 1. 

Grass cutting
Grass cutting operations throughout parks, open space and cul-de-sacs will be impacted this year. Residents can expect to see slightly longer times between cuts and a greatly reduced service level on string trimming.
 
Horticulture displays
Horticulture displays will be limited primarily to areas within the uptown core this year. 

Tree planting
Tree planting has been delayed by about six weeks. The spring tree planting program will begin the first week in June with approximately 400 trees compared to the typical 700 trees. Tree planting will resume in the fall as we do not plant trees in the hotter summer months of mid-July and August. 

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) update
Ash tree removals are underway. Residents can expect to see city staff and contract staff removing dead/dying ash trees throughout the city. This work is scheduled to be completed by neighbourhood in an effort to reduce mobilization time and costs. 

Sport fields
Reduced crews are focusing their efforts on grass cutting to maintain the health of our turf. String trimming will be reduced and grooming and lining will be impacted.

Residents and user groups can expect to see a reduced service level, particularly for grooming, lining and diamond setups/base distance changes, this will not be sufficient to support any large tournament play should that restriction be lifted by the province. User groups may also experience fewer booking times available so as not to overcrowd parking lots and park spaces between games. 

Premium gated fields such as those at Bechtel diamond, RIM park artificial fields, Westmount sports fields and Waterloo Park diamonds 1 and 2 remain locked and closed to all activities.

Outdoor tennis, pickleball and basketball courts
All courts are now open city-wide and available for play with physical distancing. Basketball courts are available for practice only.

Exploring Inclusionary Zoning to Support Affordable Housing
Safe and affordable housing is an issue of increasing concern within Waterloo Region. Waterloo is considering a new tool, called inclusionary zoning, to require the construction of affordable housing units in certain parts of the city.

Find out how this tool could work and the potential impacts on residents, and providers of not-for-profit and private housing.
At home gardening tips from the Waterloo Horticultural Society
Hello gardeners!

We hope you found the articles in the newsletter on kale and mint useful, or at least interesting. Since we will be continuing to contribute articles, we thought we should introduce ourselves!

We are the Waterloo Horticultural Society/Waterloo Gardeners, a local group with over 200 members, all with a common interest in gardening. We are part of the Ontario Horticultural Association, along with 9 other Societies in Waterloo Region.

Our group is very diverse and our members range from first time gardeners to those with many decades of experience. We know that many of you are new to gardening and may have questions. You can email us or call 519-747-1867 and we will be happy to answer your queries.

Our activities are on hold now due to the pandemic, but our program usually includes monthly meetings with knowledgeable guest speakers, garden tours, an annual plant auction, bus trips, workshops, a Garden Fair and Competition, and more. We maintain two public gardens in Uptown Waterloo, Memorial Park on Erb St. beside the Marsland Centre and Carnegie Green, across from the public library on Albert Street.

We also have a Waterloo Gardeners YouTube channel with fun and informative videos. We are always looking for new ideas so please let us know what interests you. For further information please visit our website or our Facebook page.

Stay tuned for the at home gardening tips in next week's edition!

Photo credit: Shelly R., Clair Hills
Coordinated COVID-19 Response Newsletter - June 5, 2020
These weekly newsletters keep everyone informed about
the coordinated response to the evolving COVID-19 situation. The Region, area municipalities and local community partners are meeting regularly to make sure pandemic response efforts
are coordinated and aligned.

Resources:
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Waterloo Neighbourhoods is published throughout the year to keep residents informed about the good things happening in neighbourhoods across Waterloo. If you have any questions or comments, please call 519-747-8515 or email communications@waterloo.ca . If you’re reading Waterloo Neighbourhoods as a non-subscriber, visit our subscription page to sign up for future editions.

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