Your Voice in Local Politics.
It has been a privilege serving Elmira residents as a Woolwich Township Councillor. My first term as Ward One Councillor was busy — educating myself in municipal affairs, actively participating in conversations that advance Woolwich initiatives, taking part in community activities, and being your voice on Council. It's been fun, and I'm ready for more!
More Work To Do — Beyond 2018
Below are some issues that require discussion for the next term of Council. I want to be part of the discussion.
A strategic plan drives the workload and planning towards a collective vision for the Township for the next decade. Woolwich will embark in public consultations on a Township vision beyond 2020 in the next year. I'd like to be part of the discussion with residents. We need to balance the things we want with what we need and our collective ability to pay. I will bring a balanced approach to planning for the future with a new vision for the future of Woolwich Township.
Council and staff advocated at the Regional level for improvements to local roadways and in particular a bypass route around Elmira. Going through a three-year process of boundary rationalization created new employment lands on the east side of Elmira. These employment lands would be served by a new bypass route. While successful at being included in the Regional Transporation Master Plan, the timing of 2041 doesn't work for Woolwich Township. Road improvements on Highway 85 won't be addressed until 2031. Again, this doesn't work for our residents. Increased traffic capacity from development, an undersized roundabout and the need for double lanes from Waterloo to Elmira have created exponentially longer commutes for all of us in the present. I will continue to advocate for improved timelines and action to ease increasing traffic snarls.
The Region of Waterloo has a number of larger reconstruction projects on the books in Elmira. Church Street East from Arthur Street to the easterly gateway of Elmira is a major reconstruction of underground utilities, water pipe extension to George St, urbanizing the roadway with gutters and curbs as well as extending the sidewalk. I successfully advocated to not install pedestrian refuge islands which are causing issues in other parts of the Township. I am working with the Region's working group to install a more visible crossing walk across from Duke St to Bolender Park, as well as finding alternative cycling routes through this narrow, heavy traffic thruway. This project has been delayed until 2019.
Downtown Elmira resurfacing and streetscaping is long overdue. The downtown area has seen better days. Noticeably absent have been trees which succumbed to the emerald ash borer in 2014-2015. This project will see new curbs, sidewalks, asphalt resurfacing, lighting, benches and engineered tree repositories to promote healthy tree growth once again.
Arthur Street - Church St Intersection in downtown Elmira has never operated efficiently for drivers. The increased traffic from the Lunor subdivision and other sources are consistently jamming up the intersection. These reconstruction projects have created an opportunity to fix this intersection and add two left hand turning lanes to the east and west, keeping traffic flowing as it should.
I am a strong advocate for funding reconstruction projects that make residents' lives better.
Council and staff spend a great deal of time planning for the future. This past term Council laid the groundwork for growth in Breslau, St. Jacobs and Elmira. Each settlement comes with their own issues and solutions. Often, growth introduces new challenges and unforeseen consequences for our residents. Working with our residents in the planning stages minimizes any negative effects growth has on a neighbourhood and the community. I have been a strong voice at the Council table for residents' concerns.
Council and staff decided that we could do better at serving our residents. With the consulting expertise of KPMG analyzing the organization as a whole, some expectations are a more efficient use of staff and resources, improved customer service standards and analysis of future resource demands due to provincial regulations. KPMG is set to deliver their findings in 2019. I have encouraged this direction and am an asset to determining any realignments Council pursues.