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MEET THE CANDIDATES: Barbara Harrington, Ward 4

'Cambridge needs to embrace the diversity of its community and invest in attractions that would be enjoyed by all citizens,' says Ward 4 candidate Barbara Harrington
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Barbara Harrington is a Ward 4 candidate.

Barbara Harrington

Age: 52

Occupation: Lead Hand/Quality Assurance/Shipper-Receiver and many other hats

How long have you lived in Cambridge? 

All my life, all 52 years. I lived in Hespeler until I was 13. We then moved to Ward 4 (Clyde Rd) and lived there for the next 20 years or so

Do you reside in the ward/city you are running in? 

Currently, I am not living in Ward 4 but maintain a property there.

Why are you running in this election? 

Cambridge's issues are Ward 4's and vice versa. No matter if it is traffic, development, utilities, or taxes, we are a community together. It is the council's responsibility to work together regardless of the ward, to work with all levels of government to find solutions to deal with our community's issues.

Currently, with our standing councils, togetherness has dissolved and has become a hindrance to their focus, which should be in the best interest of Cambridge's citizens. Many have become focused on one issue. Parts of our city have felt like no one is listening to them. I hear them! I live and work amongst them.

The council needs someone to hold them accountable to the citizens of Cambridge and I plan on being that voice. I want to bring the council back to being a team to work together, "to make change in Cambridge together."

What qualifies you to represent your ward? 

I have lived in Cambridge all my life. My grandmother (my inspiration) was a writer for the Cambridge Reporter and taught me how to be a supportive community member. I attended the University of Guelph for biological science and psychology however life took me in a different direction for career options. I am a lead hand, quality assurance, health and safety, shipper/receiver, and office assistant all at one place of employment.

I am very experienced at multitasking, and I have gained strong negotiation abilities and mediation skills from wearing many hats. I cannot stand dishonesty, fakes, collusion, or misleading information, you will never get that from me. I follow and attend many if not all of the council meetings.

I am aware of many current affairs. I am not afraid to speak up and stand up. I understand all four levels of government and would never promise something that is beyond a councilor's level knowing that I am just one vote. I will engage with my colleagues to explain how their votes would benefit the city, or I will engage with the appropriate level of government. I will speak up and stand up.

Why should people vote for you? 

Because I am awesome! All kidding aside, I am committed to Cambridge. So much so that I am willing to give up my 18-year current position (at a pay cut) so I can dedicate myself to the citizens of Cambridge.

I know this town as my home. I plan to maintain it and help it grow. I have not gone into this election lightly. I have been considering it and educating myself over the last five years for this opportunity to stand up for and with the citizens of Cambridge

What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the ward? 

One thing I will say is I will not be a one-issue candidate. Other than the one obvious issue that everyone is promising a solution to, a main issue I want to work on is that many of Ward 4 parks are dismal and Gordon Chaplin Park is a prime example. It is full of graffiti and litter (very few garbage cans) and only one porta potty for such a large park. There is just as high of density population in that area as in Soper park but yet no sprinkler pad.

The parents are removing trip hazards from the playground, which are damaged, dented, and out of date. Ward 4 is more than just the core, it is an entire community that needs attention focused on the young and new families that live there.

What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Cambridge on a broader scale? 

We have an affordable housing issue and so does the rest of the province. We have beautiful buildings that are being planned but we need to encourage developers to go beyond just 1 and 2 bedrooms. We need units for families and make more rental units. We need to gain more support from the Provincial Government for supportive and transitional housing for our high acuity citizens.

What is the most important thing you want to see changed in Cambridge? 

I would like to see a positive change that is community focused as a whole and a council that will work together for the decisions of today and in consideration of our future generations. Cambridge needs a positive identity of its own. We need to bring more tourists, not more festivals that have the same attendees every year. We need something to excite people to be drawn here and for our own residents to enjoy and bring back Cambridge pride.

What services need to be improved in Cambridge? 

Both our police and bylaw services need to be improved. Not only just to be more present (I support foot patrol in all cores) but to follow through more efficiently on complaints/calls.

Is Cambridge growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough? 

I think Cambridge is right on track with the Provincial government's growth and density guidelines. Cambridge is behind when it comes to the community support network though. The food bank needs assistance to service our communities' needs. A mental health facility and counseling service and build on our existing rehabilitation services as we need more.

What can be done at the local level about the rising cost of housing? 

Cambridge has a few high-density housing projects proposed which in turn will increase the supply of housing. The huge jump in housing prices was due to high demand but low supply. That being said, the council will need to work together with the planning and development team to strategize more urban projects. Cambridge needs to also embrace the diversity of its community and invest in attractions that would be enjoyed by all citizens. With more attractions, we could gain more investors.

What can be done locally about the homelessness issue? 

Cambridge needs at least two shelters (one male and one female) and bring Bridges back to its original function as transitional housing. In the process, there are a few potential locations that could be used for tiny homes, giving dignity and a better shelter to our homeless while waiting for affordable/supportive housing or building a shelter. This will give better access to community and counseling supports to those who need it.

How do we make Cambridge an even better city to live in? 

I am going on a personal note for this answer. I would love to see attractions, like a natural history museum, Bingeman's type facility, a nightclub or two. People who have grown up in Cambridge remember and tell stories of places like the Iroquois, the Matador, and Johnny B Good to name a few.

All I hear is "those were the days", "why can't Cambridge be like that still", "we need something to do too", “wish Cambridge was still like that” and "Cambridge had a Drive-in!"  We are described as Toronto's bed and breakfast; we need our own identity, something to be known for.

To learn more about Barbara, visit the following links: 

Facebook - Barbara Harrington Ward-Four Candidate