NEWS

Stagnant pool led to candidacy

[attach]1692[/attach]Redmond Weissenberger thinks the demographics have changed in Ward 13 over the last few years.

In fact, he’s counting on it.

“The Junction has gentrified a lot in the last few years,” says the 34-year-old Weissenberger, who’s looking to unseat incumbent Bill Saundercook in the upcoming municipal election. “Lots of people have moved in and had children and are now concerned about what goes on in this neighbourhood.

“Basically, I feel there’s a lack of responsive representation in the ward … We need to make sure that city hall is working for the residents,” he says.

A Junction homeowner and married father of two, Weissenberger moved to Toronto from Ottawa a decade ago to attend Ontario College of Art and Design. But he says the idea to run for city council first came to him this year and it started with a puddle.

“I had come home from work to take care of the kids and was hanging out in the park across from my house. There are wading pools there that get clogged up every year with the Spring thaw,” says Weissenberger. “I called the city and they said they’d deal with it within a couple of days.”

But it turned out that days were more like weeks, Weissenberger says.

“It had been a month or two and the water was starting to turn green with algae. It was a hazard.”

The day after placing his last call to the city to have the pools cleared, Weissenberger went down to city hall and paid his $100 to register as a candidate.

“I’ve always had an interest in politics,” he says. “I’ve been someone who has always been involved with my neighbours, working on a personal level rather than a community level.”

Having already waded into a couple of hot topics in the ward, Weissenberger says he’s now ready to take his involvement to the community level. Joining a group of residents on Baby Point Road who are concerned about plans to demolish an old home in order to build what they see as a “McMansion”, Weissenebrger has started a blog about the issue. Focusing on what he sees as a lack of cooperation on the part of Saundercook, Weissenberger has penned dozens of posts to try and rally opposition to the project.

Also in his sights are issues such as the daycare moratorium and aiding small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Aiming for a populist tone, he plans to start holding monthly town hall meetings in order to connect with voters. A bold approach for a relatively unknown quantity, it perhaps matches the slogan posted under his website photo, fortes fortuna adiuvat, or fortune favours the brave.

“My campaign is about engaging the public,” he says.