It’s not often that candidates for City Council are given the opportunity to run without an incumbent in the ward. This year there are eight wards with seats ripe for the picking. This post is the first in a series on the candidates in these contested wards, and the key issues in the neighbourhoods they seek to represent.
Ward 19 – Trinity / Spadina
From Dupont to the lake, Dovercourt to Christie above Bloor, and Dovercourt to Bathurst below Bloor, this ward covers the Christie Dovercourt, Grace Dovercourt, Liberty Village, Little Italy, Niagara, Fort York, Palmerston, Queen West and Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhoods, and was home to almost 50,000 people in 2006 according to the latest Census.
With Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone running for mayor, his seat at City Council is up for grabs; enticing quite a diverse group of candidates to show interest in doing a better job.
Mike Layton, the candidate endorsed by Pantalone, aims to follow his father into city politics — in the ward represented federally by his step-mother, Olivia Chow. But Layton, who has a BA in political science and masters in environmental studies with a focus on urban planning, says that it’s not his familial relations that will win him the election. “It’s going to be me meeting people and creating a relationship with them and building trust,” he told Spacing. “It’s not going to be my name, it’s going to be the relationship that I’m going to grow within the next 80 days.”
Running against this political offspring is Sean McCormick. He’s known to sports fans as the host of SportsNet’s Connected, a job which he left to campaign for council full-time. McCormick says that he was so tired of complaining about the way tax money was being spent and decisions were being made that he felt he needed to do something about it. He says that he wants to be a part of the change that Toronto needs.
Also running is Karen Sun, the executive director of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter for the last four years. With over 10 years experience in environmental organizations, she promises to endorse sustainability and the enhancement of public parks and spaces.
Another contender to fill the shoes of Pantalone is Derek Chadbourne, familiar with cyclists as the owner of the Bike Joint on Harbord. He is serious in his convictions to improve the safety of our streets, for cyclists and pedestrians. Having a devoted cycling advocate may prove to be beneficial to a cycling-mad ward. [ UPDATE: Chadbourne has dropped out of the race ]
Other candidates running for the Ward 19 seat on city council include David Footman, Daniel Iaboni, Jim Likourezos, George Sawision, Joshua Shang, Jason Stevens, and Peter Taccogna. Footman, Stevens, and Taccogna are without a website that could be found and Sawision hasn’t added a platform to his site. While Iaboni, Shang and Lizourezes do have websites, their platforms aren’t explained.
THE ISSUES SPECIFIC TO THE WARD
Pantalone’s moratorium on restaurants
At the end of 2009 Joe Pantalone responded to cries from constituents about the number of new bars on Ossington and the resulting increased noise level at night. City Council passed a motion limiting new bars, restaurants and cafes to 175 square metres of an existing, restricting patios to only the front and only until 11pm.
- Sun says that this decision was made too quickly and without public consultation. There are a number of different options that could have been put in place before banning outright liquor licenses to restaurants and bars alike. She plans to take a look at the signs of consumption laws in the province to allow people to finish their drinks and conversations at a leisurely pace after the bar has stopper serving so that they don’t all filter out onto the street at the same time.
- Sun is an avid cyclist who sees the current bike plan as poorly executed. She wants to study roads used by cyclists and create a better link to lanes not only throughout ward 19, but across the city.
- Layton is engaging with constituents by leading bike rides in the ward’s neighbourhoods.
- Layton sees the changes in Liberty Village as a generational growth, with older families moving out and newer ones coming in. With this he sees a change in the kinds of services required to support the new community members. “They’re the ones with kids that want to see these places thrive and want to give new life to them.”
- McCormick has already started a petition to complete the Liberty Village pedestrian and cycling bridge, and whether or not he wins, he is going to continue fighting for that because he sees it as an important link for those living down in Liberty Village and King West.
Parks & Public Spaces
- McCormick was disgusted with the treatment of city parks during last year’s garbage strike. He says it broke his heart that the plan all along was to make public pools and parks the dumping ground for overflow waste.
- Sun wants to see a unified parks plan to deal with the future maintenance and enhancement of city parks.
Other issues that Spacing find of interest in the area are the large-scale developments that are already underway and some that in the discussion phases. The condo boom in the Liberty Village area and the effect this is going to have on transportation is bound to be a topic of discussion at upcoming all-candidates debates. The redevelopment of CAMH is already in the construction phases, but is guaranteed to change the face of Queen Street West.
The Ontario Place redevelopment will be a big undertaking that could transform this part of the waterfront. An engaged city councillor should be able to help steer the community’s involvement in the project. Considering that the ward also includes the CNE grounds — where Counillor Pantalone served as a member of the Exhibition Place Board of Governors — the new councillor for this ward is going to have influence on very important city-building projects. These are topics that Spacing will be revisiting as our election coverage continues.