Read my platform
My name is Chetna Robinson and I live by two rules:
1 - be good
2 - don’t be bad.
If you elect me, I will be good - I will listen to your needs and proactively engage with you in order to understand the impact of council decisions. We know that vibrant neighbourhoods are dense with a diversity of land uses and a short distance from transit so we have no reason, no excuse and no way to justify not building Guelph the way we know is right.
I will not be bad - I will not pay lipservice to our community plan while voting yes to policies that do not protect our environment, create value or allow us to play and explore. I will not make decisions without remembering the interconnectedness of issues like affordability, sustainability, or safety.
Our ward needs to be invited:
I keep hearing that Ward 6 is new Guelph, that the people living within have no roots to the city. It's time to make Ward 6 an integrated part of Guelph through cultural events and thriving businesses that bring the rest of the city to us.
We also need solid transit and sensible traffic corridors to help move all of us throughout the city. It's easier to make plans to spend money at local businesses if we have a safe way to get home. Ever gone to a movie at the Bookshelf, had a drink after, then taken the bus home? Ward 6 literally can't - the bus doesn't run late enough. Womp womp.
Our kids needs resources and safe streets:
The pandemic has left many of us worrying about the "social malnutrition" and educational gaps that we see in our children. I will be at your pta meetings, at your school events, and (if you'll have me) at your backyard BBQs to hear and address what is happening with our kids.
Parks are vital for social connections and physical and mental wellbeing. Guelph's parks need to grow along with the population. Current growth plans to 2051 will leave us with a shortfall of parkland equivalent to five Riverside parks. Overcrowded parks will impact quality of life for us all, and I can confidently say that our childrens’ lives have been impacted enough. We need to invest now to leave a green legacy for future generations and start encouraging development with strata parks.
The Carrington Drive-Edinburgh intersection is a schoolbus stop, which means kids are crossing the road there. They need a light to prevent accidents, and we need to address that if we do not give people parking options then they will park on the street which affects the accessibility of municipal services. This is ONE of MANY intersections that we could have addressed before we built.
Our Rec Centre needs to be built:
We closed the Centennial pool and now we can't get swimming lessons. We planned a rec centre without a library - why do we want to rent space for the Westminister library rather than owning it within our rec centre? That's just bad planning.
Speaking of the Rec centre - where is it? I'm starting to worry that we're going to get the final Game of Thrones book before our kids get to do daycamps close by. Projects in Ward 6 are just as important as the downtown.
Our taxes need to be considered:
The city can diversify it's economy and find progressive ways to lessen the burden of revenue from property taxes.
I think there’s a hesitation nowadays to create public amenities because people think about the initial cost and think ‘oh property taxes are high so we can’t afford a new thing’ but providing these services saves us money. Giving people the support they need helps them be a contributing member of our economy. We need to ensure that we prioritize sustainable growth and programs like Welcoming Streets instead of them falling to the wayside because it makes the short term easier. Everyone benefits if we take care of each other.
Our government needs to be accessible:
Everyone talks transparency - especially at election time - but as someone who has tried to get a clear idea of what’s happening, it’s difficult to get more than snippets and sound bites. It's 2022. Why is information still so obscure? We need to empower citizens to be able to access information by making City Hall efficient. All city reports and documents should be easily searchable on the city website.
Councillors need to actively reach out to the community. We need an opportunity to have conversations with our neighbours and we need to energetically pursue avenues to get those conversations happening.
Our housing needs to be well-planned:
Guelph housing needs to be affordable for everyone. I will advocate for a vacancy tax, fight to shorten the the time it takes to approve developments, and work to increase our housing supply through better utilization of housing. Empty homes and empty bedrooms need to house people in our community.
Housing goes hand in hand with infrastructure - there is no point building dozens of houses if there is no parking or transit for the people living there. Guelph’s South end has grown rapidly but without a consistent increase in municipal services. We need well thought out development that balances growth and quality of life.
The technology for smart growth exists - rather than needing to retrofit developments in a decade to make them sustainable and accessible, we need to make sure we build these communities correctly now so that we aren't using our taxes to fix things
Our Waste needs to be considered:
When we’re building, we need to use fewer and more durable materials that account for waste by being designed for demolition reuse.
City Council needs to take more bold steps to reduce single-use plastics, including take-out containers. There is simply no time anymore to slowly move toward sustainable decisions, but we can’t expect businesses who are already suffering to shoulder the trailblazing towards zero waste. We need to create viable and affordable options so that making an ethical choice is also an economical choice. We need to encourage and highlight programs like Friendlier that offers reusable takeout containers for restaurants and get people in our Wards aware of things like the Zero Waste Economic Transformation Lab. Everything we need is at our fingertips we just need to prioritize reaching for it.
Our workers need support:
If can support and incentivize innovative businesses we will not just have jobs but job satisfaction. Guelph has so many quirky shops and that entrepreneurial spirit needs a fertile environment. We can advocate for our city to benefit from federal programs. We should partner with investors and we need to modernize the process by making city hall easier to access. Nobody should walk away from a business because they aren’t sure whether to file form 827a or 827b. We need to streamline internal operations to allow timely access to resources and provide active support like workforce training for long-term small business survival.
We need to attract workers to the city which means we remove barriers to labour mobility. The biggest reason people hesitate to move is that they can’t afford the new city or don’t think they can create a community there - so we build homes people can afford and parks that people can meet their neighbours in. We also need a transit system that people can afford and rely on - if people can’t get to work it seems pretty straightforward that we limit their ability to work.