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: Adrian Salvatore
Occupation: IT manager, small business owner
How long have you lived in Guelph? I have lived in Guelph since 2015, I originally moved to Guelph to attend the University of Guelph where I graduated with a Bachelor of Computing and achieved a Certificate in Business.
I’ve chosen to stay and make Guelph my home because of the wonderful atmosphere and people!
Do you reside in the ward you are running in? Yes, I am a resident of Ward 4 in the Parkwood Gardens neighbourhood.
Why are you running in this election? In the past four years, living expenses have increasingly grown unaffordable, and this affects people of all walks of life. The municipality has a very large role to play, as property taxes are directly under the city. Zoning controls new homes, and by-laws can also have a large impact on the supply of rentals available.
Ward 4 deserves a strong advocate and representative who understands these issues, and is prepared to work towards solutions that ensure constituents are well represented. I look forward to bringing my hard work ethic, excellent organizational skills and strong motivation to the table to benefit Ward 4, and more broadly all citizens of Guelph.
There is no doubt that Guelph is a great place to live, and there are many opportunities to make our community even better.
What qualifies you to represent your ward? What qualifies me to represent Ward 4 is my passion and motivation to make this community the best it can be for everybody who lives here.
As a resident of Ward 4, I am knowledgeable about the issues affecting us.
I have broadened my understanding of matters that affect people who live in Ward 4 by being involved in our community, speaking to residents, and gaining insights on how we can make Guelph even better. Community involvement and volunteerism are very important to me, and I have volunteered with Civitan, Rotary, and other community organizations. I am also a small business owner and understand the value of hard work and solid commitment.
Being a long-time follower of municipal politics in town, I am well informed about current issues and have effective ideas about what can be done about them.
Why should people vote for you? Residents should vote for me if they are looking for a strong representative who can clearly communicate their concerns and has a good understanding of the issues that affect them. In my professional life, I pride myself on my dedication, responsiveness, and focus on working with clients and coworkers to bring solutions. Good communication is key, and this is something I am excited to bring to the table.
I care deeply about the community and want to make it a better place, and I am eager to hear about what residents within Ward 4 are passionate about in order to be able to best represent them and ensure that their voices are being heard.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the ward? Something that I have spoken to residents about is how many seniors and disabled persons have found that Guelph transit is not always accessible, especially within Ward 4.
There are limited stop times, and stops are farther away than some individuals are able to walk. For example, I have spoken to residents that are currently 15 minutes (about 1.2km) from a transit stop. Transit is not a viable alternative in these cases, especially for those with mobility issues.
Development is another issue that has been brought up often, and in Ward 4 it must be smart. For example, residential development provides much needed housing and increases our tax base, and commercial development provides jobs and opportunities for new business. Context is the most important consideration for these developments. We must ensure we are not overloading infrastructure when we build.
Finally, greenspace is a very important issue that affects the health and wellbeing of residents and families. When we are building, we must be sure to protect this great asset.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Guelph on a broader scale? Affordability, mental health, drug addiction, homelessness, and inaccessible online services are issues that affect residents of Guelph on a broader scale. Limited rental and housing supply, and high property taxes make life less affordable across the city.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not responsible for the mental health, drug addiction, and homelessness issues, though it has exacerbated them.
Drug abuse rates and overdose deaths are increasing, and mental health crises are becoming more common and severe. These are ongoing problems that many Guelphites are affected by, and as a community, we need to explore new solutions to address these issues.
Finally, many residents have shared their concerns that accessing city services online is not easy or intuitive. Focus needs to be on making these services as convenient as possible to ensure that residents' needs are being met. This benefits both those who prefer to use online services as well as those who do not, as wait times will be reduced at city hall.
What is the most important thing you want to see changed in Guelph? Affordability is one of the most important issues that must be addressed in Guelph.
No matter who you are, life has become less affordable. Whether it’s a steep property tax increase, rent that takes over half of your income, or the dream of home ownership becoming less attainable. We are losing valuable members of our community who can no longer afford to live in Guelph and are being forced to move away. I am committed to working to make life in Guelph more affordable.
What services need to be improved in Guelph? Transportation is a common concern that residents have frequently brought up to me. I have spent much time reviewing the Guelph Transit 10 Year Implementation Plan, and I have found that it addresses a variety of issues that have been brought to my attention. Specifically, distance to bus stops with new routes and more frequent stops. Though there is more to be done, it’s an excellent step in the right direction. Guelph’s online services also need to be improved. The city’s websites need to be modernized and made more accessible to residents.
Is Guelph growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough? Placing our focus on growth rate alone is reductive, and we should instead think about the quality of our developments. The context surrounding growth is key.
When growth is supported by infrastructure and built so that it doesn’t interfere with the enjoyment of existing residents property, I am in support of it. We do need growth to expand our tax base, provide much needed housing, allow for new businesses, and to create more jobs.
However, we need our developments to be smart and focus on their quality and context.
What can be done at the local level about the rising cost of housing?
The municipality has a very large role to play regarding housing costs. Creating an environment where more homes are being built or becoming available will contribute to lowering the cost of housing. The proposed draft zoning by-law does address some aspects of this, although it may not go far enough to be a long term or complete solution.
Another factor is approving smart development to provide much needed housing. Supporting not-for-profit housing startups and affordable developments
will contribute alongside these other strategies to diminish the rising cost of housing.
What can be done locally about the homelessness issue? One part of the issue is addressing housing costs as well as availability of housing. However, homelessness is a complex issue and is not one dimensional.
We must focus on root causes. Homelessness is, in many cases, interrelated to mental health and drug addiction. We need to address those, in addition to providing more affordable housing units. Guelph needs cohesion, we must work with our partners in other levels of government to provide transitional housing and programs to address mental health and drug addiction.
How do we make Guelph an even better city to live in? Addressing homelessness, mental health, and drug addiction issues is something that would be very impactful, as it has been something that I have heard residents bring up frequently. It is very concerning when residents feel unsafe in parts of the city.
Our residents should feel safe and secure in our community. It also limits their ability to experience all of what our great city has to offer.
Additionally, it’s harmful to businesses that are missing out on customers. Support for individuals who suffer from mental health and drug addiction issues are
incredibly important. It provides the best pathway to rehabilitation and addresses the roots of homelessness and other issues in our community.
Any link to an election website or social media account?
Facebook: Adrian Salvatore