Occupation: teacher, city councillor
How long have you lived in Cambridge?
I have worked and raised my family in Cambridge since 1974. I moved here with my husband to teach for Waterloo Region District School Board. My first school was Highland P.S. where later my three children Michael, Alanna, and Kristian attended. The first home we owned was in Preston and our second and present home is in West Galt.
Why are you running in this election?
After careful deliberation and four terms on city council, I chose to run regionally because Cambridge needs a strong voice on regional council. I have the skill and experience in government and extensive knowledge of our city to achieve results for Cambridge.
What qualifies you to represent the city at Regional Council?
My 16 years as city councillor representing Ward 5 have given me the deep knowledge of how municipal and regional government work. My work on over 12 committees and boards has enhanced my knowledge in areas from affordable housing to heritage to the environment.
I have extensive experience with multi-million dollar budgets, and developing strategic plans, through my work with the city, three housing boards, and United Way.
I have been innovative in bringing the city, a developer, and the West Galt Protection Association into a collaborative arrangement to better the Cambridge West development and minimize the impact on the neighbourhood. My career as a teacher at several schools in Cambridge has allowed me to get to know and be active in all corners of our city.
Why should people vote for you?
I am a problem solver who works collaboratively with staff and the community to get things done. In my four terms as city councillor I was instrumental in our city being the first municipality to adopt living wage, I moved the motion to buy the Old Post office and worked with staff to create our Old Post office Idea Exchange. Working with Council we passed an anti-idling bylaw and a ban on single use plastic years before it was passed in the country.
These are just a few of the things I have done to serve our community. I listen and learn from those I meet daily. I am committed to giving my best to my community and solving problems for my constituents. With my experience and energy I will be an asset to regional council.
What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the Region of Waterloo?
Many issues affect our residents but the most common concern I hear about is safety both road safety and crime prevention. Increased traffic, speeding cars, pedestrian safety particularly at roundabouts, and bicycle safety. At the region I will advocate for more segregated bike lanes on regional roads, a new roundabout at George and Blair, a study to see which is safer for pedestrians; signalized crossing at the roundabout or a separate pedestrian crossing 25 m from the roundabout.
To prevent crime we need to build a society that supports the well- being of everyone. Crime is primarily the outcome of multiple adverse, economic, social, and family conditions. I will support and encourage more upstream efforts by Regional and regionally funded services focused on prevention.
What do you see as the main issues affecting Cambridge/the Region of Waterloo on a broader scale?
Our environment and economy are issues which concern most residents.
The extreme effects of climate change are of concern to all of us. Flooding, extreme temperatures, drought, and wind storms have a profound effect on our community. We need to be prepared for these events, strengthen our infrastructure, and meet targets to slow down global warming.
Affordability is of immediate concern as residents watch prices soar, interest rates rise, and salaries not keep up with inflation. We need affordable housing, supports for seniors and others on fixed incomes, and inflation control.
Rapid development of the core parts of our city needs proper oversight and planning for the best outcomes, including infrastructure, transportation, and services to adapt to and accommodate this growth. In Cambridge we must learn and build on the knowledge gained in developing phase 1 of the LRT corridor to prevent errors and build in enhancements.
What is the most important thing you want to see changed at the Regional level to have a positive impact on Cambridge?
I would like to see Cambridge have a greater say at the regional council especially when the issue directly affects Cambridge. This means effectively communicating Cambridge’s situation and needs to other councillors is paramount-something I am skilled at through gentle persuasion. Three out of fifteen votes does not represent our growing population so I will press for greater representation.
Is Cambridge the Region of Waterloo growing too fast , just right amount, or not fast enough?
The Region of Waterloo is the second fastest growing area in Canada. We are situated on Canada’s largest highway in the centre of the Golden Horseshoe.
It is understandable that our region is a desirable place for growth to happen. I also understand that most people are uncomfortable with change. We want to keep our quiet neighbourhoods, views of the river and church steeples.
We also want a vibrant city and places for our children, grandchildren, and new comers to live. Without growth our city will stagnate. This new growth is good for bringing new industry, jobs, and residents to our city. Businesses and people are attracted to Cambridge because of our beautiful heritage buildings, rivers, and the relatively small town feel of our three cores. To preserve what we value most we need to strike a balance with this growth.
We need to continue to make sure buildings are well designed, and complement their neighbourhoods. To accommodate the people coming to the city while preserving our green space and agricultural land, we need to build many forms of housing.
I would like to see student housing built on the Conestoga campus to accommodate some of the over 4,000 students who will be studying at the new Skilled Trades campus. Cambridge has most of the prime Industrial land left in the region and we need sustainable, job rich industries to occupy it.
As a seasoned city councillor I have grown to know which developers are invested in the community for the long term and who wish to create a vibrant, livable city. Cambridge and the region can accommodate growth with careful management and achieve the goal of a place where we can all happily live, work, and play.
What services need to be improved at the Region?
All services can be improved. Transportation services both public and active need to be increased. We need the funding to extend the ION to Cambridge and we need more separated bike lanes along regional roads. Grants for affordable and supportive housing in Cambridge must be a priority. We also wish to see visible community policing in our neighbourhoods to deter speeders and increase our sense of security.
What can be done about the rising cost of housing?
The region can zone for more residential and multi- residential homes to be built to increase our housing supply. Inclusionary zoning would encourage a mixture of affordable and market level rents. We can lobby the Provincial and Federal governments to work with the Region on this complex problem.
What can be done locally about the homelessness issue?
This is a complex issue affecting a broad group of citizens which requires all levels of government and the community to solve it. All of the funding comes from the Federal and Provincial governments through the Region. I will make sure Cambridge gets its fair share of the funding commensurate with our needs. We need to support the Bridges emergency shelter which has housed over 185 individuals since the pandemic.
Their work is limited by availability of supportive and affordable housing. We need to fight the stigma associated with being homeless and look for solutions not blame. To prevent homelessness we need to stop evictions before they occur with rent subsidies, new regulations that prevent reno-evictions, and increase supportive housing. Making land available and providing incentives for affordable housing allows developers and non-profit agencies to play a significant part in Cambridge core growth.
How do we make the Region of Waterloo/ Cambridge an even better place to live in?
To make Cambridge a better place to live in we must invest in our people. Our people are our greatest resource. We can attract creative people here by investing in education, our heritage, arts and culture. By welcoming diversity we can attract people from around the world to help build a vibrant city. When newcomers see a balanced community, they are drawn to live there. In our coming phase of rapid growth we must make placemaking a priority. We can ensure our children have excellent day care and our seniors have safe elder care services and pay those who care for them a decent wage. We need to create a sense of belonging for all of our residents by taking care of the whole person, body, mind, and spirit. Making Waterloo Region and Cambridge the best place it can be is my highest priority.
To learn more about Pam, visit www.pamwolf.ca