Q&A With Your Ward 1 Candidates – Part 2 of 4

Good evening,

According to the Markham Votes website, the role of a Ward Councillor is to represent residents from a specific ward.  Ward Councillors also have a responsibility to represent the public, as well as consider the well-being and interests of the municipality.

In Part 2 of our series, tonight’s question allows candidates to outline their main priorities if elected. All responses received are posted below and were limited to 250 words.

Question 2:
Please name your top 3 priorities.

Caryn Bergmann:
1) Listening to residents.

My top priority is to represent the needs and concerns of my community, and find solutions.

Furthermore, I endeavour not just to listen to your concerns, but actively seek comprehensive input from residents when it comes to major decisions. Promoting engagement opportunities is essential in this, as residents MUST be aware these events exist so that they can contribute.

2) Protecting our environment.

This is not just a priority of my candidacy, but a core value in my life. I feel very strongly about the importance of protecting our environment to sustain a liveable future for our children.

Climate change is real. We’ve seen it begin to already have drastic effects on our weather – intense storms have increased in severity and frequency. We must do everything we can to mitigate these effects before it’s too late, and ensure we are adequately prepared for the challenges that are to come.

3) Balanced growth.

Thornhill is facing challenging times. The multiple developments being proposed will ultimately double the population of our community. These developments need to be thoroughly scrutinized and evaluated, and fully reflect our needs before approval.

Is there adequate infrastructure to support this growth, including roads, water systems, community centres, parks, and schools?

Is there sufficient consideration being given for our aging population who have raised families here to remain a part of our community as their living requirements evolve?

We need to anticipate, not react, and ensure we are properly planning for the future.

Keith Irish:
I actually have five.  They are:  addressing gridlock, ensuring the city provides reliable services that residents both need and want, making necessary investments in public infrastructure, advocating for the extension of the Yonge Street Subway and ensuring our tax dollars are well spent.

Although I am an optimist by nature, I know these won’t all be addressed overnight.  There are no quick and easy solutions.

That is why my platform includes items that I believe are achievable in the short term.  Each relates to the five overarching issues. 

They are: 

  • A reduction in the transit fare Ward 1 residents pay to board a bus that connects to the TTC route network.
  • A re-examination of the effectiveness of HOV lanes on Yonge Street in light of new development that has occurred since they were put in place.
  • Genuine property tax relief for those family members and friends providing in-home care for seniors and those with disabilities.
  • Independent traffic and infrastructure studies for land development proposals or a legal defense fund for ratepayer groups to legitimately challenge a development application.
  • A rapid response team of city-hired summer students to quickly respond to complaints by cutting the grass of unkempt and empty homes with the cost added to the homeowner’s property tax bill.

Ricardo Mashregi:
I have more than three priorities and here they are in no particular order.

First, Markham has to do more to control traffic through residential neighbourhoods. The policy of York Region is basically to allow traffic to go anywhere and everywhere. In my part of Thornhill we have fought this policy at the City level to protect our community and our school kids from the danger and disruption of non-stop traffic during rush hours. Part of protecting the quality of life for the people of Thornhill, in particular because of our geographic location, is to keep traffic off of local roads. In the larger scheme of things I will continue with my work, to ensure that the Yonge subway extension is fully funded.

Second, we need to continue to press the City for improved flood protection for those areas of Thornhill that are still at risk. In my area we advocated before Council for many years after the major flood of 2005 and now have the same level of flood protection as newly built subdivisions. However, there are still sections of Thornhill that are subject to flooding and require a strong advocate on Council. 

Third, Markham needs to do better in providing affordable recreation and cultural activities to all segments of our community. We have parks that are under-utilized and offer very little to our residents. We are a highly diversified community, with many cultures and demographics represented, and we need to do a better job of meeting their needs.

Barry Nelson:
There are 7 complex priorities for Ward 1:

Developments – that must stick to city policies and the official plan

Traffic Flow – using safer and efficient transportation and control systems

Infrastructure – using emerging technologies to avoid flooding, allow better transportation and manage snow

Smart City Communication – new ways to connect residents with the information and services they need, including regular face-to-face meeting opportunities at our community centre that leads to

Community – cultural celebration of diversity, recreation programs and the arts,

Environmental Green Space and Heritage – conservation and preservation

Value – efficient use of City resources and tax dollars

Hilary Neubauer:

  1.  Continuation. I want to step in to this role, and protect the legacy of our current Councillor. Her work has set Thornhill on a good path, making this a place we can all be proud of. I intend to follow in her example.

