Healthcare, safety top priorities for council hopeful

Paramedic Van Altenberg also talks accessibility and improved social housing

Safety is a matter close to the heart of Ward 13 candidate Jackelyn Van Altenberg.

She’s been a paramedic with the city for nine years and stresses the need for improvements in everything from Toronto’s roads, housing to nursing homes.

“I would have a strong focus on the city’s health services and emergency services. As a paramedic, that is where I could be most effective,” she wrote in an email. “My goals would be to create opportunity for and preservation of healthy lifestyle and safe living in our neighborhoods.”

As a paramedic, she’s driven around many of the Toronto’s streets day and night and this has gives her a city perspective, she adds.

For example, she’s seen the conditions of roads, how well the city handles snow clearing and social housing conditions.

The city needs to improve the livability of Toronto Community Housing neighbourhoods, she said in a July 23 interview.

A key issue she’d like to focus on if elected making TTC more accessible.

“I’d like to see it more accessible for the elderly and people with strollers,” said the 35-year-old.

While she acknowledged the city’s ordered new low-floor accessible streetcars, she added these things can take time at city hall.

“I’d love to help make that (accessible transit) happen,” added Van Altenberg, who lives in the Parkdale/Roncesvalles Village area.

The first-time candidate is running a grassroots campaign relying on media exposure and word of mouth to increase her name recognition in the community.

“I have taken time off (work) to do this without pay,” she said of running for council.

Meanwhile the incumbent Parkdale-High Park councillor Bill Saundercook is already being paid to do the job he’s seeking re-election for.

“I have some experience that I think could be helpful,” said Van Altenberg she said of her skills as a paramedic and experience working in emergency situations.

About this article:

By: Kris Scheuer
Posted: Jul 26 2010 5:14 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto