Kitchener Coun. Barry Vrbanovic has made growing the city's economy and improving its neighbourhoods the core of his platform in his run for mayor in the upcoming municipal election on October 27.
The Ward 2 councillor made the announcement Friday at the Chicopee Ski Resort. He joins Ward 10 Coun. Dan Glenn-Graham in the race to succeed current Mayor Carl Zehr, who won't be seeking re-election.Photo Galleries
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"Anytime you potentially follow someone who's been a mayor and as successful a mayor as Carl Zehr has been over the past 17 years obviously there's some nerves associated with that," said Vrbanovic.
He emphasized a focus on neighbourhoods across the city, not just the downtown core.
"We've always focused on the downtown for the past couple of years and we needed to, because it really is the foundation upon which the rest of the community is built upon," said Vrbanovic
"But, the reality is, the success of the city comes from the interconnected relationship between all the neighbourhoods around the city. I think it's important that we focus on all of them going forward."
The councillor said he would keep property tax increases in line with inflation to achieve his goals for Kitchener, which included improving customer service at city hall, investing in public transit, roads and walking/cycling trails, supporting startups and maintaining openness about city affairs.
Vrbanovic voiced his support for the region's light rail transit project, which was the subject of a court hearing on Tuesday when Coalition Stop Waterloo LRT filed a motion to stop construction. The judge threw out the motion, and on Wednesday, regional council voted award the contract to build the first stage of the LRT to the Grandlinq consortium.
"What's incumbent on a newly-elected mayor who's going to sit on regional council is to make sure there's a strong voice at the table that's going to make sure that the LRT is built on time and on budget," he said.