Cambridge Times
By Bill Jackson
CAMBRIDGE – Pomp and circumstance ushered in a new term of city council this past Tuesday (Dec. 2), and following oaths of office, Mayor Doug Craig delivered his inaugural address, pushing an “aggressive” and “transformative” agenda to move Cambridge forward during the next four years.

“We need to deal with the traffic problems we have in our communities, especially on the 401, in our downtowns and in our neighbourhoods,” he said.

Working with provincial and regional governments to bring GO trains to Cambridge and build a southern bypass road is paramount for Craig, who reiterated plans to move forward with streetscaping projects in Hespeler and Preston cores, and transform Galt’s former post office into a digital library.

Craig also hopes to see the expansion of the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, which is proposing a new program he believes, will draw business to the city.

Additionally, the mayor, entering his fifth term, wants to see council play more of a role in addressing women’s issues.

“I suggest we make a capital donation of $25,000 to a place called Haven House over a number of years to help with its construction,” Craig said, alluding to the expansion of the local women’s shelter.

He also stressed the need to address the Riverside Dam in Preston by first finding out if it can be replaced.

“What can we do to reflect the wishes of that particular community?” he asked rhetorically.

It’s “aggressive” and it’s “doable,” new Ward 3 Coun. Mike Mann said of Craig’s agenda.

Mann liked the “three-pronged approach” to move away from what the mayor termed “who gets what” in each of the city’s core areas.

“We’re bringing the community together,” Mann said.

New council members said they were encouraged by what Craig had to say, including his agenda to get people back to the river with beautification and bridge lighting.

Ward 2 Coun. Mike Devine agrees that riverbank cleanup and improving access to Hespeler’s Mill Pond is greatly needed.

Ward 6 Coun. Shannon Adshade was excited about plans to look at the construction of a new multi-use sportsplex.

Yet, while new Ward 4 Coun. Jan Liggett supported most of what Craig had to say, she stressed council still hadn’t been asked its opinion.

“It’s called the mayor’s address for a reason because it’s about his hopes and wishes and dreams,” she said.

Liggett hopes to keep spending to a minimum to pay for much-needed infrastructure that she says is falling apart due to neglect.

Though Craig says more funding is needed from upper levels of government, Liggett said the city can’t depend on it and must pace itself when setting its priorities.

“It’s no different than a household,” Liggett said. “You hope you get a raise, but you can’t expect it.”

During his address, Craig also broached the idea of holding city council meetings on Tuesdays instead of Mondays, thereby allowing more time for the public process and preparation.

All four new councillors will get the lowdown on the inner workings of city hall through a series of meetings during the next two weeks – the first entitled “Municipal Politics 101” that gets underway today (Dec. 4) at 2 p.m.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of council will take place Monday, Dec. 15.

Regional council, including newcomers Karl Kiefer and Helen Jowett of Cambridge, will be sworn-in next week.




Waterloo Region Record

CAMBRIDGE — The feeling of Cambridge residents on a proposed biosolids plant here can perhaps be summed up succinctly by John Florence, a candidate for a regional seat representing the city.

“You’ve heard that old quote ‘waste not, want not,'” he said. “My opinion is biowaste, not want.”

A plan for a biosolids heat-drying facility at the Savage Drive Waste Management Centre in Cambridge was put off in 2013 after residents and politicians raged over the proposal.

Questions were raised about odour and traffic, and residents were frustrated about a perceived lack of public consultation.

Biosolids are what’s left after sewage is treated. The Region of Waterloo produces the equivalent of about 18 Olympic-sized pools of the stuff every month.

A plan for biosolids is expected to be back before regional councillors in early 2015.

For the most part, candidates seeking two seats on regional council in the Oct. 27 election won’t be raising their hands and asking that biosolids be shipped to Cambridge.

“If it comes back, (residents are) going to feel like now the election’s over, they’re going to bring it back,” said candidate Kurt Ditner.

Ditner said residents were soured on the idea after the first go-round.

Residents said they weren’t consulted and worried about heavy trucks hauling the sludge into their city. There were issues with mail-outs to inform residents of the plan and information nights.

Residents turned out in droves at a public open house after Cambridge was chosen as the preferred site.

Karl Kiefer said insufficient public consultation was a major contributor to Cambridge residents rallying against the proposal. He said residents don’t want the plant.

“I hope to be able to do something about it,” Kiefer said. “I would only be one vote but it’s got to be communicated … It’s no secret the communication flow between the City of Cambridge and the Region of Waterloo needs to be improved.”

