Together, we need to build a resilient city that is future-ready.

Climate change.

Climate change is by far the biggest threat to our quality of life. We are now at risk of extreme heat, extreme rainfall, drought, flooding, and unpredictable seasons.

For example, our biggest, one-day rainfalls ever recorded happened in January 2020 and September 2021. That’s not a fluke. We could very well experience the kind of heat waves that recently affected California, Vancouver and Europe.

Cities can fight climate change and our local actions will make a visible difference in our own neighbourhoods. Waterloo needs to urgently build on its climate action strategy.

At council, I will:

- Champion infrastructure that promotes active, public transportation.
- Work to improve zoning, bylaws, incentives and enforcement measures that don’t meet the city’s climate action strategy.

At council, I will:

- Champion a tree bylaw to protect urban green space, and advocate for increased tree planting and naturalization of city properties and parks.
- Advocate for food forests and local biodiversity.

At council, I will:

- Work with the local universities to identify the areas of Waterloo that are most impacted by climate change.

Affordable housing.

This issue of affordable housing was brewing before the pandemic and it’s just gotten worse with our current inflation challenges. Obviously we need more housing supply but it’s not as easy as building a new subdivision or approving a bunch of new towers.

How we choose to use land today will be a blessing or curse for Waterloo’s citizens 20 years from now.

We have to tackle housing and climate at the same time. One of the ways we do that is by integrating our housing and transportation strategy. We have to make it easy and appealing for people to choose to live in dense neighbourhoods.

At council, I will:

- Support nimble approaches to zoning that create new, equitable opportunities for density along transportation corridors.
- Promote housing diversity so that neighbourhoods remain lively, connected places.

At council, I will:

- Champion the co-location of amenities and services that every neighbourhood needs, like outdoor space, health care facilities and grocery stores.

At council, I will:

- Explore incentives for developers who create sustainable and affordable housing options.

Economic recovery & resilience.

Uptown Waterloo has experienced some hardships with years of mainstreet construction followed by pandemic closures. It’s not easy to run a small business in this context. A vibrant Uptown will help recruit new talent to the area, keep families in the core of the city, and support older residents who seek to age in place.

At council, I will:

- Support creative approaches that ensure Uptown businesses have what they need to pivot and respond to changing conditions.

At council, I will:

- Champion nimble approaches to filling empty storefronts and recruiting missing amenities.
- Explore incentive structures for anchor tenants.

At council, I will:

- Seek an all-ages-all-peoples approach to place-making across Ward 7.

Youth engagement.

We need young people to take part in local decision-making. Over the last decade, I was involved in a series of projects where global experts worked collaboratively with a cohort of young people to create strategies to solve some of our most wicked problems. We need this sort of approach at the municipal level.

At council, I will:

- Advocate for targeted recruitment of young people between the ages of 18 and 30 for all city committees.
- Seek paid honorariums for students to shadow councillors.

At council, I will:

- Collaborate with local post-secondary institutions and community organizations on civic problem labs.
- Advocate for all-ages citizen science initiatives to support city data collection.

At council, I will:

- Champion the Smart Waterloo Region Innovation Lab and its mission of making this region the best community in Canada for children & youth.

& participatory engagement.

We need to work with people from across the city to envision what our neighbourhoods might look like in the future, and then co-create those visions.

We must depart from top-down approaches and source ideas from across the community.

We have to measure stuff and check our progress against our goals. To do that, we have to first make sure that we’re measuring the right things. And that’s where new kinds of democratic engagement can take root. By diving into what matters with people across Waterloo, it becomes more than numbers: we ground truth our data collection.

And most importantly, we need to invite the people and organizations who are already doing the work to lead.

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© 2022 Wright Ward 7

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