Toronto election 2014: Ward 32 candidates

Welcome to the second of three issues of Toronto municipal election coverage in Beach Metro Community News.

Image courtesy FutUndBeidl (via Flickr)
Image courtesy FutUndBeidl (via Flickr)

In this issue, we are featuring candidates for city councillor in Ward 32, which covers the area from Victoria Park Avenue to Coxwell Avenue, south of Danforth Avenue. The ward also jogs west, covering the area east of Greenwood Avenue, south of Gerrard Street East, and again south of Queen Street East, to Leslie Street.

This includes the Beach – both the neighbourhood and the actual geographical feature – as well as Kingston Road Village, the Upper Beach, Beach Hill, the south half of East Danforth and the Danforth Mosaic and Danforth Village BIAs, and the south half of the Gerrard India Bazaar.

Transit in the area includes the 501 Queen streetcar line, the 506 College streetcar, which runs along Gerrard Street East, and a number of shorter bus routes. Ashbridges Bay Park and Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant both fall within the ward, along with Kew Gardens and Woodbine Park.

There are 12 candidates signed up to run for councillor in Ward 32. Of these, 10 responded to our questions, and their answers are included here.

We asked a range of questions, and included the answers relating to the issues most often raised by our readers.

Our Sept. 23 issue included candidates for Ward 31 councillor, Ward 16 TDSB trustee, and Ward 11 TCDSB trustee. Ward 36, which includes Cliffside and Birch Cliff, will be covered in the Oct. 21 issue, ahead of the general election on Oct. 27. For more on our Ward 32 debate, happening tonight, Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at St. John’s Norway Church, check beachmetro.com or see the next issue on Oct. 21.

Sandra Bussin

I grew up in Beaches-East York, raising my family here.

Sandra Bussin
Sandra Bussin

I live and run a business in the community. As your city councillor from amalgamation to 2010, we made great gains working together: shut down the Ashbridges’ Bay sewage incinerator, improving air quality by 100 per cent; built  Fairmount Park and Main Square recreation centres; built Kimberley Public School gym/auditorium addition and upgraded library; Beaches Library restoration and addition; built youth-designed skateboard park; Kew Williams Cottage and Maple Cottage restored for community use; initiated action on basement flooding and lead water pipe retrofit program; achieved new daycare spaces at Enderby and Bowmore daycare and established  Earl Haig Parent Resource Centre. In the last four years, I established a real estate career and volunteered as a board member at the Red Door Family Shelter. I am offering my experience and leadership skills to serve our community and city in a positive way.

1. How will you address condo development?

The city’s Official Plan is not providing the protection we need to preserve neighbourhoods, and must be revisited and improved. In my opinion, existing zoning is the most restrictive planning tool available and preservation of the zoning bylaw is required to help protect our unique village atmosphere. When I was councillor, I moved to exempt Queen Street East from the Midrise Guidelines, far more flexible than the zoning bylaw. However, during this council term, the zoning bylaw has been diminished. I spearheaded the battle against a major development proposal at the base of Neville Park that would have set a precedent for broad waterfront development – changing our cherished waterfront beyond recognition. The benefit of my experience of hard-won battles opposing harmful development is needed more now than ever. I believe our next battles on the development front will not only involve our main streets but our waterfront once again.

2. How will you improve traffic?

Public transit improvements and getting residents back on transit is the central key to solving the traffic problem in our community and across the city. We cannot expand or widen our road system.  We can look at changing parking regulations on main streets, traffic signal timing and turn signal prohibitions; however, these ideas have a minimal impact. We are by necessity compelled to provide more public transit options. Embracing the use of bike lanes and improving the network of lanes will provide another real option for commuters.

