Kitchener-Waterloo·Waterloo Region Votes

Get to know your Kitchener candidates ahead of Monday's municipal election

There are three councillors not seeking re-election this fall in Kitchener. CBC K-W has asked candidates to list the top three reasons they're running in this municipal election.

3 current councillors not seeking re-election

There are three Kitchener councillors not seeking re-election in Monday's municipal election. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Homelessness, housing and climate change are among some of the top reasons candidates for council in Kitchener are running in this year's municipal election.

Three of the city's 10 councillors are not seeking re-election, which means there will be some new faces around the council horseshoe this fall. Those not seeking re-election are:

  • Ward 3 Coun. John Gazzola.
  • Ward 5 Coun. Kelly Galloway-Sealock.
  • Ward 10 Coun. Sarah Marsh.

The municipal election will be held on Monday and to help people in Kitchener get to know their candidates, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo asked all candidates to answer a survey that listed their top three reasons for running.

Click on the links below to read what local candidates have to say:

The responses are in alphabetical order by last name.


Portraits of four men side-by-side. The second man from the left is wearing a gold mask that covers his eyes and nose.
There are five people running for mayor in Kitchener. Four of the candidates recently took part in a panel discussion with CBC K-W. They are (from left): Manikantan Nair, Milos Sokollu Posavljak, Berry Vrbanovic and Val Neekman. Rehman-Ullah Khan is also a candidate. CBC K-W has not yet received a photo for Khan and was unable to locate one. (Submitted by Manikantan Nair/CBC/Submitted by Berry Vrbanovic/Submitted by Val Neekman)

There are five people running for mayor in Kitchener. They are:

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  • Rehman-Ullah Khan.
  • Manikantan Nair.
  • Val Neekman.
  • Milos Sokollu Posavljak.
  • Berry Vrbanovic (incumbent).

Rehman-Ullah Khan did not respond to CBC K-W's survey.

Manikantan Nair says the top three reasons he's seeking the mayor's chair in this election are:

  • A number of challenges facing people in the city.
  • Leadership.
  • Passion for community.

"Affordable housing, homelessness, addiction, mental health, lack of timely access to quality health-care services, rising cost of utility bills and property taxes are some of the challenges we are facing," Nair said.

"In order to overcome some of these challenges, we need bold leadership from the mayor and collaboration with other levels of government."

Nair moved to Canada from Delhi, India, 21 years ago and is a long-time resident of Kitchener. He currently works in the field of network and cyber security at a local university. 

He says he's passionate about community service, public policy debate and social service. In 2018, he and some friends created Namaste Debate to promote Indo-Canadian candidates to run for public office and to help educate the public and voters about issues facing Waterloo region.

Nair says he's "open-minded and a good listener … compassionate and empathic."

Val Neekman said his top three reasons for running for mayor are:

  • Accountability.
  • Quality of life.
  • Brain drain.

"My mission as mayor of Kitchener is to raise the bar, attract talent to the city and make Kitchener a better place for all its residents, and those who are lucky to pass through," Neekman said.

He says he's passionate, has a "massive amount of energy" and will work with the local tech community "to put in place a path where the new graduates of our local universities and colleges to stick around, and together we'll make the region a more prosperous place."

Milos Sokollu Posavljak said his top three reasons for running in this election are:

  • To create a city of zero vehicular accidents per year.
  • "A city that does not need to rely on a thousand year-plus old method of generating revenue."
  • A city with zero stress.

"In the scheme of big things, I'm irrelevant, and I'm not running for me," Sokollu Posavljak said.

Berry Vrbanovic said his top three reasons for seeking re-election are:

  • Creating an affordable and inclusive city.
  • Health and sustainability.
  • Growing the city and region's economy.

"Housing affordability and homelessness are the number one issues in this election as part of the broader issue of ensuring overall affordability in our community and ensuring Kitchener grows as a city for everyone," Vrbanovic said.

Addressing the issues involves working with other governments and community partners, making city lands available to non-profit projects, reviewing grants to ensure they meet the current needs of people, and supporting the region and other governments in addressing mental health, addictions, homelessness as well as transit pilot programs.

"We must continue to focus on growing and developing Kitchener in a manner that prioritizes both climate change and sustainability," he said.

Helping the local economy grow is one of the biggest challenges the city faces after two years of the pandemic and the current economic downturn, he said.

Vrbanovic says it means the city needs to "build back better and differently" and that will require "proven leadership and a careful balance in managing the varying priorities of our community."

A panel discussion with mayoral candidates can be watched here.

Ward 1

Portraits of four men side-by-side.
There are four people running in Kitchener's Ward 1. They are (from left): Prashan Deol, Simon Guthrie, Scott Davey and Alan Becirevic. (Prashan Deol/Twitter, Guthrie photo by Sarah Guthrie, Becirevic photo by Tiffany Machado, submitted by Scott Davey)

There are four candidates running in Ward 1:

  • Alan Becirevic.
  • Scott Davey (incumbent).
  • Prashan Deol.
  • Simon Guthrie.

Alan Becirevic listed these three issues as his top reasons for running in this election:

  • Affordable housing and reducing red tape.
  • Infrastructure.
  • Fiscal responsibility.

"I am passionate about my convictions and want what is best for Ward 1 and the city," he said. 

"As a millennial and lifelong resident of Ward 1, I understand the needs and what needs to be done in the ward, and to the city overall, to bring housing affordability and fixes to our infrastructure."

Scott Davey said his top three reasons for seeking re-election are:

  • To continue to help guide city finances.
  • Affordable housing.
  • Environmentalism and climate change.

Davey has been the councillor for Ward 1 since 2010. He has served as the chair of the city's finance committee for 11 budgets and he says he wants to continue to help guide the city's finances, "especially in this time of escalating inflation."

"Inflation applies to city costs as well as residents but we must ensure we do not burden already-struggling residents with higher taxation," he said. "To do this, while still improving Kitchener, we will need to better leverage technology to increase productivity per city-worker and be creative and selective in determining which new expenditures hold the most value to residents."

He says over the years, the city has kept tax rate increases lower than nearby cities and the region and the city has also paid down its debt.

"This is no accident," he said. "It's the result of hard work and a culture of efficiency among council and staff, that I believe I have helped to instill."

He noted shelters and homelessness are under the jurisdiction of the region, but the city needs to help and work to increase housing supply in the downtown area and near LRT stations.

He also listed environmentalism and climate change as an issue important to him in this election.

"I am an evidence-based decision-maker, and the evidence for climate change, and the existential threat it offers, has been settled for some time," he said.

"The frustrating part (for me) is the erroneous belief that reducing our greenhouse gas emissions is always a sunk-cost. This is not true. We transitioned to LED streetlights which is actually saving us millions over time, while significantly reducing GHGs." 

He says he wants to continue that work.

Prashan Deol did not respond to CBC K-W's survey.

Simon Guthrie says his top three reasons for running in this election are:

  • Because municipal leadership matters.
  • Because housing matters.
  • Because community matters.

"We sometimes talk about the four P's — paving, power, pipes, and parks. When these fail, there is an immediate impact on the lives of people (a fifth 'P'). These are also all within the responsibilities of municipal government," Guthrie said.

He said he's been part of Kitchener for more than 16 years as an employee, volunteer, parent and neighbour. 

"The future of this city matters to me, and I have the experience and ability to have a positive impact on it," he said.

He said housing is important, from homelessness to the housing affordability. 

The solution will require all levels of government, along with private and non-profit sectors to work together, he said. The city can make a difference through zoning and bylaw amendments, financial investment, and by building relationships with partners with local builders.

"We need to ensure we are building sufficient and appropriate housing so that all who want to live in Kitchener can find somewhere safe and reliable to live," he said.

"As we address these housing crises, we will draw together other conversations such as our response to the climate crisis, and social inequality. We will serve all members of Kitchener with compassion."

Guthrie also wants to see the local communities support and grow after the difficult pandemic years.

"The relationships within (and between) communities have frayed, and we need to make a concerted effort to rebuild them," he said.

Ward 2

Portraits of three men side-by-side.
There are three people running in Kitchener's Ward 2. They are (from left): Asher Shahzad, Dave Schnider and Derrick Rabethge. (Shahzad photo from campaign website, submitted by Dave Schnider, Rabethge photo by Denise Grant)

There are three people seeking the seat in Ward 2:

  • Derrick Rabethge.
  • Dave Schnider (incumbent).
  • Asher Shahzad.

Derrick Rabethge says the three reasons he's running in this election are:

  • Bring back open lines of communication to the community.
  • Housing affordability, rent and homelessness.
  • Working with regional council and police/police checks.

Rabethge says he's what some people might consider to be an "armchair complainer."

"I figured if I am going to complain at the inaction and financial waste at the city then I should get involved and try and do something about it," he said.

He wants to see more communication between council, city staff and residents and he says he'd listen to people about their concerns.

"I worked for the city for eight years. I am very aware about how policies and red tape and wastefulness happen since I have seen it firsthand," he said. "Its frankly unacceptable and your public servants and city employees need to work for you and serve your community to the best of their ability. "

He says housing has become unaffordable, particularly for younger adults and people who grew up in the city have to move elsewhere if they want to buy a home.

"It is devastating and heartbreaking to see people have to move out of their community hours away or in some cases provinces away. On top of that it also chases away talented and hardworking community members, as well as prevents prospective talent from coming to the city," he said. 

