The polls are now open.
Eligible voters can vote in the 2018 Markham Municipal Election from October 12 to October 22 up until 8:00PM. For more information, please visit MarkhamVotes.ca.
Please see the final question of our series below. Again, responses have been limited to 250 words. Another thank you goes out to our candidates for taking the time to give these questions their consideration and provide thoughtful responses.
Imagine the future 10 or 20 years from now – what legacy are you most proud to have left (or accomplishment achieved) during your tenure as Ward 1 Councillor?
The legacy I would like to leave from my time on City Council echoes my previously stated priorities and objectives of not only preserving, but enhancing our environment.
Markham has an ambitious vision towards sustainability, however without a progressive council that values and champions these objectives, notable progress will not be achieved.
Valerie Burke has been a driver of environmental leadership throughout her terms on council, and in her absence, I will strive to keep these important issues at the forefront of all considerations.
The Greenprint Sustainability Plan sets out a number of goals and targets which will lead us in the right direction, but in order to obtain this vision we need concrete plans to get us there, and a willing public that supports it. For example, our tree canopy currently stands at 18%. The York Region Forest Management Plan recommends a canopy cover range for Markham of 20%-35% by 2051. The city has declared an objective of 30%, with no goal date, and has stated that without increasing trees on private lands, these objectives are not attainable.
Thus, residents must understand the importance of participating in this process, and must support this endeavour. In order to achieve this, I aim to increase public awareness and approval of these essential projects amongst everyone in the ward, and particularly with young people who will be inheriting our environment.
My objective, and my legacy, will be to champion these goals, and play a leading role to shepherd these plans to fruition.
I thought about this question a long time. It is a very good one. I believe that municipal politics, when done correctly, should be the most boring thing anyone ever heard of. Residents should be heard, services should be provided, and the finances should be transparent. In twenty years, if my legacy is that I represented Thornhill well, and preserved it through its continued growth, then I will be proud.
I have felt privileged to serve our community and hope that the residents of Thornhill will feel in their hearts that, whether they agreed or disagreed with me on one issue or another, that I always tried to make decisions with the best interests of the community in mind; that I spent tax dollars as if they were my own and that I understood their concerns.
I would like to make a difference in the lives of Thornhill residents. Residents take pride in living here and expect clean air, safe streets, access to opportunity and ease of movement. I’d like to ensure that Thornhill is not overrun by increased development. In 10 years, I hope that Thornhill residents are able to get on a subway stopping at Yonge and Clark.
I’d be very proud of a legacy which ensured that no senior should ever have to sell their home because of municipal taxes; that embraced both green, sustainable initiatives as well as making Thornhill and Markham a truly leading-edge ‘smart’ city technologically.
I would know that progress had been made if we made everyone, regardless of background or circumstance, truly feel a part of the Thornhill and city tapestry – that we are richer because of our diversity.
Highly successful organizations succeed due to the development of visionary, challenging and measurable Strategic Plans, which during the implementation process attract the best leaders, performers and resources available.
Society needs to be inspired to reach for higher achievement and that begins with expectations that I’ve been rooting out as I visited so many of our residences. Long term I will ensure that council becomes far more committed to core strategic processes that are measured constantly against short-term expected outcomes, which in turn contribute to a sustainable, caring and happy society we all want to live in.
I love this question. I typically approach each major undertaking with “the end in mind.” I ask myself at the start: what does success look like? I then carefully plan what needs to be done to achieve it.
In 10 or 20 years I want Thornhill to be a vibrant community with more white-collar employment options than it has today and public transit infrastructure that gives residents a real choice between whether they should drive or take transit. In order to achieve that it must be integrated with the larger regional transportation network that includes both GO Transit and the TTC and it must be affordable, convenient and fast.
I also want to see our green space preserved and protected. I worry about the future of the Ladies Golf Club. I think everyone would agree that Ward 1 is better with it than without.
I don’t want to see it suffer the same fate as Unionville’s York Downs Golf Course. On September 12 in a 10 to 3 vote Markham Council approved turning it into 2400 residential units and 120,000 sq. ft of retail space. I’m also reminded by the comments a resident of Blue Spruce Lane made to me that “every golf course in North America is for sale.” While not quite the reality, the decline in the popularity of the game, especially among young people, is an alarm all of us must heed.
I would like to see Thornhill gradually taking shape into a Satellite City of GTA having its own historic areas, green spaces, cultural amenities and attributes where people can happily and healthily live, work and play.
I hope to leave a legacy of having been an honest and effective politician. I want to be a good listener, I want to be responsive to the needs of my constituents, I want to work in a civil and collegial manner with other members of Council, and I want to be a role model for other people who wish to serve in the public interest. There is little confidence or trust in politicians today and this must change. I want to be part of that change.
If I am able to serve Thornhill in accordance with these principles then the specific accomplishments will naturally follow.
Wishing everyone a fantastic weekend!