2014 City Council Election: Ward 34 Don Valley East

The Incumbent:

Denzil Minnan-Wong

The Race

Two candidates from Ward 34 participated in our Voting Guide survey. One being the incumbent. Denzil Minnan-Wong faces more opponents in 2014 than in the race in 2010. In the candidate responses, infrastructure and transit are outlined as top issues in Ward 34, as they are in most other Wards.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Faisal Boodhwani, Amer Karaman, Douglas Owen, Alan Selby

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Hynes, Mary No
    Minnan-Wong, Denzil Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Hynes, Mary No specifics provided
    Minnan-Wong, Denzil Contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge street should be explored. Should also do rolling reviews of each department on a line by line basis so that over the term of Council every department has been evaluated using zero based budgeting.


  • Candidate Response
    Hynes, Mary No
    Minnan-Wong, Denzil Will evaluate after reviewing Ward Boundary Review.


  • Candidate Response
    Hynes, Mary No
    Minnan-Wong, Denzil Yes. So called, 'back office' functions would be the first place to look if we were to consider contracting out additional functions and services.  Contracting out cleaning services has made sense in the past and I would be prepared to look at that again.


  • Candidate Response
    Hynes, Mary No
    Minnan-Wong, Denzil Supports freezing amount raised.


  • Candidate Response
    Hynes, Mary Negotiate job training opportunities for development projects in Priority Neighbourhoods. Toronto can encourage an increased Creative City focus by making sure we provide the best social services we can manage.
    Minnan-Wong, Denzil The best way the city can create jobs is to keep taxes down and have reasonable charges for services.  Infrastructure investment and addressing congestion are also important.  These things would have a positive impact on keeping and attracting businesses and jobs.


  • Candidate Response
    Hynes, Mary There needs to be long term planning that does not change with each administration. Whether above, below or a combination of both, transit needs to be planned to provide useable service to as many people as possible.
    Minnan-Wong, Denzil The key to funding transit projects is to get meaningful, predictable and dependable operating and capital funding from the provincial and federal government.  The property tax was never meant to pay for multi-billion dollar mega projects.


  • Candidate Response
    Hynes, Mary We should be careful not to increase identifying services as “essential” Salaries for essential services are settled by arbitration, resulting in higher wage settlements.
    Minnan-Wong, Denzil By starting negotiations early and engaging in tough but fair bargaining, the city can make sure that it gets a fair deal for both taxpayers and workers.


  • Candidate Response
    Hynes, Mary There probably are many. I see a possibility of a type of similar type partnership in Ward 34. O’Connor House belongs to the TCDSB. It would make a wonderful performance and visual art display space in a ward without a single public arts space.
    Minnan-Wong, Denzil No Response Given


