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2022 Ontario municipal election: Meet the Waterloo mayoral candidates

Waterloo City Centre. Google Maps

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 Waterloo, the region’s smallest city, will elect councillors in seven wards as well as a mayor to form city council.

There will be at least three new faces in place, as Ward 3 Coun. Angela Vieth, Ward 6 Coun. Jeff Henry and Ward 7 Coun. Tenille Bonoguore have chosen not to seek re-election.

There will also be a new mayor as Dave Jaworsky chose not to seek re-election after serving two terms in office.

Residents of Waterloo will be choosing between Rob Evans, Dorothy McCabe, Kypp Saunders and Shannon Weber to replace Jaworsky on election night.

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To help voters ahead of this election, Global News has reached out to all of those running for regional or city council, mayor or regional chair in Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo with available online contact info. Those running for office were emailed a list of seven questions and in the coming days, the responses for every candidate who replies will be shared.

What follows are the responses received from those running for mayor in Waterloo, with the candidates being listed in alphabetical order:

Rob Evans

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’m a born in Waterloo 44-year-old software company Founder, CEO and community builder.  I graduated from WLU with a Political Science degree and about 10 family members went to school or taught there since the 1930’s.

We’ve all seen a lot of change in KW!  Mostly good, but some, changes with our rapid growth recently can be much better.

I helped build some of Canada’s leading technology companies from Waterloo and the business I founded spun out from University Waterloo’s Accelerator Program, is unique and lowers the annual cost of accommodations for rooms and removes unfair discrimination especially for students and newcomers.

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We did extensive research in housing and accommodations globally, and learned so much the solutions to end the crisis here and modernize city process are built into our plan for Waterloo.

In addition to years as an innovation CEO unlike the other candidates, Ive spent a great deal of time dealing with the Federal government, I was also appointed as Ontario’s Board director representing 4 industry sectors in Clean technology, Automotive, Food and ICT (high technology) and Waterloo Region to promote Canada globally and work and partner with other big cities.

My family lives and loves Uptown Waterloo, my son is now an active teenager, I’ve volunteered 10 years as a coach in local sports, and love our MACA neighbourhood where I was Co-Chair and Director of our association.  Also, the City put me on two committees of council because the old fashioned way of working with student housing and universities isn’t working.

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

I care and I’m qualified

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

Housing and health. Affordability and accessibility. Much of this will benefit with a business approach to growth management. A lot is already good. And many areas we can get even better.

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

Renewed stability. And innovation where needed. Goals are to be bold with asset assessment and alignment or realignment where necessary.

Q.5 What is your platform?

Our implementation plan will bring together expert city staff who know the challenges best with innovation methods and experts, also here from town. We’re all going to learn together fast.

Formal policy, the how, we will present when people are ready. In a few weeks time.

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

Spend time with my son Connor, Jordana my partner, travel, making music, listening to bands (just missed Pearl Jam in Hamilton last week… as mayor maybe others too will want to bring them here…) enjoy great food, time with friends, exploring our region and what’s nearby.

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

We know so many great people here and being able to shape our community the way we want. There’s so much love here. I feel it when I go anywhere.

Dorothy McCabe

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

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Experience matters.

I have approximately 20 years’ experience in municipal government, the public sector and government relations. I am currently government relations manager to mayor, council and corporate leadership in Milton. I served as chief of staff to a former mayor of Kitchener and a former Member of Provincial Parliament Kitchener Centre.

Being the Mayor of Waterloo requires experience. With my interpersonal and social skills, business acumen and years of experience at the highest levels of local government, I am ready to start on day one.

I am an experienced, collaborative leader committed to public service, citizen engagement and advocating for change. For years, I have connected with residents and leaders from across our community to better understand the opportunities and challenges facing Waterloo.

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

Building a variety of more housing – affordable, supportive, co-operative, 3 bedroom rental units, townhouses, low rise, mid-rise, and infill –  for people of every income level is the most important issue facing our city.

An affordable home and city is important no matter your age, stage of life whether you own or rent your residence. People of all abilities and incomes deserve safe, accessible housing options. Here are some ways we can build a more affordable and livable city:

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  • Use public lands to build affordable, supportive and co-op housing
  • Build more low-rise, mid-rise and infill housing options across the community
  • Work to address issues of housing affordability and homelessness
  • Use technology to improve customer service experiences and interactions for residents, organizations and business owners.

