In conversation with Dylan Chenier

The Journal sits down with municipal candidates for Sydenham District

Credit: 
Journal staff

Why are you running? 

I decided to run mainly because I felt both the Sydenham District and the students of Queen’s haven’t been properly represented over the past several administrations. I wanted to make sure students had a voice on council. I wanted to make sure people who were from a wide range of viewpoints had a view on council, and personally, I’ve been involved municipally over the past few years and running for council is a good way to put yourself out there. You get to meet people along the way and it’s a good stepping-stone into politics.   

What do you see as the most pressing municipal issue facing students? 

I think overall, the issue is students don’t feel they’re part of the Kingston community as a whole. City council needs to address that specific issue. A very specific issue is the nuisance by-law, [which] is affecting both students and citizens. That [needs] to be addressed immediately by the council and a more permanent solution is going to need to be found. So the two issues, one more broad and one more specific, need to be recognized immediately.  

How would you effectively manage town-gown relations? 

I would try and have a more open dialogue between student groups and city councillors of Sydenham, Williamsville, and in Portsmouth. I believe there should be dialogue between constituents, students, the councillors and people who live outside of Queen’s and within the community. I also think all councillors who have students within their district need to consult with the AMS and other student groups on campus to make sure that student viewpoints are properly expressed on council.  

What is your position on the University District Safety Initiative? 

I think there are some aspects of the Initiative that are very important. I think the idea behind the whole by-law is important, as its purpose is to ensure student safety. The by-law tries to address concerns for paramedics and first responders, [and] there’s some action to be taken there. I believe the current by-law’s pilot project is ineffective in some regards as it treats students as secondary citizens. 

How will you bring out the student vote? 

I’m glad to hear there is a polling station on campus. The municipality has made it very clear they want to make it very accessible for students to vote on campus. I’ve been doing many things, from talking at lectures, student centers, the ARC, the JDUC. I’m hopefully going to be organizing a pint and politics event, to energize students and encourage [them] to get involved.

What is your long-term vision for Sydenham? 

First of all, a stronger relationship between students and people who live outside the University, the long-term Sydenham residents, and second, the people at the University. Not only are they Queen's students, but they're residents of Kingston and I feel that all starts in first year because if you live in residence, you live in the Sydenham District.

What do you do in your spare time? 

In my spare time I am very involved in the local theatre scenes, so I've been volunteering with the Domino Theatre over a number of years. I like to act and direct, I also do some writing in my spare time. I also love sports. I'm an avid Gaels fan.  

If you had one final thing to say to students, what would it be? 

I think students are one of the most valuable assets this city has, and as someone who's grown up in this city and became a student, Queen's is such a unique place in Canada and I hope students have a sense of pride. I hope they have a sense of pride that they belong to the city of Kingston as well. One thing that I love most about the students specifically is the school pride.

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