By James Jackson
The four candidates of Ward 2 in the City of Waterloo are promising to better connect residents with city hall and the rest of their ward.
Located at the west end of the city, Ward 2 has seen rapid growth in recent years that has led to incomplete trail systems, roads that are overcapacity, and has left residents feeling disconnected from city hall.
“Our ward is split into four different sections and we’re not connected,” said Janice Moore, a retired accountant, during a Saturday afternoon debate at the Court at Laurelwood retirement home organized by the Voter Support Committee.
“We need to find a way to connect through our roads, which are an issue, through the trails, which are not complete, and through our neighbourhood associations.”
It was a sentiment shared by the three other candidates in Ward 2 looking to replace Coun. Karen Scian, who is making a run at one of Waterloo’s two regional councillor positions. Those candidates include former radio host and Waterloo Chronicle columnist Brian Bourke, chair of the Waterloo Public Library Helen Kaluzny and finance and accounting expert Hardy Willms.
“We see too often trails that are incomplete and have gaps in them so kids can’t ride their bikes from one end to the other,” said Kaluzny.
Each candidate emphasized their experience and how it would help them as a rookie councillor at the city. Bourke is a former parent council president, was a coach and president for the Waterloo Minor Girls Softball Association and volunteered for a wide range of charitable causes as part of his job in radio. He’s been critical of some city policies, such as the overnight parking bylaw, in his newspaper columns.
Kaluzny was a volunteer reporter at Rogers Television, has been involved with the Columbia Forest Community Association and the Waterloo Community Council, and most recently has been on the public library board and is now chair.
Moore has volunteered with her son’s baseball and diving teams and is president of the Kitchener-Waterloo diving club and chair of the Sport Organization Committee for Diving at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. She was also chair of the Recreation and Leisure Advisory Committee, chair of the Cash Grants Committee and was a member of the Citizens’ Budget Task Force.
Willms has years of experience as an accountant and was treasurer for Waterloo Minor Hockey, was a member of the RIM Park Advisory Committee and was also a member of the city’s Citizens’ Budget Task Force. He has been an outspoken critic of the city in his guest columns for the Waterloo Chronicle, challenging the city of numerous financial policies such as pensions and hydro costs.
“Going forward, we have got to prioritize our capital spending,” said Willms, highlighting the city’s $250 million infrastructure deficit.
All four said they were supportive of continued development on the west side of the city — including the proposed Costco warehouse store — but said infrastructure has not kept pace with that new development, particularly roads. Moore also highlighted her desire to maintain a firm city boundary at Wilmot Line.
In his closing statement, Bourke passionately implored the people of the ward and of the city as a whole to get out and vote.
“This is where we live. This is everything. If we ignore it we don’t have a whole lot left,” Bourke said.
Election day is Oct. 27.