Occupation: Chair, Waterloo Region
How long have you lived in Cambridge/Waterloo region?
I am a lifelong resident of Waterloo Region
Why are you running in this election?
My primary motivation for participating in politics stems for a desire to serve my community. It's a tremendous opportunity to contribute to positive change and to advocate on behalf of individuals whose voices are not always heard at the decision-making table.
What qualifies you for the position of regional chair?
Regardless of the level of government, the issues are diverse and solutions are complex and challenging. I come into this election with extensive experience in public service at the federal and school board levels, as well as municipal. While that broad experience is always beneficial, I often draw on my experience in Parliament as a Whip and engage those skills in engaging diverse stakeholders in a unified solution. Our best work for our community is accomplished by building consensus and finding common ground.
Why should people vote for you?
I am committed to us working towards an inclusive, equitable, thriving and sustainable community with connected rural and urban communities and a global reach that fosters opportunities for current and future residents.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the Region of Waterloo?
My priorities for the Region are housing attainability; supporting future prosperity with infrastructure investments; and working with community and government partners to ensure mental health supports/health services are available for residents. Waterloo Region is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada and it's important for the region's leadership to improve opportunities for growth, prosperity and social responsiveness.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Cambridge/the Region of Waterloo on a broader scale?
People in Cambridge have the same concerns as residents throughout the region. They are concerned about housing affordability, the management of growth, attraction of investment and talent, investment in innovation, as well investment in the supports for mental health and social services. It through partnerships with community agencies and advocacy for increased funding from senior levels of government that the Region will continue to address these priorities.
What is the most important thing you want to see changed at the regional level to have a positive impact on Cambridge/the Region of Waterloo?
The Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan demonstrated that better solutions can be achieved when processes are led by community and with community to seek holistic solutions. The Region needs to continue to works collaboratively with community to engage in meaningful consultation.
What services need to be improved at the region?
The completion of the LRT is essential to the cohesion of the region’s transit system. The partnership with senior levels to fund this is key as different funding models are now in place for financing rapid transit
Is Cambridge/the Region of Waterloo growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough?
Managed growth throughout the region has provided a balance between rural and urban growth that is sustainable and accommodates single family homes, mid-rise and high rise development
What can be done about the rising cost of housing?
Housing affordability means different things to different people. The Regional official plan affords the variety of home forms such as single family units, mid-rise and high rise accommodation for developers.
What can be done locally about the homelessness issue?
The system solutions for our unsheltered population are complex and require a variety of interventions along the housing continuum to be successful and sustainable—mental health supports, interim housing, addiction services and affordable housing. I continue to work with provincial and national organizations to lobby for additional funds as well as for a national rental strategy.
How do we make the Region of Waterloo/Cambridge an even better place to live?
The world class vision for our community requires constant consultation with the residents, business community and all sectors of the community. I value and will work to protect the rural/urban nature of community life through support of managed growth
To learn more about Karen, visit www.karen-redman.com