3. What are your plans for transit?

Our community is best served by the Transit City plan, a fully funded network of light rail lines including the Finch, Sheppard, and seven-stop Scarborough LRT lines. Save the $100 million in lost work done on the Scarborough LRT and stop work on the Scarborough subway. And stop the new dedicated property tax we are subject to this year at 0.5 per cent which by 2016 will be an extra 1.6 per cent every year to pay for a Scarborough stump of a subway! Let’s build the downtown relief subway, which will take pressure off the Bloor-Danforth and Yonge-University subways. Spend our money wisely on moving more people more efficiently.  Traffic congestion has reached a point where the economy of the city is seriously impacted. I would also push for the extension of the waterfront LRT to our ward to relieve pressure on the Queen and King streetcar lines.

4. How would you address empty storefronts in commercial areas?

Plan a program to introduce potential retailers to the community and the possibilities of opening businesses here. Provide property tax incentives for new businesses to become established. Work with existing property owners to allow ‘pop-up’ opportunities in vacant storefronts. Work with the city’s economic development department to design incentives for property owners to cooperate with the ‘pop-up’ renewals and other entrepreneurial options.  Also, conduct a survey of local residents to determine what kind of retail they would like to see located in their area of the ward.

Sean Dawson

Born in the Beaches, I have lived here for close to 20 years.

Sean Dawson
Sean Dawson

I enjoy walking my dog along the beach and cycling around the city. Currently I work for a Toronto-based manufacturer of construction supplies. I want to bring my knowledge of leading construction practices along with my customer-focused approach to help deliver better designed, sustainable infrastructure and creative solutions to local concerns in our community. Above all else I want to ensure that when I vote on an issue I understand what the community wants as a whole.

1. How will you address condo development?

I believe we need to better direct condo development and allow it to enhance our community. The increased density of condominiums can benefit local business and residents if it is properly planned and forward-thinking. By incorporating sustainable features like stormwater management and mixed-use development with accessible storefronts we can enhance the community for a variety of daily uses.

2. How will you improve traffic?

We can improve traffic in our ward by working with condo developers to include off-street Green P parking in their developments. This would help manage traffic on residential streets and free up a lane of traffic on major thoroughfares.

3. What are your plans for transit?

Support a cohesive city-wide transit plan from concept to implementation without further delay. We need to make decisions on transit options and see them through to completion. City Council indecisiveness has delayed the arrival of frequent, reliable public transit in our ward and the rest of the city for too long. Public transit should be planned on the merits of current ridership and future development data, not opinion. We need to implement a scalable solution that meets the demands of ridership, reduces commute times and has budget costs that can be realistically managed.

4. How would you address empty storefronts in commercial areas?

Many ward residents are employed in other areas of Toronto. This creates a challenge for local businesses that rely on these residents. We need to implement an economic initiative that increases employment opportunities locally. By reducing the land transfer tax on commercial properties in priority areas, we can generate incentive for businesses to move here. By maintaining the density, we can provide sustainable revenue for retail and restaurants during regular office hours. This, along with intelligent condo development, will foster a better mixed-use community that can create and support healthier businesses in our ward.

Eric de Boer

My name is Eric de Boer and I am running for council to represent Ward 32.

Eric de Boer
Eric de Boer

I grew up in Scarborough but have lived in The Beach for 10 years. I have been self-employed in the transportation industry for over a decade and currently own and drive a tractor-trailer, a small business of one. In addition to being a driver I am responsible for providing a high level of customer service to my clients while managing logistics. I am responsible for operations, marketing, accounting, payroll, admin, and every day, I am labour. I have established myself as one of the most responsible, competent, and efficient brokers. My strong crisis and project management skills have allowed me to move quickly into more demanding roles where I must negotiate the purchase and operation of necessary equipment while complying with all government and industry regulations.

1. How will you address condo development?

Change should come in the form of policy. To that end, I propose implementing parameters on development. For instance, a policy that requires new developments south of Kingston Road to have separate and independent entrances to each unit, commonly referred to as split homes. This inherently excludes buildings with a common entrance into a lobby, common elevators and hallways. This is a creative way to stave off condo buildings that threaten the unique nature of our neighbourhood while satisfying our ward’s need for more family homes.

