Occupation: Community Resource Coordinator
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?
Having worked for over 12 years in a citizen advisor capacity, this is the natural evolution of my commitment to our community. In that time, I learned how the process of change and improvement works within the municipality and I want to use that knowledge in conjunction with good communication with residents, to work to make Cambridge the very best place it can be.
What qualifies you to represent your ward?
Beyond the strong desire to help, my educational background (a degree in Economics from McMaster University) along with decades of professional and volunteer experience in the social service sector and the work I’ve done with the municipality, makes me well qualified for the community building work required of a city councillor.
Having personally brought projects and programs to the city to make improvements for all residents, I have navigated the system and understand how residents, council and staff can work together to benefit the whole community. I am passionate about the city and will work very hard to make Ward 5 and all of Cambridge, a place we can all be proud of.
Why should people vote for you?
First of all, people should vote, PERIOD!
People should vote for me as a reflection of their values and know that I will be there every step of the way. I am person who is not afraid of hard work. I have had to overcome many barriers and obstacles in life, and I know how to persevere in the face of adversity.
I am also a very good communicator. I will listen to the residents of Ward 5 and hear what they are concerned about and what they are supportive of, and I will bring those ideas with me to council. I will ensure ongoing, accessible, open, and transparent communication with residents so that there can be a sharing of ideas and an assurance that when I am representing them at council, I have their best interest in mind.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the ward?
The issues I have heard the most while canvassing in Ward 5 are that of increased traffic and the proposed gravel pit expansion. Neither is a simple fix. Advocating that CBM respect the previously established buffer zone and working with the region to get peer-reviews of the health studies done by the developer are of paramount importance in finding a workable solution with regards to the gravel pit. Collaboration with the region and Cambridge planning to mitigate swelling traffic is also on my critical list.
Removing the large trucks from our downtown and getting them onto the bypass will help manage some of the safety and traffic concerns through that area and is a great start.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Cambridge on a broader scale?
A lack of support for those dealing with mental health/addiction issues, homelessness and a scarcity of affordable housing are three major issues being faced not only by our city but are issues that the entire country is grappling with.
What is the most important thing you want to see changed in Cambridge?
I want to see an improvement in clarity and cohesiveness on council. Improved cooperation with city staff so the work can get done. Communication between council and residents needs to improve.
There needs to be more transparency regarding decisions being made by council for the residents. Greater input from residents would also increase the trust that they have in the decisions being made on their behalf. Council must trust the residents because they have a wealth of knowledge and experience in a multitude of areas that they can draw from. In turn, residents need to be able to trust that council is making decisions with the prosperity and
wellbeing of the community as a whole in mind.
What services need to be improved in Cambridge?
The municipality needs to work closely with the regional and provincial levels of government to increase mental health and addiction supports in the city. Youth engagement programs and services also need to be improved (made more accessible and frequent). Keeping the youth connected to the community in a positive
way can prevent future issues.
Is Cambridge growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough? Cambridge is growing the right amount however a couple things need to be kept in mind with all the growth occurring.
First, we need to incorporate more affordable housing in the developments or alongside the developments that are taking place. 2 – more “upstream thinking” needs to occur around infrastructure and supports for the growth. Developments are great but we need to have sustainable infrastructure (i.e. roads for vehicular traffic) and programs/services in the community to support the influx of new residents.
What can be done at the local level about the rising cost of housing?
Although Municipalities don’t have a direct impact on the rising cost of housing, there are some things we can do to help contribute to affordability. Attracting businesses. Helping support good jobs so we can live where we work. Keeping property taxes in check. Encouraging private investment in our
Council needs to be creative and use a toolbox of strategies to increase the housing inventory while being mindful that the types of developments that are occurring, are in keeping with sound planning practices. Being efficient in decision making around developments will minimize the time lag to occupation and keep inflationary costs down for developers. Using multiple forms of housing that increase density while minimizing land use will maximize the housing inventory. Incentivizing developers to come up with creative designs that increase the number of units while respecting the surrounding character.
What can be done locally about the homelessness issue?
We need more resources around support for people experiencing homelessness in our city. More outreach is needed.
Communication with people who are experiencing homelessness and finding out what lead them to being homeless and what they need to support them out of that situation. We need to first understand what we are dealing with then take the steps required to work towards a solution.
How do we make Cambridge an even better city to live in?
The key to a vital and desirable city is community engagement. Bringing together residents out of their homes and into the community is positive for small businesses, physical and mental wellness of the citizens, improving community safety and creating an overall positive living environment. Having well planned events in all areas of the city will increase the amount of engagement by residents and will lead to more positive outcomes for our community.
To find out more about Sheri, visit the following links: