Declaration Speech – January 8, 2014
City Hall Foyer
It should come as no surprise that I believe what happens locally is important.
I have dedicated my life to city building – the bricks and mortar – and community building – what happens in the spaces we create.
Great cities – like Guelph – are the real engines of development and progress.
Even in the face of rapid globalization, it is clear that local still matters – perhaps more than ever.
We need to get cities right and Guelph is getting it right.
We have made great strides over the past several years – despite challenging times.
Services to our community have not suffered – they have improved.
Our debt is lower and credit rating is at its highest ever.
Progressive businesses continue to choose Guelph as their home because it is a great place to live as well as do business.
As a community, we have a great deal to be proud of.
We have developed a winning formula – one that balances a commitment to the economic, environmental, social and cultural health of our community.
And there is so much more opportunity.
I am firmly committed to the successful path we have forged.
We haven’t settled for the status quo or the lowest common denominator.
We have been making change – change where it matters most to us.
I understand the value of local government in our lives.
So my focus has always been to do more with less – to remain affordable while delivering better outcomes for individuals, families and the community.
That takes vision.
It takes hard work and experience.
And, not least of all, it takes persistence.
It is for these reasons that I am proud to declare my candidacy for another term as Mayor of this great city.
Great cities focus on their best opportunities for economic growth – and that is what we are doing in Guelph.
Diversity has always been our strength so we are actively supporting business development in several key sectors.
I will continue to implement strategies to attract the best possible investment and jobs to Guelph.
Great cities create vibrant spaces for people.
We are transforming our downtown into a Central Business District – a truly urban neighbourhood that is an engine of the economy for the entire city.
Guelph’s Downtown is widely acknowledged as one of the healthiest in the province.
Thanks to solid planning, strategic investments have leveraged over $85 million in private sector projects in the past couple of years. And there’s more on the way.
Great cities also take care of one another.
The problems we face in Guelph are not unique.
However, the way we go about solving them reflects who we are – caring, collaborative and innovative.
When we started the Guelph Community Wellbeing Initiative, we knew we could do better, reduce costs and achieve better outcomes for people.
We are finding new ways for people to help themselves, to connect with one another and to build a safe and prosperous community.
Great cities continuously improve.
Today we are doing business differently at City Hall.
We have people who are accountable for driving change across departments, assuring alignment not only internally, but with all our partners.
We are increasing efficiency, reducing bureaucracy and supporting our constituents with high quality services.
And we see the results of our hard work – at City Hall, in our community and internationally.
Guelph is known worldwide for its commitment to energy planning and we are being widely hailed for our pioneering work on wellbeing.
Both receive the attention they do because they offer practical and innovative solutions to real-life problems.
Guelph is pioneering and innovative – it is part of our DNA.
Continuing to provide a dynamic platform for change in areas that play to our strengths is critical. Now is not the time to falter on this.
So I stand before you – not with vague promises – but a record – a record of delivering an exceptional city – not as superwoman – but with full recognition that I am part of a team – a member of Council, a member of our local government and a member of this community.
With four more years, I will continue to lead where it matters most to us.