OPINION: Paying attention buys change

Scarborough is made up of many diverse populations that have diverse needs. It’s been 12 years since amalgamation and yet Toronto the megacity is still a city divided.

When the province mashed Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough together with old Toronto in 1998, it also mashed together a myriad of unique communities.

Scarborough residents, who are technically included in the overall population of Toronto, do not feel they are being given the same attention as those in the downtown core.

Fair Share Scarborough, a report commissioned by Ward 40 incumbent Norm Kelly in 2008, showed suburban residents are indeed being given as much funding as the rest of Toronto.

Whether Scarborough is getting as much funding as old Toronto is an irrelevant part of the equation. If suburbanites feel they’re being ignored, facts and figures won’t sway them.

The issue to instead focus on may be that suburban centres are underserved, if not underfunded.

Residents in the suburbs are dealing with unemployment, wind turbine issues, the near non-existence, or at best the unreliable nature, of transit, and the looming threat of condo development that may stifle what’s left of Scarborough’s rural character.

There is a lack of sidewalks in many communities, far too few community outreach programs and policing services are overstretched and ineffective.

Despite all this, Scarborough’s voter turnout in the 2006 municipal election peaked at 41 per cent.

Scarborough residents are looking for politicians to step up and produce change that will bring the city together, yet less than half show up to the polls.

This election, let’s pay greater attention to the candidates that will be around to fix the hyper-local issues specific to our community.

If the time for change is now, we can all start by casting a ballot on Oct. 25.