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: Morgan Dandie
Occupation: Underemployed - gig job worker as dispatcher and cleaner.
How long have you lived in Guelph? I moved to Ward 2 in Guelph in May 2014 after spending five years watching the housing market and exploring the different neighbourhoods in the City.
Do you reside in the ward you are running in? Yes
Why are you running in this election? I am running to represent Ward 2 in this election to provide service to the greatest number of people at the level of government closest to the residents. Municipal government affects the day-to-day lives of every person in the city and I want to collaborate with Ward 2 residents to create a more connected community that cares for the needs of all our neighbourhoods.
What qualifies you to represent your ward? Since the 2018 provincial election, I have been participating in municipal governance. I attended Guelph & District Labour Council Meetings until COVID-19 stopped in-person meetings, which deepened my belief in working collaboratively in the community. I have continued my connection with GDLC since then through various actions and events, including a Water Watchers march from City Hall to Blue Triton in Puslinch in support of Haudenosaunee Water Defenders, LandBack Unity Jam concerts and most recently, May Day events both in Guelph and Kitchener. My initial delegation to city council in 2019 began my journey of following the various files presented to the Council over the last few years. When the pandemic required council to move to virtual meetings, I began attending every meeting, as well as various committee of the whole meetings and an occasional one with Heritage Guelph. I have used the past 30 months as a practice period, and once in-person meetings were permitted, attended each meeting in council chambers. I know I am committed to working as a full-time city councillor over the 48 months of the upcoming term of council.
Why should people vote for you? Ward 2 residents consist of both homeowners and renters; who better to represent and understand the issues of these two seemingly opposing groups than someone who has been both? Ward 2 residents who want a full-time councillor to represent their needs and concerns about home ownership and home rental issues will find me a strong advocate for their concerns. My life experience and my commitment to social responsibility provide me with the ability to listen to various opinions with an open mind. When reaching conclusions, I combine the opinions I have heard with the hard facts available to reach a decision which represents the best possible outcome for those most affected by that decision. I believe that "changing your mind proves you have one" and will always remain open to change when new information becomes available.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the ward? Affordability of life, which includes housing and food security.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Guelph on a broader scale? Balancing affordability with the growth mandated by the province while living through a climate emergency. We need to build for the future that is coming and leave unsustainable infrastructure planning in the past. Higher-density housing is required; our residents need to embrace the necessary changes to how our community will grow.
What is the most important thing you want to see changed in Guelph? So much of the work that has been done over this past term of council has brought good, necessary change, especially with regard to diversity, equity and inclusion. As a woman, working to survive on Ontario Works and a patchwork of gig jobs, while living with multiple mental health diagnoses, I want to bring a greater diversity of voices to how we govern in this City. Augmenting existing spaces and creating new spaces where more people feel safe to participate in how this city operates is necessary for democracy to be truly representative.
What services need to be improved in Guelph? Public transit and active transportation need to continue to be improved and connected throughout the city. Additionally, connections to surrounding communities need to be established. I chose to give up personal car ownership to rely on Guelph Transit, and walking, as my primary modes of transportation and look forward to the improvements already in process, including the electrification of the bus fleet.
Is Guelph growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough? The rate of population growth in Guelph has been relatively steady for decades and that rate of growth is being maintained. Our challenge is that the growth type needs to change; we cannot continue growing in an unsustainable, low-density, single-family, detached home manner. Medium and high-density housing is necessary, and this includes in the built-up areas of Guelph. The population is set to increase at a similar measured pace to the last couple of decades and we need to embrace keeping our municipal boundaries where they are while we build for our future.
What can be done at the local level about the rising cost of housing?Housing costs are the largest concern for everyone, whether one is a homeowner or a renter. Implementing a vacancy tax, and regulating short-term rental properties, including single detached dwellings being used as multi-student rentals, in conjunction with removing exclusionary zoning will help somewhat on a local level. Advocating to provincial and federal levels of government for these mechanisms to be universal in the province and country will be integral as well. Creating community wealth, Co-housing projects and the creation of Land Trusts will also be needed.
What can be done locally about the homelessness issue? Addressing the cost of housing is one step in having residents housed. The city needs to have, at minimum, one staff member who has expertise in social housing to be able to work in collaboration with our social services provider, Wellington County, to provide an understanding of how Guelph supports new social sousing being brought into the city. There needs to be an attitude of "nothing about us without us" from city council when it comes to the relationship of our most vulnerable residents with Wellington County in providing social housing and all social services.
How do we make Guelph an even better city to live in? The vision for Guelph is established in our Community Plan. I believe if we move into the future with the Community Plan in mind, we are well on our way to having Guelph be an even more amazing place to live, work and play. Creating community connections through collaboration is integral to being a world class city.
Any link to an election website or social media account:
Email [email protected]
Website dandieforward2.com (under construction)
Social media links for Facebook and Instagram pending