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: Kevin Bowman
Occupation: Human resources and project management.
How long have you lived in Guelph? Sixteen years.
Do you reside in the ward you are running in? Yes, I live in Ward 3
Why are you running in this election? The City of Guelph and the people who live here face many challenges including several true crises (housing affordability, climate change, addictions, homelessness, etc.) but I don't feel city council and city hall are acting urgently enough to deal with these issues.
What qualifies you to represent your ward? I have lived in Ward 3 for over eight years and am very familiar with the community. I have paid very close attention to the business of city council and have actively participated in many public consultations and committees. I have experience with community engagement, advocacy and representation. I am a good listener and I also do my homework/research on issues of concern so I can do more than just represent others.
Why should people vote for you? If elected I will dedicate myself to this role full-time as I think the responsibilities of the position are better met that way. I am fortunate enough to be in a position to make this commitment. I intend to prioritize affordability, safety and public participation among other values in my work as a representative. I believe my previous participation and monitoring of city council means I can begin making a difference from day one.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the ward?
I believe the top issues concerning residents of Ward 3 are; cost of living (particularly affordable housing), development/intensification and pedestrian/cyclist/road safety but if I hear differently in my engagement with the public I will of course adjust these priorities.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Guelph on a broader scale? I believe the top issues concerning the city as a whole are again: cost of living (particularly affordable housing), development/intensification and pedestrian/cyclist/road safety but I would add climate change adaptation, homelessness and addiction/mental health. Once again, If I hear differently in my engagement with the public I will adjust my priorities.
What is the most important thing you want to see changed in Guelph? I want to see Guelph take significant and impactful action on affordable housing and join with other cities/municipalities in demanding more support from the provincial and federal governments.
What services need to be improved in Guelph? I want to see transit service and active transportation infrastructure improved to the point that it is considered a better option than driving for most people most of the time. This will decrease the amount of land needed for roads and parking lots which cost a lot of money and do not spark joy. This would increase the amount of land available for parks, trails, affordable housing and local businesses.
Is Guelph growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough? I don't know what the correct rate of growth is or if such a thing exists. That said, I do believe that a lot of our recent growth is unsustainable both ecologically and financially. This needs to change as soon as possible.
What can be done at the local level about the rising cost of housing? I believe we need to work much more closely with our service provider and partner the County of Wellington and also with not-for-profits. It is abundantly clear that the private, for-profit sector will not build affordable housing and we can't expect them to as there is no profit in doing so. The city has made zoning changes to make smaller developments easier but I don't think this is nearly enough. The city could be waiving various fees, providing tax incentives, guaranteeing loans, etc. The province and the federal government need to do more as well.
What can be done locally about the homelessness issue? The homelessness issue is directly connected to the cost of housing but also to mental health/ addictions and inadequate social assistance monies. Not all but many of those without reliable shelter have been failed by our healthcare system. I believe providing safe and reliable shelter would go a long way towards allowing people who are suffering to begin healing and eventually become independent. Not only is it the humane thing to do but it is far less expensive than ignoring the problem until the police or a hospital are needed.
How do we make Guelph an even better city to live in? I believe we can make Guelph an even better place to live, work and play by making it affordable and safe for ALL who live here.
Any link to an election website or social media account? https://www.kevin-bowman.org/