Waterloo Region votes: Kitchener Ward 4 profile
(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 key information. Did we miss any key issues in your ward? Let us know; email us at email@example.com. This profile was created in partnership with the Cord Community Edition.
Kitchener’s Ward 4 runs west of the Grand River and north of Highway 401. It is home to the Conestoga College student population and a large portion of the city’s green space.
Major Issues: Community centre capacity, student housing
"It’s really neat to look at the demographics of this ward," said Tegan McKenna, Resource Centre Coordinator at Doon Pioneer Park Community Centre. "It’s such a spectrum, dense areas of homes, generational families and it’s very multicultural. It’s not predominantly one culture over another and we see that in our programming."
The diverse area is attracting more residents, she said, and their needs are growing.
"This facility is now 25 years old. It met the needs of the community at the time, but this area is growing. We’ve outgrown our facility here. A lot of our programs – especially recreational activities – fill to capacity,” she said. “I’d estimate that we’re serving over 16,000 people.
Ron Ingle, print consultant and Ward 4 resident, echoes McKenna’s call for increased services to meet the needs of the growing ward.
"We have a son who is eight years old, green spaces and areas for him to play with his friends are really important," said Ingle. "The buses, though, are suitable for high school students and service the downtown core well, but aren’t as accessible in the outlying neighbourhoods for people who rely on public transit."
Incumbent Coun. Yvonne Fernandes has had to contend with tensions between students, their landlords and other residents near the college..
“Some residents are noticing trends in absentee landlords,” says McKenna.
City council voted in June to enforce bylaws more strictly in the Lower Doon area near the college, while opting against pursuing a residential bylaw.
Both of Fernandes’s challengers, Wayne Buchholtz, current Catholic School Board Trustee and Rolf Malthaner, a real estate agent at RE/MAX, note student housing as an area of concern in their platform points.