MEET MAYORAL CANDIDATE … William Albabish


In their own words, the candidates tell us a little bit about themselves and their point of view on the issues

Candidates tell us a little bit about themselves and where they stand in their own words Expenditure. This week, a different congregation will be featured each evening.

Surname: William Albisch

Profession: professor

How long have you lived in Guelph? 15 years

Do you live in the station you are walking to? Yes

Why are you running in this election? It has been my privilege to live, study, work and volunteer in the city of Guelph, my hometown, for the past decade and a half. Through my many years of social commitment, I have become aware of the needs of our citizens. As a result of my volunteer efforts and work experiences over the past decade, I have gained a better understanding of how democracy works, how to be accountable, transparent and ensure everyone has a voice in the process. When I watch politics, I’ve seen some great decisions and some questionable ones. I have also witnessed the progress and, unfortunately, the stagnation of our city in recent years.

Consequently, I decided to run for mayor to protect the affordability of the city we all love while improving existing infrastructure. I also want to make sure there is transparency about what is happening at City Hall and that decisions are being made in your best interest – the citizens and small businesses of Guelph. Ultimately, I want everyone to have a safe and affordable place to call home.

What qualifies you to represent your community? My reputation as a critical thinker, eager to learn anything, is well known to anyone who knows me. Over the years I have had the opportunity to learn and master many skills and professions while working in various challenging environments with individuals from all walks of life and backgrounds. The projects I have undertaken have always been successful, often exceeding expectations, all completed on time and on budget.

Through my doctorate, I have sharpened my ability to distinguish myself in a new situation or in a new area within a short period of time. In addition, I am able to critically analyze large amounts of data and formulate solutions that are efficient, effective and actionable. More than 300 pages of council reports? Bring it on! I am happy to analyze and present the best option for the community.

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As a member of several organizations and teams, I have first-hand experience of the democratic process. My political involvement and interest began in high school, where I was a member of the student council. My interest in politics continued throughout my university career, where I served on many different councils, clubs and committees.

Why should people vote for you? My greatest qualification to represent my community is that I am a member of that community, someone who has lived and experienced Guelph from many different perspectives, someone who has made a difference and given something back, whether it be by removing snow from neighbors’ yards or by organizing various charity events.

My experience as a student in Guelph made me want to become a citizen because of the goodness I saw in the residents. I have witnessed the strength that the University of Guelph and its community bring to the city. Throughout my career as an instructor and mentor, I have had nothing but positive experiences with thousands of students. My accessibility allows me to connect with the university community on a deeper level.

As a Guelph resident, I have experienced our housing crisis from both a tenant and owner perspective. Current spending policies, leading to outrageous hikes in municipal tax rates, are unsustainable, especially as inflation rises to prohibitive levels. Tax increases hurt homeowners and renters alike, including students! Financial responsibility will be my top priority. We need to do MORE with LESS! Fixing our roads and infrastructure should be our priority, not wasting taxpayers’ money on bad decisions.

What do you think are the main issues facing Guelph residents more broadly? Affordability: Stop or even reduce municipal taxes!

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Housing Crises: There is a major housing crisis and not much is being done to address it as we continue to try to “expand”.

Health crises: a larger population with the same hospital infrastructure, resulting in obscene wait times and sometimes unavailable emergency services. What about the older population that built this city? Often forgotten by their city and passed on as a “provincial problem”.

Opioid Crises: The opioid crises now known as the drug intoxication crisis.

Crime Rate: Theft and burglary that are financially devastating to small businesses and citizens.

Green City: As we push more towards a green city, maybe it’s time to revamp our deadly bike lanes and preserve/bring back green spaces!

Infrastructure Maintenance: Stop putting up “uneven street signs” on York Rd and fix them! I don’t know about you, but being titled “Worst Road in Western Ontario” is NOT flattering.

What is the main change you would like to see in Guelph? See above. Ultimately, there must be accountability to allocate funding appropriately and get more out of the resources we already have.

What services need improvement in Guelph? See above.

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

Many factors influence the answer to this question, including the status of ongoing projects and financial accountability. In fact, many residents feel that Guelph is growing too fast in terms of infrastructure. For example, the ratio of inhabitants to green space has increased significantly in the last 10 to 20 years! In addition, the availability of necessities such as water resources is also in question. From what I understand the council is currently looking for access to wells outside of town. From the looks of it, water restrictions are in place for a reason, and the growing population isn’t helping.

What can be done at the local level to counter rising housing costs? The housing system is a complex system integrated at all levels of government. There is a lot that can be done at the municipal level to counter rising housing costs. A simple solution is to stop excessive spending that increases municipal taxes and water/sewer charges. Guelph’s obscene housing costs contribute directly to these fees, which are passed on to homeowners and renters. There are other options for the city government as well, including approving the right number of new builds, expediting approval processes/permits, and ensuring approval certainty.

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What can be done locally to address the problem of homelessness? Another complex issue we need to address is homelessness. Local government plays a big role in this and it is important to use all the tools we have at the Mayor’s Office to ensure that no one is left behind in our community. There are excellent organizations in Guelph doing amazing work 24/7 to address this issue. Obviously, homelessness is a complex challenge and it takes a community of committed people to address it. We will be working much more with organizations like Downtown Community Health Center, Stonehenge and all grass roots organizations. We’re talking about affordable housing – and of course it’s important to prioritize that – but it’s much more than that. Homelessness doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Addiction, mental health, past trauma, social support, employment all play a part. As we work together as a community to address all of this, we will see people’s lives really begin to change. Downtown CHC, Stonehenge, Homewood, the Family Health Team, all of their partners – the local people – they know what they’re doing. We will make sure they have the resources and staff to bring hope back to the people.

How do we make Guelph an even better city to live in? I believe all of the above gives a glimpse of some of the actions that can be taken to make the city of Guelph a better and more affordable city to live in.

Is there a link to an election website or social media account?

www.williamformayor.ca





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