Anna Sidiropoulos, a Toronto Council candidate in the Scarborough Southwest byelection on Nov. 30, answers four questions from Beach Metro Community News.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Candidates were instructed to keep their answers to approximately 200 words, and some of the responses have been edited to keep them as close as possible to the agreed word count.)
QUESTION 1: Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself and why you decided to run in this byelection?
My father came here with very little money and even less English. He built a business, raised a successful family.
I have a degree in marketing and run a successful business. I believe every family should have the same success. I see Scarborough as a place where residents receive good public services, the government is responsive, and we have a community that is inclusive and included because elected officials put Scarborough first above politics.
I have been a longtime parent advocate as the mom of three teens in local TDSB schools. I own a business that employs hundreds of people. I understand the hopes and dreams of new Canadians. I founded Bluffs Women in Business Association(BWBA), as a means to promote women’s economic empowerment.
Scarborough has been getting the short end of the stick for as long as I can remember. Enough is enough. It’s time to Put Scarborough First. As a councillor, I will work, day and night, to make sure residents get the services they deserve.
QUESTION 2: If elected councillor, how will you address concerns regarding increasing density along Kingston Road through the Birch Cliff and Cliffside areas that is seeing affordable, low-rise rental apartment buildings being replaced by condominiums of nine storeys and more?
Change is coming to Scarborough Southwest. But I will only support development applications that fit our community.
Changes to the Planning Act have occurred at an alarming rate, giving less control to council and communities, and more to developers. We as a community should take pro-active steps. I would host a multi-day, design charrette to search for common ground. The community should shape the way in which we grow. I’ll work to create and implement a design guideline bylaw that would give the community more leverage in rezoning applications that are appealed to the Toronto Local Appeal Board. The use of an interim control bylaw would not be off the table to be imposed on certain properties. This is our neighbourhood and we need to be proactive and in control.
Toronto’s Municipal Code prevents the demolition and replacement of rental accommodation without significant benefits and protections for tenants, including the right of return and guaranteed rents. I will work to establish 20 tenant associations in Ward 20.
QUESTION 3: How do you view potential measures, including but not limited to property tax increases, to address Toronto’s budget deficit, and what alternative strategies would you propose for the city to navigate its financial crisis?
Read my lips. NO NEW TAXES.
My pledge is that I will vote against any new taxes. Families in Scarborough are struggling with high mortgage rates, high food prices, and high rents. New taxes now would be an additional burden when they can least afford it. I met a woman while canvassing who came to the door with a blanket. I asked her if her furnace was broken. She reluctantly admitted she couldn’t afford to turn it on. Seniors should not have to choose between turning on the heat or getting something to eat in our community. I will fight to make life more affordable.
We need a new deal with the province that doesn’t look at home-owners as the cash cow. High taxes also equate to high rents. I support uploading the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway to the province as long as there is an iron clad guarantee that there will not be a toll imposed on Scarborough drivers.
QUESTION 4: What is the most important issue that you think you will be able to have an influence on if elected as the new councillor for Scarborough Southwest?
One word; listening.
I will conduct a listening tour in my first 100 days in office.
There’s a lot of expertise in Ward 20 that remains untapped. During this campaign, I have met people with expertise in transit, finance, engineering, urban planning, human resources, and many more disciplines. They tell me no one at City Hall has ever asked them their opinion. Listening is highly under-rated in politics. The lack of a basic process of consultation has driven a wedge between voters and elected officials.
I will, along with my staff, personally review all past unresolved constituent complaints to see if there is an opportunity to resolve them with a fresh pair of eyes. On a day-to-day basis my office will return you call within 24 hours. I’ll put Scarborough first.
For more candidate answers, please go to https://beachmetro.com/