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Thursday, October 11 – last East Lynn Farmers’ Market of 2018!

EastLynn_Candidates_at_Market

The last market of 2018 is happening on Thursday and it is one that you do not want to miss. Stock up on all the beautiful food still available in October!
We have a special guest vendor this week, Dunbar Organic Farms.  In addition to their organic vegetables, they will have their free-range organic chickens (frozen) for sale.
In the Community Wellness Tent, Savage Falcon Energy Crystals will be offering a crystal grid display and energy clearing body work.
The farmers and vendors make the market possible, but it is our volunteers who make our market special. Thank you!
And thanks to all of you who come to the market and support our farmers. We do our best, and are always happy for new ideas and new people continue to help us make weekly magic happen for our wonderful community from June-October!
Get in touch if you want to be more involved for next year – there’s lots of cool ways to contribute.
DECA has arranged a candidate meet and greet at this week’s market, from 3:00-6:00pm. This will be a chance for market-goers to chat up City Councillor candidates (Ward 19) and TDSB Trustee candidates (Ward 16). We don’t know who exactly is coming or not so you’ll have to just come and see!
***
Our Ward 19 Councillor Candidate Q&A blog series is now completed and we are grateful to the 10 Candidates who responded to these six questions from the DECA Board:
1. What makes you the best person to represent the Danforth East area?
2. What do you think is the most pressing issue for this area, and what is your plan to address it?
3. Who do you support for mayor, and why?
4. DECA took the position that changing the ward boundaries during the election was undemocratic. What do you think about that?
5. We expect that our area will see a lot of development in the next four years. What do you think about that?
6. How will you contribute to a more diverse and representative Council?
Here is what they said (click on each name to go to the candidate’s answers):
Advanced voting began today and continues through this Sunday at Beaches Rec Centre (6 Williamson Road), Secord Community Centre (91 Barrington), or at City Hall (100 Queen St W) from 10am-7pm. Otherwise, election day is October 22!

The East Lynn Farmers’ Market runs every Thursday from 3-7:00 p.m. between June 7 – October 11 at East Lynn Park, located on the south side of Danforth Ave, just west of Woodbine Ave. Stay up to date by visiting the East Lynn Market Facebook page or by following us on Twitter. If you’d like to volunteer as a cookor a DECA Booth helper please connect! 

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As we indicated in our recent blog post, DECA posed the same questions to every Ward 19 City Councillor candidate with a published email address (on the city election website). We are publishing their replies in the order that we receive them. 

Meet: Diane Dyson

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1. What makes you the best person to represent the Danforth East area?

I am a proud East-Ender in this great city of ours.  I’ve lived in the East End for almost thirty years and raised my family here as a single mum. Even as a low-income family, we enjoyed a great library, recreational programs, affordable childcare, and quick access to downtown by public transit. We walked the boardwalk and ravines, picnicked in our local parks, swam in our local pools. So on a very personal level, I know that well-funded public services in every neighbourhood are what make this city welcoming for all.

Over the past two decades, my professional work has focused on ensuring everyone has the same opportunity to revel in a vibrant city, safe and sustainable neighbourhoods where we can all live well and grow, and a community where everyone belongs.

In my day job at WoodGreen Community Services, I have had the chance to oversee work on  immigrant and refugee services, wraparound housing programs, poverty reduction and commercial renewal through the Pop-Up Shops partnership with the Danforth East Community Association.

I have travelled internationally to train others on community-building, and I have been a mentor to people in the Community Foundation’s Vital People programs and the DiverseCity Fellow program.

I worked on the Strong Neighbourhood strategy and two reports on poverty at United Way Toronto. During the Harris years, I was with People for Education ensuring all kids have a fair chance, even as funding cuts came.

In each of these roles, my secret superpower has been focusing on concrete solutions to the challenges people face. Under my leadership, we have fought for and won the elimination of the vacant storefront tax rebate, created resource supports for inner city schools and, later, for community hubs. I have mapped out and then coordinated better services for immigrants, children, families and older adults.

I am running for City Council because I know the issues here from the ground up: I have done the research, studied the evidence, and developed the policy recommendations. We know what we must do: We must feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and comfort the lonely. Yet change is slow.

I am tired of trying to convince politicians and political insiders to have the courage to act. It has become clear to me now that research reports, political strategies, and community-level advocacy can only do so much.

We need a Councillor with the political will to move to action. We need a Councillor to build the city we all want to – and can – live in. We need our ward Councillor, and the wider Council, to represent us.

I am not a political insider, but I am a city-builder. I have worked across governments at the staff and political levels to create positive changes in our community. I want to represent us all.

 

2. What do you think is the most pressing issue for this area, and what is your plan to address it?

If elected, I will be a champion for issues important to building strong neighbourhoods in the east end:

First is addressing quality, affordable licensed childcare and programming for youth. Publically-supported programs are in very short supply, and families are having to patch together care. As a single mother who relied on these programs and funding, this is personal.

