Nearly 30 candidates vying for city council seat in Ward 42 byelection
Advance voting started today for Scarborough seat left vacant by long-time councillor Raymond Cho
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."
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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.
"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:
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With files from Adrian Cheung