Rent, he added, is "also out of control." 

"These problems are extremely evident by our current homelessness problem that has cropped up on Victoria Street and the encampment in Victoria Park," he said.

He says the city needs to zone and build more types of housing, cut red tape that slows development, look at rental controls and allow people more flexibility to build homes.

He said he's also had a frustrating experience trying to get a police check this past summer, and he thinks more can be done to help people get paperwork they need, especially if they need it to do work in the community.

Dave Schnider says his top three reasons for seeking re-election are:

  • To continue advocacy work.
  • To deliver on priorities like affordable housing, homelessness, climate change, parks and trails, economic development.
  • To give back to the city.

Schnider was first elected to represent Ward 2 in 2014. He says he is seeking re-election so he can continue to advocate for his community and "keep Kitchener on the positive path we're on" including to deliver on the priorities listed above "and whatever priorities our citizens set through the 2023-26 strategic plan."

He says he's a lifelong resident of the city and he sees his work on council as a way to give back.

"I'm a collaborator who looks to find balance and middle ground. With just one vote on council decisions, that's needed to be able to move things forward," he said.

Asher Shahzad said his top three reasons for running in this election are:

  • Affordable Housing, housing for first time homebuyer, students' residence/hostels.
  • Improved Infrastructure; roads, schools, transportation, health care, environment.
  • Communal living centers for seniors and singles.

Housing and homelessness is an important issue and the city should consider "alternative housing models like co-housing."

"We need to be very strategic in our decision making and fund the projects that really make sense and we need now. We are overspending on many projects that we can hold off but not spending on the projects that are way overdue in our wards," Shahzad said.

"I am pushing for traffic safety on our local roads by implementing traffic risk mitigation measures especially in residential neighborhoods and school zones."

Ward 3

Portraits of six people - three on top, three on bottom.
There are six candidates running in Kitchener's Ward 3. They are (top row, left to right): Devon Harnarain, Marijo Howard, Bryan Richardson (bottom row, left to right): Matthew Griffin, Jason Deneault and Rosanne Berwick. (Submitted by Devon Harnarain, Bryan Richardson, Matthew Griffin, Jason Deneault, Rosanne Berwick, photo of Howard by Kelly Taylor)

There will be a new councillor in Ward 3 as current councillor, John Gazzola, is not seeking re-election.

The six people running in Ward 3 are:

  • Rosanne Berwick.
  • Jason Deneault.
  • Matthew Griffin.
  • Devon Harnarain.
  • Marijo Howard.
  • Bryan Richardson.

Rosanne Berwick says the top three reasons she's running in this election are:

  • Affordable housing.
  • Crime.
  • Winter maintenance.

Berwick says affordable housing is the most pressing issue in the city.

"I plan to make it my top priority once in office. I want to work with every level of government to solve this," she said.

"We need effective housing for all economic situations. We don't need to start placing 20 floor towers in people's backyards. We need to focus on high-level growth around the LRT and low-level growth throughout the rest of the ward. We need better options for those looking to buy and those looking to rent."

That includes working to improve current zoning regulations and working with developers to create different housing options.

Berwick says safety is also a concern for people in the community.

"We need more police and they need the budget that will get results. We need a safe and prosperous place to call home and we can't have that without a well equipped police force," she said.

"We can't allow businesses to continue to be broken into and robbed, we can't allow residents to fear for their safety when they are out enjoying our beautiful city. We need to return to a common sense approach and keep the peace."

That also includes supporting people who have mental health needs.

When it comes to winter maintenance, Berwick says the budget needs to be increased to get "more effective results when it comes to sidewalk clearance ." This would benefit everyone, but in particular seniors or people with disabilities that limit their mobility.

"We need to do better," she said.

Jason Deneault says the top three reasons he's running in this election are:

  • To add a progressive voice to council.
  • To bring new ideas to council and the city.
  • To advocate for those whose voice is unheard or are afraid to speak up.

Deneault said he'll be a progressive voice and he won't be afraid to ask questions, be fiscally responsible and hold others accountable.

"Whether it's the lack of affordable housing or our homelessness issue, I want to add a new voice to bring about change to these two very important issues. The city can do so much for the most important issues affecting us but I believe we need the will to do it," he said.

Matthew Griffin says the top three reasons he's running in this election are:

  • To grow job opportunities in the city.
  • Dealing with trash in Ward 3.
  • Speaking up when there are problems.

Griffin says, like so many others in the city, he has to commute for work and he wants to see more opportunities for people to work in the city.

"Not only will revitalizing our manufacturing, skilled trade and blue collar sectors help people to find jobs in their own hometown, it will reduce their costs, their commutes and reduce our emissions as well," he said.