Regional staff was asked to have another look at a biosolids master plan that recommended the heat-drying facility that would turn the cakelike material into pellets for fertilizer, soil additives or biofuel.

They were also asked to review the best location for the facility.

Candidate Helen Jowett would like the site selection options to be expanded beyond regionally owned land. She also would want to ensure the water table isn’t impacted.

“There are a lot of new ideas out there when it comes to biosolids and the new knowledge also brings new compliance which is better protection so I don’t believe that it’s a bad idea,” Jowett said.

Candidate Ron Koenderink said he’s in favour of dealing with all waste locally, but he’ll take his cue from the community.

“I’m not going to definitively state one way or the other where I want it and how I want it because my whole platform is based on co-operation and consensus with the municipalities and the townships to come to agreements, rather than override and overrule and stomp on one another,” he said.

Cambridge had been chosen in part because Waterloo residents protested the idea of putting the plant at the Erb Street landfill, staff said at the time.

It’s costing taxpayers about $4.7 million this year to truck biosolids out of town to be placed in landfill and spread on farmers’ fields in neighbouring municipalities.

The region’s plan was expected to cost about $60 million for construction, plus about $20 million in financing. An additional $150 million would have been spent operating and maintaining the site for 25 years. , Twitter: @DesmondRecord


Cambridge Times
By Bill Jackson

CAMBRIDGE – Candidates running to represent Cambridge on regional council agree the city needs more sway.

At a public meeting organized by the YWCA and Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries on Thursday (Oct. 16) evening at Wesley United Church, Preston resident Paul Robertson wanted to know what candidates would do to ensure Cambridge is no longer “dictated to” when it comes to issues such as light-rail transit and roundabouts.

Candidate Helen Jowett cited the “dysfunctional” relationship with an upper-tier government that “orders Cambridge around.”

Citing her background in human resources, Jowett said she’d worked to change relationships before and would try to do it at the regional level, if elected.

Responding to another question about how to increase the number of votes Cambridge has on regional council, Kurt Ditner said he’d work to increase the number of Cambridge regional councillors, from two to three.

The Galt resident, who formerly lived in both neighbouring municipalities of Kitchener and Waterloo, believes Cambridge is “grossly under-represented” on a regional council that needs to open better communication with city council “so they know it’s not a flat world.”

Including the mayor, Cambridge has only three of 16 votes on regional council, but is the second-largest of six lower-tier municipalities that comprise it.

“We’re certainly wanting and needing more representation at the region,” agreed candidate John Florence.

Returning to the double-direct form of governance, whereby some city councillors also sit on regional council, was discussed during a meeting between Mayor Doug Craig and Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ted McMeekin earlier this year.

Changing the number of votes Cambridge has on regional council or reverting back to the double-direct system that was abandoned back in 2000 would require the province’s intervention.

“Now having a representative on the provincial government, we are going to be able to have a lot of persuasion,” said Karl Kiefer, a longtime city councillor who is running for regional council in the upcoming municipal election.

Kiefer admitted Cambridge is often forgotten in the region’s plans but said the role of regional councillor is more complex than people may think.

“As a ward councillor, you’re also responsible for the whole city and as a regional councillor, you’re responsible for the whole region,” he noted, stressing that his longtime experience as a councillor and financial adviser proves he can do the job.

Candidates were also grilled on questions pertaining to poverty and the environment.

“Why can’t we stay within the cost of living?” Florence responded, citing the story of a local single parent who might be forced to sell his home.

Florence said local governments should make better choices between big-ticket projects such as Galt’s former post office, or building 100 townhomes for people in need of housing.

Jowett said she’d work to create better balance at the regional level and “de-red tape” developers.

Kiefer said working with upper levels of government on a national housing strategy is paramount to reducing waiting lists.

“We need to relax some of the bylaws so people can put an apartment in their home,” Ditner said.

In opening remarks, Ditner said he would commit to not make any more cuts to social programs, if elected to regional council. He also said he’d introduce a motion to quash planned, roundabouts on Franklin Boulevard.

Kiefer believes roundabouts are more cost effective, though while good in some places, not so good in others.

“What seems to happen is we’re forgotten in the plans.”

Fellow candidate Ron Koenderink did not attend the debate.


Helen Jowett

Waterloo Region Record

Regional councillor, Cambridge

Age: 54

Occupation: CEO

Educational background:  Certified Human Resources Professional, Certified Mediator, Masters in Business Administration.

Political background: Advocacy as a member and leader on Business and Community Boards to impact change at all levels of government: Governance Chair- Conestoga College; Governance Chair- Cambridge Chamber of Commerce; past Chair- Canada’s Technology Triangle; Vice Chair- Conestoga College; past Chair- Cambridge Memorial Hospital Foundation; past Chair- Junior Achievement; past President- Sunrise Rotary; past member of Prosperity Forum; past member of Barnraisers council.

How long have you lived in the city/town in which you are seeking office: Since 1964.

Facebook address

Twitter address:



Phone: 226-339-7096

Tell our readers about yourself: When our family immigrated to Canada from Scotland I was 4 years old. We learned to work hard and give to our community very young. I married my high school sweetheart and we raised our two daughters here. In 1994 I started a Human Resource Consulting firm and commenced my volunteer career with the Cambridge Chamber. I have enjoyed being invited to make an impact on the community and decided that this would be the next step for continued contribution to my community. Marc and I have two daughters Ashlee and Dani and two grandsons Caleb and Eli who are amazing and we feel truly blessed for our family.

What are the 3 issues that you believe need the most attention in your municipality (school board)? What do you intend to do about those issues if elected? Taxes, Infrastructure and jobs. I believe that taxation and service delivery must be looked at in new ways. The financial burden of the LRT will be very difficult for many. We must balance fiscal prudence with investment in infrastructure that we need and infrastructure that we want. Aging plumbing creating waste of water and money are a need. Convention centers are a want. We must tread carefully here. I hope to look for and advocate for jobs and investment for new and existing business. Business, Education and Government must collaborate going forward because the tax purse is shrinking and our needs are increasing in this growing community.

Do you have, or have you ever had a criminal record? No.


Cambridge Times
By MrKenn | SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 05:15 PM

What is your background with community involvement? Volunteer work, committees, boards, etc.?

Chair Canada’s Technology Triangle, Chair Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, Chair Junior Achievement Waterloo Region, Chair Cambridge Memorial Hospital Foundation, President of Sunrise Rotary Cambridge, Executive Vice Chair Conestoga College, Board Member Greater KW Chamber of Commerce, Member of Barnraisers, Prosperity Council and have sat on task forces through out the community Such as Waterloo Region Employment and Immigration. I have volunteered because i want to impact change in a positive way in my community.

What do you believe to be the role of a regional councillor in this two-tier municipal government?

The role as i see it is to steward the voice of the people i am to represent. To educate myself and provide transparent information so that taxpayers can make informed input to the community that they live, work, play in. I believe that as a responsible councilor it would be important to advocate for Cambridge in a meaningful and respectful way ensuring that the appropriate level of investment and fiscal prudence is achieved through governance of service delivery.

What skills, insight and/or ability would you bring to the table that would be most beneficial to the municipality as a whole?

I am a human resource professional with a passion for positively impacting our community through the power of people. As a business owner i care passionately about prosperity here. I understand budgets from small business to big government because of the leadership roles i have enjoyed contributing on and learning from over my career. As a professional mediator, i bring formalized devils advocacy around issues so that discussion is intelligent and thoughtful because relationships are important. I understand acutely that there are times in our community when we must collaborate with our regional partners and times when we must compete and we should transparently endeavor to do just that.

What three issues most need attention in the region? Why do you believe them to be the most important issues and how, if elected, do you propose to resolve them?

For me Taxation prudence, the debt load and understanding the demographic change that could result in less dollars for investment.

2. Infrastructure we need new ways of moving people around and living daily lives. We have aging systems (water pipes, roads, bridges, recreation facilities etc. This burden must be addressed in new ways. We must engage all levels of government in order to provide smart decisions that will not over burden tax payers.

3. Jobs. Through such avenues as economic development and planning, we need to harness interested investors and growing business in our community to help them attract and retain employees, capital investment and good governance that balances our need to plan and develop with our need to protect the natural beauty that is in Cambridge.

What do you propose to help attract/retain businesses in the community and create jobs?

I want to strengthen the relationships between government, education and business in Cambridge so that we can identify champions that will have a will do attitude for engaging foreign direct investors from all over the world and right here in Canada. I want to ensure that we find ways of ensuring that businesses right here in Cambridge get the support and encouragement they need so that they continue to choose Cambridge as the place to make products and deliver services in diversified sustainable industries.

Cambridge continues to experience growing pains – traffic congestion, new subdivision construction, facility needs, etc. – what can be done to address them?

