By Saifullah Muhammad, Spoke News
Two candidates hoping to represent Ward 10 on Kitchener city council attended a debate hosted by The Working Center on Sept. 20. The debate was organized to help the public get to know the policies of their candidates and their views on major issues for change.
The two candidates — Sarah Marsh and Peter Meier —gave their pitches on how to have a better municipal government that is transparent, responsive, interactive and accountable for the residents of Kitchener.
Both admitted there are some problems in the city with the quality and quantity of affordable housing, homelessness and city services.
The debate covered many topics, but affordable housing, homelessness and infrastructure were front and centre.
Sarah Marsh, the returning candidate from the 2014 election, said she and her colleagues have been trying to serve the community better and the city needs to do more to help residents access resources.
“As Ward 10’s representative on city council over the past four years, I have worked very hard to listen and respond to concerns and ideas from local residents. I am very proud of our progress.
“I’ve supported six neighbourhood associations and served on seven community boards. I have also been a strong voice for Kitchener’s Downtown BIA, approving investments that help local businesses thrive. I have been a resource for business owners and service leaders, helping them navigate city services,” Marsh said.
Meier, the sole candidate contesting against Marsh, said while campaigning door-to-door he has heard many disappointments from residents over issues such as affordable housing, health issue and homelessness.
“I believe residents come first, which is why I have been and always will be an independent voice for you. I am excited to work together to build even better neighbourhoods and community,” Meier said.
Questions were submitted ahead of the debate. In response to a question from a resident who wanted to know about him, Meier responded that he has been living in Kitchener for 43 years and that he feels an obligation to give back to the community.
“I proudly served the community working with the United Way and Centre in the Square, and volunteering with local social profit organizations, including Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre, Waterloo Community Foundation and Leadership Waterloo Region… I will continue this service as a member of Kitchener city council. I regularly spend time and energy connecting and meeting with residents to learn about their concerns and what is important in their neighbourhood,” Meier said.
Marsh and Meier were mostly in agreement on several issues, but there were some notable areas where the two wandered.
Paul Nijjar, a resident and organizer of the debate, said people of Kitchener want more debates among the candidates in all wards, including four mayoral candidates.