He said he's also running because his area has "become a haven for people to leave trash where they please."

"It ranges from common trash such as cans, bottles and double-doubles to abandoned shopping carts. It has become impossible to ignore this problem but it seems that residents don't seem to care and will litter with impunity, even going so far as to tell off someone who calls them out," he said.

"Businesses and property owners need to take greater responsibility for their property. Not just what it looks like on the inside and outside, but also to ensure that what belongs to them, isn't a common sight as litter for people to leave on someone else's property."

Devon Harnarain listed three top reasons for running in this election:

  • Civic engagement.
  • Accountability.
  • Transparency.

Harnarain says he wants to create platforms and opportunities so the community can share their thoughts and opinions to inform public policy. He also wants to work with local organizations, front line workers and the community to "foster a more inclusive decision making process."

He'd work to communicate with residents in various ways to tell them about city decisions, help businesses access supports from various levels of government and work to bring tourism to the area.

He'd also like to use tax dollars "to invest in parks and trails to add new infrastructure, increase accessibility and maintenance."

Harnarain says there's also a need for the city to address the rising costs of living for people, and that includes considering subsidizing public transit, investing in local initiatives to help people facing food insecurity and advocate for rent-geared to income housing units.

Marijo Howard says the three top issues that led to her decision to run are:

  • Fiscal responsibility. 
  • Affordable housing. 
  • Food insecurities. 

"The taxpayers dollars need to be used efficiently and effectively," she said.

Howard has volunteered with a number of organizations in the city including K-W Oktoberfest, Girl Guides, St. Mary's Hospital Foundation, Waterloo Region Down Syndrome Society, KidsAbility and Nutrition for Learning's breakfast program at Wilson Avenue Public School.

Bryan Richardson says the top three reasons he's running in this election are:

  • Housing affordability.
  • Safe neighbourhoods.
  • Infrastructure for the future.

Richardson says home prices and rents have risen too high.

"Working families and seniors on fixed incomes are being priced out of their homes. We need action now," he said.

Related to that, Richardson says people need to feel safe.

"The collapse of social supports during a time of extreme crisis has given rise to an addiction crisis and overdose epidemic. Local crime is on the rise.  Many of our streets are unsafe for our families. Our policies and infrastructure must keep our citizens safe," Richardson said.

There's also a need for traffic calming in neighbourhoods and more multi-use pathways, he said.

"We must ensure the safety of children, walkers, bikers and make alternative forms of travel safe and viable," he said. 

"We must also increase funding and develop 'upstream' programs to lower [the] need for constant policing in the long run: Mental health support, addiction support, shelters and housing."

When it comes to infrastructure, Richardson says the city has to think about the future and build environmentally-smart infrastructure.

Richardson is a small business owner and has volunteered with various groups including Lutherwood, Food4Kids, Carizon and Habitat for Humanity.

"I believe no one in our city should have to choose between a roof over their head or food on their table, and that responsibility falls to the community leaders.," he said.

Ward 4

Three portraits side-by-side: man, woman, man.
There are three people running in Kitchener's Ward 4. They are (from left): Ali Akbar, Christine Michaud and John Vandonk. (Submitted by Ali Akbar, Christine Michaud, John Vandonk)

There are three people seeing the seat in Ward 4:

  • Ali Akbar.
  • Christine Michaud (incumbent).
  • John Vandonk.

Ali Akbar says the three reasons he's running in this election are:

  • He's passionate about making a difference in the community.
  • To improve community services.
  • To advocate for new revenue streams and lead city through COVID-19 recovery.

Akbar says he wants to give back to the community and protect the interests and well-being of people.

"I want to advocate for new revenue streams and lead the city through COVID-19 recovery," he said.

"I want to make sure every resident — youth, adult and senior — has what they need to succeed and a healthy lifestyle."

Akbar is a construction project manager who moved to Canada in 2009. He's lived in Kitchener for the last 10 years with his family.

Christine Michaud says the top three reasons she's seeking re-election are:

  • To continue to advocate for residents.
  • Working to build a more inclusive, creative, safe and active as Ward 4 sees "tremendous growth."
  • To continue work on projects in the city.

Michaud was first elected in 2018 and says there is more work to do "to ensure responsible development with complete and connected communities" as the city grows.

"I want to continue working with the Lower Doon community, city staff and Conestoga College to protect the significant heritage of Lower Doon while ensuring students have safe accommodations during their post secondary education," she said.

"I also want to continue to work with city staff and both regional and city council members to address the critical homelessness situation of our most vulnerable population." 

John Vandonk says the top three reasons he's running in this election are:

  • The current council isn't doing enough to resolve urgent issues in community.
  • To advocate on behalf of others.
  • A need for more communication.

Vandonk, a retired postal worker who served as president of the local Canadian Union of Postal Workers for 19 years, said he's concerned there's no urgency with the current council to address issues in the city.

"I feel I have the talent to advocate for the citizens of our community and my past history is to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves," he said.

"I feel that between elections, local politicians do not communicate enough with their constituents/residents, nor do they involve or include their constituents in decision-making to resolve issues. I believe in community-based solutions as well as transparency."

Ward 5

Portraits of four people side-by-side, man, woman, man, man.
There are five people running in Kitchener's Ward 5. Pictured are (from left): Jon Massimi, Farah Muhammad, Ayo Owodunni and Ajmer Mandur. CBC K-W was unable to find a photo for Naveed Najmuddin. (Submitted by: Jon Massimi, Farah Muhammad, Ayo Owodunni and Ajmer Mandur)

There will be a new councillor in Ward 5 because current councillor, Kelly Galloway-Sealock, is not seeking re-election.

There are five people vying for this seat:

  • Ajmer Mandur.
  • Jon Massimi.
  • Farah Muhammad.
  • Naveed Najmuddin.
  • Ayo Owodunni.

Jon Massimi says the top three reasons he's running in this election are:

  • A "relocation of power/authority back into local communities."
  • To strengthen local democracy.
  • To help people thrive and connect.

Massimi says recently he has "witnessed an increase in municipal overreach in the name of community development. I am running because I believe there needs to be a relocation of power/authority back into local communities where local leadership is recognized, valued, and supported."

He said he believes people should have a place to call home where they can thrive and form connections with others.

He's an associate with Nurture Development, an organization that supports communities around the world, and an adjunct professor at Martin Luther University College (Laurier). 

In his work, he's created after-school programs for youth with special needs, led a team that created Kitchener's Book Your Bubble program so people could still use gyms at community centres during the pandemic, and he says he's worked with major funders in creating local jobs and housing. 

Ajmer Mandur did not respond to CBC K-W's survey.

Farah Muhammad says the top three reasons she's running in this election are:

  • To be the voice for her community.
  • Affordability and housing.
  • The climate crisis.

"Our communities need to change as a whole and we need a plan," Muhammad said.

"I have worked as a caregiver, so for me the number one concern is caring for others and hearing what they have to say, for me number one is the community and advocating for them.

Naveed Najmuddin says the top three reasons he's running in this election are:

  • Accessible health-care system and community safety.
  • Affordable housing and fiscal commitments.
  • Infrastructure enhancement.

Najmuddin says the city must make "extremely wise decisions to support the programmes that genuinely make sense."

"We spend too much money on several projects that could be delayed and fall short of creating a stress-free, safe, and healthy environment," he said.

He said he wants to "provide accessible health care, restructure the health-care system to reduce wait times for surgeries, and launch programmes to encourage talented medical experts to continue practising in our community."

More housing is needed in the city and "the transitional process from renting accommodation to owning a property" needs to be simplified.

As well, the city needs to address "day-to-day" issues like potholes to improve the lives of people in the city but also "pay attention to infrastructure to build a cutting-edge digital metropolis."

Ayo Owodunni says the top three reasons he's running in this election are:

  • Speeding on local roads.
  • Keeping taxes low.
  • Housing affordability.

Owodunni says speeding is an issue he's heard at the doors he's knocked on during the campaign.

"I'm pushing for safety on our local roads by implementing traffic-calming measures especially in residential neighborhoods and school zones," he said.

He also wants to keep taxes low and make smart decisions when it comes to capital expenditures.

For housing, he said the city needs to work with the region on solutions for affordable housing.

He has volunteered with Adventure for Change, Leadership Waterloo Region, and his local church.

"I am more aware than ever that our city is evolving rapidly, and the leadership needs to evolve to tackle urgent issues like road safety, cost of living, belonging, housing affordability, and climate change," he said.

Ajmer Mandur and Naveed Najmuddin have not yet responded to CBC K-W's survey.

Ward 6

Two portraits of men side-by-side.
There are two people running in Kitchener's Ward 6: Paul Singh (left) and Anwar Arkani. (Paul Singh campaign, submitted by Anwar Arkani)

There are two candidates seeking the seat in Ward 6:

  • Anwar Arkani.
  • Paul Singh (incumbent).

Anwar Arkani says his top three reasons for running in this election are:

  • To improve city governance.
  • Making Kitchener an inclusive community.
  • Creating an "environmentally friendly city where affordability is not an issue."

Arkani says he's a genocide survivor from Burman and he lived in various countries as an "illegal immigrant and un-counted person" for 15 years before he moved to Kitchener in 1998. In December 2007, he founded and became the director of the Rohingya Association of Canada and has since worked to help newcomer Rohingyas resettle in Canada.

