We asked for your top municipal election issues. Here's what you told us

Housing and homelessness were the top issues raised by people who took CBC K-W's survey, with climate change, planning for growth, transit and education rounding out the top five.

Housing, homelessness, climate change, planning for growth, transit and education high on the list

Two people, one walking beside a bicycle, cross at an intersection and walk towards multiple tents.
Housing and homelessness is a top concern in this municipal election for many people who filled out a CBC K-W survey. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Housing and homelessness are the top issues many people in Waterloo region are thinking about in this municipal election, according to people who filled out an online survey on the CBC Kitchener-Waterloo website.

As of Friday, the survey had more than 300 responses, the majority of them people in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.

When asked to rank their interest in the municipal election on a scale of one (for not at all interested) to five (very interested), 53 per cent said they were very interested in this election.

As well, 97.8 per cent of the people who took CBC K-W's survey said they planned to vote.

The survey was opened on Aug. 29, and while it is not a scientific survey, it does offer a glimpse into the issues important to people.

The graph shows as the top 10 issues: Housing and homelessness (64%), climate action at a municipal level (48.4%), planning for growth (45.3%), transit options (43%), education (37.7%), accountability and transparency of local politicians (35.8%), infrastructure (35.1%), policing (29.7%), anti-racism policies (25.6%), finances (23.1%).
This graph shows the top 10 issues for the municipal election 2022. (CBC)

One issue that's been raised in the past, including during the most recent term when the Ontario government conducted a municipal governance review of regional municipalities, is amalgamation.

Under amalgamation, there would be just one tier of government, rather than a regional municipality with the cities and townships. Just nine per cent of people who responded to the survey said it was a top issue for them.

  • Want to let us know what issues you'll be focused on when casting your ballot? There's still time to fill out our questionnaire

Homelessness, LGBTQ rights and transit

CBC K-W hit the streets to talk to people about the municipal election and their top concerns.

Elaine Martin, who owns the Cambridge School of Flowers, said homelessness is her top issue.

"I work right downtown and I live downtown and I know a lot of their names and it's just getting worse instead of better," she said.

"My home is right across from the latest encampment here in Galt and it's not that I don't feel safe, it's just we need to do something about it."

Portrait of woman in front of red brick alleyway that has lots of plants and patio lights.
Elaine Martin, who owns Cambridge School of Flowers in Galt, says during the pandemic, she saw more people experiencing homelessness near her business and her home. She'd like to see the next city council work with the region to do more to help people find a place to live and work. (James Chaarani/CBC)

Martin said she saw just how much homelessness grew during the pandemic and knows it's an issue that's not easily dealt with by local councils without some help.

She said she's hired two people who are experiencing homelessness to water the plants in her "allée" beside her shop. She wants to see the next city council work with the region and province to find housing solutions, help people find work and address the need for mental health services in the city.

Isaac Koppeser O'Hearn of Kitchener said he doesn't want to support anyone who doesn't stand up for the rights of people who are LGBTQ.

Portrait of man wearing a ball cap in front of stores in uptown Waterloo.
Isaac Koppeser O’Hearn of Kitchener says he won't support any municipal candidates who don't believe in rights for the LGBTQ community. (James Chaarani/CBC)

"If you're against that or if you show any inclination that you are against it, I don't feel comfortable giving you my vote," he said. "It's not acceptable in today's day and age."

In Waterloo, university student Suvrit Babbar said he would like to see something done about the "horrible" public transit system.

"The city, basically, they only care about car drivers," he said. "It's pretty hard to get places."

He said if he wants to go grocery shopping, he often calls an Uber because a 20-minute bus ride is too long.

Portrait of man in front of storefronts.
Suvrit Babbar, a university student in Waterloo, says he'd like to see the city and region improve the transit system. (James Chaarani/CBC)

"I don't want to spend my entire day commuting," he said.

He'd also like to see better transit options to get between the region and Toronto. When he goes home to see family in Toronto, he says it takes him four hours via transit.

Babbar said he'd like to see the LRT expanded along University Avenue, but doubts that would happen. Two-way, all-day GO trains would also be great, he said, and he feels like that's more likely to happen.

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