in Kitchener, politics, Waterloo, Waterloo Region

I went looking for a quote to start this post. Couldn’t find one that worked. Gave up. Went to Twitter. Tom Galloway delivers.

All of the races tonight were important – but it’s the top three jobs that will set the tone for the next four years. What do the winning campaigns of Dave Jaworsky as Mayor of Waterloo, Ken Seiling as Chair of Waterloo Region Council, and Berry Vrbanovic as Mayor of Kitchener mean?

Transit and ION

While it should have been over long ago, the debate on the Region’s light rail transit program is now officially over. The horse is not only dead and beaten – the SPCA has come and charged you with animal cruelty. Make like Queen Elsa and let it go. (Note to self. Stop watching Frozen.)

As with any infrastructure program of this size, there will be impacts to local businesses. As a community, we need to make the extra effort to support and friends and neighbours – and ensure that the impact is as small as possible.

All three councils will now need to be stewards as construction ramps up. Both Mayor-elects Jaworksy and Vrbanovic have shown themselves to be more than effective communicators – and constant and open communication with city residents will be paramount to making the project a success

Beyond the LRT project, the Region and cities will be tasked with improvements to trails and bike paths. We’ve shown that we want progressive changes in transportation, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we handle the call for separate bike lines and other cycling improvements.

Negative Campaigning

This campaign was nasty. It’s over, so I’m going to let it go – DAMN YOU FROZEN. Long story short – voters aren’t stupid. They recognize when candidates are lying or bending facts to suit their own goals – and they vote accordingly.

Growth

Both Kitchener and Waterloo are evolving cities – and cities that want to keep true to their small town roots. Not an easy task – but both Mayor-elects Jaworsky and Vrbanovic know their cities well – and are cognizant of the challenges each city faces as our population grows. Kitchener has seen amazing growth due to the impact of the Economic Development Investment Fund. Its downtown core has become the home of tech companies such as Google and Square – and major residential projects like the Kaufman Lofts and One Victoria. With the availability of former BlackBerry properties throughout Waterloo, the next few years will be a test for both the Mayor and Council. Investor (and Dragon) Michael Wekerle put his support behind both Jaworsky and Vrbanovic – and his plans to reinvent the Columbia and Philip area could become the home of Waterloo’s next great thing.

Voter Turnout

I went back to Twitter for a minute and saw the voter turnout numbers for this election.

The good news – turnout was up from the last election in 2010.

The bad news – only 30% of Kitchener residents voted. 30%. To the people in the 70% who didn’t vote, you realize that people died so you could vote, right? I saw tweets from three permanent residents today who wanted to vote, but couldn’t. These awesome, tax paying, permanent resident card holding people wanted to participate – and couldn’t. But you could, and you didn’t? Come on man. I hope your street is filled with pot holes next spring.

Amalgamation?

I’m just going to put that there for you. Hell, even Midtown has a Twitter account.

 

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I want to say thanks to  and  for providing amazing coverage during this election. This community is stronger because of their efforts.