Peter Stroud says he was inspired to run for City Council after the November OMB decision that ensured that his district —Sydenham — would continue to exist.
Stroud said he made the decision to run the day after the OMB appeal because it made him think about what would happen if his home district ceased to exist.
“I was motivated to the appeal for self-defence or self-preservation and now I feel like what’s happening is a movement has begun,” Stroud said, “A movement where permanent residents and students are working together for the first time in my lifetime.”
Stroud said his connection with Sydenham District runs deep.
He was born in the district — his mother walked to the hospital, which he says is foreshadowing of his activism for walkable and bike-able neighbourhoods — and he attended Queen’s during his undergraduate years.
Stroud said that he started considering the future of the community where he was raising his children after his son was born in 2008.
“I went from the big picture to the smaller and smaller and now I can’t imagine doing anything but very local things,” Stroud said. “That’s what I love about this campaign, I can have an effect on my very own neighbourhood.”
Stroud said he sees improved student-resident relations as the “holy grail in the history of downtown Kingston.”
He also appreciates the movement within the AMS, especially the Municipal Affairs Commission (MAC), to move towards a more positive attitude in the community.
“They’ve basically got a great culture of activism there at the AMS … I’m not the only on the permanent resident side of the fence that’s noticing,” he said.
Stroud said that there have always been students acting out when they go to university, but that the negative discourse coming from the politicians and residents has grown in recent years.
He said he believes that the change in attitude and relationship between students and residents needs to happen at a grassroots level, he said.
“I don’t see the generational divisions as being important,” Stroud said. “What I see is a common cause and that is harmony in the district, harmony in the neighbourhood and an end to the name calling and the fighting and the disrespect coming from both sides.”
Many of the issues that students feel the city isn’t addressing, including snow ploughing in the university district, the one bag limit on garbage and safe ways to access the Isabel Bader
Centre for the Performing Arts area affect permanent residents as well, he said.
Stroud said he keeps up with student issues by reading online media and speaking with student groups. According to him, he has a list of clubs and student groups that he is planning to contact to speak with students about their issues and his campaign.
He added that whatever candidate is elected as the Sydenham councillor, he hopes that he or she has a student mandate to bring to the table.
The “student bashing rhetoric” at City Council would be harder if there was a councillor with a student mandate in the room, he said.
“Civic responsibility is one of the most important things [students] can possibly learn,” he said. “Engage students, you have the chance to fix the city. If you don’t engage students we keep going down this circular path bashing each other.”
Peter Stroud will be running for the Sydenham district seat at city council in the upcoming municipal election. Paul Schliesmann/The Whig-Standard/QMI Agency
KINGSTON – Peter Stroud wants to bring a positive approach to city politics in his campaign run for the council seat in Sydenham district.
“It’s damaging when it generates into negative comments and unhelpful dialogue,” said the Kingston-born nurse and father of three. “I’m in a caring profession. I’d like to bring a caring approach to city council.”
On the hard policy side, Stroud is particularly concerned about urban densification in the Sydenham area and trying to balance the housing needs of students and permanent residents alike.
He believes the large apartment project approved to replace five houses on Johnson Street, soon to be challenged by neighbours before the Ontario Municipal Board, doesn’t fit the neighbourhood.
“I think planning committee needs to take another look at that project,” he said.
Stroud has taken on advocacy roles recently – campaigning against bringing a casino to Kingston, as a member of Save Our Schools to keep Kingston Collegiate open and as part of the Sydenham district association fighting the electoral boundary changes that would have eliminated the ward.
An intensive care nurse at Kingston General Hospital for the past eight years, he has travelled the world to become fluent in six languages – English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German – with a “sketchy” understanding of Russian.
“I always come back to Kingston,” said Stroud, who was born in Sydenham district.
He believes councillors should maintain an open mind, clarity of purpose and listen to city staff and constituents.
“Bickering amongst neighbourhoods is not helpful,” he said.
“I would like a seat at the table to be part of the dialogue about what’s best for everyone in the city. The people of Sydenham tend to have a social conscience and want the city to work as a whole.”
Report drums up plea for public input
Monday, March 5, 2012
The Kingston Health Coalition had a clear message for Kingston and The Islands MPP John Gerretsen at a rally outside his Bagot Street office: give taxpayers input into the recently released Drummond Report.
“Mr. Drummond made a lot of recommendations in his report,” said Peter Stroud, coalition member and local community activist. “It is a lot to digest, but we need to show Gerretsen that we want to have our say.”
The February 17 rally protested privatization of Ontario’s health care system and called for public hearings into the Drummond Report’s 362 recommendations.
The report, prepared by economist Don Drummond and released February 15, proposes cuts to trim Ontario’s $16-billion deficit. About one-third of the recommendations relate to health care. Sweeping changes are also being recommended in education, social programs and the environment, among other areas.