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

At the end of my first 4 years as Mayor, I envision my top three achievements to be:

  1. New affordable, supportive and/or co-op housing community built on public land ensuring it remains in public hands with controlled rents for 99 years or more
  2. A new vision – Waterloo’s new Big Idea – is firmly established – with community input and dialogue via the Team Waterloo Mayor’s Advisory Table – and there has been significant, tangible progress toward that goal.
  3. Regional hospital – I will advocate strongly to locate the new regional hospital near the University of Waterloo, integrated with the various faculties as well as with our local technology sectors (Communitech and Accelerator Centre) and community organizations.

Q.5 What is your platform?

My platform can be found here: https://www.mccabe4mayor.ca/issues and is built upon three objectives:

  1. A More Affordable and Livable City – An affordable home and city is important no matter your age, stage of life whether you own or rent your residence. People of all abilities and incomes deserve safe, accessible housing options.
  2. A Greener, More Sustainable City – There are many ways – big and small – to make a difference and to reduce our impact on the earth. We can build towards a more sustainable city.
  3. A Big Idea City – As mayor, I want to help harness Waterloo’s potential to again become a Big Idea City.

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

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I spend much of my spare time actively engaged in my community. Those activities have included participating as a board member for Parents for Community Living as well as a director of Women in Communications and Technology. I have coached youth basketball which is a sport I enjoyed playing at Wilfrid Laurier University. My concern for the environment led to me to serve as a ClimateActionWR Transportation committee member and a CycleWR volunteer. Recently I also was a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic volunteer and sponsored a Syrian refugee family settling in Waterloo Region.

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

I like the opportunities and the potential that exists in Waterloo for me, for my children and for others. As mayor, I want to help harness that potential and lead Waterloo towards an exciting future.

Kypp Saunders

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.)

My name is Kypp Saunders and I’ve lived in the region for 30+ years. I graduated with a political science degree from the University of Waterloo. Currently working on own and operate two bars in the region. Babylon Sisters Wine Bar In Uptown Waterloo and Sugar Run in Downtown Kitchener.

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

Waterloo needs strong leadership at the mayoral level. I am that type of strong leader with prevalent experience running small businesses in the region. Navigating two hospitality businesses through the pandemic has shown my ability to deal with difficult situations in real time. Years in the hospitality industry have also taught me how to communicate with all types of people and how to broker compromises.

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

The biggest issue in the city is the affordable housing crisis. My plan is to work with local developers to incentivize them to build more affordable units by removing cumbersome zoning restrictions and alleviating red tape for a more efficient process.

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

My long-term goals for the city include building a hospital in waterloo and creating a more vibrant city centre to aid in recruiting more medical professionals to the region. I also want improve public transportation throughout the city by increasing hours of operation and introducing free travel times.

Q.5 What is your platform?

I will partner with developers to build taller buildings in exchange for the inclusion of affordable housing units. I will advocate for regional healthcare by lobbying for Waterloo’s first hospital. I’ll also advocate for free late night LRT service to discourage impaired driving and decrease loitering while boosting the nightlife and economic impact in UpTown.

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

Running two businesses does not leave me a lot of spare time but when I have it I enjoy running and yoga. I am also an avid reader of politics and history.

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

My favourite thing about the city of waterloo is the diversity of people who live here. Owning a business right uptown I get to meet and interact with all the amazing people who live here and hear the diverse stories of their backgrounds.

Shannon Weber

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.)

Shannon Weber is a community leader with over 20 years experience working in the public, nonprofit, insurance and higher education sectors. She has a passion for strengthening community through collaboration, developing forward-thinking initiatives and has a natural ability to build partnerships. Shannon knows that a mayor needs to listen with empathy and openness, build support and convene collaborative approaches to strengthening our city. Throughout her career and community involvement, this is the leadership style that she has embodied.

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Shannon is a graduate of the University of Waterloo (Economics) and holds an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University.  She is currently a Faculty member in the Strategic Global Business Management Graduate Program at Conestoga College.  Previously, Shannon held roles as:  Director, Community Relations at Wilfrid Laurier University, Director, Community Investments at the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation and as the Executive Director of the Downtown Kitchener BIA.

Shannon has worked with many nonprofit Boards and committees as a volunteer and governance consultant, including as an Executive-in-Residence at Capacity Canada. She is passionate about collective community work and has been involved in many community-based efforts including the City of Waterloo’s Neighbourhood Strategy Steering Committee, Economic Development Advisory Committee, Town & Gown Committee, Northdale Strategy Committee and the Eastbridge Neighbourhood Association. She served as an advisory board member to Smart Waterloo Region, True North and Wellbeing Waterloo Region.  She has enjoyed volunteering with organizations such as the Waterloo Ravens (Waterloo Girls Minor Hockey), House of Friendship, Social Venture Partners Waterloo Region, Carizon, Junior Achievement of the Waterloo Region and Community Support Connections.

