Peter Handjis, 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?
As a former Scarborough resident prior to amalgamation I was not keen on the idea of Scarborough revenues being funneled to Toronto.
I have owned and managed businesses in the city for over 20 years ( auto body – repairs – service – Toronto licensed independent limousine owner/operator – local film and television industry contracts.) I have volunteered for many organizations over these years across the city specifically to those who have had troubles with drugs and alcohol. I had been a vetted enrolled volunteer for the Alano club March 2012 – November 2013 – I found this time of volunteering a very rewarding experience towards my personal growth and goals for giving back to my city.
My motivation to seek the position of being elected Ward 20 city council member: To restore balance and equity for all residents of Ward 20; to convey to residents that their concerns will be heard from a councillor that will listen clearly to the troubles and concerns that all residents of Ward 20 have currently. To have Ward 20 and thereby all Scarborough have more autonomy in their respective ward affairs.
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?
The pragmatic approach is to explicitly state with bylaws as to have what was existing prior to new construction of then available units to be matched in new inventory unit for unit.
The current 3 per cent being asked for towards affordable/geared to income units, in my opinion, is obsolete, does not serve the needs as set out with the 3 per cent requirement. This requirement should be legislated to increase by a development-by-development case basis that additional units be made available towards the rental market of affordable and geared to income.
If Toronto taxpayers are to save a buck then a very carefully curated conversation needs to take place on the necessity of higher density of new construction of rental units to better serve the current shortage of living space by and large. If a development proposal is submitted with a total number of 157 units and the requirement gained only 4 affordable/geared to income units then have the building department review the proposal as to where additional units could be added to the proposal explicitly towards affordable/geared to income which means higher density and the developer cover all costs in exchange for higher density projects.
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?
If succession away from Toronto to return to the City of Scarborough as it once was is a grand scheme of thinking then Ward 20 along with other Scarborough wards should be given more autonomy in their respective affairs of governance with a guaranteed amount of dollars going back into Ward 20, all of Scarborough.
Since amalgamation Scarborough wards including Ward 20 having been shovelling Scarborough dollars going to 100 Queen St. W. with a pittance amount of dollars being returned to Ward 20 and thereby all Scarborough. I am really dedicated to create a commission of Scarborough wards to address this issue amongst all current city council members that collecting taxpayers dollars from Ward 20, all Scarborough wards be given a serious consideration for autonomy of placing dollars back up here.
In the interim, if elected Ward 20 councillor; for city council along with our current Mayor rein in spending of the most frivolous projects and have manufacturing return to Ward 20 and thereby having all councillors understand that Ward 20 residents want jobs, not hand outs, subsidies etc…
If elected Ward 20 councillor I will study the boundary map as to what parcel of land for manufacturing is available and favourable to manufacturing investors and I utmost pledge to reach out to companies as my assigned tasks to begin preliminary discussions with companies, and if I find something tangible to bring back to the council meetings I will.
Since amalgamation I find myself with enough is enough. Would you agree?
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?
If elected councillor for Scarborough Southwest I pledge to have manufacturing jobs return. I pledge to increase the amount of affordable/geared to income units with minimal to zero cost to the taxpayers. I pledge to return the homogeneity of Scarborough life as once was prior to amalgamation of work, rest and play.
I pledge to have a discussion of fellow members of council for the revitalization of the Warden Woods area of Ward 20 as I find it under utilized.
For more candidate answers, please go to https://beachmetro.com/