Arkani says he wants to improve city governance by having "civic engagement in the decision making process and hold the officials fully accountable and transparent of their fiscal responsibilities."

He also wants to make sure Kitchener is an "inclusive community" where people can "live a dignified life with better safety and security" as well as an "environmentally friendly city where affordability is not an issue."

Paul Singh did not respond to CBC K-W's survey.

Ward 7

Three portraits of men side-by-side.
There are three people running in Kitchener's Ward 3. They are (from left): Kevin McCrea, Bil Ioannidis and Colin Maley. (Submitted by Kevin McCrea, Bil Ioannidis and Colin Maley)

There are three people vying for the seat in Ward 7:

  • Bil Ioannidis (incumbent).
  • Colin Maley.
  • Kevin McCrea.

Bil Ioannidis says his top three reasons for seeking re-election are:

  • To continue work to keep Kitchener vibrant.
  • Tackling affordable housing.
  • Traffic calming.

Ioannidis says his top reason for seeking re-election is to "continue investing with our success I helped build to keep Kitchener vibrant in a post-pandemic world - investments that has made our city the envy throughout Canada."

Affordable housing is the second issue, which he says requires all levels of government to address.

"Property taxes alone cannot support the cause," he said. "Collaboration at all levels of government and private community partners are needed if we wish to make a dent."

His third reason for running again is traffic calming, an issue he says he hears about on a daily basis.

"I would like to continue to invest in passive traffic calming measures like the ones you see in the middle of the road. They are proven to be effective," he said.

Colin Maley says the top three reasons he's running for council are:

  • To ensure residents are heard by council.
  • Stormwater pond maintenance.
  • Speed limits on residential streets.

Maley says in the winter of 2020, he found out a cellphone tower was being built near his home. He started a petition, talked to city staff and took part in a virtual meeting with the community, but "without the support of our councillor, the city approved the tower."

"I don't want people in our community to have to fight for things that they don't want. I want someone to be supporting our community without its members having to jump through hoops," he said.

Maley says there are ways for the city to create affordable housing, such as creating its own development co-operation. 

As well, Maley says there are concerns about stormwater ponds not being maintained by the city.

"Currently the city is also looking at taking out the hill and pollinator patch at Meadowlane to create another stormwater pond," Maley said. 

"I think that it is important for the City of Kitchener to listen to the community members and respect their wishes whether it be to create a new pond or to maintain existing ponds." 

In talking with residents, Maley says people are also upset where speed limits have been lowered to 30 km/h.

Kevin McCrea says his top three reasons for running in this election are:

  • To give back to the community.
  • Ensuring people are heard.
  • A desire to work for people in the city.

McCrea says in talking to neighbours, he knows they want to be heard and they deserve answers.

"My almost 30 years of owning and operating businesses here in Kitchener have given me a deep understanding of the issues confronting Waterloo region as a whole, and many ideas on how to address them, but there's an old saying that 'all politics is local' and you can be sure that I will always be focusing on the concerns that the residents of Ward 7 have regarding the quality of life we all share in this, our home," he said.

Ward 8

Portrait of woman.
Margaret Johnston is the incumbent in the Ward 8 race in Kitchener. CBC K-W was unable to located a photo of the second candidate in the race, Aleena Aftab. (Hannah Marie/KW Head Shots)

There are two people running in Ward 8:

  • Aleena Aftab.
  • Margaret Johnston (incumbent).

Aleena Aftab has "decided to not run a campaign or participate in the elections due to personal reasons."

Margaret Johnston says the top three reasons she's seeking re-election are:

  • Economic recovery post-pandemic.
  • The housing crisis.
  • Sustainability and the climate crisis.

Johnston says she wants to continue the work she started four years ago to "support, listen and act" for residents.

"I would like to continue my work on the economic development advisory committee and with the Belmont BIA. Make it Kitchener 2.0 will be ramping up and we will have tough budget decisions to make due to inflation," she said. "I want to be part of that decision making with an economic development and EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) lens."

Johnston says the pandemic "really got in the way" of her plans for community engagement so she wants to set up monthly meetings to hear from residents. She says if re-elected, she will "continue to bring positive, collaborative leadership to Ward 8."

Ward 9

Six portraits in a grid of three on top, three on bottom.
There are six people running in Kitchener's Ward 9. They are (top row, left to right): Brooklin Wallis, Debbie Chapman, Alex Shevchenko (bottom row, left to right): Beth Warren, David Redman, Matthew Robson. (Photo of Wallis by Alina Kehl, photo of Chapman by Hélène Beaulieu, Alex Shevchenko, Beth Warren, David Redman, Matthew Robson)

There are six people vying for the seat in Ward 9:

  • Debbie Chapman (incumbent).
  • David Redman.
  • Matthew Robson.
  • Alex Shevchenko.
  • Brooklin Wallis.
  • Beth Warren.

