Sandeep Srivasta, 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?
I believe our community deserves a dedicated and passionate representative who will work tirelessly to address the unique challenges and opportunities we face here.
As councillor, I will be working with you to build a more sustainable and cost-efficient community. I will make decisions on your behalf, keeping in mind the good of the community. I will vote issue by issue, using your reasoned input combined with thorough cost-benefit analysis to ensure best value for your tax dollars and our residents.
I came to Toronto as a teenager with a dream for a better education and future. I am post graduate in computer science and a project management professional where I manage public sector projects, programs, and services. I have benefited from being part of a community that celebrates the diversity of its residents, creates opportunities for economic and social prosperity, and appreciates newcomers regardless of their race or religion. I have lived in Scarborough for the past 35 years. I’ve seen the incredible potential of our community, but I’ve also recognized the need for strong and effective leadership.
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?
I would approach the concerns regarding increasing density along Kingston Road with a thoughtful and community-centered strategy. I understand the importance of balancing growth and development while preserving the unique character of our neighbourhoods.
Here’s how I would address these concerns:
Community Engagement: The first step is to actively engage with the residents to understand their concerns and priorities. I would hold community meetings, surveys, and consultations to gather input from those directly impacted by these changes. I would also implement Zoning and Development Regulations; Affordable Housing; Design Guidelines; Infrastructure and Services; Environmental Considerations; Advocacy and Collaboration:; Transparency; Monitoring and Accountability.
My approach would prioritize community input, affordability, sustainability, and the preservation of the area’s unique character while managing increasing density along Kingston Road in the Birch Cliff and Cliffside areas. It’s essential that any development benefits the community and aligns with the shared vision for the neighbourhood’s future.
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?
Addressing a budget deficit is a complex challenge that requires a balanced and thoughtful approach. Property tax increases can be an effective means of generating revenue for the city. However, it’s important to consider the impact on residents, especially in a time of economic hardship. Any increase in property taxes should be implemented gradually, and there should be measures in place to protect vulnerable and low-income residents from disproportionate burdens.
Other areas I would look at to address the city’s budget are: Efficiency and Cost Reduction; Public-Private Partnerships; Economic Development and Revenue Generation; Grants and Federal/Provincial Support; User Fees and Levies; Long-Term Financial Planning; Debt Management; Innovation and Technology; and Collaboration with Stakeholders.
Navigating a financial crisis requires a multi-faceted approach that considers the needs of the community, while also ensuring the city’s financial health. It’s important to strike a balance between revenue generation and cost reduction, all while prioritizing the well-being of Toronto’s residents.
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 significant issue that I am going to prioritize, based on community needs and feedback, is community safety and crime reduction.
Here’s how I would approach this issue:
Enhanced Community Policing: I would work to strengthen community policing initiatives, fostering a closer relationship between law enforcement and residents. This includes supporting programs that improve neighborhood safety, such as community patrols and crime prevention activities.
Youth and Family Support: Addressing the root causes of crime is crucial. I would advocate for increased funding and resources for youth programs, after-school activities, and family support services to provide alternatives for at-risk youth and promote a sense of community.
Neighbourhood Watch Programs: Encouraging the establishment of neighbourhood watch programs can empower residents to take an active role in keeping their communities safe. I would support initiatives that facilitate these programs and promote community involvement.
Safe Infrastructure and Public Spaces: Advocating for well-lit streets, improved public transportation, and safe parks and recreational areas is essential to reducing crime and increasing residents’ quality of life. I would work to secure funding for these improvements.
I will also focus on Collaboration with Stakeholders; Accessible Mental Health Services:; Data-Driven Decision-Making; Transparency and Accountability; and Emergency Response Preparedness.
For more candidate answers, please go to https://beachmetro.com/