From affordable housing to park toilets, this week’s Ward 19 all-candidates meeting covered an array of critical topics.
Thirteen of the 16 candidates came together for the event Tuesday evening in a packed basement at Hope United Church. The meeting was hosted by the Danforth Village Community Association and moderated by minister Brian Stevens.
Candidates were given two minutes to introduce their platforms, followed by one minute to answer each question.
Hot topics included affordable housing, transit, and the always-controversial bike lanes.
One issue that all of the candidates agreed on is the lack of affordable housing in the Beaches-East York community.
Another was transit. Many commuters continue to voice their frustrations.
“Transit is what connects people to opportunity,” said Brad Bradford. “Transit that goes all day in all directions.”
Candidates and audience members disagreed over the organization and implementation of bike lanes in the community.
Two audience members said they didn’t care about bike lanes and that the candidates should focus on other issues.
Most of the candidates agreed that the bike lanes should be moved from Woodbine Ave. to Coxwell Ave.
Donald Lamoreux said, “Cyclists need to take a more responsible attitude.”
Matthew Kellway offered up his solution. “I would have a third party who has studied bike lanes look at traffic school zones and safety,” he said.
Some of the questions were submitted by audience members and drawn randomly from a ballot box.
One addressed the addition of more toilets at Taylor Creek Park. All of the candidates were in favour.
“When out in nature and nature calls, there should be toilets,” said candidate Paul Bura.
The audience seemed shocked when the next question pulled from the box asked who the candidates are voting for as mayor and why. Most were undecided.
In addressing the issue of how to implement affordable housing, all of the candidates appeared to have an action plan.
David Del Grande stressed the importance of diversifying housing options. “We need to allow different housing types in the neighbourhood and work with developers,” he said.
Veronica Stephen spoke about her plans to focus on inclusionary zoning, which would require a portion of new developments to provide affordable housing for people with lower incomes.
Joshua Makuch spoke about increasing the amount of subsidized housing available in the community.
When asked about unity, Brad Bradford said he has included a neighbourhood association office in his plan.
Another concern for some candidates, including Morley Rosenberg and Matthew Kellway, was senior citizens. They want to make sure seniors are able to afford rising living costs in Toronto by providing them with affordable housing options and accommodating jobs.
The meeting ended with questions directed at specific candidates followed by closing statements.
Voting day in Toronto is Oct. 22.