Nearly 30 candidates vying for city council seat in Ward 42 byelection

Advance voting started today for the Scarborough seat left vacant when long-time councillor Raymond Cho was elected Scarborough-Rouge River MPP last fall.

Advance voting started today for Scarborough seat left vacant by long-time councillor Raymond Cho

Advance voting in the Ward 42 by-election is happening on Feb. 4 and 5 at Malvern Recreation Centre at 30 Sewells Road. (Adrian Cheung/CBC News)

Residents of Scarborough-Rouge River (Ward 42) have started voting in a city council byelection and — for the first time since the ward's creation in 2000 — Raymond Cho's name isn't on the ballot.

Cho left his council seat vacant last fall after winning the Scarborough-Rouge River provincial byelection, held to replace former Liberal MPP Bas Balkissoon.

This weekend, a crowded crop of candidates was out vying to be Cho's replacement as residents cast ballots during advanced voting at Malvern Recreation Centre.

There are some notable names among the 29 candidates, including Hratch Aynedijan, Cho's former executive assistant, Neethan Shan, the area's current Toronto District School Board trustee, Knia Singh, a recent graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School and an anti-carding advocate, and Punch Sockalingam, a local real estate agent.

Transit, sense of isolation both key issues

Several hot-botton issues have faced Ward 42 in recent years, from a plan to privatize garbage collection in Scarborough — one that was recently deferred — to the upcoming one-stop subway extension to Scarborough Centre, located just outside the ward's southwest boundary.

"Transit comes up almost every time," said Aynedjian on Saturday.

"Ward 42 is the largest ward in the city," he noted. "We have a population that has a lot of youth... and it's a community that needs a lot of services."

A sense of isolation from city hall is also an ongoing concern in the Scarborough ward that's found on the city's north-east edge.

There are 29 candidates hoping to win a city council seat for Ward 42. (Adrian Cheung/CBC News)

"Scarborough is always ignored when it comes to city council issues... the people in the area, they feel disconnected," Singh said on the campaign trail on Saturday.

"People in this community feel like they're not being given the importance the community deserves," echoed Shan, outside Malvern Recreation Centre.

The byelection is happening on Feb. 13, and the candidates include:

  • Hratch Aynedjian
  • Mark Balack
  • Ferduse Bari
  • Amanda Cain
  • Sarah Chung
  • Kevin Clarke
  • Deborah Dale
  • Bev Dixon
  • Khamy Ganeshathasan
  • Elizabeth Huff
  • Virginia Jones
  • Jobin Jose
  • Tebat Kadhem
  • Chai Kalevar
  • Stella Kargiannakis
  • Aasia Khatoon
  • John Kladitis
  • Kingsley Kwok
  • David Nissan
  • Dipika Patel
  • Sohum Prashar
  • Mohammad Shabani
  • Neethan Shan
  • Knia Singh
  • Arthur Smitherman
  • Punch Sockalingam
  • Sandeep Srivastava
  • Zuhair Syed
  • Randy Washington

With files from Adrian Cheung