CBC TorontoOntario Votes 2011

Toronto Votes: GTA Regions: York Region

Aurora

Aurora Candidates

Elected: Geoff Dawe

There has been considerable unrest at council in recent years. Phyllis Morris and five other councilors have been sued for $5.2 million by councillor Evelyn Buck. Buck alleges they abused their power after they lodged a formal ethics complaint against her over comments she made in her blog. But the town's integrity commissioner, David Nitkin, rejected the Aug. 2009 complaint against Buck. One day after he rejected the complaint, city council fired him. Challengers have spoken about the need to ensure greater co-operation on council - if not to keep bills down. All candidates - except Morris - have said they would either fire the current integrity commissioner David Tsubouchi or suspend him, arguing his $60,000 salary is not a prudent expenditure.

East Gwillimbury

East Gwillimbury Candidates

Elected: Virginia Hackson

East Gwillimbury will have a new leader this term after three-term mayor James Young decided against running again. As in many of the outer ring of communities in the GTA, predominantly rural East Gwillimbury is faced with growing pains as it manages development. None of the three are accepting campaign contributions from developers.

Georgina

Richmond Hill Candidates

  • Ken Craine
  • Robert Grossi (Incumbent)
  • Peter Juras

Elected: Robert Grossi

Current mayor Robert Grossi, already the longest-serving mayor in the town's history, is seeking a fifth term in council. Grossi is campaigning on his support for the extension of Highway 404 from Newmarket into Georgina. That process has been hit by delays as the province tries to secure land to facilitate the extension. Meanwhile, environmentalists have argued the extension cuts through the province's greenbelt, which calls for the preservation of a swath of undeveloped land around the GTA. Rival Peter Juras, who also ran in he 2006  election, is pledging increased fiscal accountability and affordable housing for seniors. Ken Craine, meanwhile, has said the town needs to attract more business.

King

Elected: Steve Pellegrini

The construction of gas-fired power plant in Holland Marsh in King is drawing fire from residents and candidates alike. The Ontario government's plan to build the plant is opposed by current mayor Margaret Black, but the McGuinty government is pressing on with its construction. Former councillor Steve Pellegrini has questioned Black's commitment to the town after the mayor - while still in office - secured the Liberal nomination for Newmarket-Aurora, and then relinquished it a few months later.  The town's construction of the Nobleton Sewer Line sewer - and the accompanying costs - have also sparked concern among residents, who are balking at having to pay hundreds of dollars each to hook up their homes to the line.

Markham

Markham Candidates

Elected: Frank Scarpitti

One of the most closely watched issues in Markhram over the past year was the vote of the creation of a "food belt," which would freeze development on prime agricultural land. The motion in favour of the food belt was narrowly defeated, with Scarpitti voting against the motion. Scarpitti said that it was unreasonable for Markham to manage its growth through intensification only, and that some of those agricultural lands may need to developed in the future Partap Dua and Stephen Kotyck, who both ran in the 2006 election, are back for another kick at the can. Kotyck has decried hikes in property taxes over the past four years, and has also voiced his opposition to a sole-source contract awarded to Miller Waste for garbage collection. Voter participation is also a concern, as only 30 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots in 2006.

Newmarket

Newmarket Candidates

  • Michael Cascione
  • Tony Van Bynen (Incumbent)

Elected: Tony Van Bynen

Michael Cascione, who also ran for mayor in 2006, has mounted a last-minute campaign to stop incumbent Tony Van Bynen. The two have butted heads on development and intensification plans - Tony Van Bynen wants to stick to the town's official plan of intensification on Yonge and Davis Streets. But Cascione has objected, saying the plans are too expensive.

Richmond Hill

Richmond Hill Candidates

Elected: Dave Barrow

Popular incumbent Dave Barrow was voted in by 79 per cent of voters in the last election. Challenger Abu Alam, a newcomer to municipal politics, says the town needs someone with new ideas. He said he entered the race because he didn't want to see Barrow being acclaimed as mayor. The most high-profile issue in the municipality remains the Ontario government's approval of the University of Toronto's move to sell the David Dunalp observatory to a developer. Residents tried to block the sale, but the property was sold to Metrus group in 2008 for $70 million. The group is trying to preserve the lands around Dunlap from development, and Barrow is also pressuring the government to call a moratorium on construction around the observatory.

Vaughan

Elected: Maurizio Bevilacqua

The dominant theme in the Vaughan mayoral campaign is accountability and harmony at City Hall. Mayor Linda Jackson faces some 40 charges under the Election Act concerning campaign spending in the 2006 election. But the case will not be resolved before the election, as her trial isn't expected to start until well into next year. That state of affairs has sparked unrest at city hall - all eight councillors voted unanimously in 2008 to formally ask for Jackson's resignation. Challengers to Jackson - including Maurizio Bevilacqua, who quit as federal Liberal MP for Vaughan to pursue the mayoralty - and former Liberal MPP Mario Racco are vowing to bring transparency and accountability back to council.

Whitchurch-Stouffville

Whitchurch-Stouffville Candidates

  • Justin Altmann
  • Wayne Emmerson (Incumbent)
  • Sue Sherban
  • Christine Vlachos

Elected: Wayne Emmerson

Former mayor Sue Sherban is one of three challengers trying to unseat incumbent Wayne Emmerson. The construction of a town hall remains a touchy issue. Mayoral candidates have challenged Emmerson over moving the town's offices from a rental facility to a new site purchased by the city. The cost of establishing the new city offices is estimated at around $10 million. Challengers - particularly Sherban - have questioned the town taking on additional debt to fund this initiative, as well as a number of streetscape improvements and other municipal buildings. Emmerson has defended the move, saying council acted carefully and conservatively when choosing a new site for the town hall.