Welcome to the 17th edition of Neighbours helping Neighbours, a bi-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 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 !
Sunset Community Garden is in full bloom
Sunset Community Garden in Haida Park is looking great thanks to the hard work of community garden volunteers and a little help from mini grant funding. Gardeners are enjoying the season tending to their growing produce. If you live in Eastbridge, take a walk by to see their hard work!
Albert McCormick Central Plaza and More Action Sport Parks
More action sport parks across Waterloo will complement the popular skate park in uptown, on Father David Bauer Drive.

Three locations for these new parks have been selected:
  • Albert McCormick Community Centre - skate park (planned for construction in 2020)
  • Stork Family YMCA/John M. Harper Branch Library - skate park (timing to be determined)
  • RIM Park - skate park (timing to be determined) and bike park (planned for construction in 2021)

Construction of the Albert McCormick Central Plaza, including the new skate park will be constructed summer-fall 2020 and ready for use by spring 2021. This new park will include:
  • A 5000 square foot sized skateboard park
  • Water-jet plaza
  • BankshotTM basketball court
  • All-ages climbing structure
  • New gathering/seating areas

Have your say: Kitchener GO corridor and the future of locally
The Kitchener GO Expansion Program will transform the line into a truly frequent rapid transit experience. There will be more trips at every point along the line – from Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Halton Hills, Brampton, Mississauga and Toronto.

An environmental assessment is underway to study electrification of the rail corridor between Halton Hills and Kitchener. For the second round of public meetings on this study, we are launching a virtual open house to share updated information and seek your feedback. Topics will include:
  • Proposed project infrastructure;
  • Proposed locations of traction power facilities;
  • Overview of technical and environmental studies;
  • Preliminary impact assessment results and mitigation; and
  • Next Steps.

Please visit Metrolinx Engage anytime between Wednesday July 22 to Wednesday August 12, 2020 for access to project information, presentation materials and to provide your comments and feedback.
Active transportation expansion
To help physical distancing during COVID-19, the city is creating safer spaces for walking, cycling and other modes of active transportation. Learn more about:

  1. Slow streets
  2. Speed limit reductions and traffic calming
  3. Temporary road closures
  4. Map of all active transportation changes
  5. Provide feedback
  6. Project background
City temporarily closing part of Princess Street to facilitate street dining
The City of Waterloo has temporarily closed part of Willis Way , from the Rainbow crosswalk to Caroline Street, to motorized vehicles and enable a people-friendly space. The City has also temporarily closed Princess Street , located between King and Dorset streets, to motorized vehicles to create a people-friendly space and enable on-street dining served by local businesses. 

The two-month closure is supported by the Uptown BIA. It is also aligned with the city’s Active Transportation focus. Picnic tables have been added.
Playgrounds and City Museum reopening
Playgrounds in city parks reopened for use on July 17 under Stage 3. Anyone using playground equipment is still required to maintain physical distancing. Hands should be washed before and after using the equipment.

The City Museum, located in Conestoga Mall, is reopening on July 28. Exhibit: Back 2 Basics: Timely pieces from our collection. A look at relevant trending things that have come from our time of quarantine. Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

At home gardening tips from the Waterloo Horticultural Society
“Pulling weeds can be a pain. Literally...it’s a drain on your time and energy. Is it even worth it to pull weeds?" Reformation Acres 2020

Waterloo Horticultural Society member Heather Kelly says, "The answer is YES! While it’s tempting to tell ourselves that weeds are natural, that lots of them can be eaten or used for medicine, even that they aren’t a big deal, they are a problem in the vegetable garden. We need to keep on top of them so they don’t get on top of us (and the plants we want).

It’s always helpful to use the right tool - it’s tough work to pull them out by hand but a hoe works wonders. Of course, sometimes life gets in the way; we have emergencies or things just come up that prevent us from getting to the garden regularly. If these things happen, it can be helpful to arrange for someone to visit your garden while you’re away. It’s important to remember that the weeds in our gardens will quickly become the weeds in our neighbours’ gardens.

Common Weeds
Vegetable garden plots tend to be on the small side, resulting in intensive planting (planting crops close together). Given that the plants must share nutrients, why invite weeds to the banquet? We want our vegetables to benefit from the available nutrients in the soil.

Weeds also compete for water and sunlight; they are quite aggressive and grow more quickly than the plants we carefully put in the ground. If they are allowed to grow, they can block the sunlight that our vegetables need. At the same time, they are using up water which, more and more, is becoming a precious resource. In addition, they can actually reduce pollination of the plants we want because the pollinators find enough food in the flowering weeds.
We can easily see the space taken up by weeds above ground but they also claim plenty of underground real estate. The root systems can be extensive and the result is less space for the plants we want to spread their roots.
In our area, the invasive grass  Elymus   repens,  is found in nearly every garden; it is known by various common names: couch grass, quackgrass, twitch. This grass contains what are known as allelopathic compounds, chemicals that create a zone around their roots that is hostile to other plants and prevents their growth. So, not pulling out the twitch or quackgrass can actually hurt our vegetable plants.
It is estimated that quackgrass can absorb approximately 55%, 45%, and 68% of the total nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, respectively, available for plant use…[d]ue to its highly competitive nature, quackgrass can effectively reduce crop yields by as much as 25% to 85%. 

Elymus repens  is just one example of the weeds   competing with our vegetables; let’s ‘root’ them out so we can, literally, enjoy the fruits of our labours in the community gardens.

Stay tuned for the at home gardening tips in the next edition!
Working smoke alarms are essential
Waterloo Fire Rescue reminds residents that if you are going to a cottage or RVing this summer to make sure there are working smoke & carbon dioxide alarms. Always check for two exits out in case of a fire.
  • Higher Ground Productions releases Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
  • The Record shares Kitchener teacher amplifying diverse voices through little free libraries
  • Region of Waterloo shares Reuse and recycle directory: Reuse options for everyday items
  • Waterloo North Hydro provides information about their hydro emergency assistance program
  • Food Revolution Network screens The Need to Grow
  • Region of Blue Waterloo box sorting stickers: help everyone at home sort correctly: Containers Only and Paper and Plastic Bag blue box stickers. Call Customer Service at 519-575-4400, and ask for some to be mailed to you.
  • The National Film Board of Canada shares Films about Black Communities in Canada
  • The Food Bank of Waterloo Region has their Drive-Thru Food Drive happening on June 25 from 9 till noon at 555 Davenport Drive in Waterloo.
 Stay tuned for the next edition of Waterloo Neighbourhoods.
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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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