  • Candidate Response
    Hynes, Mary Infrastructure. I planning on creating an email list to communicate what I and Council are doing at City Hall and other information of use to residents. I also plan om holding resular meetings with communities and groups of residents on a regular basis.
    Minnan-Wong, Denzil Intensification and redevelopment which is resulting in congestion, gridlock, and transit issues. I have accomplished a great deal of work as Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee to address congestion and gridlock though the Downtown Operations Study (DTOS), the Congestion Management Plan and the plan to coordinate 1000 intersections in the next 3 years.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    We need more income tools to supplement property tax. Most of these require action by the provincial government. Until that happens we will be forced to increase property tax beyond the rate of inflation to catch up on the cuts to services that occurred because of  recent property and other tax cuts. The only other choice would be to reduce services further.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    We have limited choices. The City has limited control on the police and TTC budgets, which are both sources of much of the City’s operating spending.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    City Council numbers should increase to keep balanced with the increase in the number of federal ridings. Our relationship to our City Councillors and City government is our greatest opportunity to influence decisions that directly affect us.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Having private garbage collection to the west and public to the east gives us the best of both worlds. There is pressure on the public and private providers to keep services high and costs low so they don’t lose the work.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I would prefer to see a City sales or income tax. Until then the Municipal Land Transfer Tax will have to remain.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    The City has limited ability to create lasting jobs. We can, however, negotiate job training opportunities for development projects in Priority Neighbourhoods. Toronto can encourage an increased Creative City focus by making sure we provide the best social services we can manage. Research has shown the Creative Cities and good quality social services go together.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Transit plans are frequently changed much to our loss as residents. There needs to be long term planning that does not change with each administration. We need Complete Streets, which means every form of transport is respected. Especially in the suburbs there has to be a place for cars, but there are too many cars downtown so business travel is hampered and becomes very difficult. We need express bus only lanes until railed transit is built. Options need to be considered to make getting around easier. Some possibilities that could be considered are making Bay and Yonge one way downtown, finding ways to encourage non-rush hour transit, and combining bus routes for increased overnight service. We cannot delay the start of railed transit projects any longer. Whether above, below or a combination of both, transit needs to be planned to provide useable service to as many people as possible.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    We should be careful not to increase identifying services as “essential” Salaries for essential services are settled by arbitration, resulting in higher wage settlements.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    There probably are many. I see a possibility of a type of similar type partnership in Ward 34. O’Connor House belongs to the TCDSB. It would make a wonderful performance and visual art display space in a ward without a single public arts space.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    This is a beautiful Ward, especially in the green days of summer. But infrastructure is not keeping up with need. Over and over again residents have complained to me about potholed roads and longer and longer commutes. Community centres and recreational services are far apart and hard to reach for those without a car. Street and road layouts make connections between those in houses, townhouses and apartments very difficult. While many residents speak with pride of their immediate neighbourhoods, others in highrise towers are isolated in patches of lawns.  We lack adequate communication with City Hall and the decisions that affects us and we lack communication across neighbourhoods. I planning on creating an email list to communicate what I and Council are doing at City Hall and other information of use to residents. I also plan om holding resular meetings with communities and groups of residents on a regular basis.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I believe we need to keep taxes down.  We have proven over the last 4 years that this is possible.  We need to do our best to keep property tax increases to the rate of inflation.  Many residents and young families live on modest or fixed incomes.  We must be sensitive to their capacity to pay and not make the city less affordable to live in.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Through my leadership, we were able to contract out garbage for homes west of Yonge St.  The city is saving $11M each year and $88M over the life of the contract.  We have to continue to look at more opportunities to save money and maintain or improve service.  Contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge street should be explored.

    We should also do rolling reviews of each department on a line by line basis so that over the term of Council every department has been evaluated using zero based budgeting.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    A review of ward boundaries is currently being undertaken.  This review will look at the size of each ward and based on this study, recommendations will be made with respect to the size of council.  I look forward to evaluating this review.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes, I support further contracting out.  So called, ‘back office” functions would be the first place to look if we were to consider contracting out additional functions and services.  Contracting out cleaning services has made sense in the past and I would be prepared to look at that again.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    In the absence of finding a way to fund the $300M plus in revenue the Land Transfer Tax generates, I cannot support eliminating it.  I would support freezing the amount that is raised, so that over time the amount paid by homeownersisproportionately reduced relative to property values.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    The best way the city can create jobs is to keep taxes down and have reasonable charges for services.  Infrastructure investment and addressing congestion are also important.  These things would have a positive impact on keeping and attracting businesses and jobs.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    The key to funding transit projects is to get meaningful, predictable and dependable operating and capital funding from the provincial and federal government.  The property tax was never meant to pay for multi-billion dollar mega projects.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    By starting negotiations early and engaging in tough but fair bargaining, the city can make sure that it gets a fair deal for both taxpayers and workers.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    No Response Given.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The top issue in my ward is intensification and redevelopment which is resulting in congestion, gridlock, and transit issues.  They are all inter-related.  I have accomplished a great deal of work as Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee to address congestion and gridlock though the Downtown Operations Study (DTOS), the Congestion Management Plan and the plan to coordinate 1000 intersections in the next 3 years.  I will continue to work to see thesee plans implemented,