IDEAS OF THE BRAVE
The Region of Waterloo wants local businesses to participate in updating the Kitchener Economic Development Strategy. They suggest collecting 10 people in a group and answering specific questions. The guideline for these meetings is called Ideas of the Brave. You can find it here.
Being a sole practitioner, it is difficult to collect 10 people in a group as suggested in the Guideline. Here are my personal answers to the questions posed.
I am 46 years old.
I live and work in Kitchener, Ontario.
I am a lawyer.
What do you like best about Kitchener?
It is a small city that creates wealth by cutting-edge businesses and ideas.
Think about the future of your profession. What excites you? What worries you?
I believe that parenting counselling will be a great benefit for some couples. Having an arbitrator for individual issues that arise when parents separate can be a great way to reduce friction.
I worry that our profession may get priced out of the market. Few people qualify for Legal Aid but a private retainer is expensive for most.
What is one idea that would solve an economic development issue in Kitchener?
First, he region should pay to receive all statistics available from Statistics Canada regarding the local area and make it available at the Small Business Centre in City Hall. This will allow small business owners to make more informed choices about whether there is a market for the potential new business. Statistics, especially regarding growth trends, will also provide evidence to potential investors about the business’s viability.
Second, the Small Business Centre users should be reminded to access the Crime Map on the Kitchener Police Services Website to know if the potential new business will be established in a relatively safe neighbourhood.
Finally, the Small Business Centre should make it easier for potential Small Business Owners to access information from the Regional Planning Department so that a potential small business owner can determine if there is a future development planned that will affect the value of a potential new business in any particular location.
Imagine a better Kitchener 10 years from now. What do you see? How do we get there? What could make the economy stronger?
I believe that all buildings will need to adhere to stricter Building Code regulations to make all buildings environmentally sound. These regulations are inevitable. The local government can assist the citizens in two ways. First, it can raise the Building Standards of all municipally owned buildings. The new standards will likely include more insulation, tripled paned windows, more efficient power etc. Starting the process now may mean less “sticker shock” in the future.
Second, the regional government can assist local construction companies by drafting, teaching and inspecting these new standards as quickly as possible. This would help spread the transition and upgrading costs imposed on local construction companies.
What other groups/businesses should we engage in additional conversations?
The SEED Program (School of the Environment and Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo)
Students and Professors can both consult in the Brave Ideas Process and use the Process to provide an internship/co-op placement for SEED Students.