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: Rob Osburn
Occupation: Executive Producer - BNR Media Group Inc. Video content production/marketing service.
How long have you lived in Guelph? I have lived in Guelph for 44 years.
Do you reside in the ward you are running in? Yes. My wife Natalja, who immigrated to Canada in 2006 from Iceland and I live in Ward 2, just east of the downtown core.
Why are you running in this election? I am running for council because I believe Ward 2 needs better representation. I have been disheartened at the lack of accountable leadership this past term. We’ve had councillors that ran last time saying they were for affordability, only for them to then spend the last four years voting for high property tax increases. This has been misleading and unacceptable. I believe we need more leaders that can balance the interests and priorities of Guelph residents first in their decision making. I am stepping up because I believe I have the heart and skills to offer and want to take an active role in helping Guelph become a thriving community for everyone, represented by leaders with accountability and integrity.
What qualifies you to represent your ward? As someone who interacts with thousands of Guelph residents on a weekly basis, I have my finger on the pulse of what issues matter most to Guelph residents. Known as a community builder, I also have spent nine years living and working in Ward 2 and have made many connections with neighbours and local businesses. My professional skills in communication, teamwork and problem solving make me uniquely positioned to actively listen and improve two-way communication between Ward 2 residents and city hall.
Why should people vote for you? I work well with others, but will not be pressured to go against my principles.
I strive to be a unifier, but not at the cost of my integrity.
More importantly, what I say to you here, online and at your door, I commit to following through on.
There is an overwhelming ask in our community for change, for leadership that is willing to look at the main municipal issues that Guelph residents face.
We need Ward 2 representation that is not going to stand in the way of getting things done. When voting for me, I will be your voice for an affordable and thriving community and an accountable local government. I am ready to serve and would be honoured to represent Ward 2 residents.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the ward? Big ticket issues like affordable housing and above inflation property tax increases affect all Guelph residents. With that said, action on smaller ticket items is also very important in supporting a thriving community. Ward 2 deserves councillors that care enough to advocate for improving the basic services residents are paying taxes for. In my conversations with Ward 2 residents, issues like improving neglected roads, traffic calming, petty theft and having safer streets, as well as finding ways to give better supports to our local businesses is frequently brought up.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Guelph on a broader scale? Housing affordability and above inflation property tax increases are the main issues I see facing the residents of Guelph. Even before the inflation that we are now experiencing on a national level, decisions made at city hall contributed to affordability issues. We need better Ward 2 representation that is going to pay attention to this and prioritize municipal issues accordingly. Items like building more homes and finding other smart ways to bring more revenue into the city without further burdening Guelph tax payers is of the upmost importance.
What is the most important thing you want to see changed in Guelph? We need a council that is going to work together. Now is not the time for partisan politics or pettiness. A caring council will unify to serve the priorities and needs of their constituents first. A wise council will reevaluate pre-inflation decisions made to see where savings can be made. Overall, we need a more balanced approach with leaders that make decisions that are sustainable for the long term.
What services need to be improved in Guelph? When it comes to city services, the issue I hear the most about from residents is the state of our roads. Other services that I frequently hear about include a lack of accessibility or ease of use for some of the city’s online resources. We also need better access to public data and information so that citizens can stay better informed on the decisions that council makes.
Is Guelph growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough? Guelph has been mandated by the province to grow to a population of just over 200,000 people by 2051. In order to accommodate this aggressive growth mandate, strategic and thoughtful planning needs to be implemented so that Guelph can continue to thrive as a larger city in the future. It is imperative we focus on building homes to accommodate these population targets, as well as improve the city services that support it.
What can be done at the local level about the rising cost of housing? When it comes to housing affordability, the vast majority of realtors I discuss this issue with tell me, “supply” is the biggest factor affecting affordability. It’s not the only factor driving up home prices, but it is the largest. Having a council that ensures city staff have the autonomy and resources to make strong, well informed recommendations on housing projects is important. We need Ward 2 representation that will not unduly hold up the process and approve housing when development plans meets planning policies and are supported by staff.
What can be done locally about the homelessness issue? Homelessness is a complex issue but an important one to keep working at. There are several reasons why someone may be homeless and important that solutions and supports take that into account. Supportive housing projects have already started in our city which I am glad to support. We need to continue to find housing solutions that not only work for the city, but most importantly will work for our most vulnerable and give them the best chance to succeed in life.
How do we make Guelph an even better city to live in? We need better Ward 2 representation that supports decisions that are sustainable for the long term: building an affordable and safe city today, while also wisely planning for a vibrant community tomorrow.
Any link to an election website or social media account:
WEB - www.robosburn.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/RobOsburnWard2