Ward 9 should be one of the most interesting races to watch in this election. I know I will be following it closely because it mirrors Ward 10 where I live and covers the other half of downtown. I would like to take a moment to remind the candidates that this ward is not just Victoria Park and that the downtown doesn’t stop at Frederick Street or even Cedar Street–something Frank Etherington should keep in mind before he talks any more about the need to move Kitchener’s main post office from its King E. and Pandora Street location. Downtown Kitchener east of Frederick and especially east of Cedar needs some tender loving care and attention and I am counting on the Ward 9 Councillor to help make that happen. I will pay particular attention to the positions these candidate’s take on intensification of our downtown including their position on light rail transit.

This race is interesting because there are from where I sit there are three strong candidates. Unfortunately, two will not be serving on city council. The field on the left side of the political spectrum appears to be pretty crowded with Etherington, Debbie Chapman and Sandy MacFarlane competing for that vote. Etherington would have to be considered the front-runner at this point due to his name recognition. He also seems to have money if his full colour signs are any indication. Chapman though has been running a strong campaign and will be a contender. Graham Yeates appears to be the most centrist candidate and could benefit from the left wing split and finish on top. David Kuhn is campaigning hard too but even after looking at his well-done website, he still seems to be a wild card in this race and is not likely to finish in the top 3.

Do you live in this ward? What do you think? Please share your comments below.


2 thoughts on “Initial thoughts on Ward 9

  1. I don’t feel I have the insight into this election as you do but will offer my thoughts on the Ward 9 race based on the all candidates meeting I attended this week at The Working Center. All but one candidate appeared.

    I found very little to differentiate the candidates in terms of their positions on specific issues. All candidates that were present at the debate came out against the Light Rail Transit. The consensus was that the taxpayers of Kitchener can not afford it especially in light of the economic times. Debbie Chapman who was the first to answer the question said this was a regional and not a city issue but went on to say that she does not support it. The best answer given was by Frank Etherington who did mention that cost ballooned from 400 Million and he estimated it could reach much higher than the current price tag. Still I believe he supported the idea in principal but not where it is today. I personally believe the LRT should be done but there has to be some way to get the price down using creative means.

    All agreed on the re-purposing of the heritage buildings for modern uses when feasible. All seemed to be in agreement that the destruction of some of the tannery buildings was wrong and the process at city council was flawed to allow it to happen.

    I believe Frank Etherington has an edge on the reformist side since he indicated he has reported on municipal affairs and gave the impression that he would be a good foil to Carl Zehr who in my opinion has been in the position too long but with no viable contenders will be re-elected. Frank Etherington mentioned that very little debate seems to be done in council chambers and seems to be conducted outside making the process seem less than transparent. Since he has retired from the Record he said he would be a full time councillor.

    Debbie Chapman appears to have worked hard for her local community and gave an indication that she understands how city government works and sometimes does not work. I don’t doubt she would contribute aside from her conducting her one course at Laurier.

    Both Graham Yates & Sandy MacFarlane seem very well spoken and I feel would contribute if they were elected. Sandy MacFarlane’s main platform seemed to be on transparency and fiscal control. Graham Yates stated his experience dealing with the City and Region sitting on Advisory Committees.

    It was nice to see someone as young as David Kuhn engaged in the political process. I think with a little more experience he could be someone to watch in the future.

    I will mention that both Debbie Chapman & Frank Etherington canvassed to my door. Unfortunately I missed both of their visits. I have never in 20 years I have lived in Kitchener been canvassed at my door previously in Municipal, Provincial or Federal elections.

    1. Thanks Poul! You have provided a very thoughtful report and analysis of the debate that you attended. I think you’ve summed up the field and what they’re saying very well.

      While I still think Yeates could be a strong City Councillor, it seems to be a race between Frank Etherington and Debbie Chapman. Ward 9 can’t go wrong with either but only one can be elected. I’d like to hear from some more people in this ward before making my own recommendation.

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