Clifford Vanclief – Ward 1 Candidate Municipal Election Platform
I moved to Cambridge in 1986 when I was in Grade 6. I was lucky enough to live with an incredible family with 10 acres of land on West River Rd for a kid to explore freely.
I started High School at Southwood SS and finished at Glenview Park SS. From High School I enrolled at Conestoga College in the General Machinist Apprenticeship Program. In 1996 I became a certified Machinist and worked in that field for the next 5 years.
In spring of 2001 I met my wife Meredith Vanclief and we married two years later in 2003.
In the fall of 2003 we started The Hub Bicycle Shop Ltd and we choose the location of Queen St in Hespeler to call home for our business. We have established the business and managed many economic challenges in our 15 years of business.
We have three children Caiden, Chelsea and Connor who are actively involved in community sports and clubs such as Karate, Piano and Swimming. We are proud supporters of shop local and spending our money in our local community.
Why I am running for Council
I have been very involved in local politics here in Cambridge and I have been part of many City Advisory Committees, BIA, Boards and groups. I am currently the President of Active Cambridge. I have always believed in working together to achieve a great goal.
Cambridge is a very unique City with a huge potential to be destination in Ontario for businesses, home owners and tourism. We have all the qualities to make this City a leader in Ontario. I really want to be part of that change while preserving our small town community feel.
I have developed many relationships in the community that I believe will be helpful in moving Cambridge in the right direction over the next four years. I have also gained an extensive knowledge of what all residents of Cambridge would like to see.
I have witnessed Cambridge’s growth to where it is today. Our downtown spaces are not sitting empty, people are our using our trails and waterways. We are an economic strength within the Region and Southern Ontario. People do come here to visit, work and play. We still have some work to do to strengthen our existing attractions and to ensure developers, tourists and businesses want to settle here. We need to continue to support the growth that is happening and we need to make sure the next phase of growth aligns with the community at large.
Some areas we can affect change.
- Making sure our downtowns are safe – actual and perceived. I have heard it many times how unsafe people feel in our downtown Cores. We need to keep working on Police presence, Ambassador Program and other initiatives between business and Social Agencies. We have witnessed the formation of many community groups that have come to help our people. Cambridge has an incredibly strong community spirit and I believe we are able to change the perception we are unsafe. We need to ensure the Police are working to solve the issues of break and enter in our neighbourhoods, making sure hotspots are monitored and our homeless population has the tools to seek help. A great example of the change that is coming is the announcement for the Bridges to stop offering addiction services and to re-focus on the housing issues it was built to address.
- Continue the Riverbank Development. We have an incredible waterway (two actually) running through all four communities in Cambridge. My interest is to preserve the natural environment while making it more accessible for all to enjoy. There is so much potential to create a water friendly community. We can look at paddle boats in Riverside Park, Development of Milling St in Hespeler and continue with the Riverbank Development in Galt. Our waterways are a great tool in attracting tourists to visit our City.
- Continue on our efforts to get train service to Cambridge. We need quick and easy connections to Toronto and other cities whether it is for work or play. We need to work with Provincial and Federal partners to do be able to achieve this. Cambridge is long overdue for Go Service in and out of the City. In order to attract people and investors to Cambridge. We need to make sure the location selection will address the needs of the population today and the future. People are looking for alternative means of transportation and we need to continue to fuel that desire.
- Continue to offer many events that cater to all members of the community. There are a number of events that people come to from many other locations. We need to define a clear document for those wishing to start events and we need to support these initiatives. We have numerous untapped types of events to bring to Cambridge and we can continue to offer unique events and festivals.
- Continue to maintain and develop our trail system for all users. We have over 50km of trails to be explored, it is essential to continue to develop this trail system for our recreational uses.
- Develop areas of town that are vacant. There are numerous areas in town that could be used to develop into Condos, affordable housing, park space or other recreational areas. Again, we need to work with Provincial and Federal partners to seek out grants for these projects. We need housing, not just as rent to geared housing but we also need affordable housing for the middle class family. The real estate market is hot here, this means that houses sell fast and over asking price. This creates a barrier and shortage for the homeowner looking at the $250-$300k home. They are then left with an option to rent which will create a barrier for those who cannot afford to buy.