2. How will you improve traffic?

Timed lights, three-phase lights, and implementing creative solutions to manage traffic flow. For example, introducing a left turn lane southbound at Woodbine Avenue and Queen Street East without affecting northbound traffic. Currently northbound traffic on Woodbine has two through lanes entering the intersection and three lanes on the north side of Queen. A left turn lane should be added to southbound traffic by using one of the northbound lanes. This will allow southbound through traffic to pass Queen unobstructed by left and right turners. This can be accomplished by merely repainting lines, no construction necessary. Further, unlike our current councillor who purports to be a cycling advocate, I am actually going to do something to get cyclists safely moving through our ward. I am proposing 5 km of new bike lanes on Gerrard Street, east of Coxwell Avenue.

3. What are your plans for transit?

Our city is plagued by an antiquated transit system decades away from modernization. Before construction for transit begins on Sheppard or Finch we need to decide whether or not to first expand TTC in the downtown core. The Yonge line is over capacity and building downtown transit is 20 years away once we commit to a plan. I say let Torontonians decide what the priority is. In the meantime, there exist smart value-for-money solutions to enhance our transit system in its current state. Turning King and Queen Streets into one-ways from the DVP to Roncesvallles though the downtown core will not only improve TTC speed and service, it will benefit all modes of transportation. My proposal integrates a separated bike lane on the right, streetcars traveling on existing track in a rush hour HOV lane, and allows for two driving lanes on the left.

4. How would you address empty storefronts in commercial areas?

Once I have completed the renovations that are required to keep Kew Cottage open, I would like to work with Beaches businesses to create a Kew Gardens Consignment Café. Customers could sit at a patio set available to buy from a local retailer, choose from drinks and order light fare, all sourced from and credited to, local and artisanal businesses. The cottage would be available to book through the city for small private or public functions. Residents and visitors can take advantage of this beautiful space while showcasing our local businesses. During street festivals, like Jazz Fest, I will advocate for business, especially restaurant patios, to be permitted to expand beyond their existing property line into the sidewalk/street.

Maria Garcia

I am Maria Garcia, candidate for Ward 32, Dragon Year born.

Maria Garcia
Maria Garcia

I have lived in this ward for nine years. I have been involved in community volunteer projects as an information and health ambassador for jeunesseglobal.com. I am a certified management accountant, and have a B.Sc, MBA, CPA, and business degree, with 22 years expertise in banking.

I am the first and only Catholic social media marketer, Toronto exporter and realtor, who has won a best Facebook account award, and has experience with Canadian banks, businessmen, entrepreneurs and exporters. I decided to run for councillor because my mission is to create more jobs for people in Ward 32 through real estate projects.

1. How will you address condo development?

There are a few condominiums being developed in Ward 32 such as the Vert Condominiums on Kingston Road and townhomes in the Upper Beach near Woodbine. Various private apartments and Toronto Community Housing buildings offering low cost rent are proliferating in Ward 32.

2. How will you improve traffic?

There are a few traffic problems in Ward 32 because of strict compliance on TTC transit by the TTC traffic enforcement division. Other regulatory bodies monitor the streets to safeguard and protect the pedestrians, passengers, and drivers, such as police, paramedics and firemen.

3. What are your plans for transit?

Ward 32 is visibly full of trains around major intersections such as Main and Gerrard, Kingston Road, Queen Street, the subways, and GO trains. My plan for public transit in 2015 is to propose the transfer of some trains from Queen Street and Gerrard Street to other places such as Etobicoke, in order to safeguard the bridges over Main Street, Woodbine Avenue, and Greenwood Avenue, and lessen the impact of noise on residents, so that private cars can pass conveniently and people can buy new expensive cars.

4. How would you address empty storefronts in commercial areas?

There are no empty storefronts in commercial areas in Ward 32 such as Shoppers World on Danforth and Queen Street in the Beaches. But there is ongoing construction of real estate projects by developers of condominiums on vacant lots on Kingston Road, commercial buildings, and townhomes in the Upper Beach near Woodbine.

