City Priorities

Renew Stability and Innovation.

On October 24th, I am ready to bring a simple and positive approach to City Hall.

“What affects one human in our community affects us all. We’re no longer a small town. Growth management, housing for all residents, and action towards sustainability with our long-term priorities are more important than ever. That’s why we can be more confident when we need to innovate.”

Community members including students, families, folks experiencing homelessness, seniors, newcomers, and elected leaders and city and regional staff have shared with me their priorities for our community. I agree that our priorities are:

  1. Improve housing affordability for all residents

  2. Continue stability and renew innovation at City Hall

  3. Manage growth, aid recovery, enable long-term vision

  4. Drive sustainability, both economic and environmental

Details of our plan are below.

1. Improve housing affordability for all residents

  • Our EH PLAN: A Canadian Innovation for Equity and Housing

  • Stop the housing crisis for students and historically marginalized folks

    • Improve safety and security and remove unfair discrimination with pre-approvals, new units, alignment of bylaws, maintenance catch-up program, market-friendly housing zones, supporting of special units and alternative models (e.g., tiny homes, rent to own, life leases, reverse mortgages), City- (and Region-) owned or controlled rental stock, and partnerships with multi-location operators and service providers

  • Work in tandem with the Region and other cities to ensure there are safe and sanctioned spaces to live temporarily and permanently

  • Perform a citywide asset review for available locations with our Action Team

  • Implement a unified management and communication system

    • To bring together stakeholders, removing red-tape, and aligning with bylaws and safety standards

    • To actively monitor, manage incident reports, intervene when necessary

    • To connect landlords, property managers, owners, renters, and leaseholders directly with each other and to support services and authorities

  • Pre-approve renters and tenants

    • To improve safety and security

    • To remove unfair discrimination

    • To allow easier participation from co-signers, guarantors, supporting agencies, and universities and colleges

    • To ensure tenants and renters gain approvals in only a few minutes online from anywhere in the world, including Canada

  • Align market-friendly shared standards, zoning, and rental bylaws, and the needs of owners, leaseholders, guests, and authorities

  • Shrink the wage + cost of living gap by providing smoother access to supports, consider basic income guarantee with rent-geared-to-income models, additional housing and rental units, and rooms with improved affordability

  • Ensure the City of Waterloo has an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) policy that is followed

  • Include all spaces available to be rented in housing pool to ensure fair compliance, and be sure owners and property managers earn market rents, are assisted by City and Region where needed, and include more innovative models like coops, rent geared to income, sharing economy, and rapid re-housing and/or supportive housing

  • Launch Maintenance Catch-up Assistance Program for participation with property owners or leaseholders and with licensed private sector “job finder” for licensed and registered trades

  • Enable repurposing of existing and underused space, support intensification, and incentivize greater housing density where safe and appropriate, and consider optimal residential occupancy classifications by realigning regulations, bylaws, and permits

  • Create and leverage public-private partnerships (PPPs) for adding new units and rooms and work with long-term and supportive housing care operators

  • Make easier the building of new spaces and intensification by removing barriers like disparate city zoning definitions, modernizing old fashioned parking space regulations and guidelines, and considering greenspace and neighbourhood zones

  • Fast-track new build approvals with incentives for mixed-use, improved variety of housing mix (including 3- and 4-bedroom units), and public-private partnerships

  • Reduce or eliminate development fees for projects with non-profit organizations and/or public-private partnerships and/or community benefit

  • Empower private-public partnerships and those projects that include affordable units, variety of housing mix, and rewarding community space and greenspace preservation

  • Ensure alignment of incentives and strategy as much as possible with existing federal and provincial housing plans along with the Action Team (including dedicated grant writers)

  • Invite private-sector partnerships with innovative companies like Key and Divvy to leverage effective solutions like the sharing economy, life leases, and rent-to-own, and other models

  • Build, buy, and/or lease properties, new units, and rooms along with (or without) our partners, Region of Waterloo, and neighbouring cities

2. Continue stability and renew innovation at City Hall

  • Be a smarter city by improving livability, accessibility, and sustainability

  • Stop the housing crisis especially for students and historically marginalized, and create new market-friendly housing innovations (see above) to be able to focus on management

  • Expand Mayor's office to include Action Team and First 100 Day Plan in office (e.g., including grant writers, facilitators, legal, professional, volunteer and municipal staff)

  • Perform a citywide asset review with our Action Team and First 100 Day Plan

  • Restore and empower boldness and innovation culture within City Hall

    • To optimize the experiences of our city staff, use design thinking and sprints, staff incentives, and smart planning professionals working together

  • Align and broaden BIA, Community Improvement Plan, and initiatives with Uptown Waterloo and neighbouring shopping districts to attract visitors, shoppers, and promote business, tourism, and talent retention

  • Preserve and develop the Uptown core to create a better environment for business success and improved livability and talent retention

  • Support urban core with free wireless broadband access, and right-pricing LRT to encourage weekend and evening use

  • Maintain, support, and preserve greenspace, trails, and reclaim city, township, and regional land where appropriate and possible through streetscaping and other methods

  • Implement unified systems for optimized facility scheduling and for improved stakeholder communication

  • Support development of arts and culture initiatives that foster resident engagement

    • Consider and build the best way for our community to add or improve facilities such as a performing arts theatre, music venue, museum, and/or gallery

    • Improve accessibility to indoor and outdoor community space for community benefit

  • Improve transportation infrastructure

    • Recognize that not everyone can afford or wants a car, and smart countries have better options than we currently do

    • Do what is needed to support building Ontario-Quebec inter-city rapid rail transit corridors, expanding LRT rail across Region, and ensure 2-way, all-day GO at faster speeds

    • Ensure greener fleets and more sustainable transportation options are available and led by our City (and Region) where possible

3. Manage growth, aid recovery, enable long-term vision

  • Perform a citywide asset review with our Action Team and first 100 Day Plan

  • Eliminate unfair discrimination, remove obstacles

  • Embrace our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion plan and ensure it is being followed

  • Foster vibrant and thriving Arts and Culture and Sports and Recreation communities (see above)

  • Immediately clean up and beautify our university zones through alignment and modernization:

    • Add weekly garbage and recycling pick-up

    • Add attractive garbage and recycling standards along urban corridors

    • Add safety and efficiency on sidewalks with shovel, sand, and salting along major corridors and higher-intensified areas

    • Create partnerships for safe and sanctioned gatherings and cleanup

  • Ensure emergency management response plan is in place and able to be followed

  • Improve infrastructure (e.g., parks, transit, greenspace):

    • Consider the best way to build and finance new sports facilities (suggestions include building a pool on the east side near RIM Park, restoring lost cricket fields, adding and improving regional baseball fields, pickleball, and basketball courts)

    • Make better use of existing parks, and reclaim and preserve greenspace and trails

    • Increase access to indoor and outdoor skating and hockey rinks

    • Promote airport, supporting more destinations, lean check-in and fast security clearance and airport long term ridership and revenue growth

    • Improve bike trails and lanes, and consider multi-mode trails with safety first and listening to cyclists, city staff, and neighbourhoods

    • Review speed limits where appropriate; should a neighbourhood ask for it to be slowed and it makes sense, change it

  • Engage and empower neighbourhood associations

  • Be sure that all levels of government work well to bring new hospital and add new long-term care facilities and more beds to Waterloo at the pace we need

    • Create rapid housing style public-private partnerships with proven operators for new long-term and supportive housing beds

    • Empower at-home and near-home services

    • Find the answer to: How Waterloo can have an innovation teaching hospital?

    • Make better use of underused space, leverage market-friendly, and sharing economies where possible, and pilot new models

    • Implement a unified system waitlist with nearby operators and citizen portal

  • Improve daycare services, talent retention, and job creation with new spaces

    • Create rapid housing style public-private partnerships with proven operators for new child care spaces

    • Partner with living wage-friendly career training at Conestoga College and local colleges and universities and child care providers to make more space available

  • Support Waterloo Fire Services

    • Consider a first responders triage unit near high-call areas, align training and high-rise response protocols and nearby township needs for better service

4. Drive sustainability, both economic and environmental

  • Perform a citywide asset review with our Action Team and first 100 Day Plan

  • Create a culture of innovation across City Hall and Regional Municipalities wherever possible, and ensure optimal service delivery, metrics with performance incentives

  • Build environmental sustainability into all economic models, so we work toward long-term success

  • Ensure major projects and infrastructure include sustainable principles

  • Require modern tendering and RFP models (e.g., major projects to factor and include faster builds and the cost of inaction, delays, less noise pollution), and ensure fair access for small- and medium-sized suppliers, partners, builders, and owners

  • Implement True Costing to RFP and Tendering process to include sustainable principles

  • Exceed the Region's zero carbon plan for 2050 targets

  • Improve municipal fleet and transportation

  • Fast-track priority projects with community benefit and PPP's using sustainable practices

  • Create new streetscapes and beautification zones along highly-intensified areas, heritage and greenspace corridors (e.g., Albert, Uptown, Northdale, and Columbia), and preserve and reclaim greenspace and water initiatives where possible

  • Expand BIA initiatives to include all areas that support Waterloo as a prime destination shopping and visiting centre

    • Align Waterloo initiatives with Waterloo Region's "15-minute neighbourhoods" Official Plan and tourism strategies with nearby shopping areas

  • Implement Talent Attraction Program, creating new jobs, new co-op positions, and retention activities

    • Match bursaries and endow scholarships with Conestoga College, and appropriate programs at the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and other trade schools, with unions and private-sector employers

Learn more about our city's priorities in these videos.

With strong leadership, the time is now to be smart and work together for a healthier community. I am the only candidate with five years CEO experience building an innovative business globally in accommodation with local, detailed business, community, and political work involving federal, provincial, and local governments. I am ready to lead Waterloo as Mayor.

“I’m confident that with our inclusive and positive approach, our City Council and I will make great choices for our community and our children’s generation.” -Rob

Whether you avoid politics or have a keen interest, I want your voice to be heard. Please email me at or reach out on social media. And if you are so inclined, please get involved.