Scarborough byelection candidates canvas community ahead of tonight’s vote

A byelection will be held in Scarborough tonight to fill a city council seat vacated by former Ward 42 Coun. Raymond Cho.

Cho, who is now an MPP, gave up his council seat to run in a byelection for Scarborough-Rouge River last year.

Hratch Aynedjian, Cho’s former executive assistant, and TDSB trustee Neethan Shan are among the 29 candidates running to become the next city councillor in the ward.

Speaking to CP24 Monday, Shan said he hopes, if elected, to advocate on behalf of residents on issues such as better transit and child care.

“I think in this community there are a lot of people working very hard and contributing to the prosperity of the city through their property taxes and so on but we feel like we don’t’ get the fair share back, whether it be transit expansion, whether it be child care spaces, whether it be community centres,” he said.

In Morningside Heights, a neighbourhood in Ward 42, Shan said thousands of children don’t have a library or a community centre.

“So this is the reality of the community and that’s why they feel like they have been neglected.”

Ferduce Bari, another candidate vying for the position, told CP24 at his campaign office Monday that he believes residents in the ward have an appetite for a fresh face to represent them.

“People do not want to see the same people running again… They want to give a chance to someone who is not a career politician,” he said.

“I bring my 30 years experience along with (a) proven record of community support.”

Meanwhile, byelection candidate Bev Dixon said Ward 42 has been “neglected.” She hopes to get youth in Scarborough-Rouge River more involved in the community and on the right path to employment.

“I’m going to be partnering with the community, the community working together with young people and with seniors. I have a program in mind, a Program of Excellence, and this will be dealing with young people in schools and community agencies,” she told CP24 on Monday afternoon.

If elected, Dixon said she wants to “beautify” Scarborough’s parks and patch up potholes.

“I’ve been very active in the community for over 20 years. Many, many years,” she said.

“I want people to be educated. I want people to know what’s going on in their community.”