Charlie Whittaker

Saturday, September 2, 2006

1) What is your opinion of the job that council’s done over the past three years?

Obviously, I think they’ve done a fairly good job; what we see on television Monday night has left a lot of us with some serious doubts about how they’re handling it as well. They’ve covered a lot of ground, but frankly I don’t want my grandchildren watching an argument between a mayor and a city council on TV. There’s an appropriate time for that and it certainly shouldn’t have been on candid camera.

2) Why did you decide to run?

Because I have grand daughters in the city of Guelph and if they happen to switch on Monday night I don’t want them thinking that this is accepted standard procedure for adults to run a city; that is totally unacceptable. I want to bring respect that and you know, you and I can have a difference of opinion and yet we can have respect for those opinions. We don’t have to get obnoxious and uptight about it. Frankly in front of cameras, and maybe they should take the cameras out-I don’t know, There’s a right and a wrong time to do things. You can be right but pick the wrong time to do it make yourself look absolutely stupid.

3) The Guelph Civic League has highlighted four issues for the consideration of voting students. Please comment on the following:

a) What is your position on the proposed pipeline from Lake Erie to Guelph?

From what I gather, and of course the incumbents have more information regarding the sort of requirements that will be expected from us by the province, but from what I understand, the province is expecting us to go to 300,000. Knowing that, there’s not enough water around us. Therefore, if the province wants us to go to that size than they have the obligation to make sure that we get the water to support those people. And there is a law stating that you can only take from the lakes that your rivers feed into. Some people are saying no pipeline and no expansion, well unfortunately I think expansion is going to happen, but not to that extent. We do have enough water for a fairly large population, but not 300,000.

b) How will you address issues of development in the city and what is your plan for the continued growth of Guelph?

I think if we looking for continued growth then there has to be an equation between industrial, retail and commercial. Those figures a readily available to city hall but not the general public, but having been to a couple of meetings I’m concerned. The one thing that I’m concerned about is that it should not cost the taxpayers of Guelph excessive amounts of money. At the present moment listening to the incumbents that we’re $86 million in debt and the servicing that debt alone is going to require considerable sums of money from every taxpayer in Guelph and that is not the way to go. For me, yeah there’s going to be growth and if you go to Mississauga, the dear lady down there makes sure that the people coming in are the people she wants and that they’re going to be profitable to the city and themselves and if that’s not the case she doesn’t allow them to come.

You’ve go the Lafarge site, which is 55 acres, they want that for retail development and the people living around, and they live in my ward, are saying, “But we walk our dogs there.” Well, that’s very nice, but any person that develops an area in Guelph has to give so much of that land to park land anyway and that could accommodate everybody’s needs.

c) If you are elected to council do you intend to lend your support to the continuation of the student bus pass?

Of course, I think the relationship between cap and gown is essential. But at the same time I think the students and perhaps they’re getting a bad rap-I don’t know, but the turmoil and some of the disruption that happens on a Friday night downtown…I don’t know enough about it to agree or disagree. But the relationship between cap and gown has to be kept going but at the same time there has to be mutual respect on both sides.

d) The GCL is concerned about the size and number of bike lanes on Guelph roads, will you push for greater bike access?

Absolutely. Obviously from my accent I come from Europe-the UK-you know, you have to continue exercising and I think bike lanes is one way of encouraging people to get to places by using bikes. I’m all in favour of exercise, keeping people fit and keeping them busy. I’m 73 and I’m still playing badminton and getting exercise; you’ve got to keep the brain box working and you’ve got to keep the body working.

4) Is there another issue(s) that you think voters should be aware of when considering their choices at the ballet box?

Garbage and I think this is one of the big things; garbage is not only a municipal issue but a provincial issue and a Canada wide issue. The people that sit around the horseshoe right now and think we should ship it to Quebec is absolutely, in my opinion, asinine. We create the garbage and we have to find the solution. I think that in cooperation with the province and the Feds and the big people at the research council, we have to find a way to treat that garbage; whether it’s the Wet/Dry or combustion or a combination of both. We have a facility in Guelph right now that’s within a couple of million dollars of being useable and experimented with to find the right answer. I am certain there are ways, and I think Wet/Dry was doing a great job.

5) What’s you final message to U of G students?

Both my daughters graduated from U of G. My oldest daughter was in the first graduating class in toxicology; it’s a wonderful university. If you look in today’s paper, it tops the list so what can I say? It’s being run well; the people there are doing a fantastic job, but at the same time be aware that not everyone can be an academic. There are some people that are good with their hands and we have to recognize that. Not everybody can be a professor or a doctor, we’d like that but that’s not the facts of life. My philosophy of life and the reason I’m very much involved in volunteer work, is that every child in the city of Guelph needs help, support and encouragement to reach their maximum potential what ever that may be.

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