The next mayor of Toronto, elected in the fall, will shape the city for the next four years. The mayoral candidates talked to the East Toronto Observer about four major issues, and their vision for Scarborough.
|Rooming houses||Wealth distribution||Transportation||Vision|
|Giorgio Mammoliti||Illegal rooming houses are not equipped to deal with fire hazards, but legalizing them can help neighbourhoods. “A lot of people don’t know they have them already and that in fact, if you change the bylaw, you would clean out certain parts of the community.”||Funds should be diverted to invest in poorer areas of the city, like Scarborough. “You can’t just give everything to the downtown part of the city. I want to make every part of the city feel like they’re part of Toronto.”||The inner suburbs, like Scarborough, are disconnected from the city. “If you don’t have a proper transportation plan in place, you can forget about anything coming to Scarborough.”||Scarborough’s reputation for crime needs to be reversed. “It’s a very tranquil part of the city. Crime is low and I’d like to make that lower.” The area should be made into a tourist destination thriving with businesses.|
|Rob Ford||There should be designated areas strictly for rooming houses.“I wouldn’t want my family living beside a rooming house. There’s been drug abuse and alcoholics and fires. I don’t think we should be putting them beside families especially with young kids.”||The city needs to help people living on the streets by bringing them into shelters or rehab centres. This will “get people and businesses back in the city and create a clean, friendly environment.”||The city should focus on buses and subways instead of street cars.“I’m not a big fan of [LRTs] because we completely mismanaged the St. Clair right-of-way. We budgeted $43-million and now we’re over $120-million and it’s still not finished.”||It’s important to get youth off the streets and back in school.“I’ve started football programs all over the city because most troubled youth love to play football. And if you’re playing football in school that means you’re going to class, you’re getting an education, and scholarships.”|
|George Smitherman||The city is “trying to ensure rooming houses be regulated and restricted to arterials.” This will also provide housing for low-income people.||Diverting development fees from downtown is illegal. The real issue is creating wealth within Scarborough – “not just sharing the pie differently, but growing the pie.” Building mixed-use residential communities will create jobs and revitalize the area.||“There was no real commitment from the city to build the Malvern LRT in time for the Pan Am Games.” There are financial and time constraints. Smitherman wants the line to be built but thinks it is unlikely to be completed in time.||Scarborough contains a lot of the city’s “natural heritage and beauty,” like Rouge Park, which should be preserved. The city also needs to create “more economic vitality and opportunities in Scarborough for people to live there, for property values to increase.”|
|Joe Pantalone||Pantalone says he agrees with the Scarborough Community Council. “[Rooming houses] should only be on main streets, like retail areas, rather than on small residential streets where single-family dwellings are.”||Taking funds from downtown is like taking a sky scrapper from downtown and putting it in Scarborough. But there should be enough city services to “satisfy the needs of every neighbourhood,” while poorer communities should get first priority.||Travel time in the city is hurting the economy and the quality of life of Torontonians. But it’s “particularly bad for Scarborough residents because it’s further away from the rest of the urban area.”||The city needs to invest in resources to give youth opportunities to better themselves, and “society is better off because young people will be in a position to better themselves.”|
It seems to me like Giorgio Mammoliti has the right idea when it comes to Scarborough. He recognizes the unfortunate fact that this area of Toronto has taken a back seat to the downtown ever since amalgamation. The area also has a national reputation for high crime and general unattractiveness especially when compared to other areas of the GTA and countering this should be a priority for the mayor otherwise the problems within Scarborough will spread even more to other parts of the city, even the so-called “safe” tourist areas.