I believe that we need to engage in more far reaching ways to transport people as Cambridge continues to grow. Technological advances are hard to keep up with. I agree with our desire to get Go Train into Milton. I hope that with the leadership changes in staff at the city they will look to other communities that are growing and see what would work for our unique city. There are new and unique ideas coming from intelligent communities everyday the trick is to find the ideas that work for us.


Interview with the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce

Why am I running? I have been passionate about my community for as long as i can remember. Running the business showed me how i could positively impact my community through jobs. Getting involved with other community groups broadened my perspective to other important aspects of our community such as social services, health care, education, community investment and local governance. While working on boards at a regional level i got to live first hand why we (Cambridge and the region) are successful and dysfunctional. I hope to impact the horseshoe positively with my business knowledge, communication skills and most importantly passion to serve because Cambridge Counts!

  1. Biggest issue facing the region and other municipalities in Ontario?

I believe that the most significant issue facing our region/ constituents and other sectors in Ontario is that of debt management.   Balancing investment with taxation prudence in a growing community will be difficult. We need all levels of government to get together and discuss new and innovative ways of investing in much needed infrastructure. Cambridge has the greatest opportunity for growth over the next few years and we must be intentionally collaborative and intentionally competitive in order to engage in smart growth. Encouraging people to come here is important so that we can continue the cycle of investment in our future.

  1. Big bold ideas… I want to be a champion and to contribute by way of my years of experience in human resources, entrepreneurship and leadership in a more impactful way.

Jobs are a critical necessity and people to fit into those jobs are critical. I want to remove barriers for new and existing business so that they can continue to encourage prosperous employment here in Cambridge. I intend on advocating for autonomy in our planning department, maintaining a strong voice in the newly created economic development organization. So we continue to get our share of new business opportunities that fit with our unique and distinctive community.

  1. My thoughts about the newly formed Regional Economic Development Strategy. Again, this is process it’s here we are committed to working with it for a specific amount of time as this was voted on and carried by all mayors and counsels this summer.

We did lose Maple Leaf and it was awful. While i was Chair at Canada’s Technology Triangle (CTT) we conducted a study and had to take a long hard look at ourselves… we need to do a better job of appreciating business existing and interested investors. The study revealed that regionally and municipally that we need to be more competitive with our attraction and retention strategies for business development and existing businesses. Investors and Entrepreneurs don’t waste time when they see opportunity and it’s just too easy to pic a community that will   SHOW THE LOVE. I want to ensure that we seize those opportunities and get them here in our community.

  1. The current structure which has regional council separated as a unity from the local municipality leaves Cambridge vulnerable as seen by the LRT decision and the denial of prorating for Cambridge. We only have 3 voices of the 16. They must be strong. We must be prepared to state our cases with impactful information. It is not simply a matter of process here. In my opinion it is about the incumbents. They cannot be arrogant and believe they know more than the people they represent and legislated to do so may not be the answer. The incumbent must realize their role is to either convince their constituents through transparency as to why they believe what they do and most certainly gain significant information from the people that are expected to pay for these decisions.
  1. Planning to me is a domestic necessity. In order to eagerly engage new business and support growth of existing business we must have our right to plan. I saw firsthand how the double approval system got in the way of opportunity. We should as a city have the autonomy to approve our own planning opportunities. Again, where there is investment there is jobs.. Construction to build, service to serve, finance to finance etc.
  1. To be a grown up community and interest others we need that airport to be viable. It has been a struggle to the tune of 6m annually. The noise issue is a problem because the airport is not busy/big enough to financially support appropriate governance i.e. Air traffic controller. There are a lot of unhappy constituents and we need to look at flight paths etc. If we want to grow this airport we must at least harness the already concerned people to solve issues because as the airport gets desirably bigger… we must also figure out how to deal with noise levels. I have talked to some of the homeowners they know we need the airport but they question the times and unexpected changes of flight paths. I understand Chris at the Airport is conducting info sessions to find resolve here but it will be complicated.
  1. I think the region could have done a better job of community building (region wide). Perceived fairness is a problem and I intend on advocating more inclusivity. Communication and transparency are really important to me. I am seeking the truth and I want to understand perceptions of truth. There have been times when I have disagreed with regional leadership but I do so in a respectful way. Questions are the way to change not statements.

