Your mayoral candidates: A cheat sheet

The questions

Q1. What is the most important issue in this upcoming election?

Q2. To what extent will students play into the decisions you make in this city?

Q3. What, specifically, would you do to better address the needs of students?

Q4. How do you plan to make Waterloo more environmentally sustainable?

Q5. What is your stance on Light Rail Transit?

Q6. What is one thing your electorate may not know about you?

Jan d’Ailly

City councillor for the past two terms and former business owner, d’Ailly sits on many committees in the city

Q1. I think what’s very important is that we need proper leadership…. We have a city which is growing very very quickly. We have a lot of innovators out there and the universities are growing very well and a lot of private companies that are doing great things. And it’s time that the city takes a more proactive role in moving the city forward and making it a better place to live, work and play.

Q2. One of the key issues we have to deal with is Northdale because we need to find a long term development strategy for the students. And of course the students would be involved. They would be involved through their students unions and such and they’re our constituency so they’ll have active participation. There’s the Town and Gown association in which there are many opportunities for students to get involved and thirdly, I would encourage students to apply to be on the various committees we have through city council. We have all kinds of citizen committees which are populated by constituents and we want to encourage students to get involved with these as well.

Q3. I think Northdale is probably the single biggest issue for students in Waterloo. We have to make sure students feel welcome in the city and feel part of our city because they are here for four years and hopefully longer. So to make sure it’s attractive, it’s safe and that there’s affordable accommodations…. It’s the most important thing that we can do…. Off-campus life is as important as on-campus life and the city has a huge role in facilitating that and making sure that happens well.

Q4. In my platform, there’s a whole section on sustainability…. I’m proposing the Innovation Trail. It’s an active transportation path that extends from Conestoga Mall to Waterloo Park and Uptown and that is to become an integrated off-road trail to act as a catalyst to make our trails part of the transportation within the city…. We own some land as well that will be developed as both employment and residential lands and if the density is high enough I propose that we get very actively involved with district heating to make sure they can work because they can be very efficient and reduce the CO2 footprint…. The third thing is the 10,000 solar rooftop challenge, that over the next 10 years we’re going to as a region install 10,000 rooftop installations. Those I think are the three concrete things the city can take a proactive role with.

Q5. A lot of questions have to be answered on it still. As we grow as a community we will need some form of rapid transit so we shouldn’t close any doors on that because it’s absolutely essential…. We have to go back to basics and go to the public to re-do the discussion process. Again, I don’t think we’re ready to press the go button today.

Q6. I’m an active sailor and I’ve been very involved with the Conestoga Sailing Club and I’ve been a Commodore there for the last seven years. And what we do there is we run a sailing school over the summer for kids to teach leadership skills and teamwork skills, and also to promote environmental awareness. They learn to respect nature. We like to use the sailing club to promote some really basic skills that kids need. I’m very involved in that and I love doing it myself.

Brenda Halloran

The incumbent, Halloran is a former nurse who represents the city council on numerous committees

Q1. The most important issue in this election is Light Rail Transit. We’ve gone to thousands and thousands of houses and the big thing for a lot of people is the cost. People feel burdened enough by taxes and don’t want us to go ahead with it. We have to go back to the drawing board and revisit all the options and figure out what can be done with the dollars that we have. I just cannot support increasing taxes to cover the shortfall. We just need to go back to the drawing board and revisit the community and go back to the community with those ideas.

Q2. We need to hear from the students, have them engaged and hear their voices about the issues that affect them. For the past four years I’ve had a Mayor Student Advisory Council. I’ve been working with students from both universities…. For me it’s been a wonderful opportunity to sit with a group of student leaders and hear what the issues are and let them hear the ideas that the city has and get input from the students as well. I’ve been promoting it and pushing it for years and pushing students to get involved in city hall committees. I would love to see students on every single city committee we have because their voices need to be heard.

Q3. I have been doing that. With the Mayor Student Advisory Council I’ve been meeting with students and the Town and Gown committee with the city of Waterloo. I invite students to come be a part of city hall. I meet with students. I’m very involved with students in this community and I think that the student voice is so crucial to the future of Waterloo. So, I’ve been doing it proactively for many, many years.

Q4. Part of my platform is Green Waterloo. Recently as a council we’ve approved a new office of Environmental Sustainability, and this is really exciting and it’ll be implemented by the new council. I want the city to meet the criteria to become a Sustainable Waterloo pledging partner to reduce our carbon footprint…. And it’s working within city hall to build an environmental culture and continue to promote working on green initiatives. The city is working with UW on a wind turbine project. We’re looking at bike lanes … and it goes on and
on. There’s so many things we’re doing in the city and we can continuously do more.

Q5. For me, it goes back again to the affordability of it and what the community wants and what we’re hearing loud and clear from people is they’re not in support of Light Rail Transit. A lot of people are in favour of buses as opposed to rail because of the expense of it. With the funding shortfall we need to review it and look at what is an affordable
option for this community.

Q6. Something that I’m really excited about is Waterloo
won the Intelligent Community of the Year Award in 2007. And I’ve been active in that initiative from day one because I think it’s very important to keep Waterloo in the global stage…. Now I’m the Chair of the Intelligent Community Association and working with 14 other intelligent communities across the globe … to help intelligent communities help other communities across the world to share best practices. I’m really excited that Waterloo is taking a lead role and that we’re going to have international delegations come visit this city.

Franklin Ramsoomair

Former business professor at Laurier, Ramsoomair is involved with charitable organizations abroad

*Q1. * Keeping taxes to a reasonable level. And the formula that I’ve worked out is using the rate of inflation, using participative budgeting involving an individual from every ward and UW and WLU and also using fixed rate budgeting, which is setting the tax rate before allocating expenditure. Then we will be able to keep it down to about 1.9 per cent or less. 45 per cent of Waterloo makes under $25,000 per year and taxes are hitting them the hardest.

*Q2. * Given my background, students are of crucial importance…. I’d like students from each of the campuses to be represented in participative budgeting. In terms of job creation, I have clients that will be investing in Waterloo if I am elected. But I want to take that further and have a task force that will actively solicit investment in Waterloo and will report back to me in the first three months. It will include experts, students, etc. In every committee I have planned I want to have students from [the two universities].

Q3. Right now I’m in negotiation with something called the Meal Exchange Program which is going to be a $12 million dollar operation across Canada and the United States…. The idea was from a student of mine, Rahul Raj … and it’s on the way to becoming a world-wide program. What they do is that many students because of the expenses involved don’t have money to eat. Meal exchange ensures there are meals available at universities for students….

Q4. This one is a bit controversial. One of the candidates on council has something called the Environmentally Safe Landscape (ESL) provision, but it has been used selectively. What I would like: right now it is under city control so that certain councilors can designate what’s in ESL and what’s not… I would like to tie the ESL provision to the provincial Green Belt plan so that no one on council can tamper with it. Once it’s tied provincially you have to go to the provincial government to get permission. In terms of the larger issue of the environment, we have encroached on the moraine like you wouldn’t believe…. I want to stop construction on the moraine and instead focus on medium density intensification…. My slogan is save the moraine, don’t pave it.

Q5. We need some form of improved transit in the future. Right now, at a cost of $790 million with a tax burden that has been twice the rate of inflation and people suffering under the burden of increases, our pockets of our citizens and those on fixed incomes are not endless and so we cannot afford a Light Rail Transit now. I’d say in the future, when we begin to experience intensity, that we have a more specific plan … and it might not be Light Rail…. Right now, we need to consolidate what we have with iExpress.

Q6. I formed, about a year and a half ago, an organization called Dream High and Fly and what we do is provide online education to young people across the world. We have students pay a token fee of $5 and I have about 10,000 former students.

Dale Ross

A senior manager at large corporations for over 30 years, Ross works with many industry associations

Q1. The biggest issue is fiscal responsibility for the city. The city has been increasing taxes double the rate of inflation and expenditures have been going up over 24 per cent in the past four years. And quite frankly, the city is in a terrible financial mess.

Q2. There’s one key question which is the Northdale issue with students that I think is extremely important. It’s something that can’t be allowed to continue, and we
certainly have to address it to the satisfaction of all of the parties involved in the issue. And in that the students play an extremely large part. In addition to that, we should also take into account the students’ requirements for the expansion of public transportation.

Q3. Those issues I just mentioned are the two major things I would do. If you look at Northdale, the residents certainly aren’t happy, the students aren’t happy and I believe the situation has been created by the city in terms of the by-laws. Basically, the city has designed things without properly taking into account the students’ requirements. So, we need to go back to the basics and think about what the students want and need while they’re going to university and attempt to accommodate it in a manner that’s affordable and satisfies the community and the city.

Q4. The city is landlocked now. We can’t get more green space. So, what we have to do is make sure we protect the green space that we have. As we intensify it’s going to put more pressures on the existing green space we have in the city. So what we have to do is make sure we take steps to ensure that the green spaces that we currently have here are protected.

Q5. I don’t believe the city or the people can afford to implement it right now. I’m a strong supporter of an improved system but the Light Rail System is just too expensive. In order for it to go into place, we’d have to borrow at least $230 million and by the time we pay for it we’ll pay at least two and half times that. I believe the fast bus system is more economical and effective in the short term and it provides us the flexibility we need for the long term.

Q6. Both my wife and I are Laurier grads and I’m actually one of the original grads from the MBA program…. It was very demanding because I was married as an undergraduate and I did three years of school in two…. I did 18 courses in two years while I was working part time and I was married…. I spent two years at Bishop’s getting a bachelor of science and when I transferred here I quit the university and I worked as a hostess and got married, then went back to university. And in order to get my honours degree I did 18 courses in two years…. When our daughter was born, my wife stayed home to take care of our child, and then went back to university and we had a babysitter alternating and then we graduated at the same time.

The key issues in this upcoming election

Light Rail Transit (LRT): Last year, the city of Waterloo approved a proposal to institute the urban rail transportation system. The regional council also approved the system’s use for the KW region. While the federal government has pledged up to $265 million and the provincial government has pledged $300 million, there is still a $235 million shortfall that the region’s cities will have to account for, causing the proposal to garner re-examination.

The fluoridation debate: Last April the region of Waterloo passed a by-law, submitting a referendum to Oct. 25’s ballot, asking the following question: “Should the Region of Waterloo fluoridate your municipal water?” The substance, commonly added to drinking water, is meant to promote dental health.

The KW amalgamation: A referendum will be put to the people of Waterloo and Kitchener on Oct. 25 asking whether city council should be allowed to discuss joining the two cities. The questions will read as follows: “Do you support the members of Kitchener and Waterloo councils engaging in discussions about the advantages and disadvantages of merging the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo?”

Northdale: Ward 6 (also known as Northdale) has been a key issue over the past few years, particularly due to the aged, war-time housing provided for students and strained relations between nonstudent residents and student residents; as well as the lack of resources and amenities in the area for the population living there. Proposed solutions have included urbanizing the neighbourhood and re-developing the apartment buildings.