In sports you are only as strong as your weakest player.
The saying is relevant to the prospective team on city council. We have candidates from diverse backgrounds and personal strengths. Being young is not one of them. Age is not an attribute. Age, whether older or younger is not a reason to throw your support behind a candidate.
Candidate Mlynarz’s expression that supporting her gives voice to a younger generation is a deflection from questions about her zero experience and lack of background.
This declaration dilutes the strong candidates and incumbents running for a seat. It serves no one, and certainly does not serve the interests of Royal City.
Get to know the other candidates running. Get to know the millennial who will be a proactive and productive member on council.
Get to know Brendan Clark running in Ward 4. He is hosting a meet and greet at West End Community Centre on Saturday, October 6th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. He is a ‘wild card’ and is not associated with any left or right party affiliation.
He is running on financial accountability and wants the city on a firmer financial footing. On October 9th Brendan is releasing his platform, which will talk about alternative revenue streams. He wants people on the front lines of city services to be engaged, to get their feedback on how the city can save money.
He favors working with consultants to ensure an independent 3rd party perspective, and a long-term vision. “If we can spend a few extra dollars today to save us millions in the future we need to do that. Politics is often short sighted because we only worry about 4 years at a time.”
Running on Strengths, Background and Experience
Brendan Clark is a millennial yet will not run on that docket. He is running on his strengths, his background, and his experience. He is an excellent choice for city council, and has fresh ideas and approaches that are innovative, thoughtful, and quite outstanding.
His real estate knowledge will be valuable given the city’s capital budget of $90,308,062 which is “heavily focused on infrastructure renewal.” With the contentious St. Clair/Maltby development, he could be a key to resolving arguments and bringing consensus to council on this project.
Awarded the Most Prestigious Undergrad Case Competition (ICE) in 2016, where in the finals his team won unanimously as the winners out of the 5 groups that presented by Unilever’s executive team. They wanted a plan to increase Unilever’s personal product sales in Canada that included forming a partnership with Airbnb, Amazon, and Unilever. and his team delivered.
Working 16-hour days, Brendan and team “forecasted the entire financials and then created a presentation (that) was presented twice to alumni and teacher judges, earning a spot in the finals. I learned more in this week about how to collaborate and create a solution to an extraordinarily complex problem than anything else I have ever done.”
As a successful realtor, Brendan is aware of different development such as stacked townhouses, and laneway houses. He favors bringing more of that to Guelph. His business needs him to “discern people’s needs vs. wants to help them find a house that works for them but also stays within their budget.”
“I will bring this mindset with me to city hall when it comes to budgeting. From earlier business ventures I have been a part of I have done a lot of studying – both in theory and in practice – about the lean start-up method. I believe we can use this when we are looking at implementing new or changing existing programs. We need to start small and continuously tweak our processes as we grow these programs to get maximum efficiency and cost savings.”
Brendan stated, “I have seen lots of different housing options whether it be stacked townhouses, laneway houses, back-to-back townhouses, etc. that can all be used instead of always building multi-residential. I (know) what people are looking for in a new development as I have seen over 1000 homes with my clients. Seeing many new developments going up, whether it be in Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo or Toronto I have a good understanding of how not only to build a development but also a community which I think is very important especially for Guelph where I know there are a lot of concerns of maintaining that ‘small town’ feel and not ending up a major metropolitan center like Vancouver or Toronto.”
Brendan’s experience dealing with development and zoning while running his real estate business is clear he will take that background and apply it well in council decisions. He advocates making the process for creating accessory basement apartments more streamlined. His position addresses accessibility and housing issues we face. It would provide access to first time home buyers with rental income to get into the market and would supply added housing thus reducing the amount of dedicated rental condominiums.
Discussing this further Brendan commented, “As a young person that just bought their first house this past year I know how hard it is to break into the market. I think it is worth at least looking further into how we could incorporate tiny homes into new developments.” Brendan is a property owner, and feels he wants a voice how city council spends tax dollars.
A realtor on council makes sense. Guelph is inevitably growing and forecasted to reach a population of 169,000 by 2031. He supports new development and increasing commercial space available as the city grows.
The transit review is current, which Mayor Cam Guthrie confirmed will be in front of council next term. Brendan’s ideas to tackle the transit issues are innovative.
He sees a need to investigate the use of smaller buses dedicated to neighborhood routes, with more stops and bring access to residents to major amenities like grocery stores, and community centers. Brendan stated “These routes typically don’t need full size buses, so we can keep the investment lower by looking at buying smaller buses. I will also be an advocate for getting all day go service to Toronto and a direct route to Kitchener and Waterloo.”
Ward 4 Issues
On ward 4 issues Brendan wants proactive engagement and has been hearing there is little to none of his in his ward. “This is something I really want to change. It shouldn’t always be up to the residents to have to reach out to councilors to give their feedback on community issues.”
He plans to go door knocking in Ward 4 to meet constituents once chosen. There will be three email lists to sign up to. One on community events, and a monthly e-newsletter to get updates on what council is doing. Brendan will update ward 4 with major takeaways from council meetings and major changes within the ward. He will have a community engagement list to get feedback on major decisions (i.e. Hydro merger), allowing for polls to get real time feedback from residents. Brendan will be enacting to engage now disengaged residents. This will allow him to truly act in the best interest of the residents of the ward.
Brendan backs the return of safe and secure online voting commenting that “It is imperative to our democracy to make it as easy as possible to get as many people voting as we can”.
His idea to resolve the parking issues downtown is to implement an app like the one use by the City of Toronto, allowing residents to extend their parking time without the inconvenience of having to return to their vehicle and add more coin. This idea addresses accessibility issues for the elderly, and handicap and plain old life and scheduling issues we all have.
On downtown, Brendan likes the idea of an addiction and treatment facility to help resolve issues with petty crime, which he feels addiction is fueling this issue and these kinds of facilities are the first line in preventative treatment to keep our city safe.
Brendan is heavily involved is sports, so I asked what has sports, and playing on teams taught him. Brendan stated, “I have learned how to lead and work with a lot of diverse types of individuals. I have also learned that good leaders are able to ‘check their egos at the door’. It has also taught me how to stay calm under pressure.”
Although young, Brendan has proved his worth through his record of accomplishment, business background and work ethic. He relied on his own talents and personal drive to run a successful business, pay student loans, and buy his first home. He is doing it right. In the old days, they called it self-made.
He has what it takes to be a valuable and productive member on city council, as do other young candidates running. They are worth a look before you cast a vote.