Kitchener-Waterloo

Expect many new faces on Region of Waterloo council after this fall's election

Of the 16 members of regional council nearly half are not seeking re-election in this October's municipal election. That means there will be many new faces on the Region of Waterloo's council after the Oct. 24 vote.

Coun. Tom Galloway calls his last four years on council a 'pretty lousy' term

Region of Waterloo councillors are pictured at an in-person meeting in 2019. Regional council is made up of the regional chair, eight elected councillors and the mayors of the three cities and four townships in the region. Six of the eight elected councillors have announced they won't seek re-election this fall. (Kirthana Sasitharan/CBC)

There will be many different faces around the horseshoe at regional council chambers this fall.

On Thursday, regional Coun. Tom Galloway announced he won't seek another term. He is the final regional councillor to make public their intentions in October's municipal election.

The Region of Waterloo is one of Ontario's upper-tier municipalities. Regional council is made up of the regional chair, eight elected councillors and the mayors of the three cities and four townships in the region.

Six of the eight elected councillors have announced they won't seek re-election this fall.

They are:

  • Helen Jowett for Cambridge.
  • Karl Kiefer for Cambridge.
  • Elizabeth Clarke for Kitchener.
  • Geoff Lorentz for Kitchener.
  • Tom Galloway for Kitchener.
  • Sean Strickland for Waterloo.

Additionally, Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky is not seeking re-election. Wilmot Mayor Les Armstrong has not yet said whether he will run this fall.

Reasons vary for not running

Kiefer announced in March he would not seek re-election after 23 years as a regional and city councillor. 

"I want individuals with ideas and, specifically, underrepresented individuals to have the opportunity to step forward and lead," Kiefer said in his statement.

Lorentz served as a regional and city councillor for 34 years and said there was a need for "fresh ideas" at council.

Clarke served two terms on regional council and said that was "enough."

"It's time for some new and diverse voices around the horseshoe," she said.

Jowett, who has served since 2014, told CBC K-W she's looking forward to taking on some new roles in the community while Strickland, who started as a school board trustee in 1993 and has served as a regional councillor for 25 years, was recently appointed executive director of Canada's Building Trades Unions.

"I believe the time has come for full-time councillors to better serve the community and provide improved stewardship," Strickland said in his statement.

Past 4 years 'pretty lousy'

Galloway has served in a number of roles while on regional council, including chair of the Waterloo Regional Police Services Board, the administration and finance committee and the planning and works committee.

Tom Galloway, who has served as a regional councillor since 1994, has announced he won't seek re-election this fall. (Dan Sherman/CBC)

In an interview with CBC News Galloway called his last four years on council a "pretty lousy" term.

"The provincial government is making life miserable for municipalities in a lot of different ways, particularly on planning and housing and I don't think that's going to get any better," Galloway said when asked to clarify.

"The budget, and the financial piece because of the pandemic, is not in good shape," he added.

But Galloway said he didn't want to leave anyone with the impression it was all bad. He said he has many highlights from his career, including the regional growth management strategy, which protects the countryside line and led to the LRT, as well as the Huron Natural Area.

Galloway says his decision is partly personal, and partly so he can get involved in different kinds of community service.

"There were actually quite a lot of reasons to run again, but there were just more reasons not to," he said.

LISTEN | Regional Coun. Tom Galloway on his decision not to run again this fall:

Regional Coun. Tom Galloway announced Thursday that he won't seek re-election in this October's municipal election. He explains why not and also offers some advice to the new faces that will sit around the regional council horseshoe after the votes are counted.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Bueckert

Reporter/Editor

Kate has been covering issues affecting people in southern Ontario for more than 15 years. She currently works for CBC Kitchener-Waterloo. Email: kate.bueckert@cbc.ca

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