Brian Graff

I was born in Toronto and grew up in Don Mills, where I was raised by a single mother, with help from my grandmothers.

Brian Graff
Brian Graff

I live in the ward, near Queen Street. My degrees in environmental studies and architecture and MBA in finance should be valuable assets at city council, as will my knowledge of development and business gained while working with Paul Reichmann. My company, Cassandra Research Inc., is a small consulting firm. I spent hundreds of hours fighting inappropriate redevelopment on Queen Street, and elsewhere in our ward and city. I will bring passion, creativity and experience to protecting what’s best in our community. I’m a political moderate, active in politics since my twenties. Cities and architecture are lifelong passions, along with automobiles. A fun fact about me was that I once defeated 10 contestants and won a new car on the TV game show Split Second.

1. How will you address condo development?

I’m for responsible development and strongly for heritage conservation. No other candidate has the education, skills, and experience I offer. We must “OMB-proof” Toronto starting with a new official plan. We must overhaul the planning department. We must stop staff planners from tying the hands of council. For example, staff should provide checklists showing where proposals violate guidelines, show all current zoning rules being broken, or where staff have used discretion. Councillor McMahon once said 75 per cent of her time was spent on planning. We need a Councillor with urban planning skills and expertise. McMahon showed her ignorance of planning law on the Lick’s development project where she publicly worried, incorrectly, that the building might be made “even bigger” if appealed to the OMB. A change to the 2006 Planning Act prevents “substantially different” buildings. What is before council is the worst that can be approved.

2. How will you improve traffic?

Problems vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. The best solution is to increase TTC ridership, which can only occur by improving service and capacity. Other solutions are possible, like enforcing rules with active towing. Changes to rush hour parking require balance. But how to stop things from getting even worse? During the Visioning Study, many people wanted to freeze development until we had proper studies and solutions for dealing with congestion. On Avenues we must prevent over-intensification and study long-term impacts of rezonings before setting new precedents – urban planners underestimate future growth by assuming only a few “soft sites” will be built, while the reality is that land assembly will accelerate once it’s clear that density can be doubled or tripled. I’m a realist when it comes to cars. One long-term issue will be that instead of reducing congestion, driverless cars will increase congestion by making car usage easier.

3. What are your plans for transit?

Planned LRTs and subways will take decades to complete, and do little for our ward. We need more buses, now! At $700,000 per bus, they’re the most flexible and fastest fix; each replaces many cars. Short-turning of streetcars can be reduced by adding new tracks downtown on Richmond and Adelaide, to provide system redundancy and increase capacity. The province must consider making better use of GO rail lines (regardless of who’s mayor) but this mainly helps people working in the core and does little for everyone else. I support an LRT for Scarborough. Instead of the proposed downtown relief line, which would run through Riverdale where little intensification is planned (unlike downtown), I propose an underground LRT from Castle Frank, which would run under Parliament. This shorter, cheaper solution reuses an existing bridge over Rosedale Valley, avoids tunnelling under the Don River and still allows bypassing Yonge/Bloor station.

4. How would you address empty storefronts in commercial areas?

Each main street is different, from Queen to Danforth. Each requires a unique approach with close study to capitalize on its true potential, unlike bureaucratic city planners pushing “one size fits all” Avenues policies. It requires creative and innovative thinking about urban planning, marketing, and economic development (changing taxation, pop-up shops, etc.). It requires collaboration with BIAs, residents and other stakeholders. The condos on the former racetrack show why new buildings are no cure, as retail space there has a worse vacancy rate than stores across the street. The additional people that condos bring are insignificant for retailers, but not for rush hour traffic and parking. Let’s bring more jobs to Ward 32. We’ll develop a plan for Main/Danforth with new amenities, so residents can work and live (and spend) in the area, rather than allowing cramped condos with short-term tenants who spend their time and money elsewhere.

Mary-Margaret McMahon

I grew up in Collingwood, where my father was mayor. I moved to Toronto 23 years ago and my first apartment was on Leuty Avenue.