If elected I will work with parents, child care advocates and community organizations to:

  • Protect public funding for non-profit centres
  • Expedite implementation of  the Child Care Growth Strategy
  • Keep City-operated child care services in current and new locations
  • Broaden eligibility for fee subsidy to more families, particularly part-time and shift workers, and streamline the application and approval process
  • Pay decent salaries to child care staff

Second is our natural environment – we need to protect our green spaces and waterways. Recent weather events, powerful storms and flooding in the city demand that we respond. As Harrison Ford once said, “We need nature; it doesn’t need us.” Our city must protect environmentally sensitive areas, the quality of our water, the flora and fauna. The City’s Ravine Strategy lays out a carefully negotiated vision for how we can get there. Work on the Resilience strategy should address some of the dramatic climate shifts we are seeing. And TransformTO, the City’s own climate action strategy, sets out the key goals we need to reduce emissions on a timed schedule. I will push to accelerate each of these strategies to action.

Third, we need to focus on housing. I hear this issue from local residents across the ward. City Council has some of the tools to make housing more affordable, many of which I have worked on:

  • Nonprofit, supportive and co-op housing.
  • Conversion of public land to mixed service/housing sites.
  • Community hubs with housing (imagine seniors with a childcare).  
  • Landlord licensing.
  • Inclusive zoning, second suites and laneway housing.
  • Speedier planning processes, especially for non-profit housing.

While we will see little leadership from the province on this, the new National Housing Strategy directs funds to municipalities. A focus on housing for First Nations peoples is a strong area of focus and one which is important to me.

City Council also has within its powers the ability to provide more solutions. Let’s allow co-housing so that seniors or others who may be isolated can live with one another. Let’s ensure tenants receive the property tax rates owed to them as the commercial tax rate is changed.

Having spent the last six years on the board of the Federation of Metro Tenants Association (FMTA), and having worked for one of the city’s largest housing providers, I am ready to hit the ground quickly on these issues.

Other policy commitments are available at my website: dianedyson.ca

 

3. Who do you support for mayor, and why?

I have worked with both of the lead mayoralty candidates and am confident I can continue to work with either on a professional level. It’s what we do, always do, in the nonprofit sector.

I worked with John Tory on the City’s Poverty Reduction Advisory Table. It was through his initiative that TTC fares for children were eliminated. We pushed hard for an expansion within a short timeline.

I had the chance to work with Jen Keesmaat around our Pop-Up Shop initiative. She was a keynote speaker at our symposium on the topic where she spoke tellingly about the importance of strong neighbourhoods. I also worked with her on our advocacy case to the province around schools as community hubs. This was during a time when the City and the local schools boards didn’t even meet to do joint planning or information-sharing. We helped change that, and they have established a Committee and now meet regularly

Torontonians have a wide choice of mayoralty candidates from whom to choose. The broadened mayoral debates have invited new voices and new perspectives into the civic conversation.

On a personal level, when I vote, I will look for a representative voice.

 

4. DECA took the position that changing the ward boundaries during the election was undemocratic. What do you think about that?

I think DECA is very wise.

City Council regularly passes hundreds of items at its meetings. Most issues are ready for easy adoption as they have been vetted by Council Committees, staff and members of the public who have had the chance to comment beforehand.

This move was arbitrary and disruptive. For much of August, I focused on pushing back on this provincial change. While some of my opponents were busy campaigning in the new-to-them parts of the ward, I worked with other candidates from across the city to push back.

Whether you agree that Council should be reduced or is dysfunctional, almost every agreed the timing of the change was unfair to us all. The new provincial legislation gave no recourse for consultation and discussion. While lawsuits and court challenges are continuing, the new 25-Councillor format has been implemented for this election.

How will this changed Council look? At one of the emergency meeting of City Council, Councillor Mary Margaret McMahon gave us a hint, describing her workload, responding to local residents, attending community events, preparing for meetings and more. She summed it up, “The dog I gave my children when I was elected doesn’t even know me.”

So the expanded role of a ward Councillor will be heavy, but the issues and challenges we face as a City remain the same. So I am still running to represent Beaches East York.

One of the silver linings arising out of this turmoil is the wider discussion of how residents can be more closely involved at the local level. We may redefine our Community Councils. Having written the resident engagement guidelines for United Way’s priority neighbourhoods, and having seen DECA’s good work, I am committed to building strong and representative neighbourhood networks here in Ward 19.

 

5. We expect that our area will see a lot of development in the next four years. What do you think about that?

Two large areas of pending development are the Main/Danforth transit hub, where I live (and have been attending the City’s meetings on this for close to a year), and the very large site of the Coxwell/Danforth TTC Garage, where community members are already organizing. I would work with all local stakeholders to balance competing interests and demands. Our community’s interests must be as strongly balanced.

I believe the Danforth, as a main corridor, should support mid-rise development. What Toronto tends to see however is more “spiky” development, highrises in the middle of residential development). More human-scaled buildings are a better fit for our community.

Because we risk becoming an enclave, where only the richest folks can live, I would welcome development that provides affordable and alternative housing forms. (The definition of ‘affordable’ is a separate policy question, one I believe will be very important as the City develops guidelines around Inclusive Zoning.) 

As a community, we have the opportunity to look at the specifics of each development. How many family-sized units are included? What do the street-level storefronts look like? Will the areas for commercial property offer opportunities for small-scale local retail? Can the second floor be used for offices or services? I am even concerned about environmental impacts, given that we are on a major bird migration pathway, such as whether the design is compliant with the City’s Bird-Friendly Guidelines?

