Old Grey MayorsJul 19, 2023
Episode 50: Geoff Lorentz
Former City of Kitchener councillor Geoff Lorentz joins Rob on the podcast. Geoff shares his thoughts on the key decisions that helped transform the downtown core, the challenges of working with teams across city and regional government, and the work to bring the Huron Natural Area to the community.
Episode 49: John Gazzola
John Gazzola has seen Kitchener and Waterloo Region grow over his 20 years as councillor for Ward 3 in the City of Kitchener. John joins Rob on the podcast to talk about watching the community evolve over his career, the creation of the Region of Waterloo, and how the city came to own its gas utility.
Episode 48: Former City of Waterloo councillor Tenille Bonoguore
Tenille Bonoguore's career and life has taken her from Austalia to Canada and back to Austalia again. She joins Rob on the podcast to talk about her transition from journalist to city councillor, bringing Open Streets and the Grand Porch Party to the community, and her work on the city's Vision Zero plan.
Episode 47: Former Waterloo city councillor Angela Vieth
Former Waterloo city councillor Angela Vieth joins Rob on the podcast to hear what inspired her to run for office, what is was like to win, and her advocacy for removing fluoride from the city's drinking water in 2010.
Episode 46: Cheryl Gordijk - From Wilmot to the UK and Back: A Journey in Public Service
Welcome to another episode of Old Grey Mayors with your host Rob Deutschmann. In this episode, we have a very special guest, Cheryl Gordijk, who will be sharing her inspiring story of love, adventure, and public service.
Cheryl takes us on a captivating journey as she recounts how she met her husband when he visited Canada, and how their love story led her across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom. Cheryl's journey took her back to Canada, where she found her passion for serving her community. She delves into her decision to run for council in Wilmot Township and the obstacles she overcame during her campaign and time in office.
Throughout the episode, Cheryl reflects on her accomplishments during her time on council and the initiatives she is most proud of. She shares anecdotes and lessons learned, providing valuable insights into the world of local governance and the importance of community involvement.
Join us as Cheryl Gordijk shares her remarkable story of love, adventure, and public service, and inspires us with her determination, resilience, and dedication to making a difference in her community. This is an episode you won't want to miss!
Episode 45: Angie Hallman
On this episode of Old Grey Mayors, Rob welcomes community volunteer extraordinaire Angie Hallman. From spray pads to Canada Day celebrations, Angie can be relied upon to help out her community in many ways.
Rob first met Angie when they were on the CityNews Kitchener Friday Four segment. In 2018, Angie decided to take the plunge and ran to become a councillor for Wimot Township. She was one of the triumvirate of women who balanced out the previous male-dominated council. Along with her two fellow councillors, the three were the first women elected in over 40 years to Wilmot Council. She served for one term and lost in her reelection bid in 2022. Angie joins Rob to share with us her experiences as a community volunteer and councillor.
Episode 44: Zyg Janecki
In this episode, Rob is joined by former Kitchener city councillor Zyg Janecki. Zyg worked in planning for the City of Kitchener for 30 years before moving to private practice. In 2006, he offered his experience skills and expertise to the citizens of Kitchener, but narrowly lost that election. In 2010, he ran again and was successful and was elected a councillor for Ward 8 in Kitchener. He was reelected in 2014, but lost his reelection bid in 2018.
Episode 43: Welcoming back regional royalty with Jean Haalboom
Jean Haalboom returns to the podcast for the third time to talk with Rob about her time in office, the importance of protecting geographical heritage, and more.
Episode 42: A story about getting a fresh baked bun and my friend Dave
Our latest episode features Rob telling the tale of bringing a new supermarket to Ayr—from the challenges of selecting a site to dealing with developers and grocery chains with conflicting ideas on what the community needed.
Episode 41: Bringing Mary Allen Park to life with Melissa Durrell
How hard can it be to build a new park?
Former Waterloo city councillor Melissa Durrell comes back to the podcast to share the stories and challenges of bringing a new park to the Mary Allen neighbourhood in Uptown Waterloo.
Episode 40: Up in smoke with Ken Seiling
Former Regional Chair of Waterloo Region Ken Seiling is back on the podcast. This time, Ken shares his thoughts on regional government reform and bringing the indoor smoking ban to Waterloo Region.
