Municipal elections in Waterloo Region will be held on October 27. CBC Kitchener-Waterloo has reached out to every mayoral candidate in the region who has officially filed to run so far. The deadline for nomination papers to be filed is Sept. 12.

Each candidate has answered the same five questions, and their replies will be reproduced. Today we speak to Joe Nowak, running for mayor of Wellesley Township. 

1. What’s the most important issue in your city for the next council term?

We have done very well over the past several years with regards to infrastructure spending largely because of stimulus funding provided by our federal and provincial counterparts. However, we maintain a significant infrastructure deficit. Addressing this deficit in a fiscally responsible manner will be an ongoing challenge for council. In order to better prepare for the future, our asset management plan will have to be upgraded to include our fleets, our facilities, and our fire protection services. We must work constructively with the upper tiers to make sure that we receive our fair share of funding. It will be council’s responsibility to do the planning, to set priorities and to spend within our means.

2. Voter turnout is notoriously low, especially in municipal politics. How will you engage voters?

I will engage voters in this election by attempting to knock on every door in the township and listening to concerns. I can also be reached through my web site at www.joenowak.ca. In addition, I will encourage debate on issues. There is nothing more engaging than lively, respectful debate.

3. What would you say is your biggest weakness?

I am not an eloquent speaker. I admire those individuals that can speak spontaneously, unscripted and at length on a given topic. I do manage, but not at the level that I would prefer.

4. Who is your political role model, and why?

My role model and inspiration would be my father-in-law, Jim Broomfield. He served his country in the Second World War and was a PoW. Jimmie was a proud Canadian with a genuine passion for his country and he was an avid follower of the Canadian political scene with a keen interest in world affairs. Jim never held political office, but he was always engaged and interested in political issues. His life was one of service - with the Algonquin Regiment, the Lions Club, the Legion, and the Cancer Society and he was acknowledged for 60 years of service to his community. I don’t believe that you have to hold office to be a political role model. You just have to be engaged. Jimmy was until his passing at 100 years old. His example has been the impetus and inspiration for me.

5. 40 years from now, how do you picture your municipality?

• That we are a sustainable community that has preserved its heritage and culture. 

• That Wellesley Township’s growth has been managed in a way that has protected our environmentally sensitive areas and the wildlife inhabitants and that not one acre of prime agriculture land has been lost to development. 

• That we have been successful in making all levels of government aware of the contributions that Wellesley Township makes to the region, to the province and to Canada. Our farmers feed cities and we provide recreational opportunities to walkers, joggers, cyclists, fishermen, hunters, naturalists and families.

• That we have attracted additional investment in health care in the form of provincial long-term care facilities or private retirement / nursing homes so that our residents are not forced to leave this community in their later years.

• That we have developed and maintained our recreational facilities in a manner that addresses the needs of all age groups, thereby providing a healthy standard for active living.