As a Ward Councillor, we have a duel role. To advocate for our Ward and to see that its needs are met, and to hold stewardship over the City and its assets. While there are many issues for consideration, I don’t want to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. So I have focused on the following top three items in each of my Ward and the City.
1. Non-Motorized Travel and connecting our Ward – I have heard time and time again that residents in the Ward are looking for better ways to travel that don’t involve getting in a car. It has also become apparent, in touring our Ward, that we are not connected.This involves both our roads and our trails. The issue with the roads is a lack of sidewalks or non-motorized paths. Trails, just end, and don’t lead from one part of the Ward to the other, and connected bike paths are few and far between. For the trails
to become more useful, there are two issues. Some of the trails need to be upgraded to allow for two way bike travel. Some of the trails are not linked into the trail system. They just end. They need to be completed, and linked from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. In the Transportation Master Plan for the city, these issues were highlighted as concerns. The Master Plan gave a 5 year plan guideline to upgrade these missing items. The timeline has not been met, and also is not aggressive enough to satisfy the growing need of the community. We need to review this plan and become more aggressive in our timelines.
2. Mitigating Traffic Congestion – Traffic is a growing concern with the residents in our Ward. Getting out of the Ward 2 at any high traffic time is becoming more and more difficult. Anyone who has traveled on Columbia or Ira Needles, the two main exits from our Ward, knows that the gridlock is increasing. This will only become worse with addition of over 1500 homes in Vista Hills and the building of Costco on Erb St. It comes down to our Planning and Design of our roads. To me it’s common sense in our planning. Take for example the plans for Columbia that call for the road to be widened and then reducing it to two lanes. Here is where common sense left the planning – merging back to two lanes will create gridlock.
The first step that I would take as a Councillor is to advocate for the widening of Columbia to continue all the way from Fischer Hallman to Erbsville Road.The second step would be to support the plan for Costco already put in place by this council. That if a traffic study is not complete, and measures not taken to address the inevitable traffic issues, then Costco will remain on hold.
3. Safe and Healthy Neighbourhood – In talking to residents in the neighbourhood, I have gathered a wealth of information on ideas to make our neighbourhood a safer and healthier place to live. Many of these ideas are well worth investigating, but two stood out.
The boulevards in our neighbourhood have become overgrown and unsightly. While the idea behind “naturalization” of the boulevards may have been a good one, in practice it has created an unsightly mess that is unsafe as it blocks the view when crossing the road. The boulevards would be better served, and less costly to maintain, with low growing ground cover.
The trails in our neighbourhoods that are adjacent to our schools are not well lit. While we all know that we will take these shortcut routes, to save time, at night it is not very safe. I want to review our trails, especially the school connectors, and look for ways to provide lighting to increase the safety, in a cost effective manner.
1. Overall Fiscal Responsibility – As an accountant, I can’t get away from this. It is ingrained in my nature to ensure that we control our taxes and stay fiscally responsible. What I hear from citizens is that, if they are going to pay taxes, then they want to get value for their dollars. They want to be sure that the city is providing services in a timely fashion, as efficiently as they can. I intend on bringing my expertise to council to ensure that we do just that.
2. Recreation and Leisure – my passion is in Rec and Leisure and it will remain so. I believe that an early investment in our children, in sports, arts,and culture, leads to a healthier, more active life. I believe that the access to these activities helps down the road in reducing health and delinquency issues. I believe that as a city we need to both assist our marginalized population with funding and our many community groups with the delivery of service. I have worked as part of the Recreation and Leisure Department in a committee capacity, and I will continue that at the council table.
I will support the continuation of the matching grants program, I will support the cash grants program,. I will look for ways to invest in our programming partners through more city support in the form of facility access, staff liaisons and in-kind support.
3. City of Waterloo ByLaws- I feel that we have too many bylaws in our city. I feel like every time a bylaw doesn’t have the intended outcomes, it is added to, or changed to suit the new problem it creates. Our bylaws are full of band aids and patches. Take for example the Overnight parking bylaw. It is part of a larger document entitled “traffic bylaw”, where overnight parking is addressed. It is one sentence in an 18 page document that says No Parking “between the hours of 2:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.”. In order to accommodate issues that have arisen from this, an exemption system was put into place. First you had an exemption by household, then by vehicle per household, and now it is 15 exemptions per year per licence plate number. Each of these changes to accommodate a bylaw that created other issues. As a Councillor, I want to make it a priority to review our bylaw system and simplify it. I want to implement a Restorative Justice System. This idea was presented to me by the University of Waterloo Student Union, but it resonates with residents in the city. The system allows for a program where the offender can meet with the victim in a guided environment with the aim of reaching a mutual reconciliation, and means of restitution. If the program is successfully completed, the ticket for the infraction can be voided. I want to implement a Bi-Law Review Committee, that review our bi-laws on a semi-annual basis for continued relevance.
Municipal politics is not rocket science. A good politician listens to what the residents want and asks “Can we do this? Can we afford this?” Let me assure you. I’m a listener and I’m a dollar-conscious accountant. Trust me to be your advocate at City Hall. Please vote in this important election. Please vote Janice Moore.