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: Chetna Robinson
Occupation: Education manager
How long have you lived in Guelph? I rent, so on and off for 20 years.
Do you reside in the ward you are running in? I do!
Why are you running in this election? Guelph has done a lot of growing in the past four years and it's important that we make decisions that make sense long-term. I have been frustrated with the lacklustre planning and want to fight for Guelph's future, and running means that I can directly debate issues and hold council members to account.
What qualifies you to represent your ward? I know the people in my ward well and have two kids attending school there. I am invested in the healthy growth of Ward 6. I respect and appreciate the work done by council but often wonder if decisions are being made with a sunk-cost fallacy mindset. I know from my experience in education that growth and learning can be uncomfortable and I think we need an intelligent voice to remind city council that Guelph is worth making bold decisions for.
Why should people vote for you? A vote for me is a vote for intelligent and empathetic decision making. I have confronted hardship and food scarcity and I think it’s important to have a voice on city council that is informed by and aware of the importance of resources. Many of our councillors have stake in maintaining the existing standard, but I will do what my constituents need rather than focus on short term benefits that will improve my life but not my children’s.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the ward? The construction of the South End Community Centre needs to be well managed, with an eye towards parking and transit. The necessity for infrastructure to match the explosive growth of Clair-Maltby. We need to build properly, the first time.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Guelph on a broader scale? Guelph has attracted a lot of new residents because of its charm, but the intensification of growth has not been matched with equivalent infrastructure. This has, naturally, led to an increase in petty crime and decrease in quality of life like park access and parking spots.
What is the most important thing you want to see changed in Guelph? I want our developments to have built-in planning for sustainability.
What services need to be improved in Guelph? Accessible, reliable, and expanded transit. Ecologically responsible waste and water management.
Is Guelph growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough? I think it would be a fallacy to attribute value judgment to the facts. Just like my kids will inevitably get older, Guelph is getting bigger. We need to make sure we are growing in a healthy way that benefits citizens, not corporate landlords.
What can be done at the local level about the rising cost of housing? Implement a vacancy tax and advocate for inclusionary zoning. One in five Guelph homes are owned by people who do not live in those homes. That's not okay when we are in a housing crisis.
What can be done locally about the homelessness issue? While Wellington County makes the decisions about shelter spaces and resources, we can address the root causes. The Guelph Wellbeing project was inspirational, and convinced me that we can absolutely help our citizens by providing quality of life.
How do we make Guelph an even better city to live in? Guelph is awesome. We need to keep our green spaces and bolster municipal innovation such as A Friendlier Company and the Neighbourhood Group. Don't get me wrong, I love the cheesy gordita crunch, but the charm of Guelph is that it's unique and engaging. We need councillors who want to grow that rather than recreating a cookie-cutter suburb.
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