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2022 Ontario municipal election: Meet the Kitchener Ward 7 council candidates

The front entrance of Kitchener City Hall. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

On Oct. 24, voters across Waterloo Region will head to the polls to elect city and regional councillors, mayors and a regional chair.

Residents of Kitchener, the region’s largest city, will elect councillors in 10 wards as well as a mayor to form city council.

There will be at least three new faces in place, as Ward 3 Coun. John Gazzola, Ward 5 Coun. Kelly Galloway Sealock and Ward 10 Coun. Sarah Marsh have chosen not to seek re-election.

In Ward 7, Bil Ioannidis has held office since 2010, but this year he will have to hold off challenges from Colin Maley and Kevin McCrea, who are both looking to unseat him.

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To help voters ahead of this election, Global News has reached out to all of those running in Ward 7 with a list of seven questions. In the coming days, the responses for every candidate who replies will be shared.

What follows are the responses received from those running for councillor in Kitchener, with the candidates being listed in alphabetical order.

Bil Ioannidis

Q.1 Please give a brief background of yourself including what you do for a living and how long you have lived in the area? (If you are an incumbent, please state how long you have held the position.)

I am a husband to my loving wife Laura and father to four teenagers. I have lived in the ward for 50-plus years. I have a financial background as a retirement planner, building affordable homes with Habitat for Humanity WR and honoured to be your ward councillor for the last 12 years.

Q.2 Why do you believe you are the right person for the job? 

Over the last four years, Kitchener and Ward 7 have seen prosperous growth and significant investments in infrastructure resulting in a better quality of life for all Kitchener residents. Investments in parks, trails, cycling, safer streets. Investments in our environment committing to greenhouse gas reduction to supporting our community during the lockdowns. Investments in promoting job growth and economic development by supporting our secondary school institutions and creating incubator space. Investments in affordable housing and in creating a community inclusive for all.

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To support an ever-changing community, consistency with a proven track record and experience matter more than ever. I want to continue investing with our success I helped build within the areas I mentioned to keep Kitchener vibrant in a post-pandemic world. That is why I am running, and I humbly ask for your support.

Q.3 What do you think is the most important issue facing your ward and the city as a whole?

Every issue is important but the number one issue as a councillor we hear on a day-to-day basis ward issue is traffic calming. How to keep our residents safe. I would like to continue to invest in passive traffic calming measures like the ones you see in the middle of the road. They are proven to be effective. The city reduced our speed limits from 50 to 40 km. This is still being rolled out and will condition drivers to slow down. Implemented 30 km school zones and in collaboration with our regional partners to install speed cameras around school zones. Focus reconstruction of old roads in the lens of complete streets (all users) and vision zero strategy (no accidents) and when possible, have police patrol problem areas. The combination of these tools, newer tools and education is key to calming our streets.

Affordable housing city-wide is by far the number one community issue. It’s not just a City of Kitchener issue. It’s a Canada issue. Unfortunately, affordable housing is an issue that cannot be tackled alone. All levels of government need to be on the same page. Property taxes alone cannot support the cause. Nationwide construction costs are soaring, borrowing costs are soaring and skilled trades within the construction industry are shrinking. Collaboration at all levels of government and private community partners are needed if we wish to make a dent.

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Q.4 Looking down the road, what are your long-term goals for the city?

Continue to make investments in our community that will create a better quality of life for all residents. Invest in job growth, the environment, affordable housing, inclusive community, arts and culture, parks and green spaces, and build upon the great work we have achieved.

Q.5 What is your platform?

Continue to make investments in our community that will create a better quality of life for all residents. Invest in job growth, the environment, affordable housing, inclusive community, arts and culture, parks and green spaces, and build upon the great work we have achieved.

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Q.6 What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spending time with my family and friends is the most important thing I like to do in my spare time.

Q.7 What is your favourite thing about living in your city/ward?

My favorite thing about the city is how innovative, collaborative and progressive we are. The Made in Kitchener approach to things has guided us and is often viewed by other communities as a model to follow. My favourite thing about the ward is how community-minded, friendly and how many residents who grow up in ward 7 remain ward 7 residents.

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Colin Maley

Q.1 Please give a brief background of yourself including what you do for a living and how long you have lived in the area? (If you are an incumbent, please state how long you have held the position.)

This will be my 16th year teaching with the WCDSB and I am fortunate to have taught at schools in our ward so I really get to know the people and family community. I hold a BSc as well as a Diploma of Education. I have lived in Ward 7 for the past 12 years, and my wife even grew up here. We live in a community that no one wants to leave and will often come back to raise their families. Our children even go to the same school that she went to and our children often go to school with her former classmates’ children. This year, I had the pleasure of co-coaching my son’s T-ball with the Forest Hill T-ball Association, and we would bump into people who grew up in this community.  It really is an amazing place to live.

Q.2 Why do you believe you are the right person for the job? 

I have lived in different countries and communities and travelled throughout my life.  I have seen different perspectives and how things are done in different countries so I can bring a unique lens to things that we can do to improve the City of Kitchener.  I never like it when I hear, “but that is how we have always done it,” as there is always room for innovation and improvements. Who hasn’t waited forever to turn left on McGarry when there are no cars coming, only for the light to change when a rush of cars gets there? Little things can be streamlined so that it is more efficient and makes our lives better. I love problem-solving and helping people in our community.

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When our neighbourhood had an issue with the City of Kitchener, I delivered flyers to countless members of our community, got petitions signed, held meetings with our MP as well as the City of Kitchener planners and our current ward councillor. The City of Kitchener was so inundated with emails that they had to put on a second person to reply to all of the emails and had community meetings. Without the support of our ward councillor, however, the city proceeded anyway. I have emailed the City of Kitchener about cleaning up the Westheights pond. I even received a response of what I would like done to it. I was so excited, however, after that I have not heard anything after further requests about what can be done. I am hoping that when elected I can help our community to have a voice to change things that have been neglected for so many years.

Q.3 What do you think is the most important issue facing your ward and the city as a whole?

In our ward we have: cleaning Westheights pond, the creation of a storm drain catchment in Meadowlane, the 30 km/h zone on Westheights, roundabout safety for pedestrians on Ira Needles, parking near and around our schools, tree maintenance, road maintenance (have you driven down Sugar Maple lately?) just to name a few. Some of these concerns have been around for over 10 years and they need to be addressed.

For the City of Kitchener, housing is a huge issue. Kitchener Utilities have been providing the residence of Kitchener a great service at a reasonable price. I would love to take this model and create a for-profit developer division for the City of Kitchener to build apartment buildings and rent them out at a reasonable rate. With the way that rent is, it is too hard for families who make a modest living to be able to live here. Since it would generate a modest profit, it would not cost the taxpayers, and make it easier for people who work in Kitchener to live in Kitchener, and those who grew up in Kitchener to stay in Kitchener. Talking with local MPs, it would even be possible for the City of Kitchener to use federal incentives to make this even more cost-effective for us.

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Q.4 Looking down the road, what are your long-term goals for the city?

In the future, I want to make the City of Kitchener a better place to work and live than it already is. To have the residents of Ward 7 know that they have a voice at City Hall. To know that they have someone who is looking out for them and working for them.

Q.5 What is your platform?

Reasonably priced housing so that people who work in Kitchener can live in Kitchener:
*Have the City of Kitchener create a for-profit division to develop and construct buildings for families that work in Kitchener
*The City of Kitchener operates these buildings and rents them out at a reasonable rate while making a reasonable profit, similar to the Kitchener Utilities model

Clean up Westheights Pond:
*The pond is a beautiful part of this community and should be respected
*Put in sediment filters to help maintain a healthy ecosystem

Reconsider 30 Km/h Zones
*Residents have mentioned that it is hard to maintain 30 km/h on Westheights Dr.
*We may want to consider a flat 40 km/h in all residential areas

Pedestrian Signals in Roundabouts
*Place a light in the middle of the roundabout so that pedestrians could press a button to make drivers aware that there is a person crossing somewhere in it.
*Since Ira Needles falls outside the City of Kitchener jurisdiction, I would lobby and work with the regional Council to try and make these changes

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A Dog Park
*Create a dog park to help build community and allows dog owners to know their neighbours

Q.6 What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to ski, bike, play my cello, read, spend time outside with my family, and fix things around the house.

Q.7 What is your favourite thing about living in your city/ward?

Kitchener truly is the best of both worlds. It has all the features of a big city (Centre in the Square, hospitals, Conestoga College, close to two universities, radio stations, local paper, TV news, jobs, etc.) with the feel of a small town. You can ski, bike, skate, canoe and enjoy nature all year round here, or just talk and enjoy your neighbours. We have a vibrant community with so much to do that you never have to leave our city. We have jobs to support our families and many different industries to support our children so that they can live and work here when they grow up.  It is an amazing place to live.

Kevin McCrea

Q.1 Please give a brief background of yourself including what you do for a living and how long you have lived in the area? (If you are an incumbent, please state how long you have held the position.)

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I was born and raised right here in Ward 7. To this day my family lives, works and plays in Ward 7.

I have over 25 years experience owning and operating businesses, including a national branded franchise in Kitchener.

I currently own a sales agency in the sporting goods industry,

Q.2 Why do you believe you are the right person for the job?

Ward 7 is an amazing place to call home. Like many of you, I want to keep it that way .. and leave it in a better position than I found it. I know what it means to work hard, wear many hats, be fiscally responsible and execute for success.

I am known for my integrity and empathy and I will act in the best interests of Ward 7 residents. To do this, I will work collaboratively and build consensus to achieve results.

I’m excited for the opportunity to get to work on behalf of our residents and have already proven to be visible and accessible, something that will not waiver once elected.

Q.3 What do you think is the most important issue facing your ward and the city as a whole?

The residents of Ward 7 have indicated two high-priority issues:

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1. Finding solutions to the increase in vehicle traffic and ensuring our streets are safe for all residents.

2. Implementing a plan to protect our beautiful green spaces.

The city is not immune to the issues facing many Canadian cities. We have a rapidly growing population, with affordability and access to housing being key issues.

As a national problem, this needs to be addressed at every level of government.

Q.4 Looking down the road, what are your long-term goals for the city?

Sustainable development and managed growth. Kitchener needs to be fiscally responsible, with the environment being a priority in decision-making.

Q.5 What is your platform?

• Make our roads safer, thereby improving pedestrian safety
• Improve upon and establish more city programs and activities … Because we have a growing population, all our parks and facilities need to grow as well.
• Green space upkeep. Our parks are not museum pieces … they need our care and attention to flourish.

Q.6 What do you like to do in your spare time?

My wife and I enjoy cycling on many of Kitchener’s fantastic trails and paths. I’m also a member of The K-W Oldtimers Hockey Club.

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Q.7 What is your favourite thing about living in your city/ward?

The people! … Kitchener has a rich history dating back over 200 years. From humble beginnings stretching to an unstoppable hub for tech, arts and education. But still, as one of the fastest-growing cites, it retains its small-town feel with high levels of pride.

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