Mary-Margaret McMahon
Mary-Margaret McMahon

Since then I have called Ward 32 my home. I have worked as an educator, an environmental activist and a Live Green Community Animator. My passion for community led me to volunteer with many local groups including Community Centre 55, Danforth East Community Association, East Toronto Climate Action Group and Gledhill Public School. In 2010 I was elected as councillor and the last four years serving Ward 32 has been the greatest experience of my life.

1. How will you address condo development?

We must discourage irresponsible development by creating a more inclusive planning process and planning ahead. I believe in citizen-led planning. I am proud that in four years we have given Queen Street in the Beach the strongest protection from irresponsible development it has ever had, and we achieved this through a community-led process.  Our Beach Urban Design Guidelines are now included in the City of Toronto Official Plan, giving them the strongest possible legal weight. Since being enacted NO applications for developments exceeding those guidelines have been submitted. Other communities and councillors were so impressed with our visioning study and guidelines they have been emulated across the city.

2. How will you improve traffic?

To tackle traffic we must reduce congestion on major routes and improve safety on our residential streets. We must use our existing road and transit infrastructure more effectively. I proudly supported synchronizing traffic lights and worked with the construction coordination office to reduce unnecessary delays on major roads. We must also improve transit service in our ward to get cars off the roads and move more people efficiently. I support a 10-minute service guarantee for all surface routes to ensure streetcars and busses are an attractive alternative to driving. Safety on residential streets is extremely important to me and to our community. I have worked with residents on dozens of streets to implement traffic calming measures including speed bumps, staggered parking, speed limit changes and turn prohibitions. I want to work with the medical officer of health to reduce speed limits on small residential streets to keep our kids safe.

3. What are your plans for transit?

Years of neglect have left Toronto far behind on transit. We must improve the system we have and create a shared vision for expansion. To improve our system I support a 10-minute service guarantee on all streetcars and buses, and implementing a two-hour transfer to allow hopping on and off the streetcar without paying twice. We must explore ways to use our GO system more efficiently. I championed reducing fares at the Danforth GO station to reduce subway congestion and speed commutes to downtown. I am committed to building the downtown/Yonge relief subway and to LRT expansion on Finch and Sheppard. I opposed the Scarborough Subway expansion, which I believe will be a burden for taxpayers, and provide less than optimal service. Toronto must have dedicated transit funding tools that allow the city to plan for the future and not rely on one-time funding from provincial or federal partners.

4. How would you address empty storefronts in commercial areas?

We must strengthen our main streets by removing the damaging vacant commercial tax credit and promoting local shopping. I have been working with council to abolish the tax credit applied to a commercial space when it becomes vacant. It gives property owners an incentive to keep storefronts empty while they speculate on the value of their building. If we remove this credit landlords will be encouraged to keep storefronts occupied. We can also strengthen our main streets by promoting local shopping and innovative techniques like pop-up shops. I worked with DECA to bring pop-up shops to an area that had a very high vacancy rate. This project not only drew visitors and shoppers in the short term, it has helped to start new permanent businesses. I want to expand this program to other parts of the ward and investigate how the City could help to promote and strengthen this initiative.

Carmel Suttor

I was born in Australia and moved with my parents to Etobicoke when I was eight.

Carmel Suttor
Carmel Suttor

After spending my adolescence and student years in Windsor, Quebec, and Paris, I returned to Toronto in the 1980s to make it my permanent home. While raising two daughters with my husband, I worked as a freelance writer, writing for magazines, television (including five wonderful years writing for Polka Dot Door) and wrote film scripts, two of which were made into movies for television. Later I obtained a Masters in Education and taught French Immersion for the Toronto District School Board.

