Maryssa Barras has a passion for community building and community connectivity, arguing that happy, healthy communities are dependent on the health and design of the places in which they live. Waterloo is an energetic place which, through radical and imaginative policy change, Maryssa feels has the means to become a leader in pedestrian, cycling, and climate leadership in Canada.
As a reflection of her passion for community, Maryssa is also a firm believer in the power that municipal governments play in maintaining, or improving its citizens quality of life. Far from being reserved, Maryssa is ready to be a vocal council member who will actively propose radical solutions to urban problems, including studying the potential benefits of seasonally or permanently pedestrianising key streets, advocating for the installation of e-bike charging stations and secure bike storage, advocating in favour of increasing tree cover in urban areas, and advocating in favour of prioritising development projects which adapt or re-use existing buildings rather than demolition – a climate policy which the Zero Net Carbon Collaboration and Climate Heritage Network have published research on.
In addition to this, if elected Maryssa is firmly committed to working with community groups to find inventive solutions to make much needed and urgent improvements to social infrastructure by, for example, continuing efforts to address the worsening opioid crisis by collaboratively developing and funding programs identified as being needed by advocacy groups to support people with addictions, advocating to re-allocate funding currently spent on policing unhoused people to housing and social services, and working to strengthen health care infrastructure to help counteract healthcare defunding policies being proposed by the provincial government.
Maryssa is running for Ward 4 with a core philosophy that no election should be uncontested, and that seeing a spectrum of candidates on a ballot is an important part of the democratic decision making process.
If elected, Maryssa would be committed to improving and standardising the City of Waterloo’s consultation practices, developing a targeted municipal engagement campaign to help increase participation in local governance, and would work to ensure full transparency in her work and decision making. As a vocal advocate in support of labour and community organising, Maryssa is also strongly in favour of exploring ways through which to increase government transparency and accessibility. She additionally believes that, as a major employer, the City of Waterloo has a responsibility to provide its employees with quality benefits and working conditions, and she is ready to work with labour organisers to find ways to do so.
Maryssa Barras has a variety of experience working in cultural resource management and heritage industries, and presently works for the International Council on Monuments and Sites as a Policy Analyst. She also sits on the board of the Canadian Archaeological Association, holds a Ba (Hons) and MSc in Archaeology, and is working towards an additional professional graduate degree in Urban Planning.