The 2018-2022 term of Woolwich Council got their official start Tuesday December 4, 2018 at Lion's Hall in Elmira. Mayor Sandy Shantz and Council members swore their oath of office, took part in a preliminary meeting and a reception with family, friends and community members.
Former Regional Chair Ken Seiling swore in Mayor Shantz and new Regional Chair Karen Redmond swore in the rest of Council. Former Woolwich Township Mayor Bill Strauss presented Mayor Shantz with the chain of office. Council members took the opportunity to say a few words to start off the 2018-2022 term of office. Below is my address to the public.
-------------------------------- Speech below
I was discussing what to say in my speech with my wife the other day and she said to me: ‘Don’t try to be too charming, too witty or too intellectual … just be yourself.’”
Members of Council, honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen…it is truly an honour and a privilege to speak to you this evening – an evening that begins another chapter in the long and storied political history of Woolwich Township. I’m so glad you could be here with us tonight.
I want to thank my wife Heather Calder and my sons Parker and Finn for your support. I appreciate the sacrifices you have made over the past four years in my pursuit of local politics. Thank you.
Tonight, as we take our first steps of the next four years, I can’t help but go back four years and remember my feelings of excitement and anticipation in serving my. I was eager, and motivated and had all of the answers to our municipal issues … people just needed to listen to me. So easy!
Little did I know then, and standing behind this podium, the amount of effort, time and patience it takes to work with and coordinate with staff, three levels of red tape and the public the projects accomplished. Projects move slowly and new challenges present themselves to make things interesting. I was pretty innocent way back then. I have learned a thing or two.
If you come into Municipal government with all the answers you will be disappointed. I have learned that municipal government is an on-going learning experience; it is challenging and requires you think, and gives you an opportunity to make a difference. This position checks all my boxes.
As I look toward the next four years, I’m ready, motivated and eager to get to work.
Tonight I want to talk about three issues facing Woolwich Township in the coming years.
1. Senior’s , Accessible and Affordable accommodations.
3. & Growth.
This past summer another life-long prominent resident I know moved to Waterloo after an exhaustive search for accessible accommodations in Elmira. We have all heard this story before here in Woolwich and in many municipalities across Ontario. I want to be able to stay in this community when I grow old. I want Council to start the conversation on how we plan to address the shortfall so that more residents, like residents, including my parents, won’t be forced from the community they love.
As we heard from the campaign trail, many of our transportation issues are those belonging to the Regional government. Too much traffic on main routes, intersections, roundabouts are increasing our time in cars on the roads as well as killing the enjoyment of our downtown areas. I want Council to continue the advocacy of our Regional partners to step up road improvements including an improved timeline for a potential bypass route around Elmira.
Through partnership with Kiwanis Transit a Made in Woolwich solution to inner-town travel to GRT routes has so far been successful with the introduction of the Elmira bus. I look forward to new out-of-the-box ways to improve local transit to encourage increased ridership and sustainability.
Growth will be our biggest challenge in the coming years. Woolwich Township is set for unprecedented growth throughout the township. It will increase pressure on traffic, infrastructure, programming, facilities and staff resources. Managing these pressures will be paramount to this and future Councils. Council needs to think proactively about these anticipated consequences now so that we aren’t forced into being reactive.
I don’t know about you, but I am anxious to roll up my sleeves and get to work.
I’m excited to work with the Woolwich Township Council and staff in an atmosphere that encourages intelligent and reasoned debate, where we each come with an open mind and work to make the best possible decision for the residents of Woolwich Township.