The next steps to building prosperity

There are literally hundreds of projects and people that go into building a great city. Over the last four years, I’m proud of the projects we’ve worked on and the work we’ve accomplished as your representatives on Waterloo City Council. While we’ve accomplished a lot together, there’s work left to do.

When people ask what motivates me to run again for mayor, the answer is simple: I love this community. My goal in running again is to continue the important work we’ve been doing over the last four years, growing our community. During this term, we have made major investments in new light rail transit, wastewater processing, and roads, and we’ve saved money by installing cost-saving LED streetlights.

I’m pleased to put forward my platform for the next four years. It includes my vision for keeping Waterloo’s economy growing, continuing to build our vibrant and caring community by supporting strong neighbourhoods and helping people get active. It involves promoting public places though our facilities, including parks and libraries. It focuses on the issues that matter most to our residents, including having an effective and efficient government.

I look forward to connecting with you on the campaign trail and answering your questions. If you have questions about the platform, please email

Don’t forget to vote on October 22!

Vibrant, Caring Community

1. Strong Neighbourhoods

Strong neighbourhoods are the building blocks of any great city. In May 2018, the city adopted its first neighbourhood strategy, which was the result of a lengthy and in-depth consultative process that involved more than one hundred citizens.

That strategy emphasized the need for the city to support a broader range of approaches to neighbourhood community-building.

The plan was a great accomplishment; however, it is only the start. Over the next four years, I am committed to implementing the recommendations of the neighbourhood strategy and ensuring Waterloo residents have the tools they need to ensure their neighbourhoods are vibrant, empowered, safe, engaged and connected.

2. Getting People Active

It’s important, at all ages, to stay active. That’s why we need to invest in the facilities to keep our community moving.

Waterloo’s active transportation network, which promotes walking, running, and biking, has improved dramatically over the past few years, even earning Bike Friendly City Gold status in 2018. Now we’re ready to take the next step.

We need to complete our active transportation network by identifying “super trails” that will allow people to travel, not just within their neighbourhood, but across the entire city.

We’re building a brand new adult recreation centre that will be co-located with the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex to ensure individuals of all ages have a place get involved and to stay active.

I am committed to getting people active by ensuring we have a variety of transportation options as well as new, modern facilities that are both easily accessible and safe. Doing so will promote public health and ease traffic congestion.

3. Promoting Public Places

Rejuvenating Silver Lake in Waterloo Park

Waterloo Park is the jewel of the city. The park’s main attraction, Silver Lake, is not much of a lake.

Over the years, sediment and silt have built up, and Silver Lake has lost its lustre. That’s why we need to invest in Silver Lake, to restore it to its former glory, and make it a centrepiece of Waterloo Park that we can all be proud.

New East Side Library

Our public libraries play an important role in our community, which is why I’ve worked so hard over the past four years to ensure the Waterloo Public Library system has the resources it needs to meet the needs of our community.

We’ve developed a 10-year sustainable funding model for our Public Library system in conjunction and cooperation with the Library Board. But we’re not done yet.

With the creation of a new public library on the East side of Waterloo at RIM Park, investing in our public library system becomes increasingly important.

I am committed to promoting public places, such as public parks and libraries, to foster connectivity between citizens and enhance our caring community.

Effective, Efficient Government

1. Being a Strong Advocate

First and foremost, the mayor needs to advocate for our city – something I’ve been doing over the past four years.

A city can chart its own destiny, yet most of the rules are set by the provincial and federal government. That’s why I plan to continue to advocate for Waterloo, especially to the provincial government, on several key issues. We need to advocate for better transit services to Toronto and to obtain provincial funding for critical infrastructure projects in Waterloo.

As an example, we all know we need fast and frequent train service between Waterloo and Toronto. Too many people are spending too much time on the road instead of being at home with their families. I will continue to make this a priority, as this would not only benefit commuters, it would also take cars off the road, which is better for our environment.

The upper levels of government receive 92% of the taxes collected. I am committed to fighting for you to ensure that Waterloo has the services and funding it needs to continue to grow and prosper.

2. Housing Affordability

Housing affordability is a real concern in the city. That’s why I, along with City Council, have funded affordable housing to a record level, facilitating the creation of new affordable housing projects in conjunction with Supportive Housing of Waterloo and the YWCA, to name just two.

