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 seventh in a series on the candidates in these contested wards, and the key issues in the neighbourhoods they seek to represent.
Ward 18 Davenport
Bordered by Dovercourt Road in the east, Dupont Street to the north, the rail corridor in the west from the Junction to where it meets King Street, Ward 18 encompasses the Junction Triangle, Roncesvalles, Little Portugal, Bloordale and West Queen West neighbourhoods.
After a whirlwind of activity surrounding Adam Giambrone’s short run for mayor and his sex scandal, the race for his seat has become highly contested. With 12 candidates vying for his spot in City Hall this race is sure to be one to keep an eye on.
For Davenport residents, Ana Bailao’s name may sound familiar. She not only came in second place for the spot in council in 2003, but was the former assistant to the councillor before Giambrone, Mario Silva. She has also been active on many community boards for the past ten years. She is the founding member of Friends of Dovercourt Park, as well as DIG IN, the Dupont Improvement Group and has sat on community boards such as the Junction Triangle Association, S.O.S (Save Our Schools Committee), Bloordale Villagers Association, and multiple Portuguese associations.
Endorsed by Mayor David Miller, Gord Perks, Adam Giambrone and Adam Vaughan, Kevin Beaulieu was the executive assistant to Giambrone. In that position he found himself involved in many projects and transit-oriented initiatives, and was able to engage with community members and BIAs. He is a current member of the Davenport Municipal Association and wants to make sure that City services are kept public and not sold off to the highest bidder.
The software developer whose campaign website is still under construction, Doug Carroll is concerned about poor city services and has a campaign centered on the governance of these services, including user audits and public quality ratings.
Former Ontario Green Party leader Frank De Jong is a member of Active 18 and a year-round cyclist. He vows to close the House of Lancaster strip club and create some interesting projects such as the Property Assessed Clean Energy program, in which the City would front the cost of homeowners installing a renewable electricity system and issue low interest bonds which the homeowner could payback through a 20-year payment plan.
Joe MacDonald isn’t new to running campaigns. He has been a campaign manager in over 20 NDP election campaigns across Canada. He is the president of the Macdonald Group Inc., senior partner for FPR Corporate Communications and Public Affaris and has been a board member and four term president of the Public Affairs Association of Canada. He is the former partnership and public affairs manager for the Downtown Yonge BIA.
Hema Vyas is currently the evaluation coordinator at the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, and has been involved extensively in the non-profit sector. She is the past president and current board member of the June Callwood Centre for Women and Families, a project manager at A Commitment to Training and Employment for Women and a representative with Culturelink, an organization that helps new Canadians get settled.
Ken Wood is the self-proclaimed “Tree Guy” because he chained himself to a tree to save it during the Lansdowne Ave. narrowing. He has a BA in political science and wants to fight for diversity in the city by making communication available in more languages. He wants to see term limits for council and City services that better reflect the needs of residents.
As the owner and manager of a construction company, Kirk Russell sees many similarities in running a construction site and running a city ward, with the exception of course that running a ward would not start with an empty slate. On his website he describes this similarity; “our ward is like a construction site in that work has to be done within a certain budget and timeline, and according to specific regulations.”
Among those without official websites that could be found, Nha Le has run in this ward twice before, last time coming in with just under 3% of votes, but has since served as an adviser for MPP Tony Ruprecht. He has been quoted as saying “don’t look to the past, look to the future.” Also running for councillor are Abdirazak Elmi, Mohammad Muhit and last minute entrant Joanna Teliatnik.
Georgetown Rail Corridor / Pearson Airport Rail Link
- Bailao says that she would like to see this rail line electrified so that residents along the line are not harmed by the toxic chemicals that diesel trains emit, as well as making sure the line services people along this corridor and local residents are given a discounted rate.
- Beaulieu also supports electrification.
- De Jong doesn’t consider “clean diesel” an option; he says the link must be electric, and that the increased upfront costs of electric far outweigh the costs of diesel in that they will prevent pollution and save health care dollars.
- Vyas wants to stop the diesel trains before they arrive and see a standard fare payment system put in place to make the system accessible and affordable.
- Bailao vows to lobby to make the provincial government more accountable when it comes to public transit. She supports Presto smart cards and the downtown relief subway line.
- Beaulieu wants the funding restored to Transit City and the Go rail corridor to be electrified – as well as a complete renovation of Dufferin station to include an elevator, making it more accessible.
- Wood wants to make the TTC an essential service and ask the federal government to support operating costs, and told the Bloordale press that he hopes the TTC will be free within the next 25 years.
- Russell has been consulting with city planners and reviewing road maps of the area and would like to see the Lansdowne tunnel go ahead as proposed and add a second access point to the Barrie Go tracks.
- MacDonald says the time is now for transit development and wants to see an overhaul in customer service and supports the current Transit City expansion plan.
- Bailao supports separated bike lanes throughout the area, and wants a public education plan for everybody so that cars and bikes can coincide peacefully.
- Beaulieu supports the Toronto Bike Plan and says there is a need to get people into alternative modes of transportation, or congestion will get worse.
- Russell applauds the creation of the Rail Path and wants to see it expanded, but is also toying with the idea of contra-flow lanes where cyclists and cars are not only separated by a thick yellow line, but travelling the opposite direction. He is opposed to orphaned bike lanes, such as the one on Dupont, that do not connect to bike lanes anywhere else.
Development & Public Space
- Beaulieu promises to continue developing more public spaces such as parks, and will plant more trees. He also mentions that many properties along the rail corridor are slated for employment use, and will work to ensure that development goes beyond merely condos, ensuring that jobs are created as well.
- De Jong believes in self-funded infrastructure, where if new developments make areas more desirable to live in the increased land value should be collected to pay for that new development.
- Bailao wants to ensure that the area’s affordable housing be kept in a state of good repair.
- Bailao wants to bring back the parking along Dundas Street West that was removed by Giambrone as a promise to improve streetcar service. Doing this, she says, will support local businesses who are having trouble staying afloat.
- Le wants to remove trees along Lansdowne in order to create parking spots that were once removed in order to widen the street and sidewalk.
- Russell wants to see a time share system implemented where vehicles aren’t allowed to park during peak periods, but where roadside parking is available throughout the day.
With a lot of development going on in this ward, and a lot of unhappy constituents, Spacing is interested to see who will emerge victorious in the coming weeks. While 46% of the people in this ward do not own vehicles, it will also be interesting to see how bike lanes are implemented throughout the ward and how the Dundas St. and Roncesvalles Ave. streetcar track renovations improve accessibility.
Photo by Kevin Steele