Fiscal Accountability

Issue: Tax rate increases should not be more than the inflation rate

Answer: I agree, and this is why I voted against the City Budget for the past two years.

 

Issue: Identify and avoid wasting of City financial resources

Answer: I agree and actively seek to do this. Example: I voted against putting in an automated answering system at City Hall. I believe citizens deserve to speak to a “human”.

I voted in opposition to two, one million dollar parks in UpTown.

Further, I worked with Council and staff to save the capital for the East Side Library so that when it came time to build it, we had the money “in the bank”.

 

Issue: Publish finance reports for individual projects and make them easily accessible

Answer: I agree with this. Over the past 12 years, I have worked hard to provide links to important financial documents in particular information associated with work in Ward 4. I also routinely meet with people to review budget documents.

Efficiency and Transparency

Issue: Create an online system to allow people to communicate with the City and to help the City prioritize, track and evaluate its performance.

 

Answer: The City implemented a system to do exactly this back in 2014. It is called “engage Waterloo”. EngageWaterloo

In addition to the engage platform, the City undertakes “town hall” and “pop up” meetings in public venues like Conestoga Mall and the recreation centres to seek input on important work like the City 3-year Budget and the design for the East Side Library.

 

I strive to engage and reach out to people on an ongoing basis through:

  • routinely posting links to issues under review on my website, neighbour Facebook pages and etc.
  • helping people to know how to actively participate in decision making at City Hall  
  • I responding to emails and phone calls in under 24-hours.
  • meeting people face-to-face in their homes, businesses or over a coffee to discuss City issues of concern
  • writing articles on important City issues for Ward publications like the Eastbridge Newsletter.
  • attending neighbourhood and City events and meetings to engage people in City related issues/concerns
  • knocking on doors to ensure critical information has been seen by individuals potentially affected by decisions
  • arranging for public open houses within the Ward on development applications
  • arranging meetings with City staff to respond to individual concerns. Over the years these have included drainage, planning, building, and by-law issues, just to name a few.

  

Economy

Issue: Help High-Tech and other small/medium sized companies to grow locally.

Answer: The City is very invested in helping the high-tech and “start-up” sector to grow and to stay in Waterloo.

During my time on Council I have supported financial investments in the Communitech Data Hub in UpTown, Velocity, and the Accelerator Centre, just to name a few. Through our land holdings, the City is creating more employment zoned lands to allow for growth in all sectors.

 

Issue: Attract young professionals to stay, by providing good job opportunities and affordable housing options.

Answer: The City economic development department is a considered such an important part of the work we do that the team reports directly to the City Chief Administrative Officer. Through partnerships with and investment in the Universities and College, the City is committed to supporting the attraction and retention of young professionals.  Where housing is concerned, the City is working with the development industry, to the extent possible, under the Municipal Act to help create a range of housing options for all citizens seeking to live and work in Waterloo.

Zoning

Issue: Grow the City Core

Answer: The City is committed to this vision. The recently approved Comprehensive zoning by-law supports this continued direction.

I have been very active in advancing the plan to “grow up” not “out” and worked hard with Ward 4 neighbours to provide feedback to the City Comprehensive by-law to protect the existing Ward 4 low density neighbourhoods.

 

Issue: NO cannabis retail store or drug injection site

Answer: I am very concerned over these two issues. I am struggling with both the Federal and Provincial decisions where cannabis, in particular is concerned.

The City recently approved the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw. This document outlines clear restrictions related to cannabis. A safe consumption site was also addressed in a recent Council decision.


Traffic

Issue: Find ways to remind drivers to slow down on community roads

Answer: I actively work to remind drivers to slow down and work with the City Transportation engineers to implement traffic calming installations. One of the most effective tools to slow traffic is to reduce the travel lanes. This is why the City paints wide “cycling” lanes on the roads and installs pedestrian crossing islands in the middle of roads. Many people think these spaces are only for cyclists and pedestrians, but one of the primary purposes is to reduce traffic speeds.

I also routinely ask staff to monitor traffic speeds in Ward 4 neighbourhoods to see if additional traffic calming measure can/should be installed. Mini roundabouts are very effective in reducing traffic speed, but very unpopular.

A lot of people are asking about reduced speed in neighbourhoods. If re-elected I plan to raise this idea more fully with Council as a part of the upcoming Update to the City Wide Transportation Master Plan.

 

Issue: Revisit plans of cycling lanes

Answer: As discussed above, one of the primary purposes for painting of cycling lanes on roadways is to narrow the travel lanes and reduce traffic speeds.

on roadways is to narrow the travel lanes and reduce traffic speeds.

Cities do not build active transportation corridors for cyclists, they build them for people.  When you take the time to actually spend time on the off-road network of trails and dedicated multi-use trails you will observe that the majority of users are pedestrians; people jogging, walking and individuals pushing strollers, exercising dogs, using accessibility devices like wheelchairs, walkers and canes and overall, people seeking to maintain and improve their health. 

The investment in these spaces is not typically property tax supported, but Gas Tax supported.  If you want to take a “pot-shot” at cyclists you could say they don’t pay into the Gas tax, but the evidence is clear; the majority of cyclists are also vehicle owners/users. When we look at on-road cycling infrastructure here are a few facts for consideration:

  1. Painting a bike lane on a road achieves some important and valuable things including:
  • Traffic “calming” by narrowing the travel lane for cars.
  • Reminding all road users how to share the road.
  • Buffering traffic from pedestrians on the sidewalk. This dramatically improves the pedestrian experience especially on roads that have no boulevard.
  1. Paint is cheap. The City’s budget for road painting is driven primarily by the increase in the overall road network then by painting a few sections with a “bike lane”.
  2. Most cycling advocates will tell you that painting a white line is not considered cycling infrastructure. In many cases, especially on rural roads, the white line is designating the road edge as opposed to creating a “bike lane”.

Issue: Cooperate with Waterloo Region and encourage the use of the existing public transportation

Answer: To truly understand how to support Grand River Transit use, I think you need to use it. It appears many people claim the buses to be empty, but that is not my personal experience.

I often use public transportation. My most common routes include the 200iExpress and the Mainline 7C bus. Every time I ride GRT no matter the time of day, 6am, 2pm, 10pm or the day of the week the number of passengers getting on and off the buses is staggering. Ward 4 is the “end of the line” for many routes so it is possible people in the Ward observes use when the route is either just beginning or just ending. To know more, Ride the Bus!

 
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