“I have always been active in the community and see this as an extension of my past work. I will advocate for a fiscally responsible and accountable local government. I believe having a team of people with diverse perspectives, who can work together, will benefit our city.”
Why are you running for city council?
I have always been active in the community and see this as an extension of my past work. I will advocate for a fiscally responsible and accountable local government. I believe having a team of people with diverse perspectives, who can work together, will benefit our city.
Tell us a bit about your background and experience, and how that will inform the way you work as a city councillor?
Coming from a professional background, I embody collaboration, open communication, budget management and the ability to work in a detailed, and process-oriented environment. While incumbent councillors bring experience, new perspectives are essential to maintaining a healthy democracy.
What do you think was the most consequential decision made by city council during the 2018-2022 term?
The multi-year budget that comes with a nearly 10% tax increase.
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?
We have been given substantial growth targets from the province. One of the key priorities coming out of the KPMG service rationalization report was reviewing the development approval process. While this has been started, future Council needs to make sure this is a focus and see it through. Making it easier to get affordable homes built has to be a priority.
Residents also deserve to have their voices heard and be included in discussions and/or rationalization for new builds in specific areas.
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?
Past council did get some supportive housing projects started, but funding requires both county support and advocating for more funding from the government. I would like to see some planning around a now / next / future approach. Once we get individuals into supportive housing, what resources can be applied to help them have a future. Next steps – be it education, assistance in gaining and maintaining employment, etc.
Would you support a more collaborative relationship between the City of Guelph and the County of Wellington? What would that look like?
Absolutely – this relationship requires collaboration on a number of issues. Maintaining continual communication is essential.
How would you increase accessibility at city hall? How will you make sure that your constituents feel well-informed and well-represented in council?
Councillors need to be accessible and approachable. Residents should feel like they can reach out with any questions or concerns at any time.
As a first-time candidate, I can tell you that the average citizen has no idea how to sift through the amount of data that council votes on each month. There is a substantial amount of information on the city website, which the average person does not have time to read through.
I would love to see a dashboard created of important metrics, so that we have a very easy to understand document that shows how we measure our city’s performance year over year. IE – All of the things that have the most impact to the residents: like the budget, major building developments, cost avoidance, tax impacts, funding for projects like supportive housing and mental health resources.
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?
Communication, accessibility to information and assistance are essential for all members of our community. I think having resource groups set up for any of the underrepresented groups would be a good first step. Having ally groups set up for each, and a leader that can work with the city Councillors, would help ensure their voices are heard and we are getting them access to the resources they need.
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?
I will support any initiatives in Guelph’s plan to become a net zero carbon community by 2050 and I am impressed with our progress to date towards making the transit fleet fully electric.
Excluding 2-way/all-day GO Train service, how would you work to expand regional transit options to and from Guelph?
I think this is a much bigger discussion with other layers of government involved. I think being somewhat of a commuter city that wants to achieve net zero, we will need to work in a collaborative manner to support transit expansion.
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?
I would like to see Guelph get back to the city it was when I grew up (many years ago). Work to reduce crime, work to resolve homelessness and mental health issues, grow the city in a sustainable manner while maintaining the attributes that make Guelph, Guelph. We have an abundance of parks, trails, and beautiful green spaces that we need to maintain as we grow.
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?
Finish this sentence: I would be very disappointed if we got the end of this election without debating…?
The 2022-23 budget
Where can people learn more about you, and your campaign?
Current Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com – coming soon)
Facebook: Coming soon!
Website – lanaward5.ca
I will add other platforms and have an accessible phone line if elected to Council.