York Centre residents want a new approach

And newly elected rep Pasternak says that's exactly what he'll give them

It was anyone’s game and James Pasternak won it.

With just over 19 percent of the vote, Pasternak has effectively taken the reins from retiring Councillor Mike Feldman tonight to represent Ward 10 York-Centre at city hall for the next four years.

Amid cheers and heartfelt applause, he strode into his campaign party headquarters at 3768 Bathurst Street, on the corner of Wilson Avenue just after 9 p.m. last night to celebrate and tell constituents why they made the right choice.

“I think the people of Ward 10 have spoken, and they really want a new approach,” Pasternak said in the moments after the final vote was declared. The key, he says, is to create a new atmosphere at City Hall conducive to the needs of his constituents.

“They want to be connected with the city hall, they want to have a better say in how their streets are cleaned, how their parks are maintained, how the social services are delivered and how the taxes are paid, and these are the things we have to start listening to.”

With a total of 12 candidates vying for the spot and no particular standout frontrunner in this ward, it was unlikely any one hopeful would have received a large percentage of the vote.

Coming in with 16.8 per cent of the vote, runner-up candidate Nancy Oomen said that what she felt good about in the end was the collective effort of family, friends and community residents on her behalf during the campaign.

“Right now I just want to spend time with everybody that’s worked so hard,” she said after the vote was declared and the evening began to wind down.

“There are people here who just worked every day, many, many hours. So I’m just kind of enjoying the moment right now, and then I’ll look what’s out there for me.”

The other 10 candidates received roughly 65 percent of the total vote, with third place candidate Brian Shifman and Igor Toutchinski sharing 15 percent of the vote each, and the remaining 35 percent distributed among the remaining candidates.

Pasternak will have his share of challenges in this new term of council with ward issues like the planned Etobicoke-Finch West Light Rail line, vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur’s planned plant expansion at Dufferin and Steeles, and development pressures such as the proposal to redevelop the Bathurst Manor plaza.

The new councillor will also need to address the needs of a rapidly growing senior population.

And, York-Centre is also getting new representation at the Toronto District School Board.

Howard Kaplan was the victor among six trustee candidates total, raking in 27 percent of the vote.

With previous school trustee Pasternak already seeking the council seat, this race was also wide open, with Pasternak-endorsed candidate Robin Shugar in second place.

About this article:

By: Gesilayefa Azorbo
Posted: Oct 26 2010 2:10 am
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto