Saturday, September 2, 2006
I’m not interested in pointing fingers or dwelling on the past, but I think we can do better. I want to turn over a new leaf on Council. I want civilized debate. I want Council members and delegates to feel that their voices are heard. The business of Council would proceed with greater efficiency if there was more professionalism, more humility and fewer rancors. I want to help build a cooperative atmosphere where disagreements don’t breed animosity. I want to work effectively and respectfully with City staff. The high staff turn over in recent years is troubling because it represents a loss of experience and knowledge that is hard to replace. We can’t expect the best from our staff unless we support them fully. Let’s work together!
2) Why did you decide to run?
Local politics is a tradition in my family. I was always interested in local issues but was previously too busy with a young family and a new business to become politically involved, so I satisfied my appetite for local involvement through volunteer activities. Now, I find myself frustrated with the direction of our development and a concern for our future; this is what has motivated me to run for Council. The Guelph that I moved to in 1982 is losing qualities that made it a great place to raise a family and run a business. Growth is not the problem. The problem is a pattern of development that ignores the needs of the community and the aspirations of its citizens.
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?
The draft 2006 Master Plan for Water Supply has a clear message—there are plenty of local, cost effective water supply options to satisfy Guelph’s needs until 2035. I want the City to get on with effective development and management of these resources, starting with full implementation of the 1999 master plan for water conservation. We currently spend less than one half of one percent (0.5%) of our water budget on water conservation; we can do better than this. Let’s use the option of a pipe line as a wake-up call, we now have 29 years to make wise decisions about the alternatives.
b) How will you address issues of development in the city and what is your plan for the continued growth of Guelph?
Growth in Guelph is inevitable and beneficial. I want this growth to be properly planned and managed so that the economic, social and environmental costs of growth are minimized. Growth should pay its own way, and it should be balanced. We have a 7 year supply of draft approved subdivision developments; this is too much. We should now focus on in-fill and high density developments, and exercise caution in approving more large commercial retail outlets since small retail stores provide a higher tax base. All residential and commercial growth should be compatible with existing streetscapes.
c) If you are elected to council do you intend to lend your support to the continuation of the student bus pass?
Yes I will support the student bus pass and I would also like a re-evaluation of all bus routes to see if these can be redesigned to provide better service to students and others during the school day and on weekends. I would also like to see a public forum for all stakeholders to discuss some of the conflicts we have witnessed in recent years on busses and to seek solutions to these.
d) The GCL is concerned about the size and number of bike lanes on Guelph roads, will you push for greater bike access?
I use a bike on City trails and to get around the City and I am meeting other cyclists as I campaign for the election. We all seem to have the same complaints: too few bike lanes or paths, bike lanes and paths that don’t go to the right places, and poor road conditions especially near the curbs. This is an issue I want to work on as a Councilor and would love to get input from fellow cyclists. But I want to address the issue of bike travel from a broader perspective. We don’t just want a bike-friendly City, we want a people-friendly City where one can get around with relative ease on busses, on foot, on bikes, in wheel chairs, in scooters… This requires appropriate road and transit service design but also an appropriate mix of land uses so that we don’t all have to travel to large malls on the outskirts of the City just to access basic retail and commercial services.
4) Is there another issue(s) that you think voters should be aware of when considering their choices at the ballet box?
There are many important and interesting issues: (1) How are we going to get rid of termites in Ward 2? (2) Many students and their families’ deicide to live here after they graduate. We need to ensure jobs are available to retain this valuable resource.(3) Can we achieve a solid waste diversion of 70% or 80%? (4) Can we find a win-win resolution to the conflicts caused by the noise and commotion associated with the popular bars in our marvelous downtown?
5) What’s you final message to U of G students?
You have a voice perhaps as a collective you have the largest voice in Guelph. You have a right to be heard. Get registered as a voter and get out to vote. Last time around, a great candidate in Ward 1 lost out by just 25 votes. There were without a doubt at least 25 students living in Ward 1 at the time who didn’t vote but who probably would have voted for him had they voted. Encourage and attend ward meetings, email and phone candidates about your issues. After the election, maintain an ongoing dialog with the city to ensure elected officials don’t overlook your concerns.