(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.
Ward 7 stretches from west of Ira Needles Boulevard to Fischer-Hallman Road north of Conestoga Parkway. It encompasses neighbourhoods like Forest Heights, West Heights and retail centres like the Boardwalk on Ira Needles.
Major issues: Increased traffic to Ira Needles, facilities for residents
Ira Needles Boulevard is set for expansion from two lanes to four between Highview Drive in Kitchener and Erb Street in Waterloo starting next year.
Rahim Khan, a retired nuclear power consultant and new Kitchener resident, appreciates the ease of access to services that Ira Needles provides, but says he is concerned about increased traffic near his home.
"The driving here, the pushiness is an issue and I have not gotten used to the busy roundabouts yet," said Khan.
Incumbent Bil Ioannidis worked during his term heavily on traffic-calming projects, including on Westheights Dr.
The residential streets in the neighbourhood and abundance of schools are a magnet for families. Terri O’Donoghue, an executive assistant and Ward 7 resident says her main concern is accessibility for her son.
"My son, who is in a wheelchair, is in high school," she said.
"We have to sit in the front row at the movie theatre, so he can never sit with his friends, and there are some other similar accessibility issues, but overall, a lot of places are great, the recreation facilities, the library he goes to."
In a ward divided by plazas, with little foot traffic, candidates hope to find ways to better engage and connect residents.
Fauzia Mazhar, who touts her long history of civic engagement in the ward, aims to build another community centre to supplement the existing one in Forest Heights.
Harald Drewitz’s community-focused platform points include development of the Boardwalk Neighbourhood Association.