Episode 39: Concrete and corduroy roads - the hidden challenges for the ION LRT with Mike Murray
In the final part of the ION light rail transit trilogy, Mike Murray sits down with Rob to talk about construction challenges — from finding hidden concrete and corduroy roads underground to manufacturing delays for the trains themselves.
Part 1 - No small tasks with Mike Murray
Part 2 - Moving ION forward with Mike Murray
Episode 38: Moving ION forward with Mike Murray
Former Region of Waterloo CAO Mike Murray is back to continue the story of bringing the region's ION light rail transit system to life.
Episode 37: Talking Cambridge politics with Greg Durocher
Greg Durocher is a guy that Rob says he could chat with for hours. On this episode of the podcast, Greg shares stories from his time on the City of Cambridge council in the 1990s with insight and ideas for budding and current councillors.
Episode 36: Politics in the politics with Yvonne Fernandes
Yvonne Fernandes, former councillor for the Doon Pioneer Park Ward in Kitchener from 2010 to 2018, joins Rob for an interesting discussion about the dynamic around the horseshoe and the politics within the politics.
Episode 35: From local news to local politics with Melissa Durrell
Rob sits down with former Waterloo councillor Melissa Durrell to talk about her journey from covering local news to running for local office.
Episode 34: From the prairies to Waterloo — Karen Coviello's journey in municipal politics
Karen Coviello was a municipal councillor in Waterloo from 2006 to 2014. During her time on council, she was a member of the audit committee, a member of the Economic Development Advisory Committee, and Chair of the Finance and Strategic Planning committee for four years. She was also a committee member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, sat on the board of directors for Waterloo North Hydro was a board member with the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, was a board member of St. Mary's General Hospital, and was a committee member of the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation.
Because she didn't have enough to do, she was also a member of the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network. She was a professor in the School of Business at Conestoga College. She was treasurer and chairperson at Community Justice Initiatives. She had a regular column in the Waterloo Chronicle for a number of years, and among other endeavors, she co-chaired a group called Real Men Can Cook Waterloo.
With all that, it's safe to say that her most cherished community involvement is with the Waterloo Public Library, where she had a long term association including as Chair of the Board of Trustees. She is currently a vice president at Habitat for Humanity Canada and we're excited to have her on the podcast to share her more about her journey in municipal politics.
Episode 33: Revisiting the 1989 Elmira Uniroyal acquifier contamination with Gerry Thompson
It's an oddly forgotten part of Waterloo Region history. In 1989, there was a discovery of contaminants in the aquifers under the town of Elmira. Those contaminants were linked to a plant that was then Uniroyal Chemical. The contaminant was identified as the carcinogenic NDMA (nitrosodimethylamine) and it was in the town's only supply of drinking water. Gerry Thompson joins Rob for an insightful conversation on what happened when the contamination was found and what happened next.
Episode 32: No small tasks with Mike Murray
We've got Mike Murray back for the last episode of season 2. Mike came to the Region of Waterloo from private business in 1992. After having worked alongside municipalities, and realizing that he wanted to be one of those guys involved in making significant decisions impacting the community, he jumped right into the thick of it initially as the manager of engineering, planning, and water resource protection. He would go on to become the Chief Administrative Officer in 2004 and stayed in that position until 2020. During that time, he worked on many matters relevant to the development of the community. Some high profile projects included the region's resource water protection strategy and rural water quality program, creating the Waterloo Region Tourism Marketing Corporation and the Economic Development Corporation.
No small tasks considering you need to convince seven municipalities to come on board.
He shares his insights on the Syrian refugee resettlement program, the region's consumption and treatment facility, and, of course, the granddaddy of them all — the region's rapid transit system.
Episode 31: Bringing Toyota to the Region with Gerry Thompson
Rob welcomes Gerry Thompson back to the podcast. Gerry has a history of service in Waterloo Region that could fill many podcasts. He came to the Region to work as a transportation planner in 1973 and stayed with the Region of Waterloo in various management positions until 2004. The latter part of his time with the region was as the CAO, the chief administrative officer from 1991 until 2004, the big boss. He was here during the very early days of the Region, watching it grow to the dynamic and progressive municipal institution it's become today. During his time, he was involved in some of the biggest issues facing our region that included the first ever Regional Official Plan and the massive servicing project for the Cambridge Toyota plant in 1985.
Episode 30: Bob Williams - not an elected politician, he's dealt with a lot of them
This episode, Rob welcomes Bob Williams to the show. While Bob was not an elected politician, he's dealt with a lot of them.
He earned a doctorate in Political Science from the University of Toronto and then was a tenured professor at the University of Waterloo from 1971 to 2006.
His research and teaching interests included municipal government, Ontario politics, and electoral systems. Since his retirement from the University of Waterloo, he has been engaged by more than 35 municipalities to review and develop electoral arrangements. He has served on the Region of Waterloo municipal elections compliance audit committee from 2006 to present. They're the people that, among other things, make sure candidates don't overspend their campaign limits.
Episode 29: Next up on the podcast, Brian Bourke
Former City of Waterloo Councillor and current CityNews 570 broadcaster Brian Bourke joins us to talk about his time on council.
Episode 28: All the news that's fit to print with Bryan Stortz
Bryan Stortz returns to the podcast to talk about his time running the Kitchener This Week newspaper. This is one of our favourite episodes — full of great anecdotes about running a paper, local politics and the media, and more.
Episode 27: Tackling infrastructure challenges with Gerry Thompson
Rob sits down with former Waterloo Region CAO Gerry Thompson to talk about developing the central transit corridor, pushing the ION light rail transit project forward, and that A-word — amalgamation.
Episode 26: Working to solve community problems with Linda Terry
On this episode, Rob is joined by Linda Terry, a community organizer and former executive director of the the Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries. Linda has spent her career working to solve poverty-related issues including affordable housing, living wages, and age-friendly communities.
Episode 25: From engineer to CAO, catching up with former Waterloo Region CAO Mike Murray
Mike Murray joins Rob to share his journey from engineer to Chief Administrative Officer for Waterloo Region.
Episode 24: 7 secrets for electoral success with Bryan Stortz
Bryan returns to the podcast to talk about his time as an alderman for the City of Kitchener and shares his Seven Secrets for electoral success.
Episode 23: Growing a practice and a community with Don Travers
Joining us for his first appearance on the podcast is Don Travers. Don served on City of Kitchener council in 1979 and the Waterloo Regional Council from 1981 to 1989. A lawyer by trade, Don has made giving back part of his mission through support for many different community organizations. Don shares how he managed serving as an elected leader and growing his law firm at the same time.
Episode 22: Building community with Fauzia Mazhar
Our guest today hasn't held public office – yet. Fauzia Mazhar has been an active and vital member of our community for over 20 years. Fauzia has worked with The Working Centre, House of Friendship, the Kitchener Downtown Health Centre, and more. In part of one of our interview, Fauzia shares her and her families journey to Canada, how she got her start in helping people find work, and working with social support agencies and charities to help them support new Canadians.
Episode 21: Preserving Waterloo County history with Jean Haalboom
Episode 20: It take a township with Wayne Roth
Wayne Roth joins Rob on the podcast for the first time. Wayne was the Mayor of Wilmot Township from 1997 to 2010. During his 13 year run as Mayor, he oversaw a number of civic projects for the fast-growing township. Most importantly, the amazing Wilmot Recreation Complex and Aquatic Centre. On this episode, Wayne shares the story on what it took to build the complex – and how the township used some great financial sense to keep the project on budget.
Episode 19: The Pandemic Tapes with Bryan Stortz
Bryan joins Rob to talk about how the Region of Waterloo's emergency plan from the SARS outbreak in Toronto helped shape how the Region responded to welcoming Syrian refugees and the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Episode 18: Looking at child care issues in Waterloo Region with Jane Mitchell
Jane Mitchell returns to the (virtual) Old Grey Mayors studio to talk about two topics that have been top of mind for Waterloo Region residents in the last few months – daycare and conservation authorities.
Episode 17 - Kicking off season 2 with Bryan Stortz
We're kicking off season 2 with our good friend Bryan Stortz. Bryan recently retired after twenty years at the Region of Waterloo as Director of Communications. He sits down with Rob to share stories on the birth of the ION, negotiating to get GO train service and how he got into public service.
Episode 16: Digging into gravel pits with Todd Cowan
Todd Cowan returns to the podcast for another great episode. Last time he was on, Rob and Todd discussed casinos. This time, they're digging deeper to discuss the in's and out's of gravel pits in Waterloo Region.
Episode 15: Talking heritage protection and more with the awesome Jean Haalboom
Jean Haalboom was the first councillor elected to the newly created Doon Pioneer Park area in Kitchener in 1997. In 2000, she was elected to the Waterloo Regional council and ended her political career with 20 minutes to go before the deadline in 2014. Rob and Jean served as council together from 2010-2014 and worked together at the Grand River Conservation Authority. Haalboom has been committed to protecting our heritage long before it was "cool".
Episode 14: Ken Seiling talks police services in Waterloo Region
Former Waterloo Region Chair Ken Seiling makes his record third appearance on the show with a great discussion about police services in Waterloo Region.
Episode 13: Richard Christy
Rob welcomes Richard Christy back to the podcast to talk about his path to being Mayor of Kitchener.
Episode 12: Ken Seiling
We're joined by Ken Seiling (on a physically-distance safe Zoom call) for another great conversation with Ken Seiling.
Episode 11: Doug Craig
Doug Craig makes his record-setting third visit to the Old Grey Mayors podcast to talk Cambridge's place in the region, the size of Regional government and more.
Episode 10: Jane Mitchell
Jane Mitchell started her career in public service as a Waterloo Region District School Board from 1990 to 2000. She was then elected to the Region of Waterloo Council representing the City of Waterloo from 2000 to 2018. Jane was also the first women chair of the Grand River Conservation Authority from 2010 to 2015.
Jane joins Rob for a chat about how she got into politics, her experiences representing her constituents and the inner-workings of how things got done (and sometimes didn't get done).
Back in the studio with Doug Craig
In this episode, Rob talks with former Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig about taxes and infrastructure. Craig's focus is on how municipalities can't provide services and repair infrastructure when property taxes kept at or below rate of inflation.
You can't fight City Hall, but you can move it. Talking downtown Kitchener with Richard Christy
Richard Christy was mayor of the City of Kitchener from 1995 to 1997 and lead the city through the beginning stages of its downtown revitalization. Rob and Richard discuss that part of the city's history - plus how Richard got into politics, moving from Ottawa to Kitchener, and why he thinks the downtown malls of the 80s and 90s hurt local businesses.
Talking casinos and gravel pits with Todd Cowan
Rob is joined in the studio by Todd Cowan, former mayor of Woolwich Township.
The roots of The Working Centre with Joe Mancini
Rob is joined by Joe Mancini from The Working Centre. Joe and his wife Stephanie founded The Working Centre in 1982 as a response to unemployment and poverty in downtown Kitchener. Newly married and just graduated from St. Jerome’s College at the University of Waterloo, the young couple saw the potential for building a community of interest around responding to unemployment and poverty, developing social analysis and engaging in creative action.
Rob sits down with Brenda Halloran, Mayor of the City of Waterloo from 2006 to 2014 to talk about how she came to office, the Ralgreen Crescent dispute and more.
Rob talks with Ken Seiling who served as Chair of Waterloo Region from 1985 to 2018.
Long time mayor of the City of Kitchener, Carl Zehr, sits down with Rob to talk about the Economic Development Investment Fund's impact on the city's downtown and where Kitchener is headed now.
“The centre of a city is so important. It’s the heart that makes a city tick. If you don’t have a strong core, the rest will start to deteriorate. In the 80s and 90s people would say ‘I never go downtown, why would I do that?' That’s the point they weren’t feeling pride in their city, It was clear something had to be done.” - Carl Zehr
Former Wellesley Township mayor Ross Kelterborn as they talk about their history working together on the Waterloo Regional council and Ross's time as mayor.
Welcome to the first episode of Old Grey Mayors. To get things started, Rob talks with Doug Craig, former Mayor of Cambridge, Ontario. Doug talks about how he got into municipal politics, the building of the city's hall, and what's happening today with issues on the location of a new sports multiplex for the City of Cambridge.