ECHO Weekly – Candidate Questionnaire – Leanne Piper

ECHO Weekly Candidate Questionnaire

1) Why did you want to run again for city council?

Guelph is on a forward momentum path.  We are poised to be national leaders on a number of fronts – water conservation, wastewater, community energy, economic development, arts and culture, and more.   We need strong leaders at City Hall to keep us on that path.  I want to look back in 25 years and know that I did everything in my power to ensure Guelph’s sustainability and prepare us for the next generation.  A number of key projects are well-underway that I would like to see completed, such as downtown renewal, urban forest management plan, and urban design policies.

2) What initiatives/achievements are you proud of during the last term?

The Community Energy Initiative, Water Supply Master Plan, Water Conservation Plan and Culture and Recreation Master Plan are just a few.  We also cemented GO trains coming to Guelph, brought new green jobs (Canadian Solar) to town, and weathered a very challenging recession.   In addition, we brought in significant infrastructure money and are working to complete five years worth of badly-needed upgrades in one year.   The Market Square and Guelph Civic Museum project are key investments in quality of life for residents and I can’t wait until they are both open next year.

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

a) Taxes

Taxes are inevitable.  They pay for the basis services that keep our city humming (roads, snow ploughs, parks, police, fire, ambulance, waste management, etc.).  But taxes also pay for amenities that impact our quality of life – arts, recreation, heritage, etc.  The challenge is to invest wisely and find efficiencies that benefit the community the most.

b) Budget

Lower debt, stronger reserves, transparent accounting, and timely reporting.  The current council has made major change to the way we administer the budget, debt and reserves with new policies in place to ensure our AA credit rating is on solid ground.

c) Transit

On time, on budget, increased ridership, friendly staff, improved technology and better inter-modal linkage.  The Transit Growth Strategy speaks to all of these key issues and I strongly support the growth and efficiency of our system.   The new transit hub on Carden Street will make linkages easier and more pleasant for riders.  My family of young adults (high school and university) and myself are transit users, and know the importance of a dependable system (including holidays).

d) Development/Infrastructure

Guelph’s growth cannot be the same old form.  Densification makes better use of existing infrastructure and creates a vibrant core.  But it cannot be out of scale or character, and requires careful planning, strong urban design policy and creative and innovative partnerships with architects and developers who are willing to make Guelph different than other cities.  As we grow, we must protect green spaces, revitalize our river corridors, preserve heritage, create a new public realm (such as Market Square) and protect agricultural lands.

e) Arts & Culture

Guelph is a hub of creative talent – arts, culture, music, heritage, etc.  We have recently created a partnership with Artscape to explore and expand opportunities for artists of all genres to collaborate, create, perform and exhibit.   We need a new visual and performing arts space for this to happen.   Our cultural assets, including libraries and museums,  help to attract new business and economic activity.

5) What’s your message for voters?

Get out and vote.  Be informed about the candidates and cast your vote according to your vision for Guelph.

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