Saturday, September 2, 2006
If any two defining words were to describe my thoughts on the accomplishments of Guelph city councils over the past few years they would be frustration and disappointment.
Five of the current members of City Council were elected just three years ago because we were frustrated and disappointed with their predecessors. After giving acceptable credence to novice mistakes, this current crop seems to be faring no better. The omnipotent bickering is just a sideshow to reality; various promises have not been fulfilled and in fact, despite the harried growth, the City seems to be trapped in a quagmire of mediocrity. I find no vision on which to hang my hat.
2) Why did you decide to run?
This is an incredible place in which to live. The neighbourhoods, people, schools, parks, the whole ambience is remarkable. When I moved here 19 years ago, I knew instinctively that this was the city in which I would raise my family and live my life. That belief hasn't changed, but my optimism for the future has been disheartened.
That is why I decided to run for City Council, representing Ward 6. If we are to solve our problems, if we are to capitalize on our strengths, if we are to have professionalism pervade Council chambers, if we are to grab hold of a vision with both hands, then we need to change.
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?
I do not support the pipeline proposal. Currently I feel that not enough has been done regarding conservation, developing and redeveloping other local water sources, I believe we have enough water locally to meet our needs for many years to come.
b) How will you address issues of development in the city and what is your plan for the continued growth of Guelph?
I believe in responsible development that doesn’t dilute the unique character of our community. From an aesthetic perspective we must preserve our architecture and heritage. Financially, we must attract more business to reduce the burden we as taxpayers carry.
Another by-product of poorly planned residential expansion is a lack of amenities. Everything being constructed currently was planned years before the current council. Housing, recreational facilities and retail services should all be underway simultaneously. We pay higher taxes in Ward 6 yet we seem to be at the bottom of the project priority list. I want this to stop.
c) If you are elected to council do you intend to lend your support to the continuation of the student bus pass?
I believe in the continuation of the bus pass. In fact I would seriously consider expanding it to encompass all students in Guelph not just U of G students. Not having the pass would only add more congestion to our roadways, with an increase in corresponding car usage.
d) The GCL is concerned about the size and number of bike lanes on Guelph roads, will you push for greater bike access?
Road congestion is an unfortunate by-product of extensive residential development. Guelph experiences a large volume of traffic through the neighbourhoods around the University, poor road designs compound the problem. I would like corrective action taken to existing roads where needed. Safety should not be compromised.
Bike lanes need to be engineered into the construction of all new roadways, with reengineering when needed of existing roadways in the future
4) Is there another issue(s) that you think voters should be aware of when considering their choices at the ballet box?
Unfair taxation. Homeowners simply cannot afford compound increases each and every year. It's time to finally put a stop to the over taxation. Taxation affects everyone, including students.
Municipal code of conduct/reform. We need to change how City Hall conducts business and as importantly how City Council conducts itself. Conflict of interest guidelines, code of conduct for members of council, a municipal ombudsman to investigate what really happens behind closed doors, mandatory town hall meetings in Ward 6, reduce the size of council, plus a multitude of other issues, all need to be examined.
Environmental solutions. We don't live in a vacuum, we can't build fences around our City; we are part of a larger regional community, a community that has the same problems and concerns as us. We need to work together to find regional solutions, to solve common concerns. Long-term viable water solutions, long-term realistic waste management, clean up and redevelopment of brown sites, preservation of wetlands, grasslands and forests.
5) What’s you final message to U of G students?
The U of G and its students have played and continue to play a huge role in the City of Guelph. Cooperation and understanding between the City and the University community is essential to an effective, productive relationship. Students as part of the community, need to be respected by the community. We all live here together, isolating one group from another makes us all poorer in the end.