Canada's Etobicoke—Lakeshore (Ward 5) city council candidates speak

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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)
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This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Monday, October 30, 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 Etobicoke—Lakeshore (Ward 5). Two candidates responded to Wikinews' requests for an interview. This ward's candidates include John Chiappetta, Joseph Mignone, Peter Milczyn (incumbent), Arthur Roszak, and Bojidar Tchernev.

Interviewed are newcomer Joseph Mignone, and incumbent Peter Milczyn. Click on either of their names to read their responses.

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

Joseph Mignone

37-year-old Joseph Mignone is employed in quality assurance.

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

A: The three most important issues in my campaign are the issue of the six point interchange proposal. The city will spend $35 million dollars on an intersection that already works well. Secondly, not only environmental concerns in general but how pollution and smog might be increased because of the increased traffic lights. Accessibility and accountability at city hall must be addressed. I believe residents should have a voice in matters that concern their neighbourhoods. Too often we see that the community might object to a certain matter, but the matter in question still gets council approval.

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

A: The one election issue that is most relevant is the one mentioned above. Residents believe that $35 million could be better spent elsewhere, rather than on intersection that may or not need reconfiguration depending on redevelopment that will occur in the area.

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

A: I have chosen to get involved in the political process because I believe I can make a difference at city hall. Secondly, I believe that representing the people of the ward would be an honour and consequently, their views would be expressed by my voting record.

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

A: This is the ward that I have called home my entire life. How could I represent any other ward?

Q: How are you currently involved in the community?

A: Community is important. I frequent local business to promote their well being. Furthermore, I can be seen at local baseball and hockey games cheering on the kids. I think that local organizations that promote health and fitness for kids is vital for the community.

Q: What does Toronto mean to you?

A: Toronto is the greatest city in the country. It is the city that has it all. There is a reason why half the immigrants that come to Canada settle in Toronto. The diversity that Toronto offers can not be equivocated in any other city in the world.

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 current work done by city staff and council regarding environmental concerns is commendable. The environmental plan does need some work however, recycling programs are improving and the pesticide ban are a good start.

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

A: If I am elected councillor, I will push the public's issues and concerns to the forefront of my work. My work ethic will produce results that will benefit not only our families today but our children tomorrow.

Peter Milczyn (incumbent)

41-year-old Peter Milczyn is the incumbent for Ward 5, Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

