Canada's Don Valley West (Ward 26) city council candidates speak

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
(Redirected from Don Valley West (Ward 26) city council candidates speak)
Jump to: navigation, search
Toronto municipal election, 2006


Etobicoke North (Ward 1)
Etobicoke Centre (Ward 3, 4)
Etobicoke—Lakeshore (Ward 5)
York West (Ward 7, 8)
Parkdale—High Park (Ward 13, 14)
Eglinton—Lawrence (Ward 16)
Davenport (Ward 17, 18)
Trinity—Spadina (Ward 19, 20)
St. Paul’s West (Ward 21)
Don Valley West (Ward 25, 26)
Toronto—Danforth (Ward 29, 30)
Beaches—East York (Ward 32)
Don Valley East (Ward 33)
Scarborough—Agincourt (Ward 39, 40)
Scarborough East (Ward 43, 44)
Toronto from space

Toronto from space.

To write, edit, start or view other Canada articles, see the Canada Portal
Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward's councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto's ridings is Don Valley West (Ward 26). Four candidates responded to Wikinews' requests for an interview. This ward's candidates include Muhammad Alam, Bahar Aminvaziri, Orhan Aybars, Michele Carroll-Smith, Mohamed Dhanani, Abdul Ingar, Geoff Kettel, Debbie Lechter, Natalie Maniates, John Masterson, John Parker, David Thomas, Csaba Vegh, and Fred Williams.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Geoff Kettel

58-year-old Geoff Kettel is a public administrator.

Q: Describe the three most important issues in your campaign.

A: Describe the three most important issues in your campaign.
  • Development in residential areas in Leaside and Bennington and Wynford/ Concorde
  • Public safety, tenant issues and property standards in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park
  • Future use of the Leaside industrial area
For other issues please go to the web site www.geoffkettel.ca

Q: What one election issue do you feel is most relevant to your ward in this election?

A: The need to engage all communities and ensure fair representation of the whole ward. I will work with the community to build a city that is safe, green and healthy, and responsibly manage the City's finances

Q: Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process?

A: I want to build a city that is safe, green and healthy and to responsibly manage the city's finances.
The municipal councillor is in a unique position to effect positive change due to working at the order of government that is the closest to the citizens
I am qualified for the job having 25 years of community service in Ward 26 and 30 years of public service in the Ontario government. My record of community service includes being:
Chair of the East York Board of Health and champion of the East York smoke free bylaws;
Chair of a not for profit housing corporation which created 120 units of seniors housing in Leaside so folks could stay in the community they love;
Chair of the Jenner Jean-Marie community centre in Thorncliffe Park and champion for its recently announced expansion to meet the needs of a growing community.
And in public service my record includes being Chief Financial Officer for Ontairo public health responsible for a $1 billion budget

Q: Why do you want to represent this particular ward on council?

A: In my view it is essential that the councillor live in the Ward they represent. I have lived in the Ward for 25 years. As a result of living in and being involved in the community I am very knowledgeable about the Ward, its history, geography and economy etc.

Q: How are you currently involved in the community?

A: I have lived in the Ward for 25 years, and with my wife we have raised our 3 children who attended local schools. In addition to being involved as a parent and community member in such areas as home and school association, school council, and church committees, I have taken on wider community leadership roles.
Most recently I was chair of the Advisory Committee for the Jenner Jean-Marie Community Centre in Thorncliffe Park until September 2006 (chair for 6 years). I am former Chair of the East York Board of Health for 4 years (and active member for another 8 years) and former Chair of Stay at Home in Leaside (SAHIL) a not for profit community-based organization that built 120 units of seniors housing in Leaside.
In addition I am on a leave of absence from my position with Ontario Public Health effective September 4, 2006. I was formerly senior manager with a budget of $1 billion in health care.

Q: What does Toronto mean to you?

A: Toronto used to be known as "New York built by the Swiss". I would like to have a role in returning Toronto to being "the city the world wants to visit" because it fulfills its destiny as a diverse city that works for all its residents and visitors.

Q: Which council decision (since the 2003 election) do you feel the city/your ward should be most proud of, and which was least desirable?

A: The new Official Plan encourages intensification and increasing density, at the same time the plan gives more authority to neighbourhoods to protect and retain their character. Least desirable – the failure of council to make significant progress on its plan to become a less auto-dependent city (e.g. by approving bicycle lanes – this year only 1 km approved).

Mr. Kettel abstained from the question "If you were elected as a "rookie" councillor, What would you bring to the table beyond the incumbent?", as incumbent Jane Pitfield is running for mayor, "and as such I believe it is inappropriate to respond to this question".

Natalie Maniates

27-year-old Natalie Maniates is a Public Affairs and Communications Consultant.

Q: Describe the three most important issues in your campaign.

A:
Zero tolerance for urban decay:
  • Consistent and efficient services to ensure graffiti eradication, lighting, street cleaning, parks maintenance, and beautification.
  • The maintenance of Toronto City Housing in Flemingdon Park must be restored to a state of good and safe repair.
Safe communities that encourage residents to keep active
  • Toronto must ensure a safe community environment that gives residents peace of mind in their daily life activities.
  • I propose the city introduce a system of location markers in our ravine and parks to provide residents with a feeling of safety and security as they enjoy our parks. This will also reduce response time of emergency services responding to 911 calls in our parks and ravines.
Responsible development for our neighbourhoods
  • I would advocate for a mandatory architectural peer review council to promote consistent and well planned development. This would enhance the public realm with respect to green space, size and height, density, and public access ultimately benefiting Toronto's communities.
  • A thorough and guaranteed public consultation process with local residents for any large scale development proposal. The recent surge of new buildings in the Bayview Institutional area could bring further development and we must ensure that the confines of any original agreement and framework are adhered to.

Q: What one election issue do you feel is most relevant to your ward in this election?

A: Protecting the strong sense of community Ward 26 is the most important issue the must be addressed. Traffic and development are converging forces in our community that have an impact on the sense of neighbourhood spirit . The city must arrive at well planned decisions through a thoughtful and efficient process that accommodates residents' concerns.

Q: Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process?

A: I have always had respect for Canada's political process. The municipal level symbolizes grassroots politics and I enjoy having that direct contact and support of my neighbours. I decided to involve myself because it is time that younger Canadians entered our political realm to make that difference and encourage our demographic to vote and have their voices heard. I am confident that I can bring a FIT – Forward, Innovative, Thinking approach to city hall in order to bring sustainable solutions to Toronto over the next twenty years.

Q: Why do you want to represent this particular ward on council?

A: Growing up and living in our community all my life has shaped my values and given me a sense of pride for where I live. I am proud of how Don Valley West has evolved but still feel that there is more work to be done. I understand the traditions of my neighbourhood and also identify with the new generation of residents who have chosen Ward 26 as their home. I want the City of Toronto to take responsibility to ensure a safe, healthy, and active community for residents of all ages.

Q: How are you currently involved in the community?

A: Coaching the Rumsey Rattlers children's basketball at Bloorview Kids Rehab. Fundraising for the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation and the Toronto Child Abuse Centre over the past three years.

Q: Which council decision (since the 2003 election) do you feel the city/your ward should be most proud of, and which was least desirable?

A: Most desirable: The City's commitment of sustained support of the Career Bridge program that helps foreign trained professionals get their first Canadian job experience. Toronto was responsible for employing new immigrants in the City of Toronto workforce and set an example to employers across our City as to how we can tap in to such valuable expertise that is right at our doorstep.
Least Desirable: The purchase of the Green Lane landfill site without lengthy consultation or discussion with the entire City Council. The City must start investigating proposals for alternative methods of waste management that could prove to be more sustainable such as incineration.

Q: If you were elected as a "rookie" councillor, What would you bring to the table beyond the incumbent?

A: The FIT approach - Forward, Innovative Thinking. I am forward with a fresh start and futuristic outlook, innovative with beyond the box ideas, and thinking, as a natural communicator with a multitude of experience dealing with a variety of stakeholders. Coming to City Hall with no political baggage and such experience would position me well to become a consensus builder not just within council, but with both the federal and provincial levels of government.

Q: What does Toronto mean to you?

A: Toronto has enormous potential that has not been tapped in to yet. I would like to see Toronto become a world class city that embraces zero tolerance for urban decay, Safe communities that encourage residents to keep active, responsible development for our neighbourhood, and most of all, accountability to it's taxpayers.

