Local candidates address ward issues

On Oct. 27, residents of the City of Waterloo will have the opportunity to vote in the municipal election and determine who is going to govern the community for the next four years.

Jeff Henry and Robert Hodgins are the two candidates running to be councillor of Ward Six in Waterloo, which borders most of Columbia Street, Fischer-Hallman Road, Bearinger Road, University Avenue and a portion of Weber Street and Albert Street.

Jeff Henry - ONLINE Will

Jeff Henry – Photo by Will Huang

Henry has been the councillor for the last four years and is hoping to renew his position in the upcoming election.

He spoke with regard to the issues that will be addressed in the municipality in the next four years.

“We will be highlighting to people that we are going to have serious conversations about the infrastructure background, the state of our roads, the state of our waste water and buildings and parks and how we make sure we maintain those over the next 50 years,” he said.

Henry also hopes to ensure the rental-housing bylaw is being correctly abided by and is providing safe, affordable and accessible housing, especially for students who are living in Ward Six.

He outlined that the revitalization of Northdale has been a core element of his strategy over his last four years as councillor, and he would like this initiative to continue.

“[It] will continue to be a part of the city’s agenda for the next four years since we have a vibrant, dynamic place that people love to call home, where there are things to do, where you are meeting your neighbours or you have the kind of housing accommodation that works [and] people can be effective at studying, or any other part of life,” said Henry.

Unfortunately, The Cord was unable to get in touch with Hodgins for an interview.

Melissa Durrell, is the only candidate running for councillor of Ward Seven in Waterloo, which stretches across uptown.

Durrell has served as Ward Seven councillor since the previous election in 2010, and is also hoping to renew her position this year.

She has three priorities regarding her campaign, including those of economic development, communication and continuation of fiscal responsibility.

She is hoping to continue a number of projects and initiatives that she is passionate about within the community.

One of these initiatives includes building a place called the “Waterloo Walk,” which naturalizes the Laurel Creek by transforming the present parking lots into a job-intensive space.

Melissa Durrell - Photo by Will Huang

Melissa Durrell – Photo by Will Huang

She is also hoping to work together with the city in order to ensure the rental health bylaw is helpful for students.

She also is a strong supporter of segregated bike lanes that promote safety on the roads.

“[Wilfrid Laurier University] is part of my ward, and so I have already met with the student government that is coming in. We meet with them in the spring, and talk with them about their issues, so hopefully I will be getting to meet them again,” Durrell said.

Olga Smith, city clerk and director of legislative and corporate services for the City of Waterloo, said, “We are really trying to promote the vote this year … the municipal staff have been working with the students earlier this year trying to coordinate efforts in promoting the vote to students.”

For the first time this year, the municipality will be holding advanced polling stations at both Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo in order to promote voting among students. The stations will take place at both universities on October 8.

“We need to make people feel welcome in Waterloo. I think the universities are good catalysts for that because we have so much recruitment for global talent,” Durrell said.

“We need to make sure we have a prosperous, engaged, but inclusive community where everybody feels a part of it,” Henry concluded.

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