Time for renewal on Guelph city council

cham-2 cropped 2I’ve been meeting many of you, and I thank you for that!

Thank you as well for your comments on what matters to you, and for your take on Guelph city council and how well you are represented on it.

I am someone who engages and listens. It’s not an election platform, it’s who I am.

I consider it my job to do the same if elected as your Ward 3 councillor on October 27th, to engage you and represent you and your aspirations and concerns at City Hall.

We’ve gotten away from that style of politics in Guelph. Through my example, I will bring us back to it.

That is my agenda.

It takes balance. I will bring that.

Many of you have mentioned your concerns around affordability. You love your city, but you want to be able to afford to live in it.

Affordability of city services is something I have been talking about since 2010. Now others are talking about it. I’ve noticed your City Hall is now talking about it as well.

That’s a good thing, and I’m glad for it!


Paying bills 2First, because affordability to me ties into fairness and sustainability.

Second, because asking questions about the decisions that are being made, how the City is being run and how our tax dollars are spent, and what an acceptable tax increase would be has for some time now — and even until fairly recently — brought a certain risk with it.

I’ve worked hard to shift that and make it OK for you and others to ask these questions without being portrayed as some kind of “regressive” bad guy.

Which is to say, I’m the real deal.

Paying bills 3I’m the real deal when it comes to asking questions for you, and more, I’m the real deal when it comes to standing up for you and your right to say what you want to say.

It’s time for a better style of politics in Guelph — we need a better way of discussing the issues — and that means it’s time for renewal on Guelph city council.

I am someone who can bring that, and it would be a privilege to do so on your behalf.

Please support the campaign to elect me as Councillor for Ward 3, and thank you to everyone who has provided help and good wishes.

Gratefully; Craig

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Craig Chamberlain on Twitter: @Ward3Guelph

Follow Craig Chamberlain on Twitter: @Ward3Guelph


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Our signs!

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How do I get on the Voters’ List?

Are you recorded as an eligible elector (voter) in the 2014 municipal and school board elections?

voterlookup.ca is a new online service available to eligible electors.

voter look upVisit voterlookup.ca to confirm if you are on the “Preliminary List of Electors”, which is used to prepare the Voters’ List of electors used in the upcoming municipal and school board elections.

If you’ve moved in the last several years, you may need to update your info on voterlookup.ca to ensure you are eligible to vote in the election where you now occupy or own property.

You can also change or update your school support for electoral purposes and add names to your property address.

Updating this information will help ensure that the Voters’ Lists are accurate and up-to-date in preparing for the municipal and school board elections this fall.

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Getting to “better” has to be affordable

2723We are indeed fortunate to call Guelph home, and many of us invest in Guelph one way or another towards making this city better!

How that happens will be different for each of us, but the bottom line is most of us look for ways to give back to our community.

We’re hearing more about the value of “affordability” of city services from City Hall.

And it’s more common to hear “affordability” being raised as an issue during council discussions.

I’ve been talking about affordability for some time now.

And to be clear, I’m not suggesting it has just been me talking about it — a few others, along with councillors from other wards, have been as well.

So, some progress has been made on your behalf.

And that’s a good thing, because it opens us to asking how we can do better at City Hall.

For many households, take-home pay has lost ground against rising cost-of-living expenses. I think of the many conversations I’ve had with citizens on this point.

Top of mind for many of you? The money wasted on fighting bad legal battles and how the city’s reputation has been damaged by it, and what all of it will mean for you and your family.

For others, it’s part of a larger concern about whether City Hall’s priorities match your own.

I’ve talked with many first-time home owners who are proud of their city but are worried about the cost of living here. Year after year increases in taxes are real for them in the choices they have to make.

And I’ve talked with the long-term residents who have built this city. As seniors now living on a fixed income, they’re rightfully concerned about being able to maintain their home.

I think about what is being asked of them now, on fixed incomes: to pay more in property taxes, to build, again, what they themselves may never use — and in doing so having to make more choices with their retirement income and savings.

Making Guelph “better” can’t be something that happens at the cost of the very citizens who love and have long loved this city not being able to afford to live here.

That just doesn’t seem fair or balanced.

Making Guelph “better” has to be about making it better for all of us. And getting to “better” has to be affordable.

I’m hearing your comments. Please elect me as your Ward 3 councillor, and please donate to the campaign to elect me.

Thank you!


website security

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Talking about connections to water

WaterplayI am looking for your childhood memories about water, and how you may have rediscovered childhood experiences of water with your own children.

What conversations have you had with your children about water?

What conversations have they initiated with you?

Send me an email at craigchamberlain@rogers.com or reply to my tweet!

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When do the advance polls start in Guelph?

Craig Chamberlain 2014 Ward 3 CandidateThere are two ways you can vote in advance of the October 27, 2014 municipal election in Guelph:

1) During the internet voting period: October 7th to October 24, 2014

2) At advanced voting locations:

October 15th-16th, 2014: 11 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

October 17th-18th, 2014: 11 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

October 19th, 2014: 11 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

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Who are the candidates for City Council in Guelph?

Ward Map for Guelph

Ward Map for Guelph

If you’re wondering who the candidates are for the upcoming municipal election in Guelph, click here — you will be redirected to the City of Guelph’s list of the registered candidates.

Two councillors will be elected to represent each “ward”. Election Day is Monday, October 27, 2014.

I am running for council in Ward 3!

Ward 3 Guelph extends from the west side of Woolwich Street to the east side of Silvercreek Parkway, and from the north side of Waterloo Avenue to the city limits to the north. It’s the blue area represented in the central north area of the map to the left.

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Have you been ignored?

2723In the fall of 2010 we knocked on Ward 3 doors and heard what matters to you.

Many of you were opposed to the pending introduction of waste carts, and your sentiments and concerns spanned the ward, cutting across neighbourhoods.

The ward response was consistent on this, street by street by street. It was a good polling sample by any standard.

And yet this sentiment was not expressed during council deliberations on December 5, 2011. In fact, quite the opposite.

Your concerns were ignored, your councillors were not your voice, and your money was taken for granted.

I know this because of what you consistently told us in the fall of 2010 and because I was in the public gallery during council’s discussion on December 5th, 2011.

I saw that discussion first hand, which included a defeated motion for staff to report back to Council with newly-available info on the matter — new info that council voted against obtaining before making a decision that very much impacts on you.

In that meeting, one Ward 3 councillor was quoted as saying she didn’t care what the province said on what it may actually allow us to do. Options to examine? No thanks — your Ward 3 councillor wasn’t interested in hearing about them.

Were your Ward 3 councillors open to hearing your concerns about the carts in any substantial way, either?

Are they today?

What happens when you disagree with a city priority? Do your councillors engage you — or are you flat-out ignored?

Possibly? What is their record on that? It depends on the issue and what side of it they’re on? Maybe you’re being heard a bit more in this election year?


How confident are you that your elected representatives will be there for you the next time you need them to stand up for you?

“Not entirely confident”, right?

That’s a problem. It’s simply not good enough and it’s time to address it. It runs completely against the grain of what I think political representation should look like.

So, there is a clear choice for you.

And it’s time to say “no thanks!” to your elected representatives using their role as a soapbox for positions that have little to nothing do with the council discussions, positions that don’t reflect the sentiments of the residents and businesses they are supposed to represent.

It doesn’t accurately inform Council of what matters to you, so Ward 3, it’s as if you are not even in the room when matters are being discussed at Council chambers.

It’s time to put Ward 3 issues back on the map in Guelph, including at City Hall.

It’s is time to say “yes!” to a sensible, measured approach to the issues. I will bring that as your city councillor. I am approachable and I am balanced. And for me, my job is to talk about the issues that matter to you, not to waste Council’s time on personal soapbox issues.

There was a lot energy during a recent Ward 3 “town hall” discussion about the carts, which included a staff presentation for those who are getting them this year.

It was a case of your councillors inviting staff to talk about how a decision at City Hall will affect you after they had long-disregarded your concerns about it.

Hole chewed in no time flat

Hole chewed in no time flat

Part of the reaction at the meeting had to do with how the carts would work in Ward 3 — we have areas with narrow streets, which of course become more narrow with snowbanks in the winter. And we have inclines! And there are storage issues that didn’t exist with the bags.