While some development is certain,it is important for us to look at the impact of new developments on our surroundings. Do we have the proper infrastructure to support the development (everything from sewage to local school capacity)? What benefits can be derived from the developer for the local community? How will community interests and concerns be addressed during the development so as to minimize disruptions?

Development along the Danforth is coming. The provincial plan and the City’s own Main Streets strategies call for it. The area around Main and Danforth has also been designated as a transit hub by the province, so that means higher levels of density. Change is coming. What is left with us, at the level of local government and as a community, is the shape of that development and how we can plan for its impact.

 

6. How will you contribute to a more diverse and representative Council?  

If Diversity is Strength, then my family is superhuman. We live at the intersection of much diversity. I am a single mother, who when they were young, had an annual income of $12,000 and a childcare subsidy from the City. My kids’ dad is Chinese, so I learned enough of the language to become close to my mother-in-law. My son and his dad, both born and raised in the East End, have been stopped and carded by Toronto police a number of times. My daughter is queer and her long-time partner has a disability. We live a very Toronto life!

My commitment to equity issues has been the driving force of my professional life – that is, the very Canadian belief that everyone deserves a fair chance and the truth that many of us don’t have the same opportunities. So I sat on and co-chaired the TDSB’s equity committee through most of my kids’ schooling. (I returned there recently for a reprise, to work specifically the Board’s Taskforce on Anti-Black racism.) I also went to enough grad school to learn the importance of an intersectional lens on equity issues, our responsibilities as allies, and understand my cross-class experience.

These learnings are deep in my bones.

But what will I do? On the first order, I will stand as a clear and vocal reminder of Toronto’s complicated and mixed diversity. Secondly, as I have in all my work, I will act as an advocate for inclusion. Even asking the simple question of who is not inside the room when we make decisions can be a radical act. Kicking open the door is even better. Third, I will push for positive change wherever I can. That means standing against police carding, that means interrogating the City’s hiring practices and staff training, and that means analyzing who benefits and who doesn’t whenever a new policy is proposed or a budget line item moved. It is what we called for when we pushed for the City to adopt its Poverty Reduction strategy; it is using a critical lens on city decisions.

This question is more important than what I can contribute individually. It is a question for all of us.

We know, because of the reduction to 25 Councillors and how incumbents are squaring off against incumbents, that our Council will not reflect the most basic demographic makeup of Toronto. By some counts, there will be at least 16 straight, white, able-bodied, cis-gendered men.

Now, there is an argument that this is okay because we may well have the most experienced and progressive Councillors there are to be had. Maybe that’s what the best look like.

But I cannot believe that old trope.

I cannot believe that old trope because, as we proclaim, diversity is strength. We are stronger when we each bring something different to the table.

Our City Council table is smaller now, so who is sitting at it matters.

I am ready to take my seat.

 

For more information:
Email: diane@dianedyson.ca
Campaign Office: 2084 Danforth Ave (at Woodbine)
Twitter: @Diane_Dyson
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DianeDysonforBEY/
Phone: (647) 352-2260

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As we indicated in our recent blog post, DECA posed the same questions to every Ward 19 City Councillor candidate with a published email address (on the city election website). We are publishing their replies in the order that we receive them. 

Meet: David Del Grande

DavidDelGrande_VoteCompass

1. What makes you the best person to represent the Danforth East area?

I’ve lived in our community for nearly a decade; it’s where my wife and I have put down our roots, and where we’re raising our two children. I am the best person to represent our area of Danforth East because I care for, and love my neighbourhood and neighbours that I have the pleasure of interacting with daily. I seek to serve, and to
improve the lives of this community, where I live, shop, play, and leisure.

We live in a fantastic area, in a great city, but not without our challenges. I would be the leader for our community that would to recognize and address the various big and small, new and ongoing issues that face our community.

 

2. What do you think is the most pressing issue for this area, and
what is your plan to address it?

Transit is the biggest issue facing our Ward.

Living by choice in a home without a car, I know the importance of reliable transit to a family and a household.

Our traffic and development patterns require many to travel along the subway, streetcar, or buses towards jobs, schooling, and appointments in the downtown area. Our system is overburdened, and relief planning and funding is deprioritized in favour of transit projects that best serve the electability of our current leadership, and not the needs of
residents.

We need to have a more honest conversation about the timelines, costs, and the way we build transit in our city. In addition, we leaders have to have the principled courage to not move forward with costly and unnecessary transit planning for the sake of perceived political expedience.

 

3. Who do you support for mayor, and why?

I strongly support Jennifer Keesmaat for Mayor.

Keesmaat has presented a positive vision of Toronto that I want to get behind – one that speaks to address the most pressing needs our city faces: affordability, transit, and safety.

The policies she has announced over the course of the campaign are bold, stretch-goals, and in the best interest of the city’s residents – the kind of leadership Toronto deserves.

Our city is plagued by leaders who refute data, evidence, and best-practice learnings from peer cities. Jennifer understands that while Toronto is special, our problems are not unique and there are many solutions at our disposal for decisive leaders to implement.

 

4. DECA took the position that changing the ward boundaries during the election was undemocratic. What do you think about that?

It was unquestionably undemocratic.

Candidates and residents were deprived of a rich, full, campaign period where ideas could be generated, disseminated, debated, and decided.

Instead, despite the City undertaking a multi-year 3rd-party lead review of Ward boundaries and despite the election having been in progress for months, a period of chaotic-uncertainty began. The constant changes and challenges deprived all of an ability to fairly assess potential leaders and to effectively decide the direction of
our neighbourhood and city over the next four years.

The relationship between Toronto and the Province needs to be redefined, as the only barrier to further interference in the electoral process and overall city governance is the will of the Premier.

 

5. We expect that our area will see a lot of development in the next four years. What do you think about that?

Toronto is managing a good-to-have problem: growth. We are a desirable place to live and locate jobs. That challenge filters down to the Ward level – to make space and to provide spaces that can be afforded by more residents.

The Danforth-East community can expect to see additional development applications in the coming years. As a Councillor, I’d generally be supportive of these applications provided they adhered to design guidelines, enhanced the local community, and acknowledge and mitigate neighbourhood concerns raised during the development process.

I’m also in favour of gentle density increases in our neighbourhoods, allowing for smaller-scale redevelopments (what’s generally referred to as the ‘missing middle’) that provides additional housing options.

 

6. How will you contribute to a more diverse and representative Council?

This is a great question in light of this election. When the election initially proceeded in a 47-ward model, many diverse (aka candidates who were not like me: able-bodied, heterosexual, white, male, home-owners), candidates were hailed as future civic leaders and received various endorsements from parties and politicians. Once Council size was reduced to 25 Wards, many of these candidates were dropped, or voluntarily stepped aside.

From this experience, I can see we’ll need a different approach to create a Council that’s more reflective of our City, as supportive words can often be hollow without further plans to back it up.

The ways I can contribute to the goal of a more diverse and representative Council are varied, and rely on data and evidence to support the solutions, namely:

– Advocating to change our voting system to one where we rank candidates by order of preference (ranked ballots). Changing the winner-take-all mentality of our current system, to one where collaboration is rewarded, has been shown to have an appreciable
impact on diversity of elected representatives.

– A commitment to not endorse any candidate. I don’t feel it’s right or desirable for a sitting Councillor to endorse another candidate, as they clearly have not had the time nor the will to fairly evaluate all contenders prior to making an informed endorsement
that’s in the best interest of their community. Instead, Councillors should serve as mentors for interested residents in their Ward, and proactively seek out people from marginalized communities to give them the tools, knowledge, and connections if they should seek to run for office. A Councillor’s role is to equip the next wave of leaders, not
to anoint a chosen one.

– A desire to explore municipal parties, similar to the experience in other large Canadian cities (such as Montreal and Vancouver); which would serve to encourage the parties to seek out and present a slate of candidates that matches the residents they’re
looking to represent.
For more information:
416-524-8578
DavidDelGrande.ca

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As we indicated in our recent blog post, DECA posed the same questions to every Ward 19 City Councillor candidate with a published email address (on the city election website). We are publishing their replies in the order that we receive them. 

Meet: Valérie Maltais

1. What makes you the best person to represent the Danforth East area?

I gained a vast array of skills and broad knowledge working in the private sector and volunteering with various organizations that support victims and marginalized communities over the last 15 years. With a degree in environmental science and a certification in project management, I will bring a data-driven and structured approach to solving problems and implementing solutions. Prior to my environmental and sustainability career, I was a funeral director (studied at Humber College).

My first job in Toronto was on the Danforth at the family-owned O’Connor Bros. Funeral Home in 2002. I am a shop-local advocate and supporter of small business. I have strong family values and a natural ability to bring people to the table to find win-win solutions. I love people and I love problem-solving. These are some of the reasons why I am confident that I can represent and serve the Danforth East area well.

 

2. What do you think is the most pressing issue for this area, and what is your plan to address it?

Residents are telling me that they are concerned about affordability, small business revitalization, and transportation. These form my priorities, but I see affordability as the most pressing. Solving affordability will have the knock-on effects of reducing crime and improving small business (as people have more disposable income).

The two main affordability issues are the cost of housing and the cost of childcare. My plan to address housing is to increase housing inventory by supporting gentle density including low-rise & mid-rise condominiums and apartment buildings; Remove barriers for creating laneway housing (currently approximately $40k for application); Ensure affordable housing units are included in new buildings. My plan to address child care is to make the Childcare Growth’s Strategy a reality (ensure 50 % of kids aged 0-4 to have access to licensed childcare – this currently sits at 34 %). We can achieve this by supporting a thriving workforce for early childcare educators, building capacity to meet the demand, and improving the affordability with public / private investment (for all income families) and fee subsidies (for families in financial need; Introduce measures that protect families from predatory business practices (e.g.: mandatory year-round childcare).

 

3. Who do you support for mayor, and why?

I am currently undecided who I will vote for in the mayoral race. I am still researching as the candidates continue to unveil their platforms. Regardless of who is elected, I will work with the mayor and the 24 other councillors to make our city more sustainable and prepare for the anticipated growth in population.

 

4. DECA took the position that changing the ward boundaries during the election was undemocratic. What do you think about that?

Changing the ward boundaries mid-election was anti-democratic in that it disenfranchised voters.  One of the reasons that I decided to run for city council was because I see the inefficiencies when watching council meetings and I want to improve this from the inside. The ward boundary change has seen approximately 75 candidates drop out of the election across Toronto, many of these individuals would have brought fresh ideas and diversity to the municipal government. To encourage new candidates and diversity on city council, I have committed to serving no more than two terms.

 

5. We expect that our area will see a lot of development in the next four years. What do you think about that?

Development, done responsibly, is a great opportunity for Beaches – East York. Adding gentle density will reduce the cost of living for residents and provide additional patrons for the struggling businesses. It will be important that the character of the neighbourhoods are maintained, that developers are held accountable to meeting the Green Standards, that affordable units are mandatory (rather than incentivized), adjacent property owners concerns are considered and impacts are avoided and responsibly mitigated, and that the supporting infrastructure and services are advanced at the appropriate rate (e.g.: parking, transportation, sewage, childcare, and schools).

 

6. How will you contribute to a more diverse and representative Council?

I am a woman, a francophone, a scientist and a project manager.

I am the only candidate with a background in science and project management (a true rarity in politics). Beaches – East York has the opportunity to change the composition of city hall to bring a more data-driven and structured approach to our municipal government.

City council is currently composed of just 32% women. This number is predicted to drop during this election due to incumbent advantage unless we elected women in the two open wards, including Ward 19 Beaches – East York.

 

For more information, visit: www.vmaltais.com

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As we indicated in our recent blog post, DECA posed the same questions to every Ward 19 City Councillor candidate with a published email address (on the city election website). We are publishing their replies in the order that we receive them. 

Meet: Matthew Kellway

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1. What makes you the best person to represent the Danforth East area?

My experience as a community advocate and elected representative for the new Ward 19 makes me the best person to represent the area. I have deep roots in the community, having lived and volunteered here for 20 years,and I have a profound understanding and appreciation for the people and issues present in all of our neighbourhoods in Ward 19.

As a community advocate, I founded and chaired organizations focused on protecting the natural environment and addressing climate change. I served as Chair and dedicated myself to Out of the Cold at St. Aidan’s Church because no soul should suffer without shelter. I co-chaired the Upper Beach Refugee Resettlement Committee because I believe our community should be a place where those who need a new home are welcome. From Peanut Lacrosse to Bantam hockey, I have coached, managed and supported kids’ recreation and fought for more recreation facilities in our ward.

As the Member of Parliament for Beaches – East York, I advocated for our community in the House of Commons when funding cuts threatened our environment and well-being. As Urban Affairs and Infrastructure critic, I engaged community leaders across our city to put forward an agenda for all cities. Our action plan called for public infrastructure to be built into our neighbourhoods – from transit to housing to childcare – to ensure that we have a resilient city and a prosperity more equally shared.

I have a strong understanding of urban issues and the challenges of our neighbourhoods and I am keen to foster collaboration – with neighbours, community leaders, other councillors, elected officials and the Mayor to ensure that our city and our ward are caring, prosperous, sustainable and inclusive.

 

2. What do you think is the most pressing issue for this area, and what is your plan to address it?

The most pressing issue in our area is keeping all our neighbourhoods affordable, accessible and sustainable for current and future generations. The lack of affordable housing, accessible and affordable child care and transit is eroding the diversity and liveability of our neighbourhoods and driving families, artists and entrepreneurs out.

Organizations such as DECA and our BIAs are doing important work connecting people, animating public spaces and investing in our local economy- making this a great place to live. But we have to find new ways to address the affordability crisis, both locally and city-wide, to keep our community a place where people of different incomes, ages and abilities, languages and cultural backgrounds can flourish.

I will work to:

  • Advance the city’s affordable housing strategy, using city lands to build more new units and inclusionary zoning to require affordable units in new developments.
  • Speed up the city’s child care growth plan, to build more spaces and lower parent fees in all neighbourhoods.
  • Increase rent subsidies and advocate for meaningful rent controls.
  • Keep recreation user fees and permits affordable.
  • Improve the reliability and affordability of existing transit (end short-turning of streetcars and bunching of buses) and invest in new transit infrastructure with an immediate focus on the downtown Relief Line.

 

3. Who do you support for mayor, and why?

Speaking with residents about our ward over the past several months, I have heard the pride that residents have in Beaches East York. I’ve also heard their frustration with the lack of progress on important issues like transit, childcare and housing. Tackling these issues will be priorities for me, regardless of who is mayor.

I believe a Councillor’s primary duty is to serve the residents of their ward and the City, and to be accountable to those who elected them. Too often we see mayors use influence or inducements to secure the votes and loyalty of councillors. I do not want to be bound by, or benefit from an endorsement, and I will not be supporting a mayoral candidate in this election.

I am committed to work collaboratively and productively with our community, my council colleagues and whichever candidate wins the mayor’s seat. I’m determined to move this ward and city forward, and ensure it’s a city that’s responsive and welcoming of everyone – a place where everyone thrives. That is my commitment.

 

4. DECA took the position that changing the ward boundaries during the election was undemocratic. What do you think about that?

I wholeheartedly agree and appreciate DECA taking such a strong position. I think Doug Ford’s assault on our city has been deeply anti-democratic and many Ward 19 residents agree. I spent a number of weeks working with our MPP Rima Berns-McGown canvassing residents with a petition to Queen’s Park opposing Bill 5.

The 47 Ward structure was determined through an extensive consultation process and found to demonstrate “effective representation,” and was upheld by the Ontario Municipal Board and Divisional Court. It bothers me greatly that our representative model has now been compromised.

I firmly believe that the province should not determine our governance structure – the people of Toronto should.

Worse still, Ford’s Bill 5 compounds a pre-existing democratic deficit. I am concerned that fewer Councillors could result in less scrutiny of important issues, rushed decision-making and a loss of meaningful consultation with residents. And, worse, greater influence by developers and private interests.

I will work tirelessly to ensure that Ward 19 receives strong and collaborative representation. I will be present in all parts of this ward and I will be a leader on City Council to ensure that we implement innovative governance to bring council and city services closer to the community.  I will work to ensure that in the interim 311 is fully staffed and that the East York Civic Centre provides a full suite of city services, so that people can get their municipal matters resolved here in the east end close to home.

 

5. We expect that our area will see a lot of development in the next four years. What do you think about that?

Our city is growing and changing and so will our community. New development is important and can revitalize neighbourhoods, create new employment and more affordable housing. Planning for this change must be collaborative with community at the centre of the process.

I support our official plan policies which focuses development on our avenues and along transit corridors. Redevelopment on Danforth and O’Connor Avenues will bring new investment in our public spaces and new housing opportunities. The Eglinton LRT expansion and new GO service along the rail corridor will bring more intense development. It is vital that we are engaged as a community to shape our future communities.

The pace of development has often outstripped the growth of public infrastructure and services and have not been integrated with development. Neighbourhoods have been left short of adequate transit, schools, parks, child care and recreation facilities. I will make sure that community service plans are part of development approvals and community service agreements offer opportunities for local employment during construction.

We must also make sure that new housing offers a range of affordability and types. Our city must adopt new “inclusionary zoning” that requires developers to include affordable rental and ownership units for both low and middle income families in all development projects. And it should be protected for the long-term.

New development can undermine the viability of our main streets. Assembly of land and increasing property values can drive up rents beyond the means of independent storefront businesses. I believe the city needs new policies to keep rents affordable for local businesses and protect second floor commercial office space. Our BIAs are doing a great job promoting and helping our local businesses, but they need more strategic support from the city’s Economic Development department to address larger economic forces and changing retail trends

Our residential areas are intended to remain stable and infill development should be compatible and preserve the character of the neighbourhood. I will also push to protect our local heritage assets through the planning process. The Danforth and other neighbourhoods, like Sunshine Valley, Dawes Road and Beach have important history that should be captured and preserved through thorough study and community engagement.

 

6. How will you contribute to a more diverse and representative Council?  

While I am not a member of any equity-seeking group, I believe in ensuring that all voices are heard, all communities are seen, all perspectives considered and accounted for. People of all ages, genders, abilities, religions, races, countries of origin, sexual orientation should be well-served and represented by their councillor and in their city.

I believe in the importance of creating communities where everyone is welcome and I recognize the responsibility of elected representatives to be leaders in creating communities where this is the case. Recently, I served as the co-chair of the Upper Beach Refugee Resettlement Group where we helped welcome a Syrian refugee family to the area and help them build a life here, as so many of us have.

In my time in office as the Member of Parliament, I worked to support local leaders, build community engagement and create space for others. For example, for International Women’s Day, I worked with strong women leaders to create events –hosted by women and for creative women, young women, women of colour and indigenous women.  I also created an award for a Beaches – East York youth of the month to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary things that young people are doing each and every day.

I also worked with the Bangladeshi community to organize events of great significance culturally and politically, including International Mother Language Day. Over time I integrated other cultural voices – eg. Afghan, Celtic etc. – into the IMLD celebrations to overcome the isolation of communities and allow for the sharing of culture, experience and heritage.  I also put forward a unanimous consent motion in the House of Commons for federal recognition of International Mother Language Day as well as a Private Member’s Bill.  I travelled to Bangladesh, as a Member of Parliament but self-funded, to commemorate the loss of over 1,100 lives in the Rana Plaza collapse and to show respect for the people and the homeland of this large, vibrant and important constituency in our ward.

Finally, I support equity criteria for city-appointed positions (boards, commissions etc) so that at least half of all appointments are women and ensure that our appointments are representative the full diversity of our city.

 

(No contact info was provided)

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As we indicated in our recent blog post, DECA posed the same questions to every Ward 19 City Councillor candidate with a published email address (on the city election website). We are publishing their replies in the order that we receive them. 

Meet: Brad Bradford

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1. What makes you the best person to represent the Danforth East area?

I have meaningful experience with local government and know how to get things done at City Hall, I’ve made a positive impact in our community as a Board member of the Danforth East Community Association (DECA), and I won’t be another career politician.

Governing at any level isn’t easy but managing the complexities of a city as unique as Toronto and a community as diverse as BEY, needs a real understanding of how City Hall works – this isn’t something you get anywhere else. I have a credible record of city-building at City Hall, both as a professional urban planner but also as an active member of our own community. All of the candidates bring different experience to the job, but I’m the only one who brings leadership from City Planning,

Knowing how the city works, it won’t take me two years to figure it out – I will hit the ground running from day one. I’m in it because I have a deep belief in public service and the power of community-led change. Some people want to be politicians – but I want to bring positive change. My commitment to term limits is proof that I’m here to make a difference, and not just here for a job.

I’ve been fortunate to serve and make a positive impact in our community in a number of tangible ways. I’ve served on the Board of DECA, helping to contribute to a vibrant community and engaging on the Coxwell Barns/Police Station Consolidation site visioning process. I’ve been involved in city planning consultations across Toronto, championed the reduction of single-use plastics and worked on the City’s Climate Change Strategy. I’ve taught new Canadians how to navigate the city by bicycle with Culture Link and I founded the Toronto Hustle cycling team, using our platform to raise awareness around road safety.

Many of the candidates have similar policies and have identified common issues. But it’s the approach to addressing them that differentiates us. You’ll really see one thread running through my policy and campaign: making the city work for you. What that means is real consultation, really listening to residents, and being a strong champion for community-led change. I have the relevant experience, know-how, and ability to work with everyone in the Council chamber to make sure we keep moving Beaches-East York forward.

2. What do you think is the most pressing issue for this area, and what is your plan to address it?

My top priority is to continue supporting community-led change in Beaches-East York, and making sure that local government works better for the residents I serve. This means safer streets, stronger local businesses, improved transit and mobility, and investments in community spaces and child care.

Safe Streets

Safer streets are about giving everyone the ability to travel comfortably, reliably, and safely — that includes building the Downtown Relief Line, stopping the short-turns on Queen streetcars, delivering all-day express services on priority bus routes, and improving road design for all road users. We need to shorten commutes and simplify logistics, regardless of how you travel.

Road safety for children, seniors, and people with accessibility challenges is the number one issue I hear about at the door. There is no shortage of ways to make driving, walking, and biking safer. But we need a local government with the vision and the political will to make it happen.  Different areas will call for different solutions but there are immediate steps we can take like:

  1. Improving traffic signal systems to improve the flow of vehicle traffic;

  2. 30 km/h local street limits and enforcement measures;

  3. Barrier curbs for bike lane separation;

  4. Streamlining the process for installing traffic calming measures;

  5. Improved intersection design that prioritizes pedestrian safety;

  6. Expanding neighbourhood cycling connections;

  7. A full commitment to the Vision Zero goal of reducing road deaths to zero.

Strong Local Businesses

The health of our main streets is fundamental to the strength of our community.

Today, our main streets are struggling with vacancies and high turnover. Acknowledging the problem is not enough — we need to take action. I will support our main streets by working with the business community and that includes better communicating the needs of residents to entrepreneurs and expanding businesses.

My 5-point plan for supporting local businesses and strengthening our main streets:

  1. Bring back jobs to our main streets to generate daytime, year-round customers;

  2. Deliver Pop-up Tenants and Incubating Local Entrepreneurs. Learn from the successes of DECA to apply a ‘pop-up’ shop model to main streets throughout Beaches-East York. Develop a Beaches-East York business incubation strategy to connect growing local businesses with property owners seeking tenants;

  3. Ensure retail design is at the forefront of space planning for new developments;

  4. Work with BIAs and residents to identify the types of businesses the community needs;

  5. Reduce start-up costs and accelerating the permit process for entrepreneurs and those looking for short-term and sub-leases.


For more on transit, investments in community spaces and more, please visit https://www.bradbradford.ca/

3. Who do you support for mayor, and why?

Being Mayor is a difficult job – politicians are most effective when they can work together to get things done. There will always be polarizing decisions, and people who land on different sides of issues. The Mayor is just one vote on Council.

John Tory has provided stability after a chaotic administration. He’s also brought forward visionary projects like Rail Deck Park and thoughtful solutions to the King Street Pilot. Jennifer Keesmaat has been a critical and important voice in the city-building conversation. She’s demonstrated creative solutions to some of Toronto’s most pressing problems. Sarah Climenhaga is running on a road safety platform and has been working tirelessly, campaigning all over the city for many months. I like her hustle.

The Mayor cannot drive an agenda with strong, community minded councillors. I am ready to work with either mayor and a wide range of council members to secure funding and achieve progress on issues that matter to the residents of Beaches-East York.

I am the only candidate with endorsements from both John Tory and Jennifer Keesmaat and for a community-driven, grassroots campaign, I find that support really encouraging.

With this in mind, I believe our democracy is always strongest when we have a competition of good ideas – so we’re all better off with a competitive mayoral race. I’m not going to tell people how to vote, but I hope all of our readers go out there and cast their ballot.

4. DECA took the position that changing the ward boundaries during the election was undemocratic. What do you think about that?

Undemocratic is the only (publicly appropriate) word for what Doug Ford did to Toronto this summer.  You don’t change electoral boundaries, especially during an election.

I’ve been to more than 50,000 doors, and talked to a lot of residents about this issue. Some support the move to 25 councillors, some support 47. Regardless, most agree that the process – changing electoral boundaries during an election – is crazy.

It was certainly chaotic and intense for me and my team. The campaign has definitely changed – we started canvassing harder, began the process of learning and understanding the needs of an expanded community, and setting more ambitious goals.

We need the city to work for the people. The unilateral slashing of council is not the way to go about this. Can we do things better as a city? Absolutely. That’s a big part of why I’m running. But I don’t think changing electoral boundaries in the middle of an election is the way to do it, especially after all the work that went into getting to 47 councillors.

5. We expect that our area will see a lot of development in the next four years. What do you think about that?

The growth we’re experiencing is a credit to the community that’s been built here over the years. Danforth East, and Beaches-East York as a whole, is a beautiful place to call home and it’s not surprising that more people want to move here.

Growth and development are part of being a dynamic city like Toronto. But as we grow I want to see respect for the local voice and planning process. While I worked in the Chief Planner’s Office, all too-often I saw the city spend years working closely with residents and all stakeholders to make visionary, balanced plans for our community only for those same plans to be overturned at the Ontario Municipal Board.

This is simply unacceptable. It’s unfair to everyone who took part in those processes for all of their hard work to be undone, and it’s unfair to the current and future residents of our community to see an unsustainable approach to new development.

The OMB is now gone but we don’t know if the current provincial government will restore some of the old powers or go back towards that broken system. That’s why I wrote a letter to Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing asking him to commit to not restoring the old OMB system. You can see my letter here: https://www.bradbradford.ca/omb

Investment and growth in our neighbourhoods can be a good thing when the entire community gets a lift. This will help our community welcome new members and it’s the only way to ease the pressure on housing affordability. But we want growth which respects the work our communities do to set out a vision for how to grow. We need the associated plans and funding in place for transit, affordable housing, and community services to name just a few.

6. How will you contribute to a more diverse and representative Council?  

Thank you for asking this important question.

One thing I wish I could talk more about on the campaign trail is the work I do as a Civic Action DiverseCity Fellow. The fellowship is all about amplifying the voices of Torontonians typically left out of the city building conversation.

While I’m not part of an equity seeking group, diversity is front of mind for me and I’m always working on how to be a better ally. Diversity is embedded in the work I’ve done as a planner over the years – working on meaningful conversations about how the city should develop means going the extra mile to bring under-represented voice to the table. As the youngest candidate in the race (32 years old!), I’m excited about bringing fresh ideas to City Council, and I think that having a balance of perspectives would be more representative of the city we live in.

My contribution to diversity and representation on council will be to make space and be aware of when to speak up and when to step back. I am committed to speaking up when historically marginalized voices are not being heard, and to step back to make space for the leaders of these communities to represent their interest.

Among the many lessons I’ve learned running for council is that we have incredible leaders in this city, many unsung heroes. Our neighbourhoods are full of local champions and I will work hard to be responsive so we can make the city work for everyone.

 

For more information:
Office: 155 Main Street

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As we indicated in our recent blog post, DECA posed the same questions to every Ward 19 City Councillor candidate with a published email address (on the city election website). We are publishing their replies in the order that we receive them. 

Meet: Josh Makuch

JoshMakuch

1. What makes you the best person to represent the Danforth East area?

My personal integrity and commitment to public service. I was an infantry officer in the Canadian Army for years and led a platoon of soldiers on a combat tour in Afghanistan in 2009. Since then, I obtained an MBA and have worked on Bay Street. But, the same strong commitment to public service that brought me into the military is guiding me back, this time, towards municipal politics. I’m not afraid to take hard positions; I have been vocal, clear, and consistent about my views on the need to put all options on the table to address significant problems with the Woodbine bike lanes, and on the need for meaningful gun control. I have been pointing to the revitalization on the Danforth as an example of what we need to do for other parts of the ward, including sections of Queen, O’Connor, and St. Clair.

 

2. What do you think is the most pressing issue for this area, and what is your plan to address it?

Crime and safety. In addition to stricter gun control, I am a proponent of immediately hiring more Toronto Police officers to enhance police presence and enforcement ability in the area. I have also heard from residents across the ward about local concerns regarding street safety. We need to reduce the red tape associated with measures to slow and control traffic in specific areas of concern, and especially in and near school zones.

 

3. Who do you support for mayor, and why?

I support Mayor John Tory for a second term. While I do not agree with every decision the Mayor has made, overall, I think the City of Toronto will be best served by the consistency of a second term.

 

4. DECA took the position that changing the ward boundaries during the election was undemocratic. What do you think about that?

I am concerned that the Provincial Government made the change to the ward boundaries and number of wards in the City of Toronto without consultation and so close in time to the election. Concerns about the impact of the change on democracy, given the manner in which it was done, were well-founded. That said, I acknowledge that municipalities are statutory creatures of the Province of Ontario. The bottom line now is that City Councillors will have a bigger job going forward because each ward is larger and more diverse than before. I am committed to meeting that challenge.

 

5. We expect that our area will see a lot of development in the next four years. What do you think about that?

I support responsible development and increased intensification in the ward. Beaches-East York is a desirable place to live. There is a consistent influx of people who want to move into the area and a limited amount of geographic space. This organic demand and limited supply drives up housing prices and creates challenges for transit, but it also presents opportunities for greater local economic development. The goal is to manage development to maximize the benefits to the area and mitigate any negative impacts. To me, this means ensuring that development is net-neutral on parking increases and is accompanied by plans to improve and increase capacity of transit.

 

6. How will you contribute to a more diverse and representative Council?

I am a strong proponent of diversity. I will support the implementation of a gender equity strategy at City Hall. I will also ensure that staff in my office are diverse and representative of the ward.

 

For more info:
www.votejosh.ca
Facebook Page
Twitter

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