Reflections from the Ward 2 campaign trail
60% of 10,000 postcards or door-hangers personally delivered – just about every one with a knock on the door. Thank you Ward 2 for your kindness, encouragement, and very, very interesting conversations. Hoping to get the next 4,000 done in the next two weeks – that’s a lot of walking and talking and I’m looking forward to it – meeting and hearing from you is the best part of this journey.
Questions asked and answered:
- where I live
- candidates’ affiliations and electoral ‘slates’
- garbage and recycling
- traffic, parking and bike routes
- trees, parks and trails
- infrastructure and city construction programs
75% of 100 signs installed. Boulevards and front yards await these last few! Better out there with you than my living room.
I’ve answered emails and filled out surveys on everything from water to the arts to the Humane Society. I’ve filled out questionnaires for Guelph Today, the Guelph Mercury Tribune, Guelph Politico and been interviewed by Open Sources Guelph, community radio.
Meetings, meetings, meetings:
In September I went to London, Ont to attend a day-long seminar on municipal finance designed for candidates. Fun fact: The convenor (an Ottawa-based expert in the field) has conducted this service (which I paid for from my campaign) for the last three municipal elections. He invited 255 candidates from across south-western Ontario – and there were 17 of us at the table – with only one other candidate from Guelph. I learned that municipal finance is extremely complex, and that it is vital to understand how our city’s budget process works and our true financial situation. Guelph is a $500 million a year corporation, limited in its funding options and virtually dependent on its residential tax revenue. Counsellors can’t afford to act like Barbie and say “math is hard” and leave the City’s finances up to staff and seat-of-the-pants decision making.
I attended the City’s meeting to learn staff’s solution for the proposed Speedvale underpass. There was a large turnout of interested people and four Ward 2 candidates in attendance There remain a lot of unknowns about this project.
I attended a neighbourhood community safety meeting, and heard residents share their experiences, concerns and potential solutions (short and long-term) with me and three other candidates.
I accepted an invitation to tour the Nestle water plant in Aberfoyle, subject of such controversy in Guelph. I was glad to have the opportunity to learn more about the water issue from Nestle’s point of view, along with candidates from neighbouring townships. Only two other candidates from Guelph attended – both from Ward 2.
I had the opportunity to tour the Cityview Village Habitat for Humanity project with other candidates, and was so impressed by these new homes. I wish we had many more similar projects across the City.
I attended the “meet and greet” for candidates before the mayoral debate at the Italian Canadian Club and met more folks from Ward 2, including former counsellors Ian Findlay and Vicki Beard. People are committed and interested in this election and I find that very exciting. We have a potential for real change on October 22.
We will be meeting this week to finalize the topics for the Ward 2 all-candidates debate on Wednesday Oct. 10 and I’ll be doing my homework and debate prep.
Also on the schedule – a long-delayed meeting with Mike Schreiner, Guelph’s MPP. I’m hoping to gain some insight from him on provincial – municipal issues, and where we can find solutions to some of our more pressing issues (see questions asked and answered above).
And also coming up, a meet-up with the Guelph Committee for Active Transportation. I won’t be joining the cycling portion of the program, but do look forward to meeting and learning more from this group.
Now, more door knocking and sign planting, meeting and greeting, and listening to what you have to say. Like I said, that’s the best part.