GuelphToday asked those running for city council in the Oct. 22 municipal election to supply a brief biography and outline their platform and/or why they are running.THE PERSON: Jason Dodge is a longtime resident and active volunteer in the Guelph community. His wife Jessica and his children Siarra (16), Jordan (9), and Stephanie (6), are proud Ward 3 residents.
Jason's contributions to Guelph come from a belief that "you invest in the community you live in". He has served as a volunteer coach in Guelph Minor Baseball, as a member of the Guelph Mercury Community Editorial Board, autism awareness and advocacy campaigns, and chair of the 2018 inaugural Home Runs for Hospice fundraiser in support of Hospice Wellington.
Jason also serves on the Guelph Accessibility Advisory Committee at city hall with a focus of creating awareness and removing barriers to accessibility and inclusiveness in our community.
Professionally, Jason is a proud employee at Hospice Wellington in Guelph where he works with an amazing group of people. The care and compassion demonstrated on a daily basis at Hospice Wellington, coupled with the realities of creating, managing, and balancing their capital and operating budgets, exemplify the approach Jason will bring as your Ward 3 representative on city council.
THE PLATFORM: Ward 3 needs balanced representation. There is a critical element missing in our Ward 3 representation: The daily realities facing families, seniors, and young professionals in Guelph.
Ward 3 housing affordability has changed. The average family home has changed. Dual incomes have become the norm because the pressures of raising a family, paying a mortgage, and keeping up with the cost of living has never been more challenging. It's this critical element of our community that I believe our representatives have lost touch with.
Twenty years removed from raising a family, paying a mortgage, or having to stress about finding that extra $400/year to keep up with tax increases, our representatives are failing the large demographic who are being left behind in Ward 3.
Gone are the days of purchasing our homes outright and retiring with comfortable indexed pensions to live on. It is no longer a reality for most of us, and yet it has gone unaddressed by our representatives.
It's time to acknowledge this reality and view modern day issues through a modern day lens.Our city has changed dramatically in the past 20 years, and it's now time for fresh representation in Ward 3. Representation that leaves no one forgotten or ignored.
LIVEABILITY: Our roads, bike lanes, and walking trails need attention. Band-aid solutions for our transit system and core services can no longer continue. Outdated bylaws need to be reviewed and the bureaucracy and red tape stifling ingenuity and entrepreneurship in Guelph need removed. How our tax dollars are spent needs to be held to greater accountability in order to provide us the confidence that value and services are addressing all of our needs.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Our current representatives have been wildly inconsistent on this file. Saying "Yes" but voting "No".
I will vote to invest in affordable & accessible housing so our children's futures can be in Guelph. I will not support redirecting funds away from affordable housing reserves.
PARKS AND RECREATION: Our parks and sports venues have no champion at city hall. Our representatives have sat silent on these vital elements of our Ward three for years and now they are in dire need of investment.
Protect and utilize our parks. No more missed opportunities to attract tournaments and events to our city. Give our kids a safe place to play and be proud of.
I'm committed to advocating for real investment in our Ward 3 parks and sports venues that will increase tourism and create sustainable revenues for our city.
HEALTH AND SAFETY: The negative impacts from the opioid addictions in Guelph has grown substantially. Our police force can not keep up with the petty crimes, violence, thefts, and needle disposal issues.
Council needs to be leaders by exploring innovative ways to address the core issue of opioid use. Partnering with agencies like the police, CMHA, and other private organizations is needed. Get those addicted in front of a support system, not a court judge.
Hospital expansion/build can not be ignored! When the province tells us to build or expand, Guelph is responsible for 10 per cent of the funding. Don’t let this turn into another tax levy burdening our households. We need representation willing to make this issue a priority.