What I’m hearing

Jul 13, 2022

Last week I spoke to a journalist doing a story about defeating incumbent councillors. I told him it was dangerous to repeat the tired trope that incumbents are hard to beat, as this is not a time in history to be telling people their votes and effort won’t make a difference.

He also suggested incumbents only lose when mired in scandal. Well, for the last three months I’ve been meeting with amazing, caring residents across Parkdale-High Park, all of whom have told me about problems that can and should be solved. To me, it is scandalous to meet such community mindedness with excuses and inaction. As our city continues to grow, we can’t just continue to fall behind. We need new thinking and bold action. And the response I’m getting across the ward shows that people feel the same way.

Here’s why Parkdale-High Park will be voting for new representation:

Declining Amenities

  • In Baby Point, I was shown a staircase down to a beautiful ravine and children’s playground that has been closed indefinitely, with no schedule for repair or reopening.
  • In my neighbourhood of Roncesvalles, I had to call the City recently to board up the former linseed factory at Wabash to prevent young people (including my son) from going inside the extremely unsafe building. This derelict site should have been a community centre years ago, but still sits empty and dangerous.
  • In the West Bend, residents created a community garden along the Bloor subway line, beautifying land that is a municipal responsibility. For years, they have been tending the garden with water from their own houses, despite repeated requests for the city to install a water source. Finally, a councillor from a neighbouring riding stepped in to solve the problem.

There is no excuse for our city to be in such a state of disrepair. Local councillors should be addressing these issues, finding the funding, advocating for solutions and keeping residents safe and well served in public spaces.

Unsafe Streets

  • At Bloor West and South Kingsway, I stood with a resident who has been sounding the alarm about the dangerous intersection for years, since he saw a U of T professor struck there while crossing the street. Just observing the complex intersection was stressful, and the entire area needs to be urgently reimagined for the safety of drivers and pedestrians, especially as new density is added to the neighbourhood.
  • On Parkside Drive, cars continue to defy the speed limit despite the installation of photo radar. No other changes have been made, and the City has not publicly disclosed the speeds that are still being clocked, even though there is a public meeting this week. Parkside has been unsafe for years, and immediate changes to the street design must be made to prevent further loss of life.
  • In Warren Park, residents are dismayed at a decision to install a stop sign at the top of a steep hill, which is already difficult to navigate in the winter. The intersection was made into a four-way stop against the objections of residents and conclusions of engineering assessments, despite other street adaptations that could improve safety and vehicle flow in the area.
  • And at intersections like Howard Park and Indian Road, parents worry every day about their kids crossing the street because not enough has been done to slow traffic and better manage construction projects that are forcing increased traffic onto residential roads.

These are just a few of the issues I’m hearing about, from bad development deals to dismissive, absent or disrespectful representation.

If you want someone on Toronto City Council who won’t make excuses and will fight for better solutions to our city’s challenges, support the campaign or order your lawn sign.