Ken Wood

BIO

I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and raised in a working class family (2 brothers, 2 sisters ). My father worked shift work in maintenance for Air Canada for several decades and my mother was a homemaker who taught me to bake and to have a sense of humour about life.

I went to university in Winnipeg and Montreal, graduating with a Bachelor Degree in Political Science and Psychology. I also completed about 2 years in Social Work at York University. I spent about 30 years in computers (I.T.), both in operations and management, and was employed by small and large companies. I also worked for about 8 years in Human Resources and as an independent employment consultant. When I became disabled, I volunteered on the Board of Directors for several non profit organizations like Daily Bread Food Bank, Humane Society, Mainstay Supportive Housing. I also volunteered with Free Geek Toronto as their Executive Director.

I have lived in several large and small cities: Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto, London, Guelph and Hockley Village and have always taken an interest in my local community. I settled in Stratford in November, 2014 as my chosen city for retirement because of the natural beauty and because I am a Shakespeare loving geek.

Since coming here, I have helped with fostering cats for Feline Friends Network and have advocated for animal welfare changes. I was also on the city’s advisory committee for a comprehensive animal bylaw review. From the moment I arrived I took a keen interest in City Council and attended numerous meetings and engaged all incumbent councillors to learn about how council operates, to suggest ideas and improvements and to start conversations to engage citizens. I am supportive of Barry Wick’s advocacy for a Homeless Resource Centre as I believe no member of our community should be left behind.

I hope to help keep all that is good about Stratford while helping to resolve issues brought up by citizenry. I promise to be accessible and listen to your concerns. Please support me.

CONTACT INFO

www.facebook.com/voteKenWOOD

Each Candidate was asked to send a bio, photo and to respond to the ten questions below with a limit of 75 words per answer. We have identified any truncated content with “...[]” Please feel free to reach out to each candidate for more information.

RESPONSES

1. Over the last five years, how have you contributed to the City of Stratford (volunteering, boards, etc.)?

Volunteered with Feline Friends Network, on the city advisory committee for animal bylaw review, attended (numerous) city council meetings, kept people advised of happenings via social media (Facebook). Reearched city issues like Transit, Affordable Housing, Cooper Site, etc and shared findings with community. Advocated for change and improvements wherever I could. Took advocacy training at the Local.

2. What do you believe your unique contribution will be to council (strengths)?

Good research skills, strong awareness of community concerns, ability to come up with new fresh ideas to resolve issues, understanding of how various government levels work, willingness to stand up for what I believe in and do not fear to speak out. I value honesty, integrity and transparency and believe in democracy.

3. What would you like to see achieved over the next four years (be specific)?

Change the way citizens can engage with city council; make it easier for citizens to be heard, to be engaged BEFORE things happen in enough time to respond; reduce red tape; Improve TRANSIT: establish sensible routes so it will be on time, increase ridership, improve communications to riders; Cooper Community Hub: Protect building by installing solar powered roof (transparent hopefully) and get seniors’ centre operational; solidify building plans; Affordable RENTAL Housing: Get more built!; Improve...[]

4. What committees do you see yourself sitting on and what experience qualifies you for that committee?

Cannot answer this, as it will depend on who else is on council and what their skills are. I would hope those with best experience would sit on that corresponding committee. I can tell you I’d like to be on committees that deal with TRANSIT, AFFORDABLE HOUSING and ROADS. But it is possible committee names and responsibilities may change with a new council.

5. What means of transportation are you using in the city, and/or in and out of town and what improvements do you recommend?

Walking primarily, often must use Transit buses and sometimes taxis.

Rarely go out of town. Improvements?

Walking = we need more benches around town, clearly, given high senior population. Also need drinking fountains and shade especially in Market Square.

Better transit = on time sensible schedules and routes; improve ridership communication (led arrival screens, apps); improve rider comfort (more shelters, benches); increase service times.

TAXI = need a full review of all transportation modes; require sufficient taxis at...[]

6. Describe what you believe the Cooper Site should look like in 10 years?

FINISHED! It’s ridiculous it has gone on this long, so construction needs to be completed. First step should be to establish a revenue anchor for the city, likely residential apartment rental housing (that is truly affordable) and possible place for business to lease in Community Hub main building (eg coffee shop, retail that is appropriate). Have a multi-level parking garage to gain revenue. Within 10 years it should have:

(year round use) Seniors Center, Youth...[]

7. What are your objectives with respect to housing and how do you expect to accomplish them?

Truly affordable RENTAL Housing (30% or less of person’s income) which means priority builds of new multi story apartment buildings. City needs to offer significant incentives for developers to build that, things like permitting higher levels and densities (outside downtown core), reducing development/permit charges, sell land at low or even no cost, etc. In our many single family homes, encourage apartment unit construction by grants and zoning changes. Lobby provincial and federal governments for...[]

8. If elected, what three steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing?

  1. Continue to pay down current city debt as appropriate
  2. Be careful on the projects we choose to spend on (need versus wish)
  3. Nothing wrong with financing needed infrastructure by taking out loans when the times are right and always…
  4. Make sure we apply for all the grants from other levels that we could!

9. How will the new provincial legislation with respect to conflict of interest on municipal councils, coming into effect January 2019, hinder your effectiveness on council?

NOT AT ALL. I have no financial interests or partnerships with anyone here and do not expect to. I am a retired senior on low income pension and also do not belong to any partisan party. I am about as neutral as you could find.

10. How will you encourage youth engagement, retention, re-attraction and skills development?

  1. By asking youth themselves and listening to any research already done, and continuing to involve them.
  2. I am hearing a need from youth I have spoken to for more variety of entertainment, like the ‘Launch Pad’ in Hanover https://www.yatc.ca/

Youth will always want to check out the big city and we are not that. But to have them come back, we need the right jobs here. Continuing to get a diversity of...[]