Tanya Park announces she won’t run for re-election this fall

City councillor Tanya Park announces she will seek the Ontario NDP nomination in London North Centre. AM980

One term at London City Hall is enough for Ward 13 Coun. Tanya Park.

The downtown councillor announced in a blog post Monday night she won’t run for re-election at London city hall this fall.

Park says she’s accomplished what she wanted to and now is the time for a new face to come forward to replace her.

“Being a member of city council has been an exceptional experience for me. I have learned so much and have met some tremendous people along the way,” she wrote.

Park says she’s completed 10 of the 11 items on her “to do” list when she was first elected in 2014, including decommissioning the Springbank Dam, bringing change at the LTC and creating better relationships with neighbouring Indigenous governments.

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The only item she says she hasn’t accomplished is to get more diverse women in office.

“As a task-oriented person, I’m disappointed to say that I have checked off all but one item. Each one of those check marks has been a battle to achieve, but they were worth every meeting, every insult, and every night away from my family,” she said.

Other items on her list include:

  • Creating more capacity for gatherings, events and festivals in the downtown.
  • Getting LTC buses off Dundas Street.
  • Changing the culture at city hall.
  • Bringing in “nicer looking” development in the downtown.
  • Encouraging more community associations int he west end of her ward.
  • Holding herself and others accountable.
  • Calling out “BS.”

Last year city council did create an Indigenous relations working group, although it was criticized for its lack of Indigenous members. The LTC does plan to remove buses off Dundas Street this year, something that will be necessary in the downtown as construction begins on turning Dundas into a flex street. The $18-million plan to turn Dundas into a flex street is set to begin this spring and wrap up in 2019.

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This council has also presided over a reorganization of key staff following the ouster of former city manager Art Zuidema and long-time human resources head Veronica McAlea Major.

Park’s decision comes on the heels of her unsuccessful bid for the provincial NDP nomination in London North Centre.

Park wrote she’s proud to have accomplished all she has so far.

“As a person who was raised by two individuals with Grade 8 educations, who doesn’t hold a degree, has never had a high profile or high-paying job, I still feel like I’m not in the right building when I sit around the council horseshoe,” she wrote.

“Despite this feeling, I continue to plow through the issues, say the things most people tell me I shouldn’t have … and, probably the most fun, rock the boats that need the rocking.”

Park was elected in 2014 as one of 11 new members of London’s 15-member council. Londoners voted out all members of the infamous “Fontana 8,” the voting bloc centred around former Mayor Joe Fontana.

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Park says she will continue to be a community activist, volunteer and perhaps even a “neighbourhood curator” as part of her new career as a sales representative at Streetcity Realty.

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Park joins Deputy Mayor Paul Hubert as the second member of council to officially state their intention to not run for re-election this fall.

The municipal election will be held Oct. 22. Candidates can’t officially enter the race until May 1.

When Londoners go to the polls this fall, they will be the first in Canada to use ranked ballots to decide the makeup of city council.

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