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

A: The three most important issues in the campaign are:
Preserving & Enhancing the Quality of Life: This relates to the fundamentals of we should expect from our local government. Clean and safe streets, a healthy environment, adequate public and green spaces, and controls on development.
As the Councillor for the area I have worked with the community on better road design that would help improve road safety and protect the environment. I have worked on improving pedestrian safety through increased sidewalks, improvements to pedestrian crossings, and additional traffic lights. I have helped the community get traffic calming measures installed to curb speeding vehicles near schools and on residential streets.
I have supported the tree protection by-law and the ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides.
I have worked to plant trees along streets and on vacant parcels of City land. I will continue to do so.
I have fought to maintain mechanical leaf collection in Etobicoke, and for increased street sweeping and litter pick up.
I have supported funds for an additional 250 police officers, and will continue to support ensuring that there are adequate and improved police services in the City.
I have worked to expand and create new local parks. Dalesford/Winslow Park, Chimes Lane Parkette, Shires Lane Parkette, a new park on Islington Avenue, Michael Power Park. I have helped to upgrade park facilites such as in Wedgewood Park, Dalesford/Winslow Park, and Kenway Park. I will be working to create a new park and community recreation centre on the Westwood Theatre Lands. To create a new park on the Queensway near Zorra Street. To upgrade playground facilities in Queensland Park, and refurbish the facilities in Queensway Park.
I initiated a new Roof Top Patio Control By-law for Etobicoke to protect residential communities from excessive noise and disruption. I have spearheaded a crackdown on illegal businesses on The Queensway and strengthening City-wide by-laws to help control them.
Making the City Government Work Better: As Chair of the City's e-City Committee I have spearheaded the use of technology to make government more accessible and efficient, and to boost the productivity of City staff. The City is increasing the number of online services and transaction available to the public to increase convenience and reduce costs. In late 2007 the City will launch its 3-1-1 Telephone system which allow residents to call City Hall 24 hours a day/7 days a week and always be greeted by a live Citizen Service Representative who will be able to take a complaint, generate a work order, or answer a question. Again the goal is to increase convenience to residents, reduce costs, increase efficiency, and boost productivity.
I have opposed the Councillor pay raise and if re-elected will move to reopen the matter and have the raise rescinded. I have consistently voted to reduce Councillor's office budgets.
As a member of the Budget Committee I fought to reduce costs, control spending, cut staff, and contract out services to the private sector wherever possible. I supported the successful extension of the contract to pick up garbage in Etobicoke by a private contractor.
We need a comprehensive plan to deal with our waste decades in to the future. We must expand and improve recycling and composting programmes, particularly to multi-residential buildings. We must also develop a long-term solution to dealing with our waste. I believe energy from waste must be a significant component of that solution.
Providing a Vision and Planning for the Future: Whether looking at the Waterfront, the Gardiner Expressway, Nathan Phillips Square, or in Ward 5 the City-owned lands in the Etobicoke City Centre planning for the future is central to what local government must do.
Ensuring that the Portlands are developed as a cohesive community with great public spaces, parks, and access to the water is aone priority.
Implementing Design Review Panels to better control the quality of the architecture in our city is one of the exciting new initiatives that will begin in 2007.
In Ward 5 the comprehensive review of all city lands, public transit, infrastructure, new parkland and community services in the Etobicoke City Centre area is the greatest challenge and opportunity the community faces. The future of the Six Points interchange, Westwood Theatre lands, Islington Subway station, and Etobicoke Civiv Centre has the potential weave neighbourhoods together into an even stronger community with better public spaces and much need facilities. The fision for this community includes office employment, better retail, enhances streetscapes, and a major community recreation facility.
Similarly work on The Queensway will improve the street, create new and enhanced parks and public facilities and bring new mid-scale residential developments.
New zoning by-laws for Dundas Street between Royal York Road and the Humber River will ensure new development will be in greater harmony with the existing stable residential neighbourhood.

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

A: Protecting our quality of life is the most fundamental issue a City Councillor has to address. Therefore all of those elements which I have explained in the previous question are the most relevant issues which affect the daily lives of my neighbours in Ward 5.

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

A: I became involved in election campaigns as a teenager, at age fourteen in fact. I have always found politics to be an intriguing and engrossing endeavour. I firmly believe that every citizen has an obligation to engage in the political process to some degree.
After graduating from the University of Toronto with a degree in Architecture and working in architecture, design, and development I realized the fundamental link between the shape and form of our cities and the political process at the municipal level.
I first ran for City Council at age 25, and was first elected at age 28. I believed then, and still do today that I can make a positive impact on the quality of our built environment. Beyond that I have also found public service to be a very fulfilling and meaningful vocation. Helping one's neighbours and fellow residents with their daily problems, and plan for the future is an extraordinary opportunity to contribute to society.

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

A: This is my home. I live in Ward 5, and I have lived in or within a few hundred metres of the ward's current boundaries my entire life. I grew up and was educated in area schools such as Islington Junior Middle School and Etobicoke Collegiate. I want to protect the neighbourhoods in Ward 5 and I want to shape the future of the parts of the Ward that are in transition because I plan to continue to live here.

Q: How are you currently involved in the community?

A: As the current City Councillor I am intimately involved with all parts of the community, and the entire range of issues that our area faces.

Q: What does Toronto mean to you?

A: Toronto is my home. This is a City with wonderful greenery and space. The waterfront (in Etobicoke) provides us with an escape from the congestion of the City with views that stretch to the horizon. I can find rest and relaxation here and also great excitement and activity.
Our city is a city of great opportunities, it is open and free. Within our borders we can experience all that the world can offer through cuisine, language, and interaction with people from all over the globe.
Toronto is still a city of great untapped potential. Our people continue to demonstrate ingenuity and creativity and our city is yet to find its final form.

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 decision I am most proud of, and I spearheaded, is the approval of development of the 3-1-1 Telephone service. This is designed for residents' convenience and to improve the quality of service everyone will receive from the City. It will also drive efficiency and productivity gains in the municipal workforce. Everyone will be able to access City Hall services 24/7 and be connected to a live person. This is a huge step forward in modernizing government.
The worst decision has been the lack of decision on a truly long-term plan to deal with all of our waste.
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