Environmental Forum

Thursday September 20, 2018

 

Hello,

My name is Kari Williams and I’m a lifelong resident of Kitchener. I am so glad to be here to share my vision and goals for the region, particularly because environmental concerns were a major factor in what inspired to me run for regional council. I have 2 young children and I want them to grow up in an area that takes these issues seriously: protecting drinking water; reducing emissions; and preserving our green spaces from sprawling development. 


Our region is already emerging as an example of smart urban development and we are implementing some great initiatives, like the planned cogeneration facilities for water treatment plants. I want us to build on this momentum and lead by example, exploring new ideas, big and small, that help us meet our goals and our emissions reduction targets by 2050. I also want to support existing, and attract innovative businesses that are low or zero emitting, or would provide services or products that would have a minimal environmental impact. It would be a great step toward shifting to a greener economy. 


I feel it is incredibly important that we maintain current urban boundaries, and that we take a stand to hold that important line between city and countryside.  We need to build up our existing developed land and strategically add green spaces. Many people in my generation want to live in modern, walkable, livable urban centres that allow them to reduce their environmental footprint and reliance on cars. Smaller homes and environmentally conscious builds are appealing and are considered premium spaces. I want to see more incentives for these types of initiatives. When we build neighbourhoods right, we help reduce emissions. We reap the same benefits when we encourage public transportation use - specifically by designing that transportation and infrastructure right into our neighbourhoods. These types of future-thinking investments are critical to making these options viable, convenient, and affordable. In order to fully realize this goal, walking, cycling, buses and the ION will need to be more seamlessly connected. I want to see investments that improve these types of infrastructure.


As it often happens, many of these issues are interrelated. As we increase density we pave the way for easier solutions to efficiency and distribution problems; but at the same time, we create new challenges in terms of waste and consumption. While bi-weekly garbage pickup is a great start, we need to help residents maximize their use of our recycling and compost programs.


I’m excited to see what the future holds for our region and am looking forward to playing an important role in meeting these goals. Thank you.

Working Centre Debate

Wednesday September 26, 2018 Opening Statement

 

Hello, and thank you for having me. 


My name is Kari Williams. I was born in Kitchener, educated in Waterloo and in my 33 years, I’ve come to appreciate where this community has been and where it is going. I believe our heritage is important. But so is development, and our collective well-being. We need to keep pushing for progress, in a balanced and responsible way. I don’t want to change the way we do taxes. But I do want better outcomes for our community and our most vulnerable citizens. 


We need to do better when it comes to alleviating poverty in the region. We need to dramatically increase the number of affordable and supportive housing units. We need to include harm reduction strategies in our conversations and continue with the work the previous council initiated to address the opioid crisis. We also need to make sure that our transit options (walking, cycling, buses and LRT) are connected, convenient and affordable so everyone in our community can benefit from them. 


The way we have been doing things in some of these areas hasn't been working to achieve the results we want and we may be facing challenges with the current provincial government. These issues affect all of us and I want to be a part of the solution. 


We need development, but we need to do it in a way that preserves our values, our history, our wealth, and our environment. We need to ensure that we are building communities that have a place for every citizen to play a role and feel like they are important. As it often happens, many of the issues we are facing in the region are interrelated. For example, to solve some of our efficiency and distribution problems, we need to redesign our communities and increase their density. At the same time, when we do that, we create new challenges in terms of waste and consumption. Government is about managing this balance, with forethought, and flexibility. That’s my plan.


As a young professional mother with a Master’s Degree in political science, I have a perspective that this is needed in our community and the skills to effectively address these issues. I will be dedicated to serving the public full-time so that I will be able to vote on issues without being excused for conflicts of interest. Let’s work together and make this region a prosperous, welcoming home that we can be proud to live and work in. 


Thank you for having me. It was wonderful to speak with all of you. All my information can be found at www.kariwilliams.com.