And we have older trees, meaning we have trees with hollows and larger canopies, great habitat for squirrels and other animals that will be interested in your green cart.

Let’s be up-front about all of that.

What is gained in pretending otherwise, right?

So, yes, there are reasons why Ward 3 streets, properties, trees and hills make it less conducive to a cart system compared to a ward in a Milton or a Mississauga.

But I think beneath that, the energy at that meeting had to do with how Ward 3 residents haven’t been well represented on this issue from the start, and their concerns on how it would all work for them haven’t been taken seriously.

The official line? The carts work elsewhere and as for the issues you may have, we’re confident you’ll figure it out.

And the comments you’ve heard from others about them? They’re only an individual’s opinion. Yes, a Ward 3 councillor said that at the recent meeting.

Ward 3 residents weren’t engaged with their concerns by the incumbents then, in 2010, and now they’re being told in a meeting how wonderful the carts are in a presentation that should have been more attuned to Ward 3 issues and concerns.

Given what I heard directly from you in the fall of 2010, and then heard being said on your behalf in council chambers in December 2011 — yes, that would create a reaction!

If you elect me to represent you at City Hall I will have town hall meetings to hear what you want to say, on what you want to talk about.

You have my word it. That’s my commitment to you, that’s who I am.

That’s my authenticity.

And in terms of our door knocking so far in 2014, what are you saying? I will be posting on that later.

I need your support –please donate to my campaign and please vote for me at the advance polls or on Election Day — Monday, October 27th, 2014.

Thanks again everyone!



Ward 3 waste cart (bin system) for Ward 3 residents

I have the carts — here are the straight goods on the carts in Ward 3:

  1. We are not comprised of new subdivisions with young trees. We have older trees with hollows and large canopies. Our trees create habitat for squirrels and other animals.
  2. Your green bin represents food security for wildlife. Finding or making a hole in your green bin is their version of winning Cash For Life — and once they’ve gained that experience, they won’t be easily deterred!
  3. Squirrels are capable of making short work of your green bin. They’re capable of chewing holes in it in no time at all. You may have noticed other examples of squirrels being able to chew in order to access food or to make a home, through plastic and wood. You may run into this, you may not with your green cart — but it certain can and does happen.
  4. Leaving your green lid unlatched will not necessarily deter a squirrel from chewing a hole in the cart anyways, as my neighbour discovered.
  5. You may want to store your carts (or at least your green cart) in a shed or in your garage, if you have one/ can afford one/ have room for one. (We used to store our bags in a squirrel proof container before collection). Don’t be surprised if a squirrel chews a hole into the shed or shed door to get at your cart.
  6. This past winter season was much more of a “winter” than we’ve had in recent years. If the contents freeze to the cart, the contents remain in the cart after they’ve been “dumped”, which becomes a problem as your cart fills from not being emptied and becomes heavier. Lining your cart with newspaper may not work.
  7. The latch on the green bin can be difficult to open if you’re not the strongest person, but it will eventually separate from the cart with use and changing temperatures and from being shaken by the truck in an effort to empty it (see #6). You can pop it back on, but it does require some strength.
  8. The carts are not necessarily easy to push or even pull through the snow. They’re carts. It depends on your abilities (and how much snow you have to get through, to take them out and to retrieve them after they’ve been emptied).
  9. Snow banking is an issue in terms of room for leaving out your carts.
  10.  Bottom line: Whether or not you find the carts to be more convenient than bags depends on your specific circumstances in Ward 3.
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Three questions for you

2723To me, affordability must be top of mind for the people acting on your behalf at City Hall, and finding efficiencies ties into Guelph being truly sustainable.

Affordability requires teamwork and trust.

Working together to find efficiencies in how city services are delivered translates into better outcomes across the board.

It’s essential that we do what we can to ensure the hard-earned dollars you send to City Hall are used wisely, and that you are heard when it comes to what matters most to you!

So, I have three questions for you — please email me at craigchamberlain@rogers.com with your responses. Your responses will be kept in confidence.

1. What do YOU think of current levels of municipal taxation in Guelph, i.e. taxes, rates and fees?

2. What is one thing that YOU think the City should stop doing?

3. What is one thing that YOU think the City should start to do or keep doing?

Thanks everyone! Craig


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