Waterloo Region votes: 5 questions for Woolwich's Sandy Shantz

CBC Kitchener-Waterloo asked every mayoral candidate in the region five questions. Today we hear from Sandy Shantz, running for mayor of Woolwich township.
Sandy Shantz was elected Woolwich Township mayor by a comfortable 3,544-vote margin in October's municipal election. (Courtesy Sandy Shantz)

Municipal elections in Waterloo Region will be held on October 27. With half a year to go until ballots are cast, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo has reached out to every mayoral candidate in the region who has officially filed to run.

Each candidate has answered the same five questions, and their replies will be reproduced. Today we speak to Sandy Shantz, one of two candidates registered to run for mayor of Woolwich Township.

1. What's the most important issue in your city for the next council term?

An important issue for us in Woolwich Township is how decisions are made. There is a sense that, even if there is opportunity for public input, the input is not taken seriously.

This often relates to how we will grow and how we sustain and maintain our services and infrastructure. We have a desire to hold onto all that is good within each of our communities, while moving forward carefully and with our values intact.

Striking a balance that is fiscally responsible but still provides for good quality of life is our challenge. The community wants to be represented professionally and with integrity both locally and at other levels of government.

Currently Elmira residents have concerns over the pending sale of the No Frills grocery store and the void that will leave in the community. Also transport truck traffic in the downtown is an ongoing concern that needs to be addressed. 

2. Voter turnout is notoriously low, especially in municipal politics. How will you engage voters?

Voters are engaged when the issues are close to their hearts. I hope to be out and about in the community and available for casual conversations.

Starting in June, my website should have regular updates to address the issues and concerns I am hearing from constituents. (www.sandyformayor.ca). I am happy to receive comments by phone or email (or snail mail). If you would like to meet with me, or have a group that would like to meet me, let me know. Email: sandy@sandyformayor.ca 

3. What would you say is your biggest weakness?

I prefer working quietly and cooperatively without a lot of fanfare, often making things happen behind  the scenes. While some people would see that as a weakness in a politician, I have had good successes leading in this way. 

4.  Who is your political role model, and why?

Political role model is a tough one. I would have to say Elizabeth Witmer. We both started our political careers with something we had a passion for - schools. Liz was (is) a hard worker, and represented the community with honesty and integrity. She was a good listener who treated her constituents with respect, and gave thoughtful consideration to the issues. She wasn't afraid to stand up for what she felt was right, but was willing to consider other opinions. 

5. 40 years from now, how do you picture your municipality?

Forty years is a long time off. Without a crystal ball to see what technology will bring, I imagine Woolwich Township as remaining primarily an agriculturally focused community. I think each town will maintain its own unique blueprint that fits into the greater picture.

With universities and colleges close at hand, I like to think we will forge partnerships so that we will be leaders in sustainable agricultural and related technologies. I also see us growing as a place for healthy outdoor activities, and related tourism.

I hope for a good selection of local employment opportunities as well as retail establishments. I see a more symbiotic relationship with the Cities as we provide balance for urban intensification. Caring for each other and building on relationships will be the glue that continues to hold us together.