Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Candidate Questionnaire - Gloria Kovach (Ward 4)

1) Why did you want to run again for city council?
I love Guelph. It is where I was born, grew up and raised a family. It is where I live and work and where my family lives and works. In addition to representing the residents of Ward 4 for the past 20 years, I am a President Emeritus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, a health care professional and a parent. I believe my diverse experience, dedication and hard work will help to make Guelph the best municipality in Canada. It has been a privilege to serve the residents of Ward 4 and the City of Guelph and I ask for their continued support.

2) What initiatives/achievements are you proud of during the last term?
Having Guelph recognized as the most caring community in Canada does not happen by chance. During the last term of council we have reviewed the Transit Growth Strategy and Mobility Services in consultation with riders to develop a new model of service delivery that will be more responsive to residents’ needs.
We developed the Community Energy Initiative which will ensure energy conservation and savings while at the same time dealing with the demands of the Provinces mandated growth. We have significantly reduced energy use and costs in the City of Guelph.
We enhanced water protection and efficiency strategies and ensured source water protection. We initiated a water leak detection program.
We have brought employment lands on stream and have worked to attract business and jobs to this City. We did not sell Guelph Hydro.

3) Please describe your position/ideas on the following issues?

a) Taxes
…Are too high! We can’t raid our reserves or mortgage our future by financing our current wants and saddling ourselves with long term debt…this is not sustainable. We need to decrease our reliance on debt and not mortgage our children’s future. Studies show that our potential for economic development is constrained by increased taxes. Council needs to be able to make tough decisions and set priorities.

b) Budget
We need to enhance our financial policies and procedures. We have an open, participatory process of public input during the decision making process. Our debt policy limits should be lower than 55 per cent, the increase brought in by this council.

c) Transit
The Transit Growth Strategy and Plan and Mobility Services Review was done in consultation with riders and the community and will provide a more responsive transit service. We are also looking to develop partnerships with larger employers and looking at the development of service hubs to have more direct routes and shorter travel times. Green fleet policies were introduced to reduce fuel consumption. Close to 14 kms of bike lanes are being installed as part of the infrastructure renewal projects.

d) Development/Infrastructure
As President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, I was able to negotiate long term funding from the federal government for municipalities to address infrastructure needs. In addition, Guelph received $48 million in funding from the Federal and Provincial governments and is contributing $22 million to address our infrastructure needs.

e) Arts & Culture
We have numerous festivals and activities in Guelph which we need to market for increased tourism in the City. At the River Run alone, we have over 500 events annually with 130,000 patrons and 13,000 children attending twice per year. Our facilities offer over 3,160 programs to choose from and 1.73 million items are borrowed from our City libraries annually. We partner to fund the Mcdonald-Stewart Art Centre and have over 246 parks and 74 kms of park trails in the City. We need to ensure we work closer with immigration services to ensure we embrace our City’s diversity and provide services which are culturally sensitive.

4) Is there another issue that you’d specifically like to highlight/focus on?
The future will provide challenges and opportunities around growth. The Province through legislation, Places to Grow has mandated that the City grow to 175,000 by 2031 – that’s 54,000 more people and 32,000 more jobs. Experience is needed to deal with the challenges of the density requirements and to ensure growth is sustainable and is compatible with existing neighbourhoods.

5) What’s your message for voters?
On October 25th, vote for a strong voice on City Council. Vote to re-elect Gloria Kovach…experience counts! If you have any further questions, I can be reached at: gloria[at]gloriakovach[dot]com

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