2.  Careful Planning. New and infill development is going to continue. It needs very close attention. Planning, financial and scientific analysis, and consideration for our existing residents must be priorities before any work begins. I am not anti-development, I seek to protect what makes Thornhill valuable, not sell it off.

3.  The Environment. Climate change and exceptional weather events are going to continue to have an impact on us. Markham does a good job in waste diversion, infrastructure upgrades, and protection of green spaces, I will support and commit to environmental protections, and the expansion of current practices.

Howard Shore:
1.         Traffic and transit.

Extension of the Yonge-Finch subway station to at least Highway 7 is a critical priority.  We take pride in living here and expect clean air, safe streets, access to opportunity and ease of movement.   We need to treat transit as an essential investment in our future.  How we move people and things affect all aspects of our lives – environmentally, socially and economically.

2.         Infrastructure, including protecting Thornhill homes from flooding.

Flooding has a devastating effect on families and their homes. Thornhill’s pipes are old and small.  The size of most storm sewers in Thornhill are designed to withstand the worst storm we may see on an average of once every 2 to 5 years – far less than in newer areas of Markham.

Thornhill has some of the oldest power utility grids with more overhead power lines and backyard connections than elsewhere in Markham.  This needs to be addressed.

The age and quality of facilities here in Thornhill, including the amenities in our local parks is a serious concern.  Thornhill can quite easily become the ‘have not’ part of Markham.

3.         Slowing the tide of development.

Some developers would have us believe that high density development will create the ‘tipping point’ for new infrastructure – roads, sewers, transit, etc.  That hasn’t proven to be true.  Approving more development without having infrastructure in place first and at locations which common sense tells you will create additional traffic headaches is simply unfair to and shows disregard for existing neighbourhoods and the residents who live there.  That attitude has to change.

Peter Wong:
1)    Economic prosperity

2)    Road Safety

3)    Affordability and livability for aging population

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where we will present our candidates’ responses to our third question.

Q&A With Your Ward 1 Candidates – Part 1 of 4

Good evening.

Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving celebrated with family and friends.

With the polls opening at the end of this week (October 12), executives at RORA would like to help residents make an informed decision when they vote.

Our Ward 1 candidates had the opportunity to respond to four questions posed by RORA on a variety of topics.  As part of our series, we will be releasing one question each day.  Please take a moment to read their responses (limited to 250 words).

We thank the candidates who participated for taking the time to give these questions their consideration and provide thoughtful responses.

Let’s start with Question 1:
Why do you think you will be an effective representative for Thornhill?

Ricardo Mashregi:
I think I would be an effective representative for all of Thornhill because I have already proven to be an effective representative for my area. As the Chair of the Grandview Area Residents Association for the past 6 years I have worked well with all parts of my community and have helped to achieve major improvements, such as updated storm and sanitary sewers and wonderful new amenities for our local park. I have worked with City staff and have given many deputations before Markham Council. I have collaborated with other residents associations across Thornhill and feel that, if I am elected, I will have no trouble working with the other members of Markham Council for the betterment of our Ward and our City. In short, I have a proven track record of successful and collegial work on behalf of our community and I understand how things are accomplished in Markham. I am ready to “hit the ground running.”

Peter Wong:
I possess a Bachelor’s Degree in Financial Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Law. In addition to being a legal and real estate investment consultant, I am also a certified mediator and commissioner of oath. Currently, I am volunteering as an arbitrator for one Real Estate Board in Ontario.  
I had served as department heads of Credit Departments for two International banks in Toronto. My other working experiences include being an owner/operator of a franchised hotel in Ontario. I’m also knowledgeable about immigration, litigation, real estate, business and international commercial laws and practical business operations. 
My knowledge and experience will definitely help in my job as your representative.

Keith Irish:
As a 30-year resident of Ward 1 I have always believed in the power of local government to solve problems and make things better for people.

I have the experience, ideas, passion and time to help solve the problems we face and as your Councillor make our community an even better place to live, work and play.

After graduating from university I chose Thornhill as the place I wanted to live, raise a family and operate a business. I am proud of our community and have made time to volunteer and give back to make it better.

I represented Ward 1 for two terms as Public School Trustee, was on the Markham Theatre Board, coached hockey for six seasons with the Thornhill Community Hockey League, was a member of the parent council of Thornhill Secondary School and currently serve on Markham’s Accessibility Committee and as Chair of the Heintzman House Board of Directors.

For 20 years I have owned and operated my own Thornhill-based corporate communications consulting firm.
I have learned a lot from operating a business and working with others to achieve the best outcomes. Being responsible for meeting a payroll focuses your attention everyday on the quality of your work, responsiveness to the needs of your clients, and the importance of providing great customer service.

I live by three simple rules: always do the right thing; honour your commitments; set a good example. If elected, I will bring the same approach to Council and to those I represent.

Barry Nelson:
6 cities have been clients of my performance improvement programs and strategic business planning services. I’ve also been actively engaged within Thornhill for 33 years and specifically within Ward 1 community for 12 Years. My contributions that mirror the work of Councillor in leadership and performance include:

  • 12 Years and 85+ presentations within Markham’s elected leadership, representing local infrastructure, cultural and heritage interests
  • 2 Years as Committee Member and Survey Facilitator for the City of Markham’s current 10-year strategic Culture Policy and Plan
  • 6 Years as appointed Committee Member for Heritage Markham – Chair for 4
  • 12 Years on The Society for the Preservation of Historic Thornhill – President for 2
  • 2 Years leading within Markham’s Ward 1 (South) Thornhill Residents Inc.
  • I’ve visited over 5,700 (and counting) Ward 1 homes seeking input from people like you and I’ve 7 priorities as a result

I improve performance. Professionally, I’ve spent the last 22 years helping people become better skilled within their roles – even the City is a client.

As a professional facilitator, I get people engaged, talking and working together to achieve the best results.

I’m a skilled problem solver who’s respected for quality solutions and outcomes.

To earn trust and respect, I listen, commit and follow-up. These behaviours result in great collaborations.

Negotiation Skills are vital for the role of Councillor. I’ve taught and consulted on negotiation. I’ll share these skills to achieve win/win outcomes for residents.

Howard Shore:
I’ve had the privilege of serving Thornhill in the past as a member of Council and the best part of the job was talking with residents and listening to their concerns.  Whether it was my monthly coffee klatch drop-in, regular town hall meets, annual movie in the park or meeting people door to door, it was a tremendous opportunity to hear directly about residents’ hopes and concerns and do my best to help.

Representing one’s community means respecting what’s important to each individual whether their concern is a pot-hole on the road, pick-up of their garbage or the gridlock on our roads.

I am running to return to Markham Council because now more than ever Thornhill needs strong, capable leadership with both experience and vision. Residents know that I’m a good listener, that I work hard and that I actually got things done when I was on Council.

Hilary Neubauer:
I know how to build relationships, listen to opposing viewpoints, find answers, and get results. My network is extensive and I surround myself with experts who I trust to give me reasoned advice. I was raised by a municipal politician, and through her I know exactly how challenging it is to serve as representative of a large and diverse community. In decision making, I am led by facts and not feelings. There is divisiveness at every level of Canadian politics right now. This is dangerous, especially for areas like ours, where there is valuable land still available to purchase. Thornhill needs someone who will stay the course, and truly represent the will of the residents. That representative is me.

Caryn Bergmann:
Thornhill has been my home for most of my life. Since I was 3 years old, I’ve grown up here, lived here, and worked here, and it holds a special place in my heart. As such, every action I undertake as councillor would be based on what’s best for my community. I pledge to act only with honesty and integrity in all of my decisions, never putting corporate or outsider interests ahead of my neighbour’s concerns – my loyalty lies with my community, and my community alone. My compassion and ability to empathize with others drives me to be an advocate for my constituents on any issue, big or small.

Additionally, I would be an effective councillor because I am committed, open-minded, always willing to listen, and resourceful – constantly looking for possible solutions to problems even when the odds are stacked against me.

I’m the youngest candidate on the roster, and so I have a unique investment in contributing to the best possible future for our community. As councillor, I wish to give a voice to younger constituents, ensuring their concerns are properly heard and they are adequately engaged in their community. 

I believe we need a fresh outlook on council, one that reflects the community that we want to be in the future. 

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where we will present our candidates’ responses to our second question.

