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2022 London, Ont. municipal election: Meet the Ward 8 candidates

Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL - Wards: City of London - Map data: © OpenStreetMap

Londoners are gearing up to head to the polls on Oct. 24 for the Ontario municipal election as residents of the Forest City will elect their next mayor, city councillors and school board trustees.

Sixty-one candidates are running in 14 wards across the city, and four have their eyes on Ward 8.

The incumbent Steve Lehman is seeking re-election on council, but three other challengers are also on the ballot.

Read more: 2022 London, Ont. municipal election: Meet the candidates

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A full list of mayoral and ward candidates can be found on the city of London’s website.

With a lot of new faces across the wards, Global News has reached out to all those in the running and emailed a list of five questions on some of the key issues in the city, among them combating homelessness, addiction and mental health issues, affordable housing, and accessible public transit.

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The responses for every candidate who replies will be shared below.

Global News has not received a response from candidates Steve Lehman, Patrick O’Conner and Sarvarinder Dohil.

Colleen McCauley

Q1. Over the summer, the group The Forgotten 519 put out a call to action to come up with urgent solutions to address London’s homelessness crisis. If elected, how would you tackle homelessness, addiction and mental health issues in London?

I support the demand for the coordinated informed response team to offer assistance to campers and indoor spaces with ongoing support by social workers as outlined by The Forgotten 519. We need to address gaps between social services, and improve partnerships with various grassroots organizations serving vulnerable communities and neighbourhoods, with consideration of mental health, substance addiction and employment challenges. We could consider implementing temporary permits for pop-up shelters in city parking garages and temporary tiny home communities, especially during the winter.

Q2. London business owners have recently highlighted some of the economic challenges they’re facing particularly in the downtown core. What strategies do you propose to revitalize London’s downtown core to help businesses thrive?

Small and medium business recover is essential for the downtown. As a start, I’d like to discuss more ways to help reduce red tape and improve business opportunities, like allowance for patio parking lots, with community members and business organizations. Also address ways to encourage more people to
explore the downtown core, such as transit options, whether from the city or outside the city.

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It’s been expressed to me that homeless encampments and thefts are adding further challenges to business recovery in the downtown core. Enforcement is important to deter criminal and harassment behaviours. I do understand our London Police are overwhelmed with incidents daily that are beyond current capacity, and looking to hire more officers. I’d like to further discuss ways to better deter theft and criminal behaviours across the city with our enforcement offices.

Q3. Affordability in the housing and rental markets is the most pressing issue for many Londoners. If elected, what changes would you push for to ease the burden on Londoners when it comes to the cost of living?

I believe the city should explore partnerships with federal and provincial government offices and agencies for funding to build new housing and upgrade all existing residential buildings, and address regulations that encourage speculation in the real estate market including rentals used as temporary hotels, and ways to control rental rates.

We need to curb urban sprawl, and use land areas already developed better, including actions to rezone for a mix of commercial and residential use within neighbourhoods. We also need policies and programs that can address vacancies and infill housing builds, without impeding upon environmentally-sensitive areas and farmlands and with consideration for vulnerable populations.

Moreover, we need better connections between property managers and the neighbourhoods to ensure renters feel included and abide with rules in their community.

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Q4. London is in the process of building three legs of bus rapid transit, but challenges remain for the north and west end of the city. What is your vision for the next phase of public transit in the city?

Public transit is of critical importance with as a higher demand for mobility comes with population growth and expansion, especially with what’s happening in the north and west of the city now. We need to support changes to our infrastructure to accommodate more efficient and affordable ways to get around our city. I plan to encourage active transportation (walking, cycling, and transit) policies and programs for all new developments.

I’ve talked with constituents in Ward 8 about how we missed the Ring Road proposal, and now the BRT project got delayed and reduced in size. I support getting the BRT back in motion as a first step as well as more bike paths between neighbourhoods for the safety of cyclists of all ages. To encourage safer sharing of pathways, I also believe we need more educational programs about safe cycling and other ways to move around the city in partnership with a variety of community groups such as those for cyclists and disabilities.

We also need to look at encouraging regional commuting options, not just Go Transit, and partner with federal and provincial government to do that. Fare integration for travel between transit systems, and an intercity electric bus service to connect all communities across the province would help address mass transit issues.
Q5. What is your vision for London in the next 10 years and how do we get there?

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I stepped up to be a politician for the first time this year to help be the change that I, and many others, want to see in this world. My vision is a safe and sustainable London with a thriving local economy, inclusive neighbourhood communities, and a network of protected and public greenspaces. It would include corridors to connect businesses and citizen to good and services with a low carbon impact, and allow wildlife to live among greenspaces with and without human interaction.

A key way to get there is to align with funding and programs of the provincial and federal governments to address common municipal challenges addressed in this survey, including: homelessness, transportation, business development, and environmental issues like the impacts of climate change.

— questions by Global News’ Jaclyn Carbone and Maya Reid

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