Public Infrastructure, Transit, and Road Safety
From completing the Recreation Complex, Idea Exchange (library), new public school and new Catholic school, to working with Waterloo Region to ensure the construction of ‘Stage 2’ of the LRT into Galt, I will fight for large new infrastructure projects that will bring Cambridge into the future, provide good-paying jobs for local workers, assist local businesses using locally-sourced materials, and foster a stronger community and sense of togetherness.
Crises of Addictions, Mental Health, and Homelessness
We can help those in need, and clean up our city’s core areas, by supporting our front-line workers, and pushing all levels of government for more funding for mental health supports, addictions treatment, and the latest medical services recommended by doctors, psychologists, neurologists, and many others. When dealing with any medical or health issue, it is essential to base our plans and understand around the recommendations of local experts and social service agencies that have first-hand knowledge and expertise in these inter-related crises; they invest every working day learning about, and dealing with, these inter-related crises, and we must listen to our local front-line workers and medical professionals rather than (for example) Facebook posts, homemade blogs, or rumours. Listening to our local experts, police, hospital workers, and medical practitioners, we can implement evidence- and fact-based solutions on the ground.
In the wake of COVID-19, the mental health of Cambridge residents of all ages — from youth, to seniors — has suffered greatly, creating unseen mental illness and trauma that affects all aspects of a sufferer’s life. With an aging population, dementia and other illnesses associated with cognitive function are also on the rise.
It is essential that we work with other levels of government that have the control over these essential areas and their resources, as well as administer funding to municipalities, so as to heal those already afflicted or suffering, while working ‘upstream’ to prevent future illnesses from emerging or developing in the future.
Helping City Cores and Small Businesses
Our cores and their businesses are suffering from changing patterns of manufacturing, jobs, and ‘big-box’ shops and newer suburban neighbourhoods being placed on the outskirts of our city. We need to follow the successful examples in places like Europe by densifying our city’s core areas, having more people living, working, shopping, and relaxing, in our cores. My vision is for each of Cambridge’s cores — Preston, Hespeler, and Galt — to have enough homes, amenities, and community ‘play’ areas, that a car is not necessary; a full and fun life can occur by walking, biking, and taking public transportation through a core area. This ‘densifying’ of a core not only increases business and tax revenue, but increases the overall walkability, atmosphere, and community spirit of the entire city.
Small businesses are the heart of a community, and we need to make sure they are supported. If small businesses thrive, they boost a community’s ‘economic ecosystem’ and attract medium- and large-scale businesses, as well as boost community spirit and quality of life.
It is also essential to maintain the irreplaceable heritage buildings of Cambridge, and to maintain them so that, unlike the tragic loss of so many of our past treasures, they are not demolished or left to fall into disrepair.
Addressing the Lack of Affordable Housing (however a municipality can!)
Housing is generally out of the purview of a municipality, and for Cambridge, falls into the jurisdiction of the Region of Waterloo and the province of Ontario.
That being said, I have been vocal in building more new and creative housing options that may work to alleviate some of the crisis — such as tiny homes. I have also been working with local groups to promote the building of affordable housing by groups such as ‘Habitat for Humanity’ and ‘Indwell’, which excel in building social and affordable homes that we are in desperate need of.
A lack of housing and affordable rental units creates dire social and economic effects that ripples through the community, increasing homelessness, crime, anxiety, trauma, and drug use. We need (1) new solutions to affordable housing that do not put lower-income residents, seniors, and those in need, out in the cold, such as tiny homes, and (2) we need to work with all levels of government to insist on more funding, and more power, to build a variety of different types of homes ASAP.
If we want to solve our old problems, we have to think in new ways. We can look to cities around the world, take what works, and discard what doesn’t.
Fighting Climate Change and Responsible Urban Development
We need to make every resident aware of the future climatic changes affecting Cambridge, Waterloo Region, and Canada, so they can (1) make changes to secure their own home and property if desired, and (2) pressure their elected representatives at ALL levels of government for real, non-partisan solutions that match the scientific requirements for real change, rather than ‘words’ that link up with the next electoral cycle.
Prior to joining council, I was vocal about banning single-use plastics, and declaring a climate emergency to stress the urgency of human-induced climate change. While on council, I pushed for green materials for infrastructure, building retrofitting, and I fought hard for Cambridge to adhere to the ambitious 50/30 emissions targets that have been endorsed by scientists globally (See the ‘Accomplishments’ page here for more details!)
Climate change also presents health hazards for all of us, and our families, now and into the future as it intensifies. It is essential that we prevent further climatic and environment change (as much as possible); we mitigate the damage done; and we adapt to the changes that we now know are coming. If we trust established science, work as a community and with all levels of government, and take bold steps to change old patterns of behaviour into greener and healthier ones, then I know we can do it together!
Taxes and Budgets
Being fiscally responsible with tax dollars, if we densify our city’s cores we will grow our economy.
A city councillor must be the guardian and shepherd of the public purse. Every expenditure of a tax dollar must be for services directly benefitting residents, or for an INVESTMENT in the community that will yield a higher return later on. There must be NO frivolous spending or pet projects, but only expenditures that will benefit our community.