Ward 1 – Candidate Meet & Greets – Sept. 25

Meet your Candidates Session
Markham voters are invited to meet their candidates running in the upcoming municipal election.
Inform your decision by meeting candidates face-to-face and get a sense of who they are and what they could do for you if elected.
At this event, you will have the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with candidates about the issues that matter most to you.
Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Time: 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: Thornhill Library – Program Room

Property Standards By-law Summary

Below is a brief excerpt from the City of Markham’s Property Standards By-law.  For more detailed information please visit the City’s By-law Guide for Markham Homeowners (see Related Links for By-law Guide topics).

If more information is required call the By-law Enforcement and Licensing Department at  905-479-7782 or email customerservice@markham.ca (or by phone 905-477-5530).


Property Standards By-law Summary

Markham’s beautiful neighbourhoods are a source of pride for residents. The Property Standards By-law (248-1999) ensures that owners properly maintain their homes and properties so that our neighbourhoods will always be attractive, safe and healthy places in which to live. These rules apply to both owned and rented dwellings.

What You Must Know

The yard around every home must be kept neat and tidy, and free of garbage or anything that might cause a health or safety danger. The earth must be covered with either grass and plants or a covering that is designed to stop the soil from blowing or draining away. Grass must be trimmed to grow no higher than 15 cm (6”). Trees and bushes must also be kept trimmed and tidy.

  • If you have a hedge, or row of bushes, it must be located in a way that is safe for people walking or driving by. Hedges, trimmed to less than 1 m (3’) high, are allowed anywhere on your property.


  • Working appliances, such as refrigerators and freezers, may be stored outside only on a porch or deck, and must be securely locked. You must also remove any self-latching or self-locking feature that might cause a small child to become trapped inside.


  • Fences, gates and retaining walls need to be free of barbed wire, and must not be built in a location where they might pose a hazard to people walking or driving past. Fences, detached garages and all accessory buildings must be structurally sound. See Fences By-law Summary, for more information about creating fences.


  • Vehicles, such as cars, trucks or motorcycles that are not in working condition can’t be stored on a driveway. You may use the driveway to do repairs to a single vehicle that you own, but while it is parked there it must not be used for storage of any kind. See Extended Driveways By-law Summary and Noise By-law Summary for more information about driveways and vehicles.


  • Outside lights must be kept within the boundaries of your yard and in a safe, working condition. Security lights, of no more than 100 watts, must be shielded. Make sure all your lights do not shine directly into neighbouring properties.


  • All walkways (including public paths across your property), driveways, stairs or ramps, patios, decks, and parking areas must be well kept with no holes or uneven spots. If they are commonly used at night they must be well lit; if commonly used during the winter, they must have snow and ice cleared from them. For both safety and ease of access in an emergency, all snow and ice must also be cleared from hydrants located on your property.

Media Coverage of the sales advertisement for Ladies’ Golf Course

The Thornhill Liberal and Golf News Now covered the recent sales ad for the two parcels of land at the Ladies’ Golf Course.

Below are the links to the articles:

  1. Thornhill Liberal – “Thornhill’s Ladies Golf Club of Toronto selling two parcels of land” (April 17, 2017)
  2. Golf News Now – “Historic Toronto Club To Put Two Parcels of Land on the Market” (April 12, 2017)

For Sale Advertisement in Globe and Mail – April 13, 2017

An advertisement appeared in Thursday’s (April 13, 2017) Globe and Mail announcing two portions of land at the Ladies Golf Club of Toronto are for sale.

Below a picture of the advertisement that was located in the Business Section under Commercial Real Estate.  We are working on getting a better copy of the advertisement, so an excerpt from the advertisement is provided below.

Selected Portion of Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto

Colliers International has been retained by the Ladies’ Golf Course of Toronto to act as its manager and exclusive agent in connection to the marketing of two separate development parcels making up a portion of the entire property.

The Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto is entertaining the sale of small portion of the site to support the success of its operations and to invest in its future.

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Butterflyway Project – David Suzuki Foundation

The goal of the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project is to provide food and shelter for butterflies and bees by establishing a network of wildflower patches through neighbourhoods across Canada, starting in five cities in 2017.

The project has begun in neighbourhoods in Markham, Montreal, Richmond, Toronto and Victoria. In each city we have recruited a team of community volunteers, called Butterflyway Rangers. These local Rangers were trained by the David Suzuki Foundation in March and April and have been sent back to their neighbourhoods with a mission to plant networks of native wildflowers in yards, schools, streets and parks.

More information: http://butterflyway.davidsuzuki.org/