Shannon met her husband Dan when she moved to Waterloo in 1996. Along with their two children Maya and Gabriel, Shannon & Dan are long-time residents of Waterloo and live in the Eastbridge neighbourhood.

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

I am determined to lead Waterloo forward to be a more liveable city for all. With more than 20 years experience working as a business and community leader, I’ve seen and heard first-hand the growing disparities related to affordability, wellbeing, and systemic challenges. I have the insights, network, and education to work with our council and city team to introduce more tools and initiatives that can help make this a more liveable city where everyone belongs and thrives.

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I have the broad experience across the public, non-profit and higher-education sectors to deliver results that Move Waterloo Forward:

  • An experienced collaborator working as Director, Community Relations at Wilfrid Laurier University, Director Community Investments at the KW Community Foundation and Executive Director, Downtown Kitchener BIA.
  • A community advisor and advocate on a variety of boards and committees including Wellbeing Waterloo Region and the Joint Hospital Community Advisory Group, bringing together community and healthcare leaders to develop a vision for a new hospital for Waterloo Region.
  • A knowledgeable community builder and member of many collaborative initiatives, including contributing to Economic Development Advisory Committees and improving GO Train services in Waterloo Region.
  • A continuous learner and educator as a Business faculty member at Conestoga College following the opportunity to earn my MBA from Laurier’s Lazardis School of Business and Economics.

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

Waterloo is a sizeable, growing city with a great deal of opportunity. Affordable housing, smart growth, strengthening neighbourhood connections and an inclusive economic and social recovery are our top issues. These are issues that I have been hearing from residents across the City and Region, both through my community work and daily dialogue with residents since I became a candidate on May 2nd.

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

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As mayor, I endeavour to help create a more liveable City for all where collectively we have:

  • created more affordable housing options.
  • strengthened and connected neighbourhoods to reduce social isolation.
  • engaged children and youth in their community to improve wellbeing and empower them to have a voice in their City as our future.

 Q.5 What is your platform?

My platform, “Moving Waterloo Forward: A More Liveable Community for All”, outlines my commitments to the residents of Waterloo as well as key priorities on important issues to our collective community. This plan will ensure Waterloo continues to grow in the best interest of all residents and remains the best community in Canada to work, learn, live, play and raise a family.

A Future with affordable housing and smart growth

Activate a Task Force on Affordable Housing and Smart Growth that will advise on the tools such as:

  • Modernizing zoning bylaws to speed up building a range of housing options, while protecting green space
  • Developing a Community Improvement Plan to encourage affordable housing and sustainable infrastructure
  • Removing barriers to affordable rental housing, including student housing, while maintaining safety standards 

A connected community with vibrant neighbourhoods

  • Encourage neighbourhood connections by improving parkland space, implementing a pilot fire pit program and activate youth connectors at a neighbourhood level.
  • Implement traffic calming, better maintain roads, trails, and transit nodes to keep Waterloo connected and safe.

An inclusive economic and social recovery

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  • Review Waterloo’s customer service delivery model to ensure high-quality service without creating systematic barriers and removing barriers that prevent our most vulnerable residents from accessing the services they need.
  • Better support groups and our most vulnerable residents seeking City services.
  • Remove red-tape and improve City processes including more meaningfully engaging with our communities.

A mayor who advocates for Waterloo

  • Champion a new hospital with the technology to support our residents’ growing care needs.
  • Lobby for new provincial and federal funding for community infrastructure including inter-regional transportation.
  • Develop a new multi-channel public consultation approach to be more inclusive.

I strongly value the role consultation and citizen engagement play in creating a strong community.  As my campaign for Mayor continues, I will release other priorities and policy statements that reflect our residents’ voices and perspectives on issues that matter in our community.

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

Volunteering in my community is my hobby. I enjoy meeting new people and contributing collectively where help is needed. I involve my family and friends as a way to share these experiences together. I also like to stay active by using our walking and cycling trails, and spending quality time with my husband Dan and our two children Maya and Gabriel.

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

My favourite thing about choosing to live in Waterloo is the connectedness of neighbours helping neighbours and the collaboration across our community to tackle issues and seize opportunities for our city.

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Global News has also reached out to Dorothy McCabe but has not received a response as of publication. This copy will be updated as further answers arrive.

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