Debbie Chapman says the top three reasons she's seeking re-election are:

  • Affordable housing.
  • Climate change.
  • A more equitable society.

Chapman, who was first elected in 2018, says the need for affordable housing is top of mind for her in this election.

"I participated on the Housing for All Strategy committee which resulted in the publication of a comprehensive report detailing the housing situation in Kitchener," she said.

"Some of the tools available to the city include waiving development charges for not-for-profits building supportive housing, donating city lands to not-for-profits and introducing an inclusionary zoning by-law which would require all new developments in certain areas of the city to include affordable housing units."

Chapman says at least 20 per cent of all new residential builds should be affordable housing.

Climate change is also a top concern and the city can build on the work already done to reduce greenhouse gases and build more sustainable infrastructure.

"Food sovereignty is something the city can help facilitate by increasing the number of community gardens. I would like to see winterized community gardens where more food can be grown year round to meet the needs of our local population," Chapman said.

She also says she's been a "strong proponent of decolonizing public decision making" and she would continue to support these kinds of initiatives.

"The city can also support diversity and promote inclusion through the numerous funding opportunities made available," she said.

David Redman says his top three resons for running in this election are:

  • Affordability.
  • Livability.
  • Heritage.

Redman says affordability includes housing prices and rent.

"We can't build anything and everything at all costs, but also cannot reject every development that may not satisfy every single person. Smart infill with medium size developments, alternative housing options, increased shelter spaces and city-owned and operated affordable housing projects are the types of approaches I support," he said.

"I don't believe managed encampments are a sustainable, cost-effective solution to local homelessness. I don't support the elimination of single-family home zoning across the city."

For livability, Redman supports active transportation and 15-minute communities as well as infrastructure that makes the city greener while also maintaining "appropriate amounts" of parking to help businesses. He also supports continued commitment to arts and culture.

He also supports the preservation of heritage lanmarks and historic properties.

"We can continue to build and develop in the city with careful infill plans and repurposing of underutilized spaces, Redman said. "I will support the preservation of the things that give Ward 9 its beauty and character in harmony with development and intensification."

Matthew Robson did not respond to CBC K-W's survey.

Alex Shevchenko listed his three top priorities:

  • Homelessness.
  • Drug abuse.
  • Crime on the rise. 

"It's time for a change, I'm willing to speak out on the issues and get results. My service is 100 per cent civil servant, I will donate 100 per cent of salary back to the ward and expense nothing," Shevchenko said.

Brooklin Wallis says the top three reasons she's running in this election are:

  • Speaking out for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Address the housing crisis.
  • Bring new ideas forward.

Wallis said it's important to fight for people experiencing homelessness, especially after she saw bulldozers used to clear an encampment in 2021.

"Seeing our current councillor consistently vote against new housing developments was and is frustrating to see while in a housing crisis," Wallis said.

"I've seen amazing ideas around the world that make me go, 'Hey, why don't we do that?' I want to bring the best of what humanity has come up with to make livable, safe, and low-price cities to Kitchener."

Beth Warren did not respond to CBC K-W's survey.

Ward 10

Six portraits, three along the top (man, woman, man) and three along the bottom (woman, woman, man).
There are six people seeking the seat in Kitchener's Ward 10. They are (top row, left to right): Phong Tran, Stephanie Stretch, Peter Davis, (bottom row, left to right): Lana Hiscock, Aislinn Clancy and Daniel Fife. (Photo of Tran by Dawn Tran, photo of Stretch by Lindsay Coulter, submitted by Peter Davis, Lana Hiscock, photo of Clancy by ryan fobel, photo of Fife Serje Robidoux) (CBC)

There will be a new councillor in Ward 10 as current councillor, Sarah Marsh, is not seeking re-election.

There are six people vying for the seat:

  • Aislinn Clancy.
  • Peter Davis.
  • Daniel Fife.
  • Lana Hiscock.
  • Stephanie Stretch.
  • Phong Tran.

Aislinn Clancy says the top three reasons she's running in this election are:

  • The rising cost of living.
  • The climate crisis.
  • As city grows, "to strike a balance between intensification and the vision of community."

Clancy says the rising cost of living is having a heavy impact on people in Kitchener. 

"The rising rents in the city are leaving more and more people homeless or at risk of homelessness. When faced with homelessness, folks can easily become addicted to the poisoned drug supply on the streets leading to even greater consequences such as crime, health issues and death," Clancy said.

"I hope to ensure that we have many types of housing and development that have a variety of sizes and options for residents. Development done in a thoughtful and planful way will ensure that our community benefits from a sense of community for years to come."