John Parker

52-year-old John Parker is a lawyer.

Q: Describe the three most important issues in your campaign.

A: Get the budget under control; achieve value for money in City Hall spending; protect our neighbourhoods.

Q:What one election issue do you feel is most relevant to your ward in this election?

A: Protect our neighbourhoods.

Q: Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process?

A: I am concerned that Toronto is falling far short of its potential due only to lack of committed responsible leadership. I want to help change that.

Q: Why do you want to represent this particular ward on council?

A: Ward 26 has been my home all my adult life.

Q: How are you currently involved in the community?

A: Over the past several years I have served in many capacities of local, provincial, and national scope. This involvement has ranged from consulting to the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to coaching pee-wee hockey.

Q: What does Toronto mean to you?

A: Toronto has always been my home. I always assumed it to be the best city in North America. I feel it is starting to slip. I want to get it back on track to where I think it belongs as the best city on this continent in which to to live, work, and raise a family.

Q: Which council decision (since the 2003 election) do you feel the city/your ward should be most proud of, and which was least desirable?

A: Not much to be proud of. Outraged at secret vote to try to slip a pay raise past the voters. Seriously disappointed at decision to commit $500M to buy a hole in the ground as another temporary solution to the issue of waste management.

Q: If you were elected as a "rookie" councillor, What would you bring to the table beyond the incumbent?

A: I would bring a determination always to keep an eye on long range goals and needs while focusing on achievable, immediate priorities, and not mortgage the future to finance a response to immediate short term political pressures.

Csaba Vegh

37-year-old Csaba Vegh is a private investigator.

Q: Describe the three most important issues in your campaign.

A: Property taxes, crime and traffic are three hot topic issues. I believe that homeowners and businesses are being over taxed. Generation of revenue is not a problem for the city, the way we spend taxpayers money needs to be re-evaluated. We need to hire more police officers and we need to give them the resources to do their job effectively. I believe that a city the size of Toronto should have at least one regularly operating police helicopter. We can also address youth crime by giving our youth the opportunity to spend their time in healthful and productive ways. I have suggested that the city should work with the school boards to open high school gyms to their student for after school activities. Currently, a lot of school gyms are closed to students after school due to a lack of qualified supervisors. Finally, infiltration of traffic onto the streets of Leaside have incresed [sic] drastically over the past few years. I suggest reducing vehicular access to the streets of Leaside during peak hours for non-residents or their visitors. I also support the construction of the Redway Rd. extension to ease traffic flow.

Q: What one election issue do you feel is most relevant to your ward in this election?

A: As I mentioned before, I believe that that property taxes for homeowners and businesses need to be frozen. We are being over taxed.

Q: Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process?

A: I have lived in ward 26 for thirty years. I have also attended school here, worked here, and I have been a volunteer football coach at Leaside High School since 1989. I believe that I can be a strong and effective voice for our community at City Hall without partisan influence because I am not a member of any political party.

Q: Why do you want to represent this particular ward on council?

A: I have deep roots in the community. Being a long time resident, I share the views and concerns of quite a number of the residents of Ward 26.

Q: How are you currently involved in the community?

A: I have been a volunteer football coach at Leaside High School since 1989. I am also a volunteer with the Scarborough Minor Football Association. And, I have been a volunteer coach for the Leaside Hockey Association.

Q: What does Toronto mean to you?

A: Toronto is a city of diversity, multiculturalism and acceptance. And with giving our police force the tools to do their jobs effectively, I would strive to make Toronto's streets the safest in Canada.

Q: Which council decision (since the 2003 election) do you feel the city/your ward should be most proud of, and which was least desirable?

A: Being an effective councillor requires the ability to work with a varied group of individuals to work as one unit to make decisions that affect millions of people daily. Through my volunteer efforts, I have worked with teams for many years, where bringing individual achievements into one cohesive unit are absolutely necessary to succeed. I will bring this experience to the table at City Hall.

Q: If you were elected as a "rookie" councillor, What would you bring to the table beyond the incumbent?

A: In my opinion, Councillor Jane Pitfield has done a great job for ward 26. I would hope to continue this strong representation with a non-partisan perspective.
Bookmark-new.svg