In their own words, candidates tell us a little bit about themselves and where they stand on the issues. A different ward will be featured each evening this week.
Name: Dhruv Shah
Occupation: IT professional
How long have you lived in Guelph? I have been living in Guelph for the past six years, but I migrated to Canada 16 years ago.
Do you reside in the ward you are running in? Yes, I reside in Ward 1 where I am running.
Why are you running in this election? I choose to represent the citizens of my ward because I believe I can make a difference. I am passionate about expanding and building societies. I care about what happens in my ward hence my decision to become active at the city council level for the benefit of all residents.
What qualifies you to represent your ward? I am a people’s person. I am very friendly and I care for others as much as I care for my family. What I want for my children is what I want for all children, and if given the opportunity I will begin by serving my ward at this level. I am a ground-level worker and I am one of them.
Why should people vote for you? People should vote for me because I have an excellent track record as a community leader. I have been involved in many projects where I selflessly and successfully contributed to the enhancement of my community:
Supporting Sunday Table and The Bench to help homeless people
Volunteering with the Children Foundation of Guelph supporting our kids in school nutrition programs
Volunteering at the Guelph & District Multicultural Festival, providing resources and connections to our multicultural community
Volunteering to plant trees in support of the growth of the natural beauty and health of Guelph
Volunteering as project manager to raise funds for six different hospitals of Ontario during COVID-19 when we raised close to $65,000
Volunteering in community efforts which have raised funds for Guelph Food Bank and Guelph General Hospital during COVID-19, as well as support small local businesses.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the ward? The main issues I see facing residents at present are:
1. The need for another grocery store
2. Flexibility to expand their existing house driveway
3. Community and traffic safety: Speed control for the safety of children, families, and friends
4. Efficient snow removal from the streets
5. Road maintenance.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Guelph on a broader scale? The main issues facing Guelph residents on a broader scale are:
1. Increasing property taxes and high inflation rate
2. Affordable and supportive housing
3. Parks improvement and accessibility
4. Transportation and paramedic off-load delays
5. Mental health and drug addiction challenges
6. The need for a better community centre
7. New or expanded hospital
8. Home and apartment rentals need to be more affordable to attract new residents and students.
What is the most important thing you want to see changed in Guelph? For me, the most important thing I want to see changed in Guelph would be revised property taxes, home and apartment rentals, and housing cost.
What services need to be improved in Guelph? The main services that need to be improved in Guelph would be transportation services and cross-city connectivity, and paramedic off-load delays.
Is Guelph growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough? I will support the vision and policies of the city's official plan and policies set by the growth plan which should result in growth that is generally in line with the long-term population and employment projections to 2031.
I will also support the current planning strategy to meet provincial growth forecasts for 2051.
I believe that planning will identify the right growth for all areas of the city so that Guelph can attract new residents, businesses, industries and services.
We need to see a people-oriented city full of essential amenities, walkable neighbourhoods, thriving community hubs and an interconnected transportation network.
We need more development in Ward 1 of Guelph.
What can be done at the local level about the rising cost of housing? The rising cost of housing is more related to provincial responsibility, but it is recommended that more power should be given to the city so the city can make better decisions as per current housing needs and control the cost of houses.
I am in favour of the process and permit of new housing development to be on the fast track.
We need to learn from neighbouring cities like Waterloo, about condo culture. This will attract more international students, new families and first time home buyers.
What can be done locally about the homelessness issue?
Homelessness is a system failure. We have a shared responsibility to address it by supporting organizations/programs like United Way, Guelph Community Foundation, Hope House, Stepping Stone, Dwelling Place, and The Home for Good Campaign to provide resources like shelters, homes, and supportive housing projects.
Support for more programs like Grace Gardens for the homeless to restore hope, safety, and grace for individuals who need it most.
With more funding The Distress Center of Guelph would be able extend their service to 24/7 (current operating time Guelph 8 a.m. -10 p.m.). The distressed become desperate when there’s no support at critical hours, increasing mental health risk. Provinces need to provide more grants to this centre.
How do we make Guelph an even better city to live in?
For Guelph to become a better city to live in, the following needs examining:
1. Build awareness and support youth mental health crises in the Guelph community
2. Improve transportation services. I support the current improvement of our city’s transit services and extra cross town connections
3. Improve on paramedic off-load time
4. Community and Traffic Safety, more awareness and supporting better engineering at special zones and speed limits
5. Attract new families, immigrants and international students, providing more affordable apartments and house rent
Boost Guelph’s economy and growth, promote and support Innovation Guelph, Invest Guelph, and Visit Guelph initiatives
Innovation Guelph is building prosperity for community well-being by providing mentorship and business support services that help innovative enterprises to start, grow, and thrive
Invest Guelph makes it possible to do business in Guelph
Visit Guelph, develop and promote Guelph as a destination.
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