Ward 3 Councillor Candidate Responses to SHN Questions
I am running because I share a vision with many other residents and stakeholders to create the necessary space that fosters dialogue and discussion among residents, community organizations and businesses, and the municipal government. We must actively seek to shape our future and create a fair, equitable and inclusive community for all.
A strong community of engaged residents who directly participate in shaping our community. An unusually bountiful mix of support agencies, service providers, and organizations representing our community's diversity and various needs. And the economic importance of our industrial and transportation infrastructure.
With the LRT project underway, the transit & commercial corridors in our ward will be substantially affected during construction, and different once LRT is operational. The LRT also funds the refurbishment of aging underground utilities, including water mains, sewers, and new optic fiber. The project itself will address many of our current aging infrastructure issues and position our community for the future as well as help mitigate our massive $3.3 billion municipal infrastructure deficit. The LRT will create many opportunities to improve the HSR system and develop transit oriented hubs that will increase employment, residential and commercial possibilities. The new Bernie Morelli Recreation Centre and HWDSB High School beside it will soon be completed, integrating both into the social fabric of our community is essential to our community's well-being. Ward 3 is lacking easy to access neighbourhood parks/spaces in comparison to the rest of the city; finding opportunities to create these communal spaces will foster a sense of community and support the many needs of the diverse residents of all ages in our ward. This also falls into my strong belief that a clean and green environment creates a setting for a healthier community.
Specifically, what are your priorities for infrastructure and facilities investment? What would you propose to ensure these are addressed?
Policies that support safe, friendly streets, vibrant neighbourhoods, community engagement, participation and organizing. Policies that promote economic growth and prosperity for ward residents, businesses and the city as a whole. The health and well-being of a city is derived from its residents, stakeholders and its built environment.
The question itself begs a question - are they actual or perceived tensions? However, the horseshoe that is our city council chamber should be entered with a genuine and fair approach that speaks of understanding and addressing various needs throughout our city in a collaborative manner. Those who enter municipal politics should be concerned with finding solutions and moving forward together on issues. For example, crime, socio-economic disparity or transportation needs are pervasive. These are interconnected throughout our city and cannot be disassociated from one ward to the other. Conversely, a ward's issue may be resolved by the asset of another ward. A city is a large system, the sum of its parts will dictate how smooth it runs and how far it can go. I often hear of the differences there are between the urban, suburban and rural parts of our city as a point of contention. However, I see these not as opposing differences but as great assets that we have yet to be tapped into. We are blessed with a strategically located geographical expanse that can provide not only to all our city's needs but that of our region, province and country.
How will you approach the challenge of navigating (actual or perceived) tensions between the interests of Ward 3 and the City as a whole?
Both a councillor's office and the community it serves should have open and direct communications. To do so, I propose to establish various 'round tables' centered around the themes of youth, seniors and local business, as well as an annual review process of the progress on issues in our ward and city culminating in annual town halls and newsletters. Of course, a councillor's office should also be responsive to individual queries in an appropriate and timely fashion. I also believe the city as a whole could facilitate a more direct and real-time point of service where residents can get updates on the activities occurring and affecting them directly in their neighbourhoods and daily lives.
How will you communicate, stay in touch, and be responsive to the people in Ward 3? What sorts of relationships do you expect to have with community groups?
One should address classism, racism, oppression and privilege with the same seriousness one addresses ageism, ableism or any other 'ism', bias, or form of discrimination.
How will you engage with and address issues such as classism, racism, oppression and privilege?
Developing a comprehensive community benefits program through a consultative process with residents and stakeholders. Prioritize housing, including promoting building social/affordable housing and various lodging types, and ensuring the safety and health of our existing housing stock. Other priority social programmes are to support Poverty Round Table recommendations and harm reduction efforts. From an economics perspective, city administration and supporting departments could be improved to act as facilitators to business and foster the creation of new and innovative ideas, businesses and emerging technologies. This is also true for residents navigating our municipal administration. I will actively seek economic opportunities beyond our municipal realm and coffers through federal and provincial funding programmes, partnerships and initiatives.
Specifically, what are your priorities for social and economic programmes? How will you ensure that these priority areas addressed?
Since childhood I always imagined that if I was given one wish from that proverbial genie in a bottle what would it be? But since this is a fortuitous puddle of ooze, I will up the ante of my answer from childhood and emerge with the superpower of speaking and understanding every language, dialect and form of communication in the universe. This may not affect massive change in the universe but it would have a huge impact on my understanding of it and the people in it. I would be called Mega Connector Prime.
Bonus* if you were to find yourself stuck in a mutagenic yet fortuitous puddle of phosphorescent ooze and would emerge with a superpower of your choosing, what would it be? and what would you call yourself?
One enters a space with a set of values, understanding and intentions that reflect why one has decided to enter the space. In the case of municipal politics, I do not believe it requires to be adversarial. The role of city council is to find concrete solutions to real issues. Council represents the diverse interests of the communities they represent as a whole. This is a space where different individuals with different experiences converge. One should be mindful, respectful and open to creating a dialogue. One that fosters a collaborative understanding of the issues at hand from many perspectives. To create a consensus and address the matter at hand, one has to find the common interests and work from there. One needs to move beyond discussion to actually find and apply solutions. One also has to recognize and tap into the good asset and expertise that city hall staff represents and allow them to introduce fact based, proven options and solutions to guide council in the decision process.
What are your thoughts on the sometimes adversarial nature of municipal politics and its effect on council function? How will you negotiate that environment?
My past and current involvement in our community has been extensive and covers many areas of interest an individual, a council candidate, should experience and understand before entering city hall. My professional experience in finance, healthcare and law mimics that same premise as does my personal life experience. One cannot claim to truly represent an understanding of our community unless one has walked our streets, had conversations, worked alongside a multitude of different people, groups, organizations and stakeholders. I am grassroots, not politically aligned and devolve from community.
What knowledge, skills, perspectives, or experiences would you bring to the role of councillor?
Innovative thinking is a process that requires specific elements when applied to an issue, problem or goal that begs a solution. All these I demonstratively possess by my leadership, with other innovators of our city, in supporting the LRT project. This project, like any other innovative solution, requires vision, creativity, resilience in the face of adversity, challenging the status quo, trust and faith in others, honest and informed dialogue as well as inspire and motivate to give meaning and purpose to the project goals. As to new and fresh ideas, follow my campaign at abureau.ca
How will you be innovative? What are your new or fresh ideas for the city?
Why did you decide to run for council this term?
What are your favourite Ward 3 Assets?
What are your primary areas of policy interest, and why are these important to you?
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