Affordable housing at the top of Ward 20 byelection candidates platforms

6 November 2023 / by Met Radio

23 nominees have been confirmed for the ward 20 Scarborough Southwest byelection in November.

Seat for Ward 20 has been officially vacant since Aug 3 following the resignation of former Coun. Gary Crawford on July 26. City council opted for the byelection after the confirmation of the vacant seat. The city clerk confirmed the final number of candidates on Oct. 16. Election day will be on Nov. 30 with advanced voting taking place on Nov. 25 and 26.

All 23 will compete for the spot of councillor. Nov 5 is the first day they are allowed to begin putting up signs for their candidacy.

In the last election, three candidates trailed behind Crawford. Only two of the three are running again for this byelection: Parthi Kandavel and Kevin Rupasinghe.

At the last election for Ward 20, Kandavel finished in second place with 6,936 votes. This placed him right behind Crawford. Before running his first councillor campaign, Kandavel was Toronto District School Board Trustee for eight years.

“I think being on the school board for eight years gave me a powerful insight into how our cities governed albeit at the school board level. It was a very deep dive into how diverse and complex our city is,” says Kandvel.

With Kandvel’s campaign, he has six issues that make up his platform. They are increasing bus frequency, neighbourhood safety, better local services, improving local parks and responsible planning and building affordable housing.

“We’re seeing an incredible challenge for so many young people to find affordable housing and I imagine the vast majority are looking for a path to ownership. This is something where many young people know what it’s like to be done and looking to go out on your own. And this is where our city has failed to build enough housing in areas that make sense,” says Kandvel.

Kandvel is not the only candidate with these issues in their platform. Jessica Hines is one the candidates running against Kandavel. She works for an affordable housing organization in the Oakwood Vaughan area. One of her main platform points is safe and maintained affordable housing that is “equitable”

“I use [equitable] as an umbrella term to refer to everything. So whether that is when having affordable units, or ensuring that developers should have the same vision, in terms of the definition of affordability,” says Hines. “I talk to residents, and hear that their landlord doesn’t want to fix their unit, or they’re being mistreated. Some are newcomers and they do not feel that they are able to vocalize their own living conditions.”

This is her first campaign run but has volunteered to help other political candidates. She volunteered for Coun. Jamaal Myers and MPP Raymond Cho. She says that through these experiences she learnt what it takes to run a campaign.

“[Cho] comes from a background of social working and helping people. Just working with him, it just showed me that it’s beyond just making promises, but also having a heart to do the work because I think that will keep you in the long term,” says Hines.

For more information on Kandvel and Hines campaign you can visit their websites.

At time of writing CJMT contacted all the candidates but only heard back from two. To show due diligence the station will be following the byelection to allow other candidates further chances to speak.

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