- Continue our work supporting small businesses in Cambridge. As a small business owner in Hespeler I recognize the work business owners commit to and to benefits they bring to our City. We need to continue and support all businesses in Cambridge. We must work with a three BIA to support the businesses in their core.
Homelessness, Opioid Crisis
Yes, we all see and know we have an issue currently happening in Cambridge just like it is happening in other Cities across Canada. In the early stages of this crisis I had many conversations with WRPS officers, City Officials, By law and others trying to figure this out. It seemed everyone was passing the fault to other agencies and governments. Finally the City Task Force was formed and the foundation was started to figure out solutions. It is not as simple as it seems. Through the great work of groups in town and the Task Force many programs started that helped to offset some of the burden of this.
The Region would like to put an SIS/SCS site at one of two locations in our downtown core. I personally DO NOT believe this is at all an acceptable location. As a Dad, Husband, Property Owner and Business Owner this is not the location to put it. There is so much at jeopardy by locating in either of these two locations. An SIS/SCS has to serve all those who are at risk of an overdose. I don’t believe a location near other Services will be of use to the user in a Suburban setting.
I believe in Harm Reduction because letting people die is not acceptable and I also believe with SIS/SCS that is only a small part of the equation. We need all levels of Government to come together with a solution that address all the issues that are attached to this Crisis. We need to really dig deeper into prevention, recovery and support. We are known as global leaders in technology, manufacturing, sports and the arts. I firmly believe we can again be a global leader in our approach to this.
The Provincial Government has put a hold on funding for SIS/SCS but we still need to keep planning and working on this to make sure we are ready when an announcement comes.
As a Councillor I will push hard to bring all levels of Government together to seek a two tiered solution to this. We have to work within the parameters of Public Health. Together we can continue to work on a solution. A two pronged approach needs to happen. We need to educate at a younger age and implement stronger barriers for younger generations to have the tools to steer clear of drug use. We need to take a hard look at where and how the opioids are affecting all people of Canada. This is not an easy job but we need to take a stance and stop the abuse before more harm is done to our population. This is not a change a City Councillor but we can look into the Federal and Provincial committees that oversee this.
No one has the solution to this and I am by no means an expert. There are a lot of Government layers on solving this issue. I am confident as a team we can figure out how we prevent addictions, support those addicted and keep our communities safe for future generations.
The light rail transit issue has again divided our community and as a councillor I would like to see all sides satisfied. We need transit alternatives moving forward into the future. As a bicycle commuter for most of my life and our family’s commitment to remaining a one car family LRT is a needed resource.
What I am afraid of seeing is the downtown core and business areas disappearing because they have been cut off due to lack of stops or access from pedestrians, vehicles or transit. I see the development potential for our City with LRT but I want to make sure that everyone is compensated fairly and or other options for route selection are fully explored.
As we enter Phase 2 for the route that will connect Kitchener to Cambridge we need to ensure the residents of Cambridge are getting return on our investment. We need to ensure the route will disrupt the homes in the area as little as possible. We also need to ensure the LRT will work. We still have not seen the trains up and running in Kitchener. Let’s make sure the system works and ridership numbers are working.
Sportsplex – Multiplex
We need to have a Sportsplex in town. We are behind the rest of Ontario and we have a huge opportunity to become a destination for Sporting venues. Of course this all takes money to build and if it is built right it will generate revenue from user groups. I would continue to see that we look at building one. Sport is so important to community. I would also look into updating and keeping our current facilities open. I know that will cost more to do but there are users who can benefit from them as not everyone can make it to one big multiplex.
Ward One Specific Items
- The entrance into Hespeler from Guelph Avenue, this has been an eye sore for too long
- Riverside Park Dam
- Speedsville Road from Royal Oak to Eagle – needs some clean up and speed calming
- A connector trail on North Mill Pond connecting two sides of the River.
- Continue to protect the rural and agricultural lands North of Hespeler and Blair/Preston
- Speed calming on roads coming into Hespeler (Guelph Ave, Fisher Mills, Cooper St)
As an elected Councillor I would work on your behalf for matters that are important to you. I will listen, I will research and I will communicate back to you any decisions that are made at City Council. Through 15 years of operating a retail business I have been able to learn the skill set of decision making. I may not always agree with decisions but they are made with the great good in mind. I can offer you the reassurance that your ideas, concerns and issues are heard.
Thank you for your time, I look forward to representing you at City Council