Jeff knows leaders work best when they work with others. As only one vote on Council, Jeff has had to build consensus and support among his colleagues for decisions that strengthen our city. And since a city is only as strong as the community behind it, Jeff believes in working with residents and neighbourhoods to build a vision for the community we want and to find the right support to make it happen.
He knows there is still so much to do, including more affordable and moderately priced housing, on funding a responsible and affordable infrastructure plan, and on safer sustainable transportation and more sustainable city facilities.
Outside of Council, Jeff worked at the University of Waterloo with students, staff, and faculty on academic integrity and leadership development while earning degrees in computer engineering, political science, and planning. He also has a long history of community service in Waterloo, including as board chair guiding our local Canadian Mental Health Association branch through a merger with another organisation to provide better service for some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
Jeff lives in Ward 6 with his wife, Kate, and their new baby, Finn.
As a new parent, he is more committed than ever to making an even better Waterloo for our children, for our grandparents, for all of us.
Over the last eight years, Jeff has worked hard to support neighbourhoods across Ward 6 and build a more inclusive and sustainable Waterloo. Jeff’s accomplishments include:
Building a Better Northdale
Jeff has worked with residents and stakeholders to design, approve, and execute a new plan for Northdale. Responding to decades of deteriorating rental houses and an unattractive wall of five-bedroom apartment units along the neighbourhood edges, the new plan changed how developers were building for the better.
Today, Northdale is an increasingly diverse mixed-use community of coffee shops, medical clinics, and restaurants with better urban design and a broader range of housing types. Jeff has worked with city staff and landowners to secure new mid-block walkways and use developer-funds to purchase land for new parks. He also pushed for an award-winning neighbourhood-wide streetscape strategy, the first of its kind in Waterloo, to reorient streets from cars toward pedestrians and cyclists. Jeff is looking forward to the design process for the new parks beginning this fall and is working with staff at the city, Wilfrid Laurier University, and the Waterloo Region District School Board in the early stages of planning a new neighbourhood hub around a revitalized and accessible WCI.
Protecting Renters Across Waterloo
Jeff fought for the safety of renters and the needs of neighbourhoods, supporting a rental housing licensing by-law in his first months on Council. He has also brought staff and neighbours together in living room meetings across the ward, helping the city work hand in hand with communities to ensure compliance.
Five years later, nearly four thousand rental units are licensed allowing renters to live safely in their homes without fear that their property is dangerous for them and their families.
Through the licensing process, hundreds of illegal conversions, unpermitted construction, electrical defects, and fire code violations were detected. While enforcement activity mostly led landlords to bring their units into compliance, we were sometimes forced to lay charges, securing hundreds of convictions. Jeff will continue to work with staff and neighbourhoods to put education and enforcement front and centre because there are still some unlicensed units out in the community and too many renters and landlords who are still unaware of their rights and responsibilities.
Supporting Strong Neighbourhoods
Jeff was an early supporter of the neighbourhood matching fund, which is building community capacity through dozens of neighbourhood-led projects across the city by providing matching funds. Jeff supported the initial pilot project then worked to grow the fund and make it a permanent part of the city’s budget. He also supported the city’s new neighbourhood strategy, voting to kick-start the new micro-grant program now rather than wait for another two years before supporting neighbours in turning their ideas into reality.
Jeff has also helped several Beechwood homes associations navigate city hall as they implemented their plans for safety and fiscal sustainability at their local neighbourhood facilities. Many Ward 6 neighbourhoods have covenants requiring residents to fund private pools and tennis courts, a number of which have expired or will expire in the coming years. Jeff has supported streamlining the special services levy application process, including clarity around the level of support required from residents for Council to approve those levies.
Some associations have also been dealing with safety issues due to parking problems near their facilities and along their streets. Jeff worked with the neighbourhoods and the City to implement parking restrictions to support safety in Beechwood North and Beechwood Park, as well as extending restrictions on The Lions Gate, Longfellow Dr, and Mohawk Ave.
Completing Clair Lake
After nearly a decade of conflict and construction, the completion of the Clair Lake project restored a critical part of the community. Jeff was honoured to work with neighbours on the Clair Lake Citizen’s Task Force to bring this project to a successful conclusion. He has also worked with Council to ensure our stormwater utility has enough funding to dredge sediment more frequently and with less disruption in the future both at Clair Lake and at stormwater ponds across the city.
Jeff was also thrilled to support the extensive efforts of Jennifer, Hilary, Elana, and their neighbours to build a new playground on the south side of Clair Lake. After meeting Jennifer at her door in the last election, Jeff got city staff on board, confirming that this area was playground-deficient and that the city would build and maintain a new community-funded playground on public land for generations to come.
Expanding Transportation Choices
With more people living and working in Waterloo, Jeff knows that we can’t build our way out of road congestion. Instead, he has championed creating real transportation choices for residents across the city to help more families make the choice to give up that second car or, like his own family, to go car free.
Over the last eight years, this focus has rehabilitated the Laurel trail, built the Spur Line trail, expanded the Central Promenade, and created safe multi-use trail crossings of Highway 85 on King and Lexington. Jeff has been a strong supporter of infrastructure that separates drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, reducing conflicts on our roadways that will encourage more people to try active transportation. His advocacy was critical to the Region choosing separated cycling lanes on the expansion of University Avenue between Erb St. and Keats Way, which began a larger conversation at Regional Council about how best to expand separated cycling infrastructure across the Regional road network.
Fixing our Infrastructure
Jeff understands that our infrastructure supports the high quality of life we have come to expect in Waterloo. He worked with city staff to develop an award winning asset management system, which provides a detailed understanding of our community’s infrastructure gap and helps us optimize every dollar we spend to fix it. Jeff successfully advocated to increase the amount of new tax revenue from growth that goes to infrastructure and to change how we manage our reserve funds to maximize every dollar we have. This work has laid the groundwork for an important conversation about how we will close the infrastructure gap in the next term of Council – how far should we go, and how fast can we afford to get there.
Protecting our Environment
Jeff knows that cities have a critical role to play in fighting climate change. At the same time, he knows we must also plan for more extreme weather. Jeff supported our first community greenhouse gas reduction target and voted for energy efficiency initiatives that allowed the city to meet its own 2020 corporate targets years ahead of schedule. He is proud to have been an early supporter and proponent of evolv1, Canada’s first net-zero energy multi-tenant office building, right here in Waterloo.
To reduce flooding in extreme weather, Jeff supported sustainable funding for fixing our stormwater ponds and creek system as well as a rebate program for residents and businesses that reduce and clean their stormwater runoff. He also worked with staff to advance the restoration of Silver Lake in Waterloo Park and fix Maple Creek, protecting homes on Thorndale Place and improving water quality.
More Affordable Housing
Jeff believes that everyone should be able to find a safe place to live in Waterloo that they can afford. While the Region of Waterloo is responsible for creating, supporting, and connecting people with lower incomes to the deeply affordable housing they need, he knows the city has an important role to play.
Jeff has supported funding to offset development charges at three deeply affordable housing projects in the city. He also secured $500,000 from developers to create an affordable housing fund the city can use for future projects. Jeff has also supported land use policies that encourage a broader range of housing sizes and types to be built across the city, providing more options for seniors to stay in their neighbourhoods as they age and for younger people to move in.