Dorothy McCabe is Waterloo’s next mayor. McCabe beat runner-up Shannon Weber by a narrow margin of just 1.51 per cent, receiving 43.53 per cent of the vote. Overall voter turnout in the city was 27.18 per cent. Ward 6, the ward the university is in, will be represented by UW alum Mary Lou Roe, who received 32.21 per cent of the vote. There was no incumbent running in either race.
McCabe previously served as the chief of staff to the mayor of Kitchener in 2010 and was the government relations manager for the Town of Milton until earlier this year.
She said, “It feels amazing [to win]. Community-based work is what I’m passionate about. I feel like I’m a little bit in shock still, but this is the type of work that I’m really passionate about.”
Talking about her victory, Roe said, “It is incredibly humbling, and it’s exciting, and I’m so honored that the residents of Ward 6 have put their faith in me. It’s just been such an awesome experience to meet so many community members and to listen to their stories and perspectives, and it’s given me such a great opportunity to connect with so many parts of the city […] I’m just inspired by the people and the community.”
Roe added, “I think [McCabe]’s a very qualified person to be mayor, and I’m very excited to work with her.”
McCabe said one of her main priorities is to address the housing crisis.
“One of the first things I want to talk to the new council about is about a new affordable housing development. […] We are in a crisis, and we know there’s people who need safe places to live. So whether it’s supportive or affordable housing, that’s one of the first things that I want to talk to council about, to see if we can keep a piece of land and work with a nonprofit developer to start to build something as quickly as we can.”
McCabe recognized the importance of the student voice in Waterloo.
“The two universities and the college [University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Conestoga College] are huge and important economic contributors to Waterloo [and] contribute to the overall vibrancy. So I look forward to working with the presidents of those three institutions as well as their teams and certainly with student leaders to make sure that we’re collectively really working together to unlock the potential of Waterloo,” she said. “I think we also need to talk to students about things more than just the St. Patrick’s Day party. We need to talk to them about fixing some of the transit challenges that we have, inter-regional challenges — getting some from Waterloo to the GTA or wherever they’re coming from.”
McCabe added that she wants to talk to students and figure out what the city should do to encourage them to stay in the city after getting their degrees and diplomas.
Roe also expressed excitement about representing students. “I’m really excited to represent the students because they’re such a big part of the ward, and I think it’s really important to strengthen the relationship between the students and city hall that matters to me, and so, I’m really excited to start that journey.”
When asked what her immediate goals are, Roe said that she intends to listen and learn. “I’m going to listen to the residents. I’m going to learn what’s important to them, and also what the processes are at the city so that I can most effectively […] represent the constituents of Ward 6 […] so that they feel visible and heard and really work on being the bridge between the city residents and city hall so that people feel that they’re part of the community and that they’re part of the decisions here.”
Matthew Schwarze, a fourth-year UW mathematics student, was the runner up in the Ward 6 race. He received 28.72 per cent of the vote.
“It was a really rewarding experience. I really enjoyed it. I knocked on over 5,000 doors and chatted with hundreds of residents of every background in the world. It was great to get to know them and sort of what their issues were. The biggest thing that I found was that everybody’s facing a lot of the same issues right now. Sometimes there’s different angles to it like, you know in housing affordability. Some people [are] concerned about being able to afford a place when they retire or kids affording a place or concerned about people in the city who don’t have housing at all.”
Schwarze expressed his confidence in the winning candidates. “I think they’re both [McCabe and Roe] going to do a great job. They both also got [out] there in the community chatting with people, and we actually had very similar issues that we were concerned about […] so I’m really excited to see what they come up with.”
All results are unofficial until certified by the city clerk.
Election Results Summary
Mayor – Dorothy McCabe
City Council Ward 1 – Sandra Hanmer
City Council Ward 2 – Royce Bodaly
City Council Ward 3 – Hans Roach
City Council Ward 4 – Dianne Freeman
City Council Ward 5 – Jen Vasic
City Council Ward 6 – Mary Lou Roe
City Council Ward 7 – Julie Wright
Regional Chair – Karen Redman
Regional Councillors – Jim Erb and Chantal Huinink
Waterloo Region District School Board Trustees – Scott Piatkowski, Kathleen Woodcock and Marie Snyder
Waterloo Catholic District School Board Trustees – Linda Cuff and Sally Fuentes
Viamonde School Board – Joseph Vandermeer
MonAvenir Catholic School Board – Dorothée Petit-Pas