Ward 3 Councillor Candidate Responses to SHN Questions

Ward 3 Councillor Candidate

Laura Farr

There are many reasons people run for office. For me, it's not about seeking higher office, or being at the top of the mountain. I have worked for ten years helping people at City Hall while working for all of our elected officials. To me, being a Councillor is about the things that most people don't want to have to worry about - that the roads are in good shape, the water is clean, the garbage is picked up, the parks fun and property taxes are kept low. It's about what matters. And that is why I am running to be your Ward 3 Councillor.

Some of my favourite places in Ward 3 include Gage Park, the Rail Trail, Woodlands Park, the Westinghouse Offices, and the many small businesses in historic buildings such as Hendry's Barbershop and the Cannon Coffee Company.

A huge priority for me is ensuring that our recreation facilities are invested in for the long term, as well as balancing that with our infrastructure needs. As we help encourage smart growth and development, we can address these needs.

Specifically, what are your priorities for infrastructure and facilities investment? What would you propose to ensure these are addressed?

Planning and Development are important to me as over the years I have helped many people with 'square peg-round hole' issues with obtaining building permits, zoning, business licensing, and bringing the people together to solve it together.

I have been fortunate to work across the city as a whole for the last ten years, and much of the perceived or actual tensions can be overcome by listening genuinely and communicating better. It isn't ward vs ward, or community vs community. We all largely want and need the same things.

How will you approach the challenge of navigating (actual or perceived) tensions between the interests of Ward 3 and the City as a whole?

I will continue to be responsive as I have as an assistant to our municipal Elected Officials by phone, email, facebook, twitter, in-person, and will also host a town hall meeting each month rotating to each neighbourhood. I will also attend all community group meetings and continue to work with them, as well as donate a portion of my salary towards each hub for use at their discretion each year.

How will you communicate, stay in touch, and be responsive to the people in Ward 3? What sorts of relationships do you expect to have with community groups?

It is important to recognize and understand privilege and unpack that while understanding the historical lenses of decision making. I will, as I have always done, be an ally and voice for all - using my privilege to do so, and giving space for other voices to also speak.

How will you engage with and address issues such as classism, racism, oppression and privilege?

We need more programs for youth and seniors, and more accessibility for everyone. We need to be flexible and innovative in our solutions and use the assets we already have in our communities to address this.

Specifically, what are your priorities for social and economic programmes? How will you ensure that these priority areas addressed?

My superpower would be to add more hours to the day, and I would be ChronoWard3is!

Bonus* if you were to find yourself stuck in a mutagenic yet fortuitous puddle of phosphorescent ooze and would emerge with a superpower of your choosing, what would it be? and what would you call yourself?

I am in a unique position having worked with all of the Council over the last ten years. It's about openly and honestly building those relationships so we can all work together.

What are your thoughts on the sometimes adversarial nature of municipal politics and its effect on council function? How will you negotiate that environment?

I bring my 18 years as a city staff member and 10 years of working at City Hall for all of our elected officials. The first Councillor I worked for was Bernie Morelli who taught me to do whatever I could to help whoever was calling. I genuinely care about our community, and you can trust I will find a way to solve the problem as I have been for 10 years.

What knowledge, skills, perspectives, or experiences would you bring to the role of councillor?

I have always been someone that thinks and ties things together in different ways. One of my biggest priorities is listening and responding to the residents in our community, while also understanding how things work city-wide. For example, we could easily require vacant buildings to have phone numbers displayed and incentivize them being used.

How will you be innovative? What are your new or fresh ideas for the city?

Why did you decide to run for council this term?

What are your favourite Ward 3 Assets?

What are your primary areas of policy interest, and why are these important to you?

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