CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE – Hitesh Jagad, Ward 4 Councillor

“I will continue to advocate for more green sustainable growth, ensuring overall well being of Ward 4 residents and making sure how the tax dollars are spent in the City budget while funding the projects. I am local entrepreneur & community builder. Being elected by Ward 4 residence & representing them would be a privilege.”

Why are you running for city council?

I am proud resident of Guelph and have lived in this Ward for 18 years. I am running because I want to represent the priorities that matters most to Guelphities. Examples includes creating & funding more support for affordable housing projects, better alternatives to control properties taxes & manage rising renting cost.

Throughout the 18 years of living in Ward 4, I have seen considerable growth in road safety, in traffic & carbon emissions. With this, I want to advocate better road safety; especially in residential areas, developing safer bike lanes & better establish our public transportation system. This will encourage people to seek a better alternative, reduce traffic & carbon emissions. I will continue to advocate for more green sustainable growth, ensuring overall well being of Ward 4 residents and making sure how the tax dollars are spent in the City budget while funding the projects. I am local entrepreneur and community builder. Being elected by Ward 4 residence & representing them would be a privilege.

Tell us a bit about your background and experience, and how that will inform the way you work as a city councillor?

As a small business owner, everyday brings me the opportunity of getting to know many different kinds people within in our community. I enjoy getting to know and have healthy conversations on issues that matter most to people and how it is impacting them and their families. I am experienced and have good sense of understanding, hold the capability to have a healthy discussion on key issues that affect people and offer alternative solutions. I believe in continuous improvements and putting the community first. Seeing life’s ups & downs very closely, and am self motivated believing that opportunities are always presented.

I have persevered through many of the challenges presented when I came to Canada. I have worked in manufacturing sector and as a Home Financial Advisor. I have updated my educational credential by attending Conestoga College in Guelph, and have been accredited by the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals. In India, I graduated with university degree in Bachelor of Commerce (B. Com), and I am a multi-tasked professional with excellent knowledge of sales, marketing, administration & management. My back home experience includes working as an administrative manager at a water purification company & managing a Honda car dealership.

I am community champion who believes in building strong communities and putting them first.

What do you think was the most consequential decision made by city council during the 2018-2022 term?

There were some significant consequential decisions are made during the 2018-2022 term of Council, new library, baker street development & south-end recreation.

We need to prioritize projects are most needed and are affordable. Projects should follow a strict deadline when it needs to be completed otherwise the cost of delays will continue to increase and place the burden on taxpayer. Therefore, developing accountability in funding these projects will inspire trust and reliability where tax dollars are spent. Our development must be sustainable to support the needs of current residents and future residents.

We need to have affordable housing projects instead of building homes that are increasingly becoming unaffordable. In my point of view, we should rethink & re-evaluate these decisions.

Guelph has to make accommodation for 208,000 people and have 116,000 jobs ready by 2051. What’s your growth strategy, and how will you co-ordinate with developers, neighbourhoods and community groups to achieve it?

Guelph is growing exceptionally fast, because many people want to live in a city that, offers better career opportunities, a diverse community, puts community first and not to mention its was recently rated #8 as Canada’s best small cities, according to Best Cities. As recent provisional goal Guelph need built about 30,000 new homes by 2031.

In my prospective Guelph will reach 200,000 in population within next 10 years or so, as more families are moving to Guelph from GTA, how we can keep up with the growth & building new homes it’s a big question! There is number of factors we needed to consider before we go further into the development, we need to protect our green space, building more affordable and green homes.

Housing affordability will be remained is a one of the key issues that we all are facing, this includes rise of property taxes and rents. With elimination of exclusionary zoning, where only a parcel of land can zoned a one thing can now be zoned as mixed use development. This kind of development can help the address the cost as property as being used for multiple purposes.

We going to see many new projects are coming to Guelph it is important to note over all cost of ownership for that home. Recent construction on apartments and their maintenance fees have become astronomically high. This includes mortgage payment and monthly maintenance fees. Some amount for maintenance fees are in the $400-$800 range. We should introduce maximum monthly maintenance fees.

We should focus on sustainable growth and need a collaborative approach with all department of city & all level of government to achieve this goal.

Homelessness and the mental health and addiction crises are having a profound impact on Guelph, what can be done at a council level to address these issues, and what will you do as an individual councillor to address them?

Through out the various charities I have collaborated with in the pandemic, I have noticed, the lack of funding and social services to those that are homeless. One way to decrease homelessness within the city is to provide support with properly funded mental health, addiction prevention & social housing. With all three being properly funded people a part of the program can meet with social worker who can provide ideas or advice of what they can do next, they will have chance to improve their education find stable employment and recover safely knowing their future will change. No one is born homeless, lets together create a home for homeless where they not left alone.

Would you support a more collaborative relationship between the City of Guelph and the County of Wellington? What would that look like?

If I am elected as Councillor, I love to support collaborative relationship in great extent of development & growth of City of Guelph & County of Wellington. .

How would you increase accessibility at city hall? How will you make sure that your constituents feel well-informed and well-represented in council?

By supporting city services, creating awareness about our city development, bringing more transparent communication. Setting up a goal of sustainable growth, and top of all my recommendation an annual review of all ward development.

Movements like Black Lives Matter and the discovery of unmarked graves at residential schools have made the creation of more equity and inclusion at city hall a top priority. How will you help promote greater representation and work to create more equity and inclusion at the City of Guelph?

Guelph is growing faster, and love to welcome different ethnic community to prosper in spread love & joy. I believe in divers’ culture, my priority to go extra mileage of care to bring equality & inclusion at the City of Guelph.

The City of Guelph, as a corporation, is responsible for three per cent of emissions locally. What will you do to encourage and assist the Royal City to reach it’s net zero and 100 per cent renewable goals?

In my opinion to reach next zero in emission, we should promote more Public Transportation, Introduce the Geo-thermal energy for new development for heating & cooling this will help in reducing carbon footprint, More round-about then traditional signals. Build a code for new construction to have highly efficient charging out-let for EV at each home.

Excluding 2-way/all-day GO Train service, how would you work to expand regional transit options to and from Guelph?

For a growing city public transportation is very important and a call for improved transit is needed. Many community members depend on it for their everyday commuting. While gas prices are on the rise, some people may not able to afford such prices. These prices might encourage someone to look at other options. By encouraging people to use public transportation in their commutes, not only does it provide environmental benefits (like a lower carbon footprint) but also reduces traffic congestion.

The City of Guelph, includes a large industrial belt and many in Guelph and those living in KWC commute to this large industrial belt. Establishing a Inter-Regional Public Transportation system would help to reduce traffic congestion on Highway 7 and the Industrial belt. Moreover, we are seeing an increase in international students who do not have access to a car and many of them are required to commute by bus to Conestoga College or the University of Guelph. This also applies for residents that would like to upgrade their educational credentials and those commuting to work.

If you could dedicate your time on city council to one issue over the next four years, like you were a federal or provincial cabinet minister, what would that be, and why?

The most important change I want to see in the city is the overall affordability and cost of living. We should be focusing on decreasing the cost of living and explore other alternatives that funds city budgets.

It’s budget time: You have a heritage building redevelopment project, the modernization of a key city service, or you can reduce the proposed budget increase by a full percentage point. You can either fund one of these endeavours in their entirety, or you can assign each option a portion of funding. What’s your motion?

There will be many questions & concerns before even I share my final verdict which way to proceed. But my decision will go in that direction if the project is real priority for city.

Finish this sentence: I would be very disappointed if we got the end of this election without debating…?

Overall affordability & cost of living.

Where can people learn more about you, and your campaign?,

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