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MEET THE CANDIDATES: Ross Earnshaw, Ward 4

'I believe we must increase the number of affordable options and encourage organizations that are devoted to addressing the need for housing in our city,' says Ward 4 candidate Ross Earnshaw
Ross Earnshaw is a candidate in Ward 4.

Ross Earnshaw

Age: 69

Occupation: Retired lawyer


How long have you lived in Cambridge?

Since 1977

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

Yes, for the past twelve years I have lived just a couple of blocks from the heritage downtown core of Galt.

Why are you running in this election?

I love Cambridge, I'm passionate about our community and the people living in it. We are entering a critical period of growth and change. We need leaders that have the thoughtfulness and decisiveness to tackle difficult, complex issues. We need councillors that are listening to the citizens of Cambridge. I'm running to be a voice and advocate for the people of Ward 4 during this crucial time.

What qualifies you to represent your ward?

I have lived in Cambridge (Galt) for most of my adult life, having arrived in the City in 1977.  I started my career here, forged friendships and relationships with its citizens, and have served the community in many ways. I put my roots down here, witnessed the triumphs and challenges of our community. I understand the issues that are unique to the area, making me an ideal representative voice for my fellow Ward 4 residents.

Why should people vote for you?

Over a legal career spanning more than 40 years I developed three skills that I believe are essential for an effective city councillor. I learned to listen, I learned to advocate, and I learned to mediate. These skills served me well as I performed in leadership roles at the regional, provincial and national levels related to my profession.

I believe that I can bring my negotiation and bridge-building values to the council table in fresh new ways to find collaborative solutions to the challenges that will face the incoming council.

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

As I've gone door-to-door talking with residents of Ward 4, I've really gotten a feel for what issues people are dealing with. The most common issues I hear about are "homelessness" and vehicular traffic, notably congestion on the main arteries, speeding on residential streets and truck traffic through the downtown core. 

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

It's important to protect and improve our diverse neighbourhoods so they remain a healthy, stable place to live and raise a family while encouraging responsible development that will embrace the concept of walkable "15 minute" neighbourhoods supported by a robust, accessible public transit system.

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

More affordable housing. We need a full range of housing options in our community - from emergency shelters and supportive housing all the way to home
ownership. All these types of housing are important in providing housing security across the entire spectrum of society.  I believe we must increase the number of affordable options and encourage organizations that are devoted to addressing the need for housing in our city.

What services need to be improved in Cambridge?

For me, I believe a priority would be the enhancement of support and treatment for mental health issues. For example, I was alarmed to hear from a professional in the field that young persons - students - with issues of anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts, face a long waiting list to be seen by clinically trained
professionals capable of providing the treatment modalities that are required. We need more help, support, and resources for people dealing with these issues.

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

Cambridge is a desirable place to live for many, so it's no wonder our community is growing at an impressive and substantial rate. Change and growth isn't always easy, but statistics show that we are on the cusp of a tremendous surge in population that will require "densification." In my view, the key will be to plan for and manage the inevitable growth. I will advocate for thoughtful, responsible development that will accommodate the growth we expect, protect the heritage we cherish, create pleasant, walkable neighbourhoods and support a vibrant downtown.

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

A strong and proactive council can advocate with a persuasive voice to raise the issue with those higher levels of government and work collaboratively
with them to develop and implement creative solutions. We can make it easier for developers and builders to move ahead with affordable housing projects
in a timely, cost-effective manner. This is a matter that is largely outside the jurisdictional mandate of the City of Cambridge but it would be a
mistake to say it is a problem to be addressed only at the regional, the provincial or the federal level.

What can be done locally about the homelessness issue?

We must offer improved services and support for those suffering from mental illness and pursue creative approaches to encourage construction of affordable and
supportive housing projects in the City. Restore city funded foot patrols through the downtown core. Improve the garbage collection schedule in the downtown core to permit evening collection. The city, our shelters and social services, and law enforcement need more resources to provide help and support for those experiencing homelessness in our community.

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

Invest in the aspects of our City that make such a wonderful place. Protect our beautiful, growing neighbourhoods and the families living there. Encourage thoughtful,
responsible development. Provide support for our strong, robust businesses and those working within. Recognize the tremendous asset we have in the
Grand River and invest in its maintenance and improvement, beautify and cleanse it, increase the access points, riverside green spaces and facilities, create walking and biking tours.

To learn more about Ross, visit the following links:

Facebook: Ross-Earnshaw

Instagram: ross_earnshaw

Twitter: @Ross_Earnshaw