(Map by Allison Leonard)
Municipal elections will be held across Waterloo Region on Oct. 27, and the following is a city ward profile that summarizes some key information. Did we miss any key issues in your ward? Let us know; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This profile was created in partnership with the Cord Community Edition.
The largest of Kitchener’s wards, ward 5 is bound by Trussler Road to the west, Fischer-Hallman Road and Homer Watson Boulevard to the east between Conestoga Parkway and New Dundee Road. The ward, as diverse as it is vast, hosts a multiplicity of neighbourhoods from the newly built homes of Williamsburg to the Sunrise Shopping Centre.
Major Issues: Ward engagement, permanent recreation facilities
The Williamsburg plaza off Fischer Hallman acts as a hub in the area, providing shopping, housing, and The Williamsburg Arms, a haunt for Doug Gowland and Jim Ironside.
Residents of Kitchener, both Gowland and Ironside showed great concern for the city at large rather than specific ward 5 issues, speaking about topics like the ION and the downtown core.
"I’m most concerned with LRT. I’m still a taxpayer who goes downtown," said Gowland, a retired engineer. "A transit system that won’t even be used will be misusing places like King St. where community events like Bluesfest happen."
Lala Malik, candidate for ward 5, says that the lack of public consultation is her cause for running.
“I’ve been living in the ward for over eight years and lots of my friends have been living in the area. And nobody has ever asked anyone if there was anything I wanted to change,” says Malik. "I plan to have meetings at least once a month with the people, asking them if they have any problems or issues."
Fellow candidate Trysha Wharton echoed those sentiments.
"It’s really important when you go to talk to people in the general public who are stepping out of their comfort level to make information accessible and understandable," said Wharton. "It’s easy to get caught up in bureaucracy and people feel intimidated and they stay away."
"With my experience in politics, we often want to do town halls, but people are too busy for that. I make it a priority to be knocking on door to see how [residents] are doing,"said candidate Mary Henein Thorn. “I’m a big proponent of online resources as well.”
Ward 5 incumbent Kelly Galloway-Sealock has held quarterly public meetings during her term. Her recent concerns have centred on issues like deferred recreation facilities that drew many new residents to the area
"A lot of people who bought homes in the area were promised that it would already be built, but it's looking like there will be no funding until 2018 or 2020,” she said. “A downturn of economy means not as many homes being built or development charges coming in so we’re trying to find new ways to fund these kind of programs."