Occupation: Senior communications advisor, Government of Ontario
How long have you lived in Cambridge/Waterloo Region?
Why are you running in this election?
As a proud Cambridge resident, each year I see our property taxes increasing, our water bills going up, yet somehow our service are decreasing. Add in the financial burden taxpayers are already facing with increased rent, mortgage payments, interest rates and energy costs as well as social issues such as rising crime and homelessness, I believe we need leadership on Regional Council that is bold and courageous.
We need new voices with new ideas to ensure our regional government is not wasting tax dollars and is accountable to you. I want to be that voice, and that Councillor who offers practical solutions to everyday issues we face, a Councillor you can call when you’re in need.
What qualifies you to represent the city at regional council?
Working in this region as a journalist for CTV News has allowed be the opportunity to speak with tens of thousands of people and understand the complex and various local issues. In my current employment with the Ontario government in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, I have developed a strong understanding of government, and how provincial politics intersects with municipalities - such as funding and project approvals. Together, with my deep knowledge of local issues, experience working in government, and passion for service has prepared me to represent the people Cambridge on Regional Council.
Beyond that, I am a good listener and am passionate about the people of this community. Through this experience I know that politicians need to talk less, and listen more.
Why should people vote for you?
As a former journalist covering stories across the region, you have welcomed me into your homes, your businesses and places of worship. I have sat with grieving families and concerned businesses owners listening to the issues that matter most to you. I know the challenges, but more importantly I see opportunities and I am ready to work for the people.
We need compassionate but practical solutions to issues that have affected our region, that for years have been ignored. Our region has many plans and strategies but putting those into practice has stalled. We need fresh, new voices with new ideas to move Cambridge and Waterloo Region forward.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the Region of Waterloo?
Lack of housing supply - which includes a dire need for long-term care facilities for seniors, increasing crime and homelessness, and long wait times for health care services .
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Cambridge/the Region of Waterloo on a broader scale?
Affordability. The rising cost of living affects everyone whether it be fuel, housing, utilities, daycare services, groceries and property taxes, just to name a few.
What is the most important thing you want to see changed at the regional level to have a positive impact on Cambridge?
Address rising homelessness. We need mental health treatment and drug detox facilities to combat increased addiction. The current direction to address the rising homeless population is not working. Encampments are increasing, so we must ensure we are not repeating the same mistakes that other jurisdictions have already tried and failed at.
Unfortunately, many people experiencing homelessness suffer from mental health and addiction issues. Housing an individual is one part of the solution, but unless that individual is properly supported in living a substance-free life, mental health services and adequate supports finding a job - too often that individual cannot maintain housing.
Currently, there is a five year wait list for mental health supports and approximately 2-5 year wait list for addiction-supported housing.
Improving wrap around supports such as increasing the number of detox beds and treatment facilities / options and drug treatment court for those who commit crimes to support their addiction, we will see less homeless encampments and reduced crime in our community.
What services need to be improved at the region?
Among the services that need to be improved are healthcare, daycare services, long-term care facilities, and addiction treatment facilities.
Cambridge in particular needs to attract more doctors, nurses and PSWs. Many people lack a family doctor which is impacting our healthcare system and emergency department services in Cambridge.
Is Cambridge/the Region of Waterloo growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough?
The Region of Waterloo is the fastest growing area in all of Canada. A report by the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation indicates that the Region grew by 12 per cent between 2015-2020 and that new home builds are “lagging” by 1 home to every 3 people that move to the region (https://kwcf.ca/vital-signs).
At the present time our services, healthcare, roads and other infrastructure are not adequate to meet the growing demand. We need real solutions to real problems. I welcome new people and businesses to our community. However, as we grow we need to ensure that adequate services and infrastructure such as housing and healthcare supports are in place.
What can be done about the rising cost of housing?
Simply put, we need to build more homes. The lack of housing supply is driving up the cost of housing. Our city needs to undertake long-term planning as Cambridge is an attractive place to live, work and raise a family and it will only continue to grow. Local governments need to work with the province and the federal government to ensure things like zoning and building permits are not a deterrent to building more homes. The more homes we build, will also create good paying jobs and help the local economy.
According to the Ontario Real Estate Association, the Ontario Home Builders’ Association, and the Federation of Rental Housing Providers of Ontario, “the solution to home affordability is increasing the supply of housing in the province, and thereby consumer choice, by streamlining the building approvals process and reducing red tape, which is preventing new homes and rentals from coming to market.”
I will work to reduce red tape and streamline building approvals to address the increasing housing demand in our region.
What can be done locally about the homelessness issue?
Old ways won’t open new doors!
As an example, the ‘All In 2020’ campaign to end homelessness by 2020 - was unsuccessful, and we now have a higher homeless population than ever before. In July of 2021 the Region’s chronic homeless population grew by 34 percent in just 6 months. We cannot keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
We need a new approach to chronic homelessness that focuses on better supports for mental health and more treatment facilities to address drug addiction. We must implement bylaws that prevent encampments and remove ones that pop up in a timely manner. We must also examine how and why, are new homeless people arriving in the area. We need to get people off the streets and into supportive housing and treatment facilities, and maintain law and order to protect residents and businesses from crime.
How do we make the Region of Waterloo/Cambridge an even better place to live in?
One of the easiest things we can do is to clean up garbage, respect our green space and keep our streets clean. As an avid outdoorsman who loves to hike, cycle, enjoy the city’s beautiful trails and use the outdoor parks, I am saddened to see the amount of trash all over our community. We need all residents to do their part and respect the areas they live in by disposing of trash properly to keep Cambridge looking beautiful and clean. I will push for a ‘Clean Waterloo Region’ initiative that encourages respect for a clean community and curbs littering.
To learn more about Tyler, visit the following links: