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MEET THE CANDIDATES: Usman Lalva, Ward 4

'Responsible spending is an issue that city leadership must address so that taxpayers are confident that their money is helping build the community,' says Ward 4 candidate Usman Lalva
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Usman Lalva is a candidate in Ward 4.

Usman Lalva

Age: 58

Occupation: Business owner

 

How long have you lived in Cambridge?

30 years

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

Yes. Ward 4, Cambridge Ontario

Why are you running in this election?

For the past 30 years, Ward 4 has been the only place I have called home in Canada. I have conducted business in this ward and engaged in community service,
watching the city grow and being part of that growth. I am motivated first and foremost by my passion for helping the community that I am so proud to be a
member of. Though I am willing to work toward the betterment of the entire city in this time of change and uncertainty, Ward 4 is personal to me and I am running because of the deep connection I feel with the people of this ward.

What qualifies you to represent your ward?

Though I have held a number of community leadership positions in the community and have invested heavily in Ward 4 as a home, I believe my most important
qualification is my dedication to community service, particularly in hospitals and food pantries. Through the fundraising and volunteering work I have done, I have been able to connect with Ward 4 in a way that I would otherwise not have been able to without the exposure to all aspects of our community and the diverse group of people that make up Ward 4.

Representing Ward 4 will mean being a voice for all the people in it, and I believe the most important aspect of being a representation of the community is remembering those who may not be able to speak out for themselves or have the loudest voice.

Why should people vote for you?

I’m proud to say that I have been a resident of Cambridge for thirty years now, and have had those years to become a part of the Cambridge community. I’ve seen
firsthand the changes that Ward 4 has endured over the years, from a growing population to the boom of construction to the different cultures coming to live here, and the future possibilities that these changes bring. While I believe my previous experiences as a community organizer and director will lend to my ability to lead on
the city council, I more so want to be a candidate that people will vote for with the faith that I am connected with our community deeply and committed to advocating for all the groups that call Ward 4 home.

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

There are a number of issues on my agenda as a candidate that I believe we must tackle so that Cambridge can move forward. If elected, I will work with our police
force to keep the crime rate low and ensure a safe community for all. I also believe that responsible spending is an issue that city leadership must address so that
taxpayers are confident that their money is helping build the community. Residents in our city are also facing questions about affordable housing, which is a multifaceted issue that lends itself to the larger issue of the protections we must offer to our most vulnerable groups. Finally, as we recognize and encourage urban expansion in Cambridge, we must address the issues that expansion will have on residents and on the environment so that our city’s growth can occur in a healthy, inclusive manner.

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

I have spoken with many residents of Cambridge and specifically Ward 4 over the past few months now, and I have heard many concerns about the rising costs of
living in our city, especially with affordable housing issues at the forefront of our minds. I believe this issue lends itself to the other items on my agenda I plan on
tackling as city councillor, but on a broader scale these rising costs bring into question the overall quality of life in this city. As a community, I believe we are all
proud to be Cambridge residents, and therefore I have faith that we will stand together against these challenges and ensure that we maintain the wellbeing of
ourselves, our neighbours, and our city.

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

We have seen a number of changes to Cambridge and specifically to Ward 4 over the last few years. As a city councillor I would focus on development and city growth to ensure that Cambridge is a city that moves forward and maintains its potential for progress. As we begin to think about this expansion as a community, we must also identify all the ramifications that city growth could have and ensure that Cambridge preserves its healthy environment. We must keep the crime rate controlled as we open up our city, and remember to advocate for those who need to be heard during this time. Most importantly, I want to see a growing Cambridge that is environmentally conscious and houses a diverse and inclusive community.

What services need to be improved in Cambridge?

I am a firm believer that improvement can and should be sought in all aspects to help our city reach its full potential. City leadership can examine the everyday services that affect the people, from our current methods of traffic control to road clearing procedures after inclement weather. A hugely important aspect of our city services we also need to examine is how our current measures and protocols affect the environment and how we can make Cambridge sustainable as well as safe and prosperous. Improvement through the lens of environmental defence is the correct direction forward.

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

The growth that we have seen in Cambridge thus far is exciting and holds many prospects for our collective future. Our focus should be on making sure that city
leadership is prepared for Cambridge’s growth and ushers it in the correct direction, with the importance of environmental defence and sustainability in mind. With the right people in charge, the question will not be about measuring Cambridge’s growth, but rather about the potential that our expanding city holds.

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

As a city councillor, I will do everything in my power to advocate for affordable housing amidst the rising costs we have seen. This is a personal issue and a
campaign promise of mine, and I will work with builders and other city leaders to make sure that Cambridge is a city where everyone can call home. There are
additionally a number of other measures that city leadership can engage in to combat unaffordable housing, such as increasing employment and advocating for better wages. This must be a community effort led by our city officials as we, together, explore possible solutions.

What can be done locally about the homelessness issue?

The homelessness issue we have seen is one that needs to be addressed with compassion and patience. As I will advocate for affordable housing for those looking to join the Cambridge community, I will also speak for those who already call Cambridge home but need shelter and protection in our city. We must come together
as a community to explore all the ways to alleviate homelessness, from increasing employment opportunities to crisis and shelter resources to the building tiny houses movement.

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

As we look to the future and explore the many possibilities for expanding our city and our community, we should also emphasize that all of us are proud to live in this city and be part of the Cambridge community. The foundation of our city’s growth should be the same Cambridge values of integrity and perseverance that I have observed throughout the many years that I have called Ward 4 my home. Cambridge is already a great place to live, and we can make it an even better one as we partake in change that is inclusive and economical, growth that is sustainable and prosperous, and an environment that is lively and welcoming.

To learn more about Usman, visit the following links:

Website: vote4usman@gmail.com

Instagram: vote4usmanlalva

LinkedIn: vote4usmanlalva

Facebook: vote4usman

Twitter: vote4UsmanLalva