ELECTION: Council Turnover — Ward 36

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 nine wards with seats ripe for the picking. This post is the sixth in a series on the candidates in these contested wards, and the key issues in the neighbourhoods they seek to represent.


Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest

This ward runs along the Scarborough Bluffs with Lake Ontario in the south, the Canadian National rail lines in the north, Victoria Park Avenue in the west and extends east to where Kingston Road meets the train tracks. It encompasses the Birchcliff, Cliffside, Cliffcrest, and Scarborough village neighbourhoods.

The Candidates:

With Brian Ashton announcing his retirement after 22 years as councilor for Ward 36, a number of candidates have emerged to represent this area.

Vicki Breen is a longtime Scarborough whose platform and views include opposition to LRTs (she wants to investigate subways), ambivalence on wind turbines, and opposition to the vehicle registration and land transfer taxes.

Gary Crawford brings experience with budgets to the table as trustee and former vice-chair of the Toronto District School Board. Crawford wants to freeze councillors salaries and make councillors more accountable to taxpayers. He also proposes to turn Kingston Rd. into a complete street “with flowers, restaurants and other amenities, making it safer and more livable.”

Dr. Roman Danilov, the self-proclaimed professional vows to become the worst nightmare for profit-hungry parties acting against residents. With a PdD, BSc and Msc, Danilov has worked in psychology, natural and environmental sciences, as well as business and has taught a variety of courses at universities for the last eight years. He vows to make the TTC an essential service and prevent the space along the CN rail tracks from being developed, instead proposing to build green spaces.

Sean Gladney is the principal for two Toronto based companies, The Investigators Group Inc. established in 1995 and Edge Mechanical Inc. established in 2008. He’s also an AirVac and Medivac volunteer pilot and a member of the Toronto Party.

Diane Hogan is the co-ordinator of a non-profit housing co-op in Scarborough and has worked tirelessly on behalf of people in need of non-profit affordable housing. She vows to continue her work in the housing sector as well as prevent developments that are unsuitable for the community and make free eco-friendly car parking spaces at City parking facilities.

Local realtor Robert Mcdermott (whose only Internet presence is found on Craigslist and Kijiji) has endorsed Rob Ford for mayor and proposes to clean up waste at City Hall, while abolishing taxes such as the Land Transfer Tax and Personal Vehicle Tax and contracting out public transit.

Coming out of a six-year retirement is local resident Tony Ashdown. He worked on the Liquor Control Board of Ontario as the director of human resources and plans on supporting what residents want when it comes to the quarry lands development and wind turbines. He also proposes building a new detention centre in Toronto and getting helicopters for the Toronto Police Force to better combat gang crime. A training and development professional, Ashdown has been teaching management development at a Toronto College for the past few years.

Eddy Gasparotto, a last-minute entrant and second place candidate for the Ward in 2006,  has worked for the Department of Public Health as well as other City departments and unions and is currently a court officer with the Toronto Police Service.

University of Toronto instructor and Marvin Macaraig is a Filipino immigrant who’s completing his PhD in metropolitan governance. He is a member of community organizations such as Friends of the Rouge Watershed and Our Community Speaks and is calling for the implementation of the revitalization of Kingston Rd.

Robert Spencer has been an elected trustee and has served multiple roles in the TDSB for the past 11 years. He has been an education director for Pollution Probe, the executive director of the Ontario Association of Food Banks, and a member on the fundraising committee for Hong Fook Mental Health Association, and has a multitude of college and university governance experience at U of T and George Brown. He proposes to resell energy from public buildings under the Green Energy Act to pay for more solar installations.

The Issues:

Wind Turbines on the Scarborough Bluffs

There has been air quality testing as close as five kilometers off the shore of the Scarborough Bluffs for the installation of as many as 100 wind turbines. Community and environmental groups are sharply divided on this proposal.

  • Breen shares the concerns of the Toronto Wind Action group started by residents and opposes the proposed site of the turbines.
  • Danilov mentions the importance of cherishing the heritage of the Bluffs and protecting them from erosion and destruction, including the implementation of turbines.
  • Hogan insists that turbines be placed in less densely populated areas of Ontario in order to protect residents while still employing green energy.
  • Macaraig questions whether a two year monitoring of the wind capacity off the shore of the Scarborough Bluffs will result in a long-term feasibility plan and believes that this is the wrong project for the area.

Development on the quarry lands

A plan to build at least three buildings ranging in height from 20 to 27 stories on the old quarry lands has been proposed and a rezoning application approved.

  • Breen states that this type of development would stress area amenities and that there is no transition planning to enhance neighbouring schools or transportation.
  • Crawford says that the zoning for the project is completely outdated and has density, environmental and infrastrutcture concerns. He has been talking to community members and interest groups to learn what needs to be done to turn this project around.
  • Macaraig supports the efforts of The Concerned Citizens of Quarry Lands Development

LRTs

  • Breen is opposed to adding LRTs through Scarborough and says that she is entertaining the idea of expanding the subway as an alternative.
  • Crawford wants to develop an integrated city wide plan and pressure Queen’s Park to restart their share of TTC operating costs.
  • Danilov is in favour of extending subways and is in support of the “Get Toronto Moving Campaign,” something that Gladney also prescribes to.
  • Hogan says that the Scarborough RT is no longer useful and must be replaced. She proposes extending the existing subway system above ground to reach the U of T Scarborough campus, but doesn’t agree with the glorified streetcars that are LRT’s.

Photo and Shawn Micallef

6 comments

  1. Obviously Micallef is biased toward some of the councillor candidates running in Ward 36. He has not disclosed the position on the various issues for a couple of leading candidates in this ward notably, Robert McDermott and Robert Spencer, who I believe are the frontrunners in this contest, not to mention all the other candidates positions, to fully inform voters in the ward. If you are going to do a story on candidate profiles in this ward, at least have the courtesy to do it fairly.

  2. Derrick,
    I apologize for leaving Spencer ‘s views out of the issues section. I can assure you it was not done intentionally or with a slant towards any of the other candidates.
    For the record, Spencer plans to appeal the OMG decision to allow “seven” condo towers on the Quarry Lands.

    As for McDermott, I don’t consider posts on Craigslist or Kijijji a proper place to campaign, and therefore didn’t include views posted on those sites. (Many of which had been taken down before I even wrote this piece.)

  3. Why do you not contact the candidates for their position on all the issues that are relevant in this election? It looks to me you have deliberately not posted the views of some of the frontrunners as mentioned in another post. As a voter, I want to be fully informed on all the views and platforms from every candidate to make an informed decision on election day. The all-candidate debates will be the real test of who should be councillor in ths ward. Then, and only then, will residents in this ward make the right choice.

  4. To the author – clearly the other commentors are friends of the candidates. You don’t have any obligation to post any candidate’s platforms or their stances on the issues. 

    I was grateful to find this site as I’ve only lived in the ward for seven years and I didn’t realize the windmill issue concerned our riding at all. 

    I appreciate that you posted links to the candidate’s Web sites and that’s how I’ll continue my research on them.

    Well done on this article.

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