Regional Chair Karen Redman delivered the annual State of the Region address in a virtual event Friday morning.
While the event was called "Community Conversations," the spotlight was on growth.
Three community members were invited: Clarence Cachagee, founder of Crow Shield Lodge, Communitech CEO Chris Albinson, and Suzanne Kearns from the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Aeronautics.
This was meant to represent how Waterloo Region has seen growth the past year.
"We are learning to really listen to community voices and diverse perspectives that surround us. We are learning to make decisions with the community," Redman said. "We are learning how to address inequities and barriers in a meaningful way. We are learning about the importance of self-determined communities, and supporting this with key investments."
Redman touched on healing through unlearning the past, and working to support Indigenous people.
She commended the community for its resilience and ability to adapt and grow, despite the pandemic.
"Communitech had projected the tech industry here would reach 24 thousand workers by 2025, but we surpassed that milestone last year, four years earlier than expected," Redman said.
She also mentioned the regional airport, which opened a new domestic arrivals terminal last week.
"Our airport was the sixth busiest in Canada last year, and we have invested in major expansion. We have an opportunity with our partners to collaborate to leverage this investment and lead the world as a hub for sustainable aeronautics," she said.
She said her goal for the region overall is for more inclusivity, equitability, and sustainability.
"We have a vision for our community - working towards an inclusive, equitable, thriving and sustainable region. With connected urban and rural communities, a global reach, and fostering opportunities for current and future generations," said Redman.