UPDATED (22/10/08) With two council positions up for grabs in Woolwich’s Ward 3, there are four candidates vying for your vote in the October 24 municipal election.
Along with incumbent Murray Martin, the ballot will include Paul Bolger, Bonnie Bryant, and Kayla Grant.
A resident of Maryhill for 34 years, Grant is looking to bring a different perspective to council.
“We increasingly have more diverse communities. We have a wide range of age within our communities, and I think council is kind of missing a younger, more progressive voice. Something that can really benefit Woolwich is having someone that is from a different kind of diverse backgrounds, able to kind of provide new insights and challenge traditionally held views,” said Grant.
Having spent most of her life in Woolwich, Grant said “living, working and playing in Woolwich,” is what made her decide to run for council.
“I wanted to be able to represent the concerns that I’m hearing within my community to a greater extent, as well as just feel that a life without service is really kind of a life not worth living…I always kind of wanted to give back. And because I’ve been raised by the community, this is my way of giving back,” she said.
As a councillor, Grant would aim to work with developers on housing options.
“Whether that is townhouses, whether that is multi-unit in addition to kind of traditional state homes that people that move out to the country enjoy and love. So that would be one of the things I’d be looking at on council is asking those questions of the developers of what’s the plan.”
Recognizing the job involves more than just big, pressing topics, Grant says she’s more than willing to tackle all of the duties that come with the job.
“I think that if you’re not interested in the day-to-day aspects of digging down deep into an issue and finding solutions, you’re not going to be doing a good job for your constituents.”
Bryant represented the ward as a councillor from 2010-2014, running for the mayor’s job in the 2014 election and finishing third to Sandy Shantz. She is running for council again because the “ward needs fair representation.”
“I find the southern part of the township…it feels like we’re being left out of a lot of decisions. If you look at what’s in Ward 3, we have no full-service grocery stores, we have one gas station. We have basically no retail and no amenities. We have no arena, no splash pads, and it’s the fastest growing area of the township,” Bryant said.
Given that status, Breslau in particular needs such services, she added.
“It would keep people here. Right now, a lot of them go into Kitchener or Guelph because we just don’t have the amenities for them.”
The level of communication that she will provide to residents is what would set her apart from the current council, Bryant said.
“If they have issues, they feel that when they send emails or make phone calls, they’re not going to get responses and they just don’t get listened to.”
As one of her main issues, Bryant has been outspoken against a gravel pit proposed for a site near Maryhill.
“We need to protect our prime agricultural farmland. All of Canada has only [a small] amount of prime agricultural farmland. The bulk of that prime agricultural farmland sits in southern Ontario – we can’t afford to lose it. We are not anti-gravel, but gravel pits need to be sited in appropriate locations,” she said.
A lifelong resident of the region, Bolger has lived in several communities in the area. A certified public accountant who has run his own business since 1998, Bolger considers himself a numbers guy.
“Financial analysis and planning is what I do,” he said, noting he intends to rely on his work experience if elected to council.
“I know how to read a financial statement. I have asked questions my whole life on accountability, fiscal responsibility and transparency from many managers from [many] organizations,” he said.
Bolger is running for council because he “has a voice and is not afraid to talk.”
“I think probably COVID contributed to the lack of connection and feeling that our concerns weren’t being addressed in a timely, appropriate manner. People are angry or disillusioned, disappointed, and they just want answers. And I’m going to try and get those answers.”
Bolger will look to bring accountability to both council and township staff, he said.
“There are some that don’t understand that their customers are the citizens of the township. I think that’s what some of them [think] and it probably is very much the minority because most people I talk to at the township are very good people and they’re there to serve the constituents who pay their salary in the form of property taxes.”
Bolger pointed to the Canadian Charter of Rights as one of his main focuses.
“The Charter of Rights and Freedoms are for every citizen and landed immigrant in Canada, no matter where you live, no matter what your orientation, no matter your faith, no matter whatever. Everyone is entitled to whatever that charter says.”
Murray Martin did not respond to requests for an interview.