June Hofland is hoping that the voters of Ward 3 like her past eight years of work on city council so much, that they’re ready to give her four more.
Born and raised in Guelph, Hofland was first elected to city council in 2006, but before that she worked in banking for 25 years, and had a successful downtown Guelph business until 2012. Since then, she’s dedicated herself to helping her husband run his local renovation company, and working on council, and in her free time, she enjoys being in the outdoors, gardening, cycling, canoeing, and skiing, or just reading a good mystery novel. On her website, Hofland says, “As a dedicated volunteer, community advocate and successful businesswoman, she honours and learns from the past, lives fully in the present and continually works towards a sustainable and prosperous future.” But will Hofland be prosperous at the ballot box? Perhaps her responses to the candidate questionnaire will help you decide.
1) Why did you decide to run for city council?
I have completed 8 years as the Ward 3 City Councillor and there are many initiatives I would like to champion. I love my job and want to do another four years.
2) What makes your ward unique to Guelph?
Ward 3 is very diverse and rich in history. We are home to the Museum, the Library, and blocks of beautiful historical homes. We have many landmark homes like Sherriff Granger’s home on Meadowview and Admiral Kingsmill’s home on Woodycrest. We have many green spaces, treed streets and beautiful parks. We also have a lively multicultural community where 26 different languages are spoken. We are fortunate as we have many amenities in Ward 3. We have 3 very active neighbourhood groups and a wonderful community vibrancy.
3) Using a letter grade, how would you rank the performance of the current city council? Explain.
I think this will be up to the voters to decide.
4) Some people say that Guelph is over-taxed, others believe that our taxes are inline with a community our size; where do you stand on taxation in Guelph?
I believe our tax increases have been trending downward in the past decade. According to BMA Management Consulting Inc. Guelph is below the provincial average for cities over 100,000 residents.
5) Do you believe that Guelph has a spending problem? If yes, then please cite specific examples of areas and/or programs that you would cut to save money?
I do not think we have a spending problem. As the Chair of Finance for the past four years we have had many victories. Credit rating update, balanced budget every year, net debt has gone down in the last year, debt is not issued to fund operations, reserves have increased and we have strong financial policies in place. We now have an Audit Committee as well as an Internal Auditor that was recently hired. We are demonstrating good financial management and the increase to our credit rating is a strong indicator.
6) What’s the biggest priority for Guelph in terms of services needed? This could be something that’s provided by the government, ie: a library or rec centre, or it could be a commercial need, ie: a new grocery store in the east end.
There are many exciting initiatives underway that I would like to champion. Guelph Innovation District, a local food hub, and a South End Rec Centre. I believe the growth of the downtown area including the Baker street development and a downtown campus will benefit the entire city. I will also strongly support a universal hub for families in the north end of Guelph similar to Onward Willow.
7) How would you propose to mend relations between the city and transit workers, and to improve the services of Guelph Transit?
I am willing to look at ways of building a strong relationship with our transit drivers and ATU. We need to improve the relationship through engagement and better communications. I will certainly do my part to avoid service disruptions in the future.
8) What will you do to insure the best possible communication between yourself and your constituents if you’re elected to council?
I am very committed to my constituents and love to converse with Guelphites.
I am accessible and responsive to my constituents. I have sat in meeting rooms with constituents, around kitchen tables and at my office in city hall. I am always happy to attend ribbon cuttings, grand openings and open houses. I volunteer at picnics, BBQs and participate in dozens of community organized events throughout the year. In other words I show up and have a presence in the community I represent!
I have recently joined twitter but no blog as of yet.
9) Guelph is implementing online voting for the first time with this election, are you in favour of this development or against it? Explain.
In favour. We need to join the other municipalities that implementing online voting. Online voting for the advanced polls will be a good test pilot.
10) What issue, aside from any previously mentioned in this questionnaire, do you think should be a priority and why?
I believe we need to have more public participation and I am hoping through our open government action plan we will increase public participation.
11) How can local government be a force for good in the lives of the people of Guelph?
Municipal government is the most important level of government as it effects the quality of life for our residents. Every line in our municipal budget effects the quality of life for our residents. Our constituents depend on the delivery of services whether they are riding the bus, having their garbage picked up or having their streets ploughed. By providing good leadership municipal government can attract more jobs, build strong neighbourhoods and ensure environmental stewardship.
12) Where can voters get more information about you and your campaign?