Platform

I have many ideas and visions for the future, my focus for this term will be the following:

Homelessness

Everyone gets a lock for their stuff

Homelessness is at a crisis point, and we need a system that grants safety and dignity to all. My vision ensures that there is a place for everyone, while minimizing the impact to taxpayers.

Active Transportation

Peace between road users

I envision a safe road network, accessible to everyone. We need to keep growing our trail system, ensuring safe all year bicycling is a possibility throughout the region. I want to see all the best parts of our region linked up with safe, separated trails.

Transit

Reducing road traffic

A world class region needs world class transit. Transit needs to be cheaper than using a car, and frequent enough that it can keep up with a busy lifestyle.

Housing Affordability

Everyone who works gets a home

Housing costs are going wild. There are many reasons, from property investment firms, lack of new construction, and housing being used for short term rentals, it's time to take action to ensure that if you work, you have a dignified place to live.

Policing Petty Crimes

Petty crimes are becoming more and more common. Everything from stolen deliveries, bikes and cell phones, to credit card scams and fraud. Victims often have GPS locations or other details, lets ensure they also have police support to close the case.

Construction Coordination

To keep our region navigable, all levels of government need to be coordinated, to ensure that access is possible to all areas of the region, without driving us crazy. Conflicting construction should be rescheduled, and detours should be clearly posted and sensible.

Homelessness

Everyone gets a lock for their stuff

Homelessness is at a crisis point, and we need a system that grants safety and dignity to all. Not everyone fits into existing social programs or shelter systems, but everyone needs a place where they can rebuild their life, sleep in safety, store a bike and a few posessions, and have access to basic sanitation so that they can focus on treatment of mental health, addiction or any other malady, and get back into society.

We need to ensure that so long as people are not committing crimes, they can have access to a space of their own. It doesn't need to be large or expensive, just big enough for a bed, a woodstove, and a bike.

We need to look at systems which have worked well in other cities, and learn from their successes and mistakes. Cities such as Seattle are building small villages of tiny shelters, using spaces such as church parking lots or underused park space, but we need to ensure that there is adequate garbage collection and clean-up, as well as sanitation, so that all residents of the city can benefit.

To discourage migration from other communities, I propose:
  • Tracking the percentage of homeless in our community vs provincial standard
  • If have a higher percentage than average, we would obtain provincial or federal funding
  • Work with other communities to ensure they have similar standards
I will always respect every tax dollar used, and think outside the box to get shelters built, such as
  • Having architecture and engineering students compete for designs
  • Allowing current tenants to help with new designs
  • Giving flexibility to designers to use materials at-hand
  • Using high school carpentry programs to build shelters
  • Having art students and local artists paint and decorate
I am convinced that we can give each person a place to be, while keeping use of tax dollars at a minimum.

Active Transportation

Peace between road users

I envision a safe road network, accessible to everyone. While we desperately need to catch up on infrastructure for bicycles, peace with road users must be maintained.

No driver likes to mingle with bikes, and no bike rider likes to mingle with cars.

Where possible, we need to push to maintain basic two-way access on roads for cars, while continuing to build a grid of safe, family accessible multi-use trails. These trails must be safe enough for young children, and practical enough for adults, commuters and tourists.

Areas I want to see improved:
  • Finally connect all trail segments along the Grand River
  • A set of roughly east/west paths connecting each LRT stop
  • Connect the Guelph-to-Goderich trail in Elmira with Waterloo
  • Create looped trail connecting New Hamburg, Baden, Wellesly
  • Trail from the St. Jacobs Farmers' Market to Millbank

Transit

Reducing traffic by making transit easier

We need a world class transit system, that is practical enough that we can consider leaving a car at home. We should model our transit system on cities which are enjoyable to travel through; it should be designed with locals in mind, but intuitive enough for tourists to easily use.

We need transit cost to be drastically reduced, While you can make an argument that using only transit could be cheaper than owning a car, when a local round trip to a movie costs $7 per person, it's hard to justify not hopping in the car. We need each transit trip to be CHEAPER than the gas to use a car, so that even car users will consider taking transit when it's handy.

The world doesn't stop at 1:00 am. Regardless of ridership, major routes need to run 24/7, even if frequency is reduced. There's a big difference between having to wait 30 or even 60 minutes for a bus, versus having to wait until 6:00 am or later. Right now, we have a brand new LRT - but operators must drive to work, because there is no transit running at the times which they must commute.

Rapid transit needs to be expanded, to connect the upcoming GO transit hub with our regional airport. To start, bus routes could be expanded, but long term, we should consider expanding the LRT, ideally using existing rail corridors, but in any case, it should be done quickly, before new construction closes in, making the project cost prohibitive.

  • Cheaper fares to increase ridership, with a target of one third of the cost of a car trip
  • LRT and main routes will run 24/7, with 30 to 60 minute frequency off hours
  • Grade separated LRT that connects the west end of Waterloo, transit hub, and Waterloo airport

Housing Affordability

Everyone who works gets a home

We need to take steps to make housing affordable for everyone. In addition, we need affordable housing that is available for when emergencies come about. The problem isn't simple, and there are many causes for housing costs to skyrocket. My cost stabilization strategy has three targets:

Plans for new properties:
  • Change zoning to allow more medium density housing
  • Minimum residency period to reduce flipping and speculation
  • Incentives for developers who include affordable housing
Plans for existing properties:
  • Vacancy tax to encourage occupancy
  • limits on corporate ownership of most new and existing residential properties
  • Increased tax if the owner doesn't live on the property
  • property tax increase for owners of more than 5 homes
Investment in affordable housing:
  • Corporations will be allowed to own and invest in affordable housing
  • Incentives for developers who invest in affordable units
  • Target of 20% vacancy rate in affordable housing, to ensure that it is available for emergencies
  • Rent indexed to minimum wage, with 10 hours of minimum wage per month covering the smallest units

Policing Petty Crimes

I envision a "Petty Crimes" division. This division would be comprised of a handful of officers or detectives in training. They would focus on smaller, often ignored crimes such as:

  • Stolen cell phones - especially if the victim has GPS phone location
  • Break-ins of sheds and garages
  • Stolen bikes
If in their investigation they decide the crime is too severe, they could pass it on to another division, but otherwise, they would be given time to properly investigate and document evidence, and when ready to apprehend a suspect, could involve other officers as required.

Road Construction Coordination

Ensuring that every road leads somewhere

It's not exactly an exciting topic, but just moving around Weber Street is an abject terror these days. We need coordination so that all levels of government are planning road construction together. For all construction, detours should be clearly marked and coordinated, with road closures planned to avoid conflicts.

In all cases, everything possible should be done to maintain 2-way road access on major routes during construction, even if it means temporarily using boulevards, working on one side of a street at a time, or other possibilities to keep us moving.