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MEET WARD 5 CANDIDATE ... Hesham Genidy

In their own words, candidates tell us a little bit about themselves and where they stand on the issues
Hesham Genidy is a candidate running for city councillor in Ward 5.

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: Hesham Genidy

Occupation: Law professor, financial and business adviser, and political analyst

How long have you lived in Guelph? Since 2013

Do you reside in the ward you are running in? Yes, and have been for almost a decade.

Why are you running in this election?  I have a unique international experience living in many countries, and working for different government and international agencies including the United Nations. I set my sights on Guelph as a city where I felt I could belong, both because I share the city’s values and because it fits my vision for my family’s future. I moved to Guelph in 2013 and started my company that provides financial and business consultation, which now owns different local businesses.

With the future of the younger generation in mind, one of these businesses is a unique mental math program. My wife serves the fast-growing community of Guelph by providing interpretation to the Canadian Immigrant Services and the County of Wellington, and my children attend schools in Guelph. I plan to live here for a long time, and for this reason, I feel compelled to serve my community and put my vision and experience in civic duties to use. I believe that I can bring a refreshing comparative aspect to what might otherwise seem standard or basic. I see that Guelph has the potential to become an even more wonderful city than it currently is.

What qualifies you to represent your ward? The job of a local councillor is not to be the council’s advocate in the community, but to be the community’s advocate in the council. A good ward councillor's responsibilities go much beyond simply advocating. To effectively engage the community in local government, representation needs to establish connections with people, groups, and entities in the area in order to educate, consult, and empower citizens to give them more influence over their own lives. I possess the education, work and life experience as well as the passion to represent Ward 5 residents, their growing needs and their innovative ideas to solve the problems they face on a daily basis. My background in law and political science makes me a strong candidate to represent Ward 5.

Why should people vote for you?  A city has a greater opportunity to connect with its community when management levels are diverse. Workplaces with a variety of cultures might aid city leaders in contextualizing problems that could be particular to their region. According to various studies, diverse workplaces tend to be more successful than ones that aren't. A more diversified city council will result in a more diverse set of abilities. By working with people who have various experiences, viewpoints, and backgrounds from our own, we can all learn something new. I am not only bringing fresh blood to the city council but also a unique point of view based on my international exposure and my background in law and business, which equips me with a sense of what works in a growing city and what doesn’t. I am proud to be the first candidate of Middle Eastern descent to run for Guelph's city council. I have innovative ideas to solve many of the city's issues without jeopardizing Guelph’s revenue and the people's quality of life. If elected, I will take your input seriously, together we can make a difference!

What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the ward? 

  • Housing affordability crisis

  • Road safety and public transportation

  • Tax increase 

  • Parking issue

What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Guelph on a broader scale? The same issues that Ward 5 faces are shared with the rest of the city. In addition, homelessness issues, social programs, transit to GTA and surrounding cities, and mental health after the pandemic are issues that I see Guelph faces on a larger scale.

What is the most important thing you want to see changed in Guelph? 

  • Housing affordability! By creating partnerships between the city, private sector, and U of G, we can have a better understanding and a permanent solution to the crisis. Once the housing affordability crisis is under control, so many other issues will consequently have solutions.

  • Reduce taxes or at least keep them at the current rate by maximizing and innovating city revenues and resources.

  • The public transportation system. Different approaches to public transportation, use artificial intelligence to efficiently unlock the value of data to improve the quality and efficiency of the public transport sector.

What services need to be improved in Guelph?

  • Public transit

  • Social services

  • Mental health programs

  • Support for small businesses

  • Parking services 

Is Guelph growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough? Just the right amount. But the fact that Guelph is the fifth fastest growing city in Canada at a two per cent annual growth rate means that the need for affordable housing will rise, which is why we need to find a solution before it gets out of hand.

What can be done at the local level about the rising cost of housing?

  • Making more mortgages available for homebuyers.

  • Tiny houses, an option to help create affordable and innovative housing solutions in Guelph.

What can be done locally about the homelessness issue?

  • Better homeless shelters until housing inflation decreases.

  • Emergency shelters and interim housing, mobile shelters. 

  • Crisis response system

  • Intergovernmental collaboration on the municipal, provincial, and federal government levels, along with the partnership with the private sector and non-profit organizations.

  • The main focus is not only providing temporary solutions but to end long-term homelessness and lessening the chance that many more people become homeless in the future.

How do we make Guelph an even better city to live in?

  • Apply environmental protection in city development and projects!

  • Smart city technology can be used to solve public problems, improve the city's operational efficiency, and achieve a higher quality of life for the citizens of Guelph. Utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT), more comprehensive, real-time data can be used by the city to watch and analyze events as they happen, recognize patterns, and respond with more effective and lower-cost solutions rather than ineffective solutions that waste tax dollars. Some examples of this include real-time crime mapping that can be used to help fight crime and improve public safety; smart-city technologies can help make daily commutes faster and less frustrating through the use of connected traffic lights that adjust light cadence and timing to respond to real-time traffic; and smart garbage cans that can automatically send data to Guelph Waste Management and schedule pick-up as needed as opposed to a pre-planned schedule that can be inefficient. Together, these smart city technologies that I strive to implement in Guelph will help improve quality of life, make Guelph greener and foster a more sustainable environment, and improve public safety among a multitude of other reasons.

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