Welcome to the 28th 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

PS ~ We'd like to grow the audience for this newsletter! Our request: Will you forward this issue to at least one other person who shares our love of all things neighbourhoods, then suggest that they subscribe through the link at the bottom or waterloo.ca/subscribe
We are all in this together!
Earlier this year, we shared a story about Travis & Jennifer Restoule, neighbours in Eastbridge, who have developed a neighbourhood food ordering program to support local restaurants in Waterloo Region.

With the help of a pandemic focused mini grant ​volunteers who distribute meals for this program received a small thank you for all their hard work. Thanks to those involved for bringing the community together! 
Residents are encouraged to find innovative and fun things to do at home to celebrate the holiday season. 

Ideas include: 
  • Having a game or movie night
  • Doing arts and crafts
  • Having a holiday movie marathon
  • Building a gingerbread house
  • Making and sending cards 
  • Going on a winter walk 
  • Going to look at festive lights
  • Enjoying local outdoor rinks 
  • Reading your favourite stories 
  • Building a snowman
  • Baking treats
  • Making homemade hot cocoa
  • Setting goals for 2021
  • Complete colouring pages from the City of Waterloo Museum - there are animals in the forest, people skating, and a 2021 calendar with images to colour

Waterloo@Home is a one-stop-shop for ideas, resources and stories aimed at keeping residents active, connected and creative at home.
Start the New Year as a Block Connector
Do you enjoy creating social connections with others?

Caring and compassionate neighbours improve quality of life. During the pandemic we have seen neighbours sharing and providing important support to each other. Building and maintaining connections between neighbours is the goal of the Hey Neighbour! Block Connector program that started in June.

Additional block connectors are needed to help grow the program and reduce isolation through neighbourly outreach. Block connectors can reside in any neighbourhood block or area in Waterloo; including multi-residential housing such as apartment buildings, condos or other clustered homes. Areas can be inside and outside of existing neighbourhood and homes association boundaries.

Those interested in becoming a block connector will participate in a virtual orientation session in the new year to discuss the role and program conditions under the pandemic; and will work with staff to coordinate connection opportunities that are appropriate for their area.

For more information visit the Neighbourhoods webpage or email the neighbourhoods team.
Impacts to city Services during lockdown
The province’s announcement that Ontario is moving to a province-wide lockdown will have an impact on programs and services provided by the City of Waterloo effective December 26. 

Essential services, such as, but not limited to, winter control/snow clearance, watermains, municipal enforcement services, building inspections, cemetery services and planning approvals will continue. Services that will continue:
  • Issuing burial permits
  • Accepting Freedom of Information requests
  • Construction projects
  • Accepting appeals related to property standards, business & rental licensing, hearings are electronic only
  • Issuing marriage licences (subject to change depending on provincial instruction)
  • Hosting electronic council meetings
  • All building inspections will continue and permit applications will be able to be submitted/issued via email or where permitted through the online portal. Fees can be paid by cheque via the city hall drop-box
  • Planning applications will be accepted and advanced electronically with staff working remotely. All planning meetings will be held virtually.
  • Mail services are provided by the corporation (e.g., ability to drop-off submission documents and financial securities to the drop-box)
  • Funeral / graveside services continue with maximum capacity of 10
  • Online payments to the city can still be made through online or telephone banking, through the mail, residents can sign up for pre-authorized payments or payments can be placed in a secure drop-box at city hall (located at William Street entrance)
  • Cremation services continue
  • Cemetery at-need sales and inquiries are by appointment only

A message from Waterloo Fire Rescue
Smoking and cooking are the top two causes of fatal fires from November to January.

Fire happens most often when we let our guard down - when we’re distracted by the hustle and bustle of the holidays, by our cellphones, by the kids or by the doorbell.

Smoking is another leading cause of fires during the holiday season. Be sure smokers extinguish cigarettes in large deep ashtrays. 

Waterloo Fire Rescue also reminds you to maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home. Install smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas. CO alarms are required outside all bedrooms.

Enjoy a fire safe holiday season with these tips:  
  • Always be in the kitchen if something is cooking on the stove. 
  • Place lit candles away from anything that can burn and out of the reach of children and pets where they can’t be knocked over.
  • Drink responsibly. Attempting to cook or smoke while under the influence of alcohol is too often a contributing factor in fatal fires. 
  • Make sure the base of real Christmas trees are immersed in water at all times to prevent them from getting too dry. 
  • Check all sets of decorative lights before putting them up and discard any sets that are damaged. 
  • Develop and practice a home fire escape plan so that everyone in your home knows what to do if the smoke or CO alarms sound. 
Be nice. Clear your snow and ice.
Waterloo city bylaws require that your sidewalks be clear of snow and ice within 24 hours of a snow fall. Not clearing your sidewalks can result in crews contracted by the city clearing them for you. Residents are required to reimburse the city for the cost of the service. Depending on the size of your lot, this could cost you $280.

Notice a fellow neighbour that needs help with snow removal? Reach out and offer assistance!

Have extra snow shovels to share? Let your neighbours know!
Stay safe on outdoor rinks
Outdoor rink season is here!
Outdoor rink volunteers are ready to go for the 2020-2021 season! These fantastic volunteers maintain all neighbourhood rinks throughout the city and depend on cold weather to allow rinks to run. Check out your local rink for some healthy and fun recreation when the weather is cold this winter.

COVID-19 signage will be posted at each location to remind visitors of current guidelines in effect. Learn more about locations and schedules.  
Coordinated COVID-19 response newsletter
The region, area municipalities and local community partners are meeting regularly to make sure our pandemic response efforts are coordinated and aligned. This work is being done through a community pandemic control group which coordinates the efforts and actions of five other sector control groups which are described weekly in these newsletters.  

These newsletters keep local stakeholders informed about the evolving COVID-19 coordinated response. 

Check out the December 11 edition and visit the Region of Waterloo's website for future editions.
Multicultural Calendar:
  • December 24 - Christmas Eve. The evening or entire day before Christmas Day, the festival commemorating the birth of Jesus.
  • December 25 - Christmas Day. A holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is recognized as a public holiday in many nations around the world and is also celebrated secularly by many non-Christians.
  • December 26 - Boxing Day. The day after Christmas Day was traditionally celebrated as the day tradesmen and servants would receive gifts from their employers.
  • December 26 to January 1 - Kwanzaa. A celebration held in the United States and in other nations of the African diaspora in the Americas and lasts a week. The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving.
  • January 1 - New Year’s Day. The first day of the year of the modern Gregorian calendar.
  • January 5 - Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh. Born Gobind Rai, was the tenth Sikh Guru, a spiritual master, warrior, poet and philosopher.

Source: Canadian Centre for Diversity & Inclusion
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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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