Occupation: city councillor
How long have you lived in Cambridge?
Do you reside in the ward/city you are running in?
Why are you running in this election?
I believe we need experience around the table. I bring that experience and knowledge.
What qualifies you to represent your ward?
The voters in Ward 1 have elected me in three successive elections. It is up to them to decide on my qualifications.
Why should people vote for you?
I have the experience, knowledge and skills to do the job. I have proven myself as an effective councillor who gets things done.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the ward?
Change and development in the ward. Cambridge and the region are one of the fastest growing areas in Ontario and Canada. This means we need housing, infrastructure and community social networks to support the growth. We are opening up the East Side lands for employment and industry as well as planning further residential zones. We are making our residential areas 15-minute communities. Change is difficult and when it comes quickly it is even harder.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Cambridge on a broader scale?
We are facing a crisis of homelessness that is sometimes combined with drug addiction and\or mental health issues. We have a responsibility to provide services for these, our most vulnerable residents. I am pleased that the CTS will be at 150 Main where many services are already situated. Addiction and mental instability are health issues. We need to continue to push the province to fully fund the services required. Council continues to push for affordable housing in each new development. We along with the region are hoping to build alternate housing for the homeless, such as tiny homes, a Better Tent City model cabins and a sanctioned encampment.
What is the most important thing you want to see changed in Cambridge?
As we come out of the pandemic, I am hoping that citizens will realize the value of being kind. Helping each other, collaborating over issues and listening respectfully will result in strong supported results.
What services need to be improved in Cambridge?
We can always look for ways to improve our current services. Whether it is snow clearing, road maintenance, planning issues or budget considerations. It is important that we are efficient and use tax money wisely.
Is Cambridge growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough?
It is great news that we are attracting new residents to Cambridge. We are growing fast and many new developments are being built or are on the horizon. It is good for our city finances but some residents find it unsettling.
What can be done at the local level about the rising cost of housing?
All of us are affected by high cost of construction materials and the long waits for delivery. The bank of Canada, the Federal Government and the Provincial government are trying to slow inflation and avoid a recession. Municipalities need to look for ways to reduce costs for housing and encourage developers to include affordable housing where transit is available.
What can be done locally about the homelessness issue?
Our homeless residents need services such as washrooms, showers, assistance to find housing, food and mental health counselling. Outreach workers are currently visiting encampments to assure their health needs are met. ACCKWA also provides many of those services at 130 Main. However these are temporary measures and we need to plan along with the Region, how to provide better solutions for our homeless neighbours. I mentioned above a plan to build\find alternate housing. Their preferences must be respected.
How do we make Cambridge an even better city to live in?
We do this by public engagement and more participation from all sectors of our city. I encourage delegations to council that reflect many sides of issues before the council. Positive responses are welcome too.
To learn more about Donna, visit www.donnaforcambridge.ca