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.
Why are you running in this election? I am looking for new opportunities to give back to my community. My work life to date has not been in positions where I felt that I was doing my best to make a difference in the grand scheme of things. I have been involved with Guelph Soccer over the past nine years in various volunteer roles – the last five years as a member of the board of directors and the last four years as secretary. Recently, I have found that my volunteer positions have been more fulfilling than my paid positions – so I am looking to give back in more ways. This led me to run for city council.
What qualifies you to represent your ward? I have lived in Ward 6 since we moved to Guelph and I have seen the growth and changes that have been happening over the past 14 years. I think that makes me uniquely qualified to understand what issues are facing the residents in Ward 6.
Why should people vote for you? I am passionate and enthusiastic about making a difference and making our community the best it can be. I have always functioned well as a member of a strong team – taking on leadership roles as required and providing support to everyone else on the team as needed. That is how I look at the opportunity to be a member of city council. Guelph deserves a strong city government, one that is ready to get things done for the benefit of our residents. I will bring the necessary skills to the role to allow me to contribute right away. I have always approached any new role as a learning experience and if elected, I will approach this role with the same commitment to learn, grow and constantly give my best. I listen well and invite feedback from those I work with as well as those I work for.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the ward? In my opinion, the main issues facing Ward 6 are: our lack of diverse and local facilities for recreation; concerns related to traffic through our residential areas; the high cost of housing; and the less-than-ideal services currently provided by the city.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Guelph on a broader scale? I think all of the issues I mentioned above are also broader issues within Guelph; however, the less-than-ideal condition of much of our infrastructure is a serious issue I see throughout the city.
What is the most important thing you want to see changed in Guelph? I have lived all across Ontario, and one thing that I see regularly is reactionary city governments as opposed to proactive governments. Guelph deserves a proactive city government that plans and provides infrastructure in advance of future needs. One only needs to look at the Hanlon Expressway and the lack of a central turn lane on Gordon Street to see recent opportunities for proactive planning that were missed, leaving us to react to problems at a later date. To my mind this is irresponsible as well as more costly to the taxpayers.
What services need to be improved in Guelph? Infrastructure overall is a big concern for me and one that needs to improve. As mentioned, access to recreational facilities needs to improve (read: get the South End Community Centre built!!). We need access to mental health services for our residents and a better plan for snow removal/road services. When you look out of your office window on a sunny day in February and see your neighbour cross-country skiing on your street because the conditions are ideal, it becomes pretty obvious that our services are severely lacking in this area!
Is Guelph growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough? Guelph is managing our growth properly so that it is not too fast. I do have concerns, however, about our ability to make decisions and take action on building the proper infrastructure to match the growth we are experiencing. Given the dry summer we have just experienced, I do also have concerns about growing too quickly and not being able to meet the water requirements for our residents in the future if this recent weather trend were to continue.
What can be done at the local level about the rising cost of housing? I am not sure that much can be done at the local level given that this is a broader issue across the province and the country, but I am open to any idea that might help us make living in Guelph more affordable for all. I believe part of the problem is that we are seeing people purchase housing with short-term plans to sell again and reap the rewards. If there was a way that we could curb this type of activity, that might help.
What can be done locally about the homelessness issue? Again, this is an issue that exists on a larger scale throughout the province, especially in our larger cities. There are so many different circumstances that can contribute to homelessness that I do not believe there is a one size fits all answer. I firmly believe that we need to really understand the issues each person is experiencing and try to provide the assistance they need as individuals. Whether we need to provide mental health facilities, low cost housing or other services, we need to approach the issue with compassion and respect while being prepared to providing a variety of services.
How do we make Guelph an even better city to live in? I love the city of Guelph. As a child, we moved around so often that I never felt I had roots anywhere, and for the first several years of my adult life I did the same. I am proud to say that I live in Guelph and even prouder that I have been able to put roots down in this community and watch as my children do the same. Living in a vibrant city such as Guelph is a privilege and a blessing, one that I am thankful for every day. Can we make our community better and stronger for everyone? Yes, of course. I believe with the right leadership and the right combination of team players on city council, we can continue to make Guelph a better place for all. Like anything in life, it takes hard work, determination and the right plan.
Any link to an election website or social media account?
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