Speech Delivered at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church All Candidates’ Meeting October 4, 2018

It has been nearly 50 years since I attended Church, Sunday School and Cubs at St. Andrews. I still have The Bible given to me by Reverend Forbes Thompson – something which I cherish. 

My name is Phil Allt. I am seeking your support for re-election as Councillor for Ward 3.

A councillor’s role is multi faceted and dare I say the day is long and busy. A councillor is a listener, a mediator, a conciliator, a handy person. Councillors need the wisdom of Solomon, the tenacity of Gandhi and the patience of Job to chart the challenges we face. 

In Guelph, local environmental challenges abound. We cannot take the purity of our water supply, or the safety of our neighbourhoods for granted.  We need strong local leadership to address these and other issues. Ward 3 and Guelph need councillors willing to stand up for Guelph to rebuild our sewers and streets,  to improve our public transit, to plan our Baker Street library, to calm dangerous traffic even to attend to leaf collection.

Guelph has to address its growing pains. In Clair Maltby we must provide for proper parkland development, protect the headwaters from which our drinking water springs, ensure that local retail outlets are easily accessible for new residents. For those living in Ward 3 –  the most densely populated of all the wards – we must ensure that infill and Brownfield redevelopment enhance our neighbourhoods rather than detract.

Guelph residents care deeply for our drinking water. We must protect it from water bottlers, from quarrying that could contaminate our wells, from glass plants that could exhaust the ground water. If we do not do this right, we have a multi billion dollar Lake Erie pipeline challenge in our future.
My past role building Cooperative Housing and Chairing the former Wellington and Guelph Housing Authority were invaluable  preparation for dealing with the worsening housing crunch. Our city cannot solve this crisis alone. Yet, private developers cannot afford to do it either. The federal and provincial governments must get back into building low cost housing in a meaningful way. 1500 families need improved housing right now. 

While Council talks endlessly about the South End being nurtured and developed, what about Old Guelph and particularly our historic downtown? Our beautiful downtown architecture should be the envy of Canada. The foundation is already there – beautiful buildings, dynamic businesses, fabulous restaurants and a devoted Downtown Board of Management.

Thoughtfully planning the new downtown library and the Baker Street Project will keep our downtown vibrant. As your Councillor, I will see this project through to completion.
Guelph’s working population needs a Council committed to the local economy. A clean energy economy is on our doorstep. Canadian Solar, a world leader in solar panels  and small businesses like Guelph Solar need our support. 

Our auto manufacturers must see Guelph as committed to new electric car technology which is embraced world wide and will make the electric car the norm within 10 years.

I have worked with so many of you. I have heard from so many of you. When I volunteer at the Shelldale Centre in the breakfast programme and attend their Community Safety meetings I learn about neighbourhood issues. I would not be well informed if I were not engaged with you in a meaningful manner.

When I attend the numerous events held by the Exhibition Park Neighbourhood Group I know I am part of  a community of Parents and grandparents and children of school age. You are families with mortgages and day to day concerns, You  have your worries and your joys. You and your families know what makes Guelph tick and what makes Guelph a fun place to live. 

When I play darts at the Evergreen Seniors Centre I hear about our buses, our garbage collection, our yard waste pickup and our snow removal. I hear about mobility transit failing people’s needs. I become informed with knowledge I use to improve what our City offers. Everyday I speak to at least 3 people who call or email with an issue. 

When I attend meetings of the Beechwood Neighbourhood Group or hear from the Old Guelph Residents Association I understand why residents worry about their neighbourhood being compromised by a development that seems too big, too imposing or inappropriate for its setting.
A Ward Councillor listens and responds. You expect me to listen; you want me to ask you important questions about what matters to you. You ask me to make reasoned decisions on an encyclopedia of issues  –  water conservation, restoring a bus route, addressing half-way houses, rejecting a building proposal or improving a park but only after we have a thoughtful dialogue. We don’t always agree but we always build a better community. 

My name is Phil Allt. I am seeking your support for re-election as Councillor for Ward 3. Let’s build a better City and a better City Council. Let’s firmly anchor real leadership on Council for the next four years. Thank you for listening to me, thank you for sharing with me over the past 4 years.