Karl Wettstein

Saturday, September 2, 2006

1) What is your opinion of the job that council’s done over the past three years?

This council, like others before them, was made up of 13 people all doing their best to do what they thought was best for Guelph. During the 2003 municipal election almost all council candidates aligned with one side of the mayoralty race or the other. Concerned citizen groups also established slates of candidates. The result was a council that started out on a very negative footing and never really recovered. It is encouraging to see that, for the most part, this has not been the case during this election, at least not yet. The citizen groups acknowledge that what they did last time was a mistake. Most candidates have stated they are also not aligning with one particular mayoralty candidate. We need 13 leaders, not just one. Whoever is elected has to be able and willing to work with all of the other 12. Municipal politics is not and should not be on the party system. There is only one team.

This council’s performance fell short in a number of key areas.

  • They did not follow Mr.Cuffs’ recommendation to develop and implement a governance model to deal with clarity of roles and responsibilities, basic guidelines on civility and mutual respect, and a clear understanding and agreement on Councils’ responsibilities vs Managements’ responsibilities.
  • They did not follow-thru on establishing a budgeting process that would enable them to look effectively and positively at corporate efficiencies or ongoing service requirements.
We continue to start the process in late fall and then wonder why it is so difficult to make positive changes in these areas.
  • They were inefficient in their review and implementation of key strategic investment decisions and opportunities, including the Civic Admin. building, the new soccer facility, strategic review of our waste situation, non-purchase of the post office, Convent/Museum process and the Baker Street parking lot process.
  • This term also seemed to have a significant impact on staff moral.
  • Dan Schnurr may have summed it up when he said in his Oct.6/06 survey response to the Mercury - “ The legacy of this council will be the bickering and vindictiveness, the huge tax hikes and poor decisions.”

2) Why did you decide to run?

The main reason I have decided to run again ( I was on council from 2000-2003) is that Guelph is moving from a progressive small city to a much more complex mid-sized city. We are a $300 million operation and we need to establish a governance structure that reflects this. We need 13 leaders around the horseshoe – not just the mayor. We also need councilors who are able to work effectively as part of a team, councilors who have the respect and support of the rest of council and staff. Ward 6 is not being effectively represented in these two critical areas. I have the background, the experience, the qualifications and most importantly the commitment to help manage a very complex but exciting future.

  • I know the importance of vision and long term planning and investment.
  • I know that saying no to everything is not tax effective.
  • I will deal with issues on merit alone – not personalities.
  • I will not micro-manage.
  • I will maintain close ties and communication with Ward 6 – where I live.
  • I will work effectively, respectfully and cooperatively with the rest of council and staff.

3) The Guelph Civic League has highlighted four issues for the consideration of voting students. Please comment on the following:

a) What is your position on the proposed pipeline from Lake Erie to Guelph?

Nobody likes the pipeline. There are only three ways to get more water – conservation, storage and new supply. Conservation should be first. Storage or new local supply should be next. The objective should always be to meet our needs locally. The focus of the debate need to shift to the positive “conservation and being responsible for meeting our water needs locally” and away from the negative “pipeline”.

The best deal for the taxpayer is conservation first, then local supply, then storage. Non local supply is obviously the most expensive. The only way to achieve our objectives is
through cooperation, compromise, teamwork and creativity. This will also require working with our neighbors to ensure we are all working to the same end.

b) How will you address issues of development in the city and what is your plan for the continued growth of Guelph?

We are residents of Guelph - we are also residents of Southern Ontario where projected population growth over the next 25 year is 2 million+/-. Our commercial/industrial to residential tax ratio is way out of balance. In Guelph we will have to manage our fair share of the growth. Balanced, responsible and perhaps most importantly creative growth models will be the focus of our future growth plan strategies. We will have to stop blaming each other and start working together – all of us (council, staff, developers, province, commercial businesses as well as you and I as residents) are all responsible for where we are today and we all have to be part of where we are going tomorrow.

c) If you are elected to council do you intend to lend your support to the continuation of the student bus pass? (400 words)


d) The GCL is concerned about the size and number of bike lanes on Guelph roads, will you push for greater bike access? (350 words)

YES – where bike traffic calls for it. I appreciate this is a bit of a chicken and egg situation

4) Is there another issue(s) that you think voters should be aware of when considering their choices at the ballet box?

No – I think the key issues have been identified throughout the questionnaire. However, I believe the most important thing to look for when electing your first 4 year council is
Leadership - 13 leaders are required. We need a council that understand its’ primary role of strategic leadership and long term planning, a council that sees mutual respect for all stakeholders – council, staff, our neighbors and most importantly you, as the key building block to working together to get things done

5) What’s you final message to U of G students?

Thank you for your active and concerned participation in this very important municipal election. This will be the first council with a 4 year term and ALL stakeholders need to be involved. The U of G student body is a very important stakeholder group and your opinions and participation are welcome and needed. You are also the political leaders of future. Please look at all the candidates very closely and pick the ones that you feel will provide Guelph with the strategic leadership we will require for the next four years.


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