The Oct. 24 municipal election is nearly here and a new city councillor for College ward will be elected. The person voters choose will be tasked with handling a few issues near and dear to the college community.
The Algonquin Times reached out to all five candidates. Here is what they said.
“I know how hard it is to go to school on only $16,000,” Vilteau Delvas said during a telephone interview. “I used to be a student. I’ve been there.”
Delvas ran as an Ontario Party candidate in the 2022 provincial election. Before that, he worked as a police officer and as a federal employee at Transport Canada.
“I’m pro-ways to help students get to class on time,” he said. “We need new programs, maybe like share a ride, where the more rides you give a student, you will have a tax cut.”
Wendy Davidson bought her first house in College ward and raised a family there. For Davidson, representing College ward is about serving her community.
Transit is a key issue for Davidson. She considers public transit one of the core pillars of any community and one of the primary responsibilities of government.
“Right now our system needs revisiting from within,” she said. “Start at the top. Revisit what has been a norm. Look at fare structures. We really need to clean it up.”
“Affordability is one of the largest challenges for students,” Pat McGarry said in an email to the Algonquin Times. “The cost of living and studying in Ottawa is challenging, and I believe the city has a role to play in providing solutions.”
He wants to include the college in any solutions for the ward.
“I will work with Algonquin College to find ways to support more affordable transit for Ottawa campus students,” he said. “To help students navigate to more secure and affordable off-campus housing, and to enhance graduate employment opportunities by leveraging partnerships with the Ottawa Board of Trade, the Ottawa Construction Association and others.”
Granda Kopytko decided to run when she felt her values were not being represented by outgoing city councillor Rick Chiarelli.
“He was isolated, and was ineffective, not engaging well with any of the other councillors nor the mayor,” said Kopytko in an email to the Algonquin Times. She has years of experience volunteering for local organizations, from the school parent’s council to team manager for Ottawa City Soccer.
For Kopytko, the issue closest to her heart is the lack of greenspace in College ward. She believes communities need greenspace where people can relax.
The Algonquin Times reached out to Laine Johnson but was unable to get a direct interview with her in time for publication. However, we did receive a copy of her campaign press release.
Johnson’s platform emphasizes safe streets through increased traffic calming, improved snow clearing of sidewalks and enhancing the frequency and reliability of OC Transpo bus service.
When it comes to housing, Johnson hopes to partner with Algonquin College to problem-solve issues related to student housing in the ward.
“The people of College ward deserve a city councillor who is present in the community working every single day to solve the issues we face,” Johnson said in her press release. “College ward deserves to move forward, supported by a strong, collaborative, engaged councillor.”