The city also needs to do work to address climate change, Clancy said. 

"I hope to collaborate with local experts, various levels of government, constituents and stakeholders to encourage a transition off of fossil fuel. We can change the way we build to ensure that our city is sustainable, healthy, inclusive and prepared," she said.

Clancy says she has experience to help guide the city in a number of ways. She's worked with non-governmental organizations, which she says will help her take action when it comes to climate change.

"I work in my everyday life to make sure my kitchen table includes everyone. Inclusion should be reflected in your relationships, not just your words.," Clancy said.

Peter Davis says the top three reasons he's running in this election are:

  • Concerns about the cost of rental housing in the ward.
  • A need for an adequate shelter system.
  • A need for more affordable and supportive housing.

Davis says he's concerned by the cost of rental housing in the ward, with rent for a one-bedroom apartment reaching $1,700, which is out of reach for seniors, students and many families working minimum wage jobs.

As well, there's not an adequate shelter system in the region, Davis said.

"Some people choose to avoid the region's shelters because they are overcrowded and unsafe and they would prefer to live out of a tent. There is no emergency shelter for families," Davis said.

"Because we don't have enough space in shelter we are pushing people into unsustainable market rent accommodations. We need to work with non-government partners to ensure that there is enough affordable and supportive housing so that everyone can have a permanent home."

Daniel Fife says the top three reasons he's running in this election are:

  • He wants to make a difference in community.
  • To bring "authenticity and honesty to how we are governed."
  • To foster an environment for prosperity.

Fife says he believes many people have lost trust in our politicians.

Fife has worked as a lawyer, deputy judge, mediator and business owner. This, along with being a downtown resident, "puts me in a very good position to advocate and solve problems as a city councillor."

Lana Hiscock says the top three reasons she's running in this election are:

  • To bring radical change to the way the city deals with issues.
  • Housing and homelessness.
  • To be a voice and advocate.

Hiscock says there's a need for "radical change in the way we try to attain affordability in housing costs, in how we treat our unhoused neighbours, in how we develop as an urban centre."

Not having housing has ripple effects in the community, Hiscock said.

"We need to address the housing crisis locally as best we can to prevent things from worsening in other areas of our lives," she said.

"I want to help represent and be a voice for groups that have historically not seen themselves represented on council: renters, low-income individuals and families, students, the homeless, and fellow LGBTQ+ residents all deserve a voice and representation on council, something which I believe has been lacking."

Stephanie Stretch says the top three reasons she's running in this election are:

  • To see a change in politics.
  • To address citizens' concerns about housing, affordability, socially and environmentally responsible growth and diverse representation.
  • Advocating for the needs of underrepresented people.

Stretch says she has more than 10 years of professional experience in the not-for-profit sector where she advocates for families and children.

"I'm tired of seeing politics at its worst; want to see it at its best. I am motivated to continue to help people, and am driven by a desire to have a more holistic impact on our community," she said.

She says she's heard from residents that a lack of planning and action has "resulted in highly visible social breakdown in Kitchener." This includes the number of people experiencing homelessness, affordability issues, inaction on climate change and the marginalization of Indigenous, racialized and equity-deserving voices.

"Policy, infrastructure, governance, and future planning must all be informed by the dynamic priorities of a city made up of dynamic peoples often experiencing an intersectionality of issues," she said.

Phong Tran says the top three reasons he's running in this election are:

  • Safety and beautification in the downtown core and ward.
  • To promote a walkable downtown.
  • To help guide the vision for downtown.

Tran, a business owner, says safety and beautification in downtown Kitchener is necessary.

"With the rise in homelessness and mental health issues, we have to work together to solve this crisis," he said.

The city needs to promote a walkable downtown and transform it into a high-density urban center, he said. 

"We are losing green spaces and parks — we have to find way to preserve our public places, creating more parks, promoting arts and cultures," he said.

"Kitchener and our downtown is changing and we need to really look into what we want to see and how do we contribute to these changes. I believe in action today and planning for tomorrow. We have to keep moving forward and not get trapped in a political loop."

How to vote in Kitchener

Voting is in-person in Kitchener.

On Monday,  people can vote between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. at any of the locations within their ward. All sites are accessible and one location in each ward will have accessible vote tabulators on voting day. People who cannot enter the building can vote from the parking lot.

People who are experiencing homelessness can vote by using the address of a location where they most often have returned to sleep or eat in the last five weeks, such as a shelter or drop-in centre. In this case, people will be asked to fill out and sign an affidavit of residence.

Read more of CBC K-W's municipal election coverage:


Kate Bueckert


Kate has been covering issues in southern Ontario for more than 15 years. She is currently a CBC News reporter/editor working for CBC Kitchener-Waterloo. Email: