Kitchener Votes Ward 8: Zyg Janecki
By Heather Abrey
Kitchener Post staff

Zyg Janecki, a former city planner, says the public doesn’t get to see most of the work he does because it happens largely behind the scenes.  When he is able to help a resident with an issue before it becomes major, it doesn’t come to council or make the news.

“I spend the majority of my time helping people work their way through city hall bureaucratic systems,” he said.  Janecki, who has represented Ward 8 for eight years, has spent 40 years working with municipalities in some capacity, first as a city planner, then as a consultant and finally as a councillor.

He has written bylaws, prepared agreements and facilitated zone changes, which he says makes him an asset to residents trying to get things done.

As a more established area, Ward 8 has few major issues, according to Janecki. Sidewalk infill has been an emerging point of contention in some neighbourhoods, including those on Glasgow Street, and Janecki says he supported residents, who had reasonable concerns.

With a quiet ward, Janecki mostly deals with city-wide issues and plans to continue making debt reduction a priority.

“My biggest concern is the huge debt that the city is in — $112 million, the worst in the city’s history,” he said, pointing to the economic development investment fund as a major cause. “The previous council put us into such huge debt . . . The council of the past term spent unwisely, as I see it.”

In his first two years as a councillor, Janecki didn’t support the city’s budget because of what he called “astronomical” increases in taxes and user fees.

During his time on council, the stormwater management fee was removed from property taxes and made into a user fee, which Janecki didn’t support.

“I didn’t support any user fee increases because they were way above the rate of inflation for all four years,” he said.

Janecki is critical of some of council’s spending and touts a personal policy of the city living within its means.

As an example, he points to Victoria Park — both the new washrooms and the park restoration.
“That was the Cadillac version of improvements to Victoria Park, albeit it is really nice, they could have done it for half the cost based on the recommendations of the consultants, and nobody followed that,” he said.

Janecki says he helped animate his ward by establishing a classic car cruise night in Belmont Village and continuing to build an existing cruise night on Highland Road.

He also facilitated the creation of a mural in Belmont Village and helped establish a new community garden in Gzowski Park.

“It was sold out instantly because there was a demand for it,” he said of the new garden, which officially launched this year.

For the past 17 years, Janecki has hosted a classical radio show, which airs on FM98.5 Thursdays at 9 p.m. He also plays KW oldtimers hockey and performs in the KW community orchestra as a violinist.
Janecki prides himself on upholding the city’s corporate dress code, pointing out that he wears a tie and jacket to all council and committee meetings, as well as when dealing with constituents.