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'Our city council must have a broad vision of Guelph, not one that is narrow and limiting'
Phil Allt.

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: Phil Allt was born in Guelph in St Joseph’s Hospital. He is 62. He is a longtime Guelph and Ward 3 resident having attended King Edward, Victory, Willow Road and GCVI public schools. Phil also attended the Universities of Western Ontario (King’s College), Guelph and Toronto - earning a BA, an MA and a Bachelor of Education. He attended McMaster (two years doctoral studies). He is married to his amazing wife, Liz Boyle. For 27 years, Phil taught philosophy and history at Kitchener Collegiate. He is passionate about organ donation. Recently he donated a kidney to his brother.

As a Councillor, Phil served on the Guelph Hydro Board and The Guelph Junction Railway Board. He is currently a trustee of the Guelph Art Gallery.

Phil volunteers at the Shelldale Breakfast Club and participates in its Community Safety Committee. He is also a member of the Evergreen Centre where he  likes to play darts. In the past year, he has become a member of the Guelph Wellington Men's Club. Phil plays guitar - jazz, blues and classical guitar in his spare time.

Throughout his life, Phil has been active in the community. He was Treasurer of the Guelph Jazz Festival, Chair of the former Wellington and Guelph Housing Authority and was president of Windfield Cooperative Homes. He was a member of the Guelph Arts Council board of directors.
A recreational curler, cyclist and scuba diver, Phil writes and delivers occasional public presentations on issues as far ranging as coral rescue and civic engagement.

THE PLATFORM: Together, our community can move forward by borrowing from Guelph’s legacy of good government of the past and adapting it to the future.

I want to say thank you to former mayor Norm Jary, councillors Anne Godfrey, Margaret Mackinnon, Carl Hamilton, Mico Valeriote, Ken Hammill and others. These former city leaders from all political stripes are an inspiration for Guelph. 35 years ago, despite their political leanings they worked collegially for Guelph. That is leadership.

As Ward 3 councillor I am a representative for this area but also promote the whole of Guelph. It is not good enough to view Guelph as separate wards. This fractious vision hurts us. We all use Guelph’s roads, parks, cultural facilities and arenas. Many of you live in Ward 3 but you work, shop, and use recreation facilities elsewhere. You realize that while you live here, other Wards have things to offer. The west end and the east end have great pools and arenas. You might like to shop in the West End - at Costco, at Walmart in the North East, at the Stone Road Mall in the South while others might shop downtown. Our City Council must have a grand vision of Guelph not one that is narrow and limiting.

Our City Council must have a broad vision of Guelph, not one that is narrow and limiting. Music, art, heritage and athletics make Guelph great. We need to support local cultural institutions including the new downtown library, our Multicultural Festival our great musical heritage and Guelph’s annual Art Studio Tour. The Guelph Storm and the Guelph Royals are synonymous with a deep, athletic tradition. Let’s continue to support this tradition.

My experience in housing - as a landlord, as chair of the Wellington and Guelph Housing Authority and as an early supporter of cooperative housing - gives me a clear understanding of our deep housing problems and the hardships faced by those with limited incomes including our retirees. Social and low-cost housing in Guelph is a $16 million dollar question that is not well understood. Guelph must develop sound housing policies so when the federal and provincial governments finally realize we have a housing crisis we can accommodate the 1,500 Guelph families that need better homes.

Access to your councillor matters. We must always have a healthy dialogue. We must feel comfortable engaging each other in a conversation to make Guelph prosper. We might disagree on taxes, we might believe some services are better than others. We must believe we can make Guelph better.

We must know our councillors will respond to us when we make suggestions on how to improve Guelph. If you write to me or call me, I will contact you. If you have a concern with how city streets are maintained, if you are concerned about plans for downtown Guelph, if you have issues with your garbage pickup or speeding traffic, I will respond to you.

Guelph is a great city. As Ward 3 resident Shirley Hunt wrote a few years ago: "Big picture" long-term thinking is a rarity in politics and it's what makes a city great. I've lived in seven different cities as an adult and Guelph is by far the most livable of those. I know the reason for that, and I'll remember it when it comes to October's municipal election.”

“Big Picture” thinking is where it’s at. Together we can improve this city for everyone. Change, leadership, engagement, accessibility and responsible representation. Let’s keep talking and working together for Ward 3 and Guelph.