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MEET THE CANDIDATES: Nate Whalen, Ward 3

Ward 3 candidate Nate Whalen puts community safety at the top of the list of issues facing his ward
Nate Whalen is a candidate in Ward 3.

Nate Whalen

Age: 28

Occupation: Local Business Owner for a little over a year, and previously I spent 10 years at TD where I began as a Teller and worked my way up to become a Senior Manager by 24, managing 120+ people.


How long have you lived in Cambridge? 

Approximately three years since moving for work and buying our home.

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

Yes. I own my own home with my husband Axel, near downtown Preston.

Why are you running in this election?

I’m running to ensure we live in a city that we can all actually afford. Moving from Newfoundland to now settling down in Preston, I wanted to step up to ensure the community that we live in and that our children grow up in is affordable and works for everyone. 

Having to interact with the city in numerous ways since moving here, the final straw was when I tried to help a homeless gentleman on the sidewalk outside our home find emergency shelter, only to learn that the government and the shelter aren’t even speaking with each other regarding actual bed capacity. There’s no real way to ensure folks don’t resort to sleeping on our streets and in our parks when the government itself isn’t privy to what’s happening at ground level, but I’ve seen it and understand how helpless people feel.

After working at the bank for so long, I’ve learned that instead of complaining, it’s better to do something about what it is you’re frustrated by. 

What qualifies you to represent your ward?

I’ve been involved in the community my whole life and have learned to be a good listener. 

From volunteering with the blind, to social justice initiatives, to holding government accountable in public education as President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils, to LGBTQ2+ inclusion advocacy hosting large scale events for TD, and chairing nearly a dozen committees and non-profit organizations, I’ve been actively engaged in the community all my life and have learned how government works through various channels to see a means to an end.

I know the value of a dollar. I got my first paper route at 11, job at McDonald’s the day I turned 15, and worked hard enough in the community to be awarded a major scholarship after high school. From there, I worked my way out of poverty by getting my foot in the door at TD during university and in ten years, grew from a teller to a senior manager, having had the opportunity to lead large teams with business financials larger than that of the City of Cambridge.

I’ve also started and owned my own business twice and know how tough it is to be a business owner, both new and seasoned, and how critical it is to make the right decisions at the right time for the betterment of the people. 

Most importantly, however, is that I believe my experience considering multiple viewpoints along with a track record of working together to get things done will serve the people of Preston and Ward 3 in the years to come.

Why should people vote for you?

I’m running because the great people of Preston deserve a representative at city hall that has more qualifications than being born in Cambridge and attending every barbecue that they’re privy to. And guess what – I’ll eat the ribs, wings, and corn and still manage to get it done.

I’ve been a community leader all my life, led hundreds of people, was a senior manager at one of the world’s largest companies, and brought to life multiple organizations and projects using my strategic thinking and ability to influence others.

This October, I respectfully ask for your vote – get someone who genuinely cares about people and our community, and a voice at City Council that prioritizes putting more money in your pocket, taking a leadership role in the housing and homelessness crisis, and advocating for a thriving downtown Preston.

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

While the majority of residents I’ve spoken to at the door are concerned most with what’s happening in Cambridge at a broader scale, Preston has four major issues it’s contending with today:

Community safety: We continue to see multiple break-ins, especially along King Street, so people are beginning to worry for their safety even going for a walk.

Traffic and LRT: How can we work with the region to ease traffic and plan for minimal impact during the LRT construction? Traffic is getting worse on King St and at the Eagle and Concession intersection, and good luck making a left on Concession during rush hour. 

Thriving downtown: How can we balance preserving heritage and community character with the need for population density? Increasing density will improve the overall feel of Preston and ensure success of local businesses.

Recreation: With multiple disjointed City buildings in Preston, how do we ensure they’re renovated and optimized for the whole community to enjoy. We also need to continue to invest in our parks.

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

At the doors, I’m hearing that folks are concerned most with the cost of living – they can’t afford additional property tax and water bill increases at this time, for both homeowners and of course renters as well, for which these costs are passed down.

Aside from that, I’m hearing a lot about housing and homelessness. Our neighbours (and I) are very concerned that folks have to sleep in our parks, with Bridges consistently over capacity, not allowing pets, and not providing immediate addictions treatment and support. 

We need to ensure there are affordably priced starter homes and rental units - and that starts with increasing supply.

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

Put money back in people’s pockets and support growth by ensuring Cambridge has the lowest property tax and water bills in the Region.

What services need to be improved in Cambridge?

  • Reduce the time and complexity to get a permit.
  • Pothole Filling: Speed up the time it takes from start to finish filling potholes or roadwork throughout the city. 
  • Snow Clearing: Add sidewalk clearing in a timely fashion during Winter months.

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

Cambridge has room to grow and it’s not just about what we do, but how we do it. 

We have to get rid of red tape to speed up getting shovels in the ground, while we still have to ensure proper consultation and respect for heritage.

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

  • Increase supply by allowing taller buildings where it makes sense
  • Pre-approve land throughout the City to encourage housing developments
  • Remove red tape at City Hall and get shovels in the ground faster
  • Freeze property taxes for two years and vote no on any new taxes
  • Consider moving municipal parking underground and build affordable housing on top

What can be done locally about the homelessness issue?

First, as one of the wealthiest nations on earth, we must ensure our neighbours have access to emergency shelter when they need it, so they don’t have to sleep in our parks or on our streets. 

This starts by working with experts to create a new, expanded and relocated men’s shelter with dignity and on-site treatment for those who need it. This way, there’s no reason our unhoused feel the need to pitch a tent in Dumfries Conservation Area or under the 401. 

There are federal funds available and I’m confident we can find a way to get a great deal for the people of Cambridge and be a shining example on how we can support our neighbours when they need a hand up.

Once we can assure we have shelter for someone in need, we need to work with regional police and by-law officers to ensure they’re aware of the options available, and ultimately enforce the law so there’s no encampments anywhere in our city.

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

We have a jewel of a city. The villages of Preston, Blair, Hespeler, and Galt all offer unique value and history that must be cherished. As a city, we should continue to invest in the ‘small towns’ concept and bring to life the kind of downtown living and nightlife we all know Cambridge can offer. I believe that bringing more population density and businesses to our downtown centres will ensure people from all walks of life continue to have things to do and can continue to frequent great shops and restaurants.

To find out more about Nate, visit the following link: