I can sum up the newly elected Kitchener City Council in one word: balanced. I believe this to be a good result.
There are a solid core of experienced veterans in Mayor Zehr, Berry Vrbanovic, John Gazzola and Kelly Galloway.
There are new progressive voices such as Yvonne Fernandes, Bil Ionnidis and Frank Etherington. I also believe that if he stays true to his neighbourhood association roots that Daniel Glenn-Graham can also be included as a new progressive voice.
Then there are new fiscal conservative voices in Zyg Janecki and Scott Davey.
To be honest, I’m not sure where Paul Singh fits into the mix. Time will tell. In fact, one of the benefits of municipal politics is that councillors are not restricted to toeing the party line. Singh and the others are free to act in support of the best interests of Kitchener. Allies on one issue may see another from different angles. Each councillor can make a decision on each issue based upon its merits.
While overall the council is not as progressive as I had hoped to see, I believe that the incoming council is reflective of the perspectives found across the city. That is a good. I just hope that despite their differences that the new council can find ways to work together in the best interests of the people of Kitchener. I hope that the veterans and progressive voices can work together to present and implement a compelling vision for Kitchener and that the fiscal conservatives can help to ensure that we do so in an affordable, responsible manner.
I am concerned that the different perspectives could become different camps that may have trouble working together. But I am willing to give the new council the benefit of the doubt that they will work collaboratively. Ideally, there will be more debate and discussion than we have seen recently though hopefully those exchanges can lead to finding solutions with wide spread support. A sign that this is happening if there is a variety in the mix of councillors in favour or opposed to various initiatives. If defined camps appear then we have lost a potential strength of this new council.
In short, I am hopeful that the result of the municipal elections means a better future for Kitchener.
What do you think?
This post has been cross-posted on the Wonderful Waterloo forum.