We do gain by way of economies of scale and efficiencies through shared services. Relationships around the regional table are good when there is agreement. I believe in formalized devils advocacy so much so that everyone is talking about impact of decision making on everyone from every angle before we vote. Conflict and diverse opinions are important for finding the way through the complexities of consensus building, collaboration and even competition. Technology today should afford us a better way of reaching out to our constituents on important issues. Thank you for the time Greg, and terrific folks at the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce! For further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Helen Jowett 226-339-7096

Region must attract new business

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 9.41.25 AM

Councillor calls on Technology Triangle to focus on business retention — Feb. 18

The statement by Waterloo regional Coun. Sean Strickland that business retention should be the No. 1 priority in Waterloo Region represents an important part of the equation for economic success.

However, attracting business is also paramount to prosperity and growth.

While each municipality has its own economic development department mandated with retaining business, the mandate of Canada’s Technology Triangle is to attract foreign direct investment: investment from outside the region. Our responsibility is to engage and invite investors to consider our region. Once we have attracted that interest, our region must respond with readily available resources such as talented employees and land.

Strickland’s suggestion that we focus on business retention has merit; it’s vital to keep businesses happily ensconced in our community. Their decisions to leave, though, are often sadly out of our hands.

The departure of Maple Leaf Foods (formerly Schneider’s), for example, was predetermined, non-negotiable and entirely driven by economic factors well beyond local control. The same could be said of the downsizing of BlackBerry, affected by domestic and global issues over which Waterloo Region is and will always be powerless. It is short-sighted to sit on our laurels. When any one organization leaves, another from outside the Region should already be aware of us and actively considering locating here.

For that reason and others, places east and west of us are wisely ramping up their competitive strategies. For example, the Greater Toronto Metropolitan Area has an organization similar to Canada’s Technology Triangle and it is seeking up to $7.6 million to focus on foreign direct investment. The foresight and preparedness of the Greater Toronto Metropolitan Area and others could well leave Waterloo Region behind.

Foreign investment assists with foreign companies bringing us both foreign innovation and talent. That, too, provides huge benefits to our valued existing businesses. Think of Google. Think of Toyota, and Rimowa.

I believe that less than one seventh of the overall economic development budget is not going to allow us to compete going forward. A longer range view of balancing both attraction and retention initiatives are keys to Waterloo Region’s ongoing economic health.

Helen Jowett

Chair, Canada’s Technology Triangle


Chamber Chat

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 9.32.15 PM

Greg Durocher sits down with former Chair of the Chamber Helen Jowett to discuss business and her candidacy for the October 2014 municipal election as Regional Councillor for Cambridge. Everything from Human Resources to Economic Development, interesting discussion with a great leader of our community.

Cambridge Counts @ Regional Council

The Grand River through Downtown Cambridge
Cambridge – Helen Jowett is pleased to announce her candidacy for the position of Regional Councillor, representing Cambridge on the Council of the Region of Waterloo, in the municipal election to be held on October 27, 2014.

Ms. Jowett, president and CEO of McDonald-Green Inc., a Cambridge-based human resources consulting firm she established in 1994, believes that the time is right for her to accept the challenge that would encompass a meaningful participation at the political level. “This has been something that has been on my radar for quite some time”, says Ms. Jowett, “It’s time to step up in the community in which I’ve lived my life, to make a positive difference for the future.”

Ms. Jowett has participated on many boards and task forces throughout the community. These include:

Citizens Advisory Committee on Council Compensation – Chair
Conestoga College, Board of Governors – Executive Member
Prosperity Forum Waterloo Region – Member
Barnraisers Waterloo Region – Member
Canada’s Technology Triangle – Chair
Cambridge Chamber of Commerce – Past Chair
Chamber Of Commerce Greater Kitchener-Waterloo – Past Chair
Cambridge Memorial Hospital Foundation – Past Chair
Sunrise Rotary Club – Past President
Junior Achievement Waterloo Region – Past Chair

Says Ms. Jowett, “I have been fortunate enough to play a part on many boards throughout the community and feel it’s time I set my sights on political engagement. Over the years I have been involved with political decisions and task forces that have afforded me some important insight into the operation of regional politics. I will rely on this experience, plus 20 years of operating a local business in our great community, to help it achieve its full potential. I am passionate about this region and have nested and invested here. I am looking to contribute and represent a holistic composition of business, leadership, community organization, education and constituents.”

Helen Jowett, campaign Office is located at:
215 Holiday Inn Drive, Cambridge, ON N3C 3T2
Tel: 519-654-9388 Cell:519-240-7575