1. How will you address condo development?

Intensification in Toronto has the potential to be a success story if we do it the right way. People want to live in the city core because it is an attractive place. In order to get development that improves Toronto, we must be removed from the jurisdiction of the Ontario Municipal Board, where private developers usually overturn restrictions. We need concerted lobbying of the province, since there is no reason why Toronto should be overruled by an appointed board. Once that’s accomplished, Toronto needs to use its new leverage over developers to negotiate substantial contributions to the parts of the city they want to build in. Since new developments rely on old infrastructure and limited transit, it is key that developers pay a substantial amount to upgrade the infrastructure, as well as contribute to ongoing transit improvements.  New developments that are carefully integrated can contribute to our tax base.

2. How will you improve traffic?

Traffic congestion is intertwined with other means of transportation: transit and cycling. The best way to improve traffic congestion is to have a good transit system that is an attractive and practical alternative to driving, as well as separated bike lanes to make cycling safe. I support the current plan by TTC for immediate improvement that needs to be expedited by council. Keep existing streetcars as new ones are phased in and time streetcars to avoid bunching and stalling. A good transit system will get more people out of their cars and relieve traffic congestion.

3. What are your plans for transit?

I believe the LRT is the best way to improve transit throughout the city, and that a downtown relief line is long overdue. I support the immediate relief for transit proposed by the TTC that needs to be expedited by council. The technology to time streetcars with lights has existed for a long time, and it would be an investment worth making as we would have fewer streetcars stalled at lights. Better timing of streetcars and the use of express buses would benefit the ward in the near future, as well as the implementation of a two-hour fare.

4. How would you address empty storefronts in commercial areas?

I agree with the motion passed by council to ask the province to remove tax rebates for landlords with empty storefronts. Once the rebate is abolished, the city should extend tax incentives to new businesses in the early years. This could come in the form of rent rebates, as it would be more likely to be put back into the business. In addition, membership in the BIA should be optional during the early years as a business gets on its feet. Since we have the combination of highly skilled, educated and underemployed people of all ages, as well as empty storefronts, we should underwrite an innovation centre in each ward, where people who want to develop new products and applications can exchange ideas. We could have an innovation investment fund that would pay the development expenses of some of the more promising projects. This could make Toronto an innovation hub.

James Sears

I was born in Toronto 51 years ago.

James Sears
James Sears

Other than time served in the Canadian Armed Forces as a medical officer, I have lived here all my life. After being honourably released at the rank of captain, I chose to settle back in my home town. I have lived in the same house on Kew Beach Avenue for 11 years.

I am a successful entrepreneur who is appalled that approximately 8,000 people working for City of Toronto earn over $100,000 per year. They cost us over $1 billion per year with benefits. Twenty-seven per cent of your property tax goes straight to these fat cats! I am the only council candidate in the entire city that promises to not accept the $105,000 councillor’s salary and work for free! A councillor should volunteer his time for his community. When so many people live below the poverty line, he must set the example.

1. How will you address condo development?

Out of control real estate development is destroying the quaint, serene nature of our community. Not only does it make our once idyllic neighbourhood look and sound vulgar, it puts stress on our infrastructure. Mary-Margaret McMahon is an ineffectual Marxist getting eaten alive by developers. She puts up virtually no resistance as they steamroll over her. Her father is a community destroyer who sat on the OMB, with a reputation of always siding with developers. I am a powerful man who will protect Ward 32 by using military-style tactics of reconnaissance and ambush to outmaneuver developers, and bring them to their knees. I will ensure any development is on our terms, and every project is a balance between keeping our small businesses vibrant and maintaining our quiet Beach lifestyle.

2. How will you improve traffic?

There are two factors causing congestion issues in Ward 32.  First, road construction takes way longer than it should because contractors are milking Toronto. Being forced to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Lakeshore for half an hour, only to see a dozen workers standing and watching one guy work infuriates me! Contractors should be given firm timelines, and if work is not done by that date, they should be penalized $1,000 per day until they get the job done. The second problem is sleazy charities that manipulate naïve disease victims into participating in “charity runs.” Most of the money goes to fat cats running the charities and not to “research.” Our streets should not be blocked for these runs. They can be done in parks or on the boardwalk.

