Ward 6 candidates go head to head on student issues

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<strong>Demographics and Major Issues in the Ward</strong>


Affordable student housing, transit, mixed land use &mdash; specifically plans for the Northdale neighbourhood, and new rental by-laws are the issues dominating the municipal election campaign. Students and young families densely populate the ward as it&rsquo;s home to key hubs such as the University of Waterloo, Blackberry, and the David Johnston Research and Technology Park.<br />
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<strong>Jeff Henry</strong><br />
(Incumbent)<br />
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<strong>Why do you think you represent Ward 6 constituents better than your opposing candidate?</strong><br />
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&ldquo;Four years ago, one of the reasons I ran was because I saw a divide between students in our community and longer term residents in our community &hellip; Over the last four years, I&rsquo;ve worked really hard to build up a strong relationship with our student population, help bridge understanding, create safer rental housing conditions, work to redefine the mandate of the town and gown committee, which brings the city, the universities, and the students together to have a productive relationship.&rdquo;<br />
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<strong>There&rsquo;s been a divide in council when it comes to the LRT. Where do you stand on this transportation issue? What&rsquo;s your vision for transit over the next four years if you are re-elected?</strong><br />
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&ldquo;I&rsquo;m a transit user. My wife and I don&rsquo;t own a car, so we get around the city using the same buses you probably ride. There&rsquo;s a long term solution in the region, it&rsquo;s a bold vision, not everybody agrees, but I look forward to riding on it &hellip; As far as transit is concerned, there are a couple of gaps we need to address: One is along Westmount Road. Great transit service south of University Avenue, not at all north of University Avenue. This is critical for folks living west of Westmount and the University colleges ... The other gap is the rec centre, in terms of people trying to get around to Father David Bauer Drive by transit, to get to that great new amenity.&rdquo;<br />
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<strong>Is there anything you would change in how you&rsquo;ve handled the Columbia One situation?</strong><br />
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&ldquo;People have to realize where the roles are legislatively ...&nbsp; In terms of issues that people have with contracts with their landlords, the province has set up the Landlord and Tenant board, specifically to deal with these issues .... That&rsquo;s the avenue to go to address some of those issues. City staff has been working really closely with the university&rsquo;s off campus housing, they have the eyes and ears of students on the ground &hellip; It&rsquo;s not just students that are affected when construction runs behind. We have no control over somebody&rsquo;s construction schedule; it&rsquo;s private development on private land. It&rsquo;s their choice whether or not to develop.&rdquo;<br />
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<strong>Robert Hodgins</strong><br />
(Conestoga College business student)<br />
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<strong>Why do you think you would be the best councillor for Ward 6? Do you think you have a legitimate chance at winning the council seat?</strong><br />
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&ldquo;I was born and raised in the local Waterloo area. I&rsquo;m also a student and I also work full time. I understand the pressures of not only balancing a full time academic career, but also going to work everyday. There&rsquo;s nothing flashy about me, there&rsquo;s nothing polished about me, but when it comes to getting results, my friends have always said I get things done. If it&rsquo;s the truth I say it, if it&rsquo;s not I don&rsquo;t.&rdquo;<br />
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<strong>What type of platform would you advocate for in council if you were elected Ward 6 councillor? Do you support the LRT?</strong><br />
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&nbsp;&ldquo;The biggest thing is that they&rsquo;ve made a lot of really good progress on bike infrastructure, but I think they can always do more &hellip; For me, it&rsquo;s not that people shouldn&rsquo;t own a car, but they should have it that before you should go somewhere on your vehicle, you go &lsquo;Okay, do I really need to make this trip? Or can I get on a bus, can I bike?&rsquo; &hellip; When it comes to the LRT, I&rsquo;m 125 per cent for it. When it comes to some of the problems the GRT is facing, is that most of the people that need it, the low-income and disadvantaged, is when it&rsquo;s getting priced up to around $3, it&rsquo;s getting unaffordable. For me we need to come up with creative sponsorship revenue so people can afford to ride the bus.&rdquo;<br />
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<strong>How would you have handled the Columbia One situation if you were councillor?</strong><br />
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&ldquo;With the rental bylaw, I think I would have put more pressure on that delinquent landlord [Schembri]... Instead of having the University of Waterloo students go to the people that help them at Waterloo, I would have been involved and said, &lsquo;Look, here&rsquo;s how you get out of your leases, this how you do the things you need to do.&rsquo; For me all the emphasis of trying to sell the City of Waterloo to the world is all great and good, but if we have people that are coming here for their first year, and they&rsquo;re turning up to something like this, that&rsquo;s not an image we want to portray at all.&rdquo;
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