The city also now permits secondary suites in many more areas. Those suites will add more affordable housing choice to the market, all while allowing homeowners to earn additional income. Permitting a greater number of secondary suites provides flexibility and choice to both homeowners and renters alike.

As Waterloo intensifies, we need to ensure that housing prices remain affordable. As a result, the city needs to examine the planning tools at its disposal to determine the best way to achieve affordability while still ensuring a vibrant development industry.

I am committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure we find a solution that balances the appropriate interests and ensures that Waterloo has a wide variety of housing options.

3. Responsible Growth

Waterloo is a growing city. Cities can either sprawl onto farmland or grow upward. We have reached our borders, so now we must intensify our land use. Consultations with the community in 2005 and 2011 determine the areas for intensification that would best protect our existing neighbourhoods.

As our city intensifies, there will be increased pressure on city services. We need to ensure people have public spaces to visit, trails to use, well-maintained roads to drive upon and city-run facilities for their families to use and enjoy. We need to continue to invest in infrastructure, to ensure we are building the foundation for Waterloo’s continued success.

For example, we need to examine the city’s road network to find ways to ease traffic congestion, especially on the west side of Waterloo. Extending Columbia Street to connect with Erb Street will help ease the traffic burden on the Erb/Erbsville roundabout and will provide a new connection for Vista Hills residents.

During my term as mayor, the city created a new asset management system, which has already won awards for its ability to predict the future quality of our infrastructure. This will be an important part of mapping out the city’s long-term financial plan, which will be addressed in 2019.

From parks to trails to roads to sewers to recreation, I am committed to investing in our city’s infrastructure to ensure Waterloo’s continued vibrancy.

Building Prosperity

1. Boosting the Local Economy

After being elected in 2014, I immediately implemented my four point economic development plan – Keep, Grow, Start and Attract. Looking around our great city, it’s clear that Waterloo has been prospering and growing at an incredible rate.

My plan focused on all stages of business development in Waterloo in order to

  • keep existing companies
  • grow established businesses
  • start new entrepreneurial ventures
  • attract investment

Over the past four years, we have made great progress.

As mayor, I engaged with local business leaders to find out what they needed, help facilitate new opportunities, and do the work necessary to make our city an attractive place to invest.

By focusing on creating jobs for all, we celebrated the opening of new businesses in the city and their job-creating power, from restaurants to expansions and additions, such as with Thalmic Labs, Shopify, and the Communitech Data Hub.

I am committed to boosting the local economy by continuing to use my Economic Development Plan. Waterloo will build on the success we’ve had over the past four years, to help ensure our ongoing prosperity into the future.

2. Fostering Arts and Culture

Having a vibrant arts and culture sector is key to building prosperity and quality of life. It’s an important piece of what attracts and retains the best and brightest from around the world. By investing in arts and culture, we’re investing in our own prosperity by adding to our already vibrant community.

We’ve made many new investments over the past four years with the Amplify summit on creativity, the inaugural Lumen festival, an Artist in Residence program, and dozens of new events annually in the Uptown Public Square. At the regional level, we’ve made historic investments in public art at the ION stops.

I am committed to new investments in the arts and culture sector, with input from city and regional staff, citizen committees and artists, with the goal of building our vibrant Waterloo.

3. Seeking Efficiencies

Waterloo is part of a larger region. In order to provide services as efficiently and effectively as possible, we need to collaborate with other local municipalities to ensure that neither municipal borders, or other factors, are impediments to their delivery.

Over the past decade, we have implemented more than 70 such initiatives and anticipate many more to come.  We don’t need amalgamation to work with others to ensure that our residents get the best service delivery possible.  It’s about moving forward, together.

I initiated a new agreement with the neighbouring Townships so the fire department closest to an incident can respond, even if it is across the border. That means that our City of Waterloo firefighters will now automatically be co-responders to an incident like the fire that destroyed the St. Jacob’s Market a few years ago.

I am committed to working with other municipalities, where possible, to ensure the most efficient and effective delivery for city services.

On October 22, vote for continuing the work to build prosperity

These are my commitments as I seek a second term as your Mayor of Waterloo. I am also prepared to remain flexible to respond to the changing needs of our city and our residents. If I am re-elected, my door will remain open to residents who want to meet and share their ideas as we continue to build this great city.