3. What are your plans for transit?

We cannot address our “transit strategy” without addressing the fact that $3 per regular fare is robbery! I was raised in poverty and do not know how people on fixed incomes can afford to ride transit. We must put a moratorium on all new transit projects until fares are brought down to $2.50, and seniors and children ride free. The first step is to slash the salaries of those 1,400 TTC workers earning more than $100,000 per year each, and better manage overtime pay. We must also trim the board of directors. We must cut non-productive routes and slightly decrease the frequency of buses, trains and streetcars on busy routes. I am confident that most people would endure waiting an extra two minutes between buses in exchange for a drastic fare reduction. We must run the TTC on a shoestring budget.

4. How would you address empty storefronts in commercial areas?

Renaming the Beaches “The Beach” diluted our reputation. Ask an outsider, “Want to go to The Beach?” and he won’t know if you meant Cherry Beach, Sunnyside Beach, or Wasaga Beach! “The Beaches” only means one thing. Businesses need non-local patrons to survive, but our retail strip receives mostly local traffic because it’s not a thoroughfare. If we made our filtration plant a tourist destination and converted its boring front lawn into an English garden, tour buses full of well-heeled shoppers would flock to our community. McMahon’s plan to build a path through Kew Gardens to direct foot traffic from the waterfront to Queen Street is ridiculous! Most people hanging around the waterfront are poor. They won’t shop on Queen Street.  Instead, the path will lead shoppers down to vendors on the waterfront controlled by one powerful man.

Alan Burke

I am a self-employed business owner, running a company providing phone systems, cabling, and consulting services in telecommunications. ward 32-alan burkeI hold an Honours Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Concordia University, as well as certificates from Humber College and Ryerson University. I live in the Beach on Blantyre Avenue with my wife Janet, daughter Katherine, and our cat Rowan. My community experience is extensive. I am president of the East Beach Community Association, and I have served on the Toronto City Cycling Committee.

1. How will you address condo development?

Consider HCD designation (Heritage Conservation Districts), pursue historical designations for important buildings like our fire hall at Herbert and Queen. Review the Queen Street East planning guidelines.

2. How will you improve traffic?

Provide parking for the Danforth GO station, so Beach residents working downtown can quickly get to the station.  Provide loading zones, and work with the BIAs to stop parking during prohibited times. Review our rush hour no parking times. Look at using outlying parking lots, and shuttling visitors into the Beach by bus during the busy summer months.

3. What are your plans for transit?

Work with the TTC to reduce short turns on the 501 Queen streetcar. Improve the Beach route 143 express bus service. Work with federal and provincial representatives to get the money we need quickly, so we can accelerate building new transit infrastructure. Utilize the existing rail corridors for transit.

4. How would you address empty storefronts in commercial areas?

Encourage pop-up stores and offer tax incentives. Work to strengthen our BIAs.

Michael Connor

I have lived in the East End and Beaches my entire life.

Michael Connor
Michael Connor

I am not a politician but have a good understanding of political issues after many years of volunteer work and studies. After a lifetime of watching career politicians manipulate their special interests for favours I decided to run for my ward. We need a hardworking, honest and reliable person to represent our needs. I finished high school, then obtained my diploma for parks and recreation and studied political science and history at U of T. I have volunteered at the Toronto Historical Board, the art gallery, ROM, and for many political campaigns, both federal and provincial, since the early 1990s. I have owned and operated my own business in the past. I currently work in the legal industry.

1. How will you address condo development?

Put a moratorium on new development until the issue of infrastructure has been prioritized and addressed.

2. How will you improve traffic?

Synchronize the lights at major intersections, encourage carpooling and riding the TTC with new incentives.

3. What are your plans for transit?

A link from Main Street subway to the GO train station for the short term. The long term plan will be the downtown relief line in the city.

4. How would you address empty storefronts in commercial areas?

I will speak to the owners of properties to reduce the rents short-term, to get tenants into their stores. I will do a survey in the neighbourhoods to find out what services they want and/or need in the area. Stop tax breaks for empty stores at city hall. Encourage citizens to shop locally as I do.


