Laurier alumnus Dorothy McCabe wins Waterloo mayoral race
The new mayor of Waterloo is a former Golden Hawk.
In a tight race last week, defeating her opposition by just over 300 votes, Laurier alumnus Dorothy McCabe was elected mayor of Waterloo region.
For years, McCabe has worked as a government relations and municipal sector professional, advising elected officials at the municipal and provincial levels.
“Now, I’m at the decision-making table, so I’m thrilled,” McCabe said.
One of the first items on McCabe’s post-inauguration agenda is to use public land around the RIM Park area to build a new affordable housing development. McCabe is interested in partnering with a non-profit developer for the project.
Another top item on her list is to create an advisory council that hears from various community voices.
“Another thing I want to do is set up what I call the Team Waterloo Mayor’s Advisory Council … the idea behind it is to bring stakeholders from every sector in our community together,” McCabe said.
The idea for such a council was borne from a desire to listen to groups who are most knowledgeable about a given topic.
“I don’t want to say that I have the answers. I have some ideas, but I really want to hear from all these different sectors,” McCabe said.
At a higher and more long-term level, McCabe wants to help cultivate eco-friendly politics and practices in the Waterloo region.
“One of the main reasons that I decided to run was regarding climate change. I really think we need to kind of push the agenda on climate change,” McCabe said.
One way she hopes to accomplish this is by exploring modifications in the transit system.
“I would really like to look at reduced or eliminat[ed] fares for some populations, like youth in particular so we can get them in … build those future riders.”
McCabe said she is excited to find out the answer to her campaign slogan, ‘what’s next Waterloo?’.
“Really thinking long term, it’s like what can we do? What can Waterloo do? We have so much potential. So that’s really exciting for me,” McCabe said.
McCabe also spoke about what she is fearful of as her inauguration approaches.
“What’s scary for me [is that] we’re still somewhat living through the COVID era,” McCabe said.
“If there’s something like that that’s on the horizon again, that’s something that really worries me.”
McCabe said one of the reasons such a prospect worries her is the struggle that small businesses went through during previous heights of the pandemic.
“I don’t know if they could survive another COVID experience,” McCabe said.
McCabe also has her eyes on issues concerning students in Waterloo. Among these are the apparent need for safer roads, pedestrian outlets around the university district and unsafe student housing.
“I think that’s something we need to look at: that stretch from King to Westmount and how safe it is there and if there’s something we can do there to make it safer for pedestrians.”
Another transit-oriented goal McCabe wants to pursue as mayor is providing more bus service to alleviate some of the strains on the current system.
The infamous GO line on University Avenue, for instance, in which students sometimes wait for hours, is a symptom of these strains.
“What can we do on that front to see if we can make transit a more effective and efficient option for students coming in from out of town?” McCabe asked.
In her closing remarks, McCabe spoke on excitement and a sense of comfort.
“I’m really excited. It’s still very much setting in … I just feel in my gut that this is where I’m meant to be, so I’m thrilled to be here.”