Mary Lichty and Derek Brick are competing for the Wellesley’s Ward 3 council seat in this fall’s municipal election.
Brick is a landscape technologist with the City of Waterloo. He lives in the village of Wellesley with his wife and two-year-old-son.
Lichty recently retired from working at the Libro Credit Union. She, too, lives in the village, and before that lived and worked on a farm with her family outside Kingwood.
Both say they care deeply for their community and for its future.
Brick says he decided to run for councillor to give people a voice about the changes that are coming for the town of Wellesley. He especially cares about the issue of housing as well as what happens to the land of the current recreation centre.
“I’m interested in what happens with the current rec. land and how we address the needs of the future community with what we do with the old land.
“I’m also interested in the housing that goes into town in the next few years. Just trying to find the missing middle. I’m seeing young people who lived in town their whole lives and aren’t able to buy houses here because it’s become unaffordable. I think there’s things that we can do and hopefully opportunities to find housing for that missing middle and keep people who have grown up in town if they want to,” he said.
This is Brick’s first time running for a council position. This is the right time in his career and family life to be able to do it, he notes.
“I want to be an active part of the community,” he said. “I’ve been a part of things like the Apple Butter and Cheese Festival – I’ve done that since I was 15 years old. I’ve seen what community groups can do to help build the town. We have to find funding in different ways. I’m a true believer that as new people move to town, we need to reach out to them and kind of expand our horizons, because the town is built on community. That’s a huge part of what we are, and I really want to see that. As a councillor, I feel that I can help bring a voice to the new members of the community as well as the old members of the community to help make it better.”
This is also Lichty’s first time running for a council seat, though she spent many years sitting on the Wellesley Township committee of adjustment, which oversees applications for people to do things considered moderately outside the prescribed zoning or permitting of their land. She also spent many years on the township recreation board, and serves as chair. She also served as the secretary treasurer for the Wellesley Township Fall Fair for many years.
She decided to run for council this year because she felt she could serve the community now as a retiree.
“ I looked at it, and you know, Peter van der Maas has done a wonderful job for this community and with his (stepping down) I believed that we needed another strong voice. Peter has done such a great job that I thought this was a time that I would be able to step up and do this for my community,” she said.
She says she feels the main issues are the rising costs of living and that the township needs to be especially wise with how it spends its money now.
“We all are faced with higher costs of everything, so my thing is to make sure as with our own budgets, with the township’s budget, that we’re looking at things and making good financial use of the resources that we have to make sure that we can still be a very healthy community. Spend our money wisely,” she said.
As far as the high cost of housing specifically, she noted “We have to look at infilling to make it affordable for everyone to live in our communities, whether it’s our young people, whether it’s our seniors. We have to look at different ways to create living areas whether it’s making apartments available in homes, making legal apartments, things like that. You know, we just have to be resourceful because we have only a limited amount of land to build on. We also have to have our farms to grow food on. It’s a fine balancing act.”
Each makes a case for residents’ votes on October 24.
“I’ve lived in this town my entire life, since I was born,” said Brick. “I’ve grown up invested in the town, from sports groups, to community groups, to just the social aspect.
“I’ve got a vested interest in continuing to grow here and making the community better for the next generation as I enjoyed growing up here and want to see those opportunities for others. So I think I provide a different outlook, possibly, in terms of the young families living in town and what we can do for the future of our children, and the next generation.”
For her part, Lichty said, “I have been a resident of Wellesley Township for over 40 years, and I think I have a good grasp of the community, from being a volunteer with the fall fair to being on the committee of adjustment to being on the recreation board. I think I understand the community. I raised my family here… and I want to be able to continue to offer those things to the next generation.”