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7 comments

MMM points to safe speed limits around schools yet after repeated calls the incumbent couldn’t enact one single change to help us on Bowmore. #ward32debate had similar sentiments “MMM tells in closing that she’s an honest person.” Shouts of “No, you’re not.” from the pews. All signs point to a Cllr out of touch with this constituent and many others. MMM has the blinders on when comes to a call for action and the slow down campaign. Why so long to implement an easy change? Bury your head in the sand strategy isn’t working, please enact and exercise the resemblance of a action plan.

I spent 6 months asking MM to get a meeting with police, residents, city staff and residents to address trucks roaring up Bellefair from the condo at the bottom of the street. After MONTHS of asking she organized a last minute meeting with the developer late in the morning when only 3 residents could attend. 4 children have almost been killed by trucks and NO action has been taken. They seem content on passifying residents until the problem goes away. Sadly, I voted for her and was a huge advocate in the beginning, but this is the last straw. We also asked for a simliar meeting a year ago to address these concerns on Kenilworth, before the Licks contstruction started and were told a meeting would be organized before construction started. Nothing. Now we’re told she can’t do anything until after the election.

I think James Sears has hit the nail on the head. Enough milking of tax payers and push over candidates! Sandra Bussin must be delirious if she thinks she is getting in again. I am voting for James.

Glenn

Sandra Bussin…hahahahahaha Seriously? MMM committed to 1 term when she was elected and is proving that 1 term is more than enough. Right Sandra? James? Come on. There is more to Ward 32 than ‘The Beach’. There are more storefronts along Danforth than Queen that are suffering and need the attention….and good luck getting all those salaries reduced. Dreaming. So who does that leave? As usual, nobody. This is Toronto. Our councillors are and will be a joke no matter who we choose.

I have worked with Mary Margaret McMahon with regards to our local park and neighbourhood for 3 years since we moved into the area. As the former President of the Eastern Ontario Progressive Conservation Youth Association and an appointed director of the provincial association, I grew to admire and appreciate people such as Mary Margaret, who gave credence to the concept of public service without personal gain. I have also come to recognize her as a multi-faceted, well-rounded representative in municipal government and in my opinion she is head and shoulders above the other people who are seeking to be our municipal representative. Bravo Mary Margaret!! You’ve got my vote.

Transit – Of the candidates Brian Graff seems to be the only one with an affordable smart approach to transit and traffic management for the beach that would yield results in the near term. MMM promise of 10 minute service isn’t a solution, it’s a political carrot and a desired outcome, not a plan.

Local Economy – Brian is surprisingly the only one looking at the bigger picture of local business sustainability in the beach. Sadly most of the candidates define “business” as retail including MMM. Pop-up shops and tax incentives/rebates are solutions for retail businesses.

We deserve more people living and working in a more diverse range of professions here locally. The only diverse non-retail, non-medical business I know of in the beach is a high tech movie special effects studio. That’s it! One business that’s not retail or health related. The beach area is too large, too sparsely populated and no employees outside of retail to sustain local shopping. It’s not a recipe for success and empty storefronts provide that.

As nice as MMM is and as good as a job she does at including the community, I think her vision is too mediocre for my liking this time around.

Best of luck to all.

Thanks Piero for the positive comments about my platform. You get it – anyone can promise results, but the question is how you get those results, not the goal itself.

We need places for people to run small businesses rather than condos – accountants, high tech, consultants and other local professionals should be able to have offices near where they live, and banks and other financial institutions should have places for workers to “hotel”.

I want to thank everyone who supported my campaign this year – volunteers, donors, people who took signs and the voters.

Please check out

http://us9.campaign-archive1.com/?u=f714d60f798e120d2f1933204&id=53af3d1fb0

and

http://us9.campaign-archive1.com/?u=f714d60f798e120d2f1933204&id=a2090d22ac

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