Analysis by Breanne Coulter, video by Tierney Angus
From housing to transportation to supporting local businesses, Ward 3 Etobicoke-Lakeshore councillor candidates have priorities outside of the Lakeshore environment this municipal election.
2018 Election Map: Ward 3 // Toronto Elections
Etobicoke-Lakeshore is a community directly affected by pollution due to its proximity to Lake Ontario, the Gardiner Expressway and Toronto Pearson Airport – but Ward 3’s 10 councillor candidates are not talking about it in their platforms.
Svitlana Burlakova, Ward 3 councillor candidate, was the only candidate to get back to Skedline.com with her comment on the topic.
“I think because there are more important issues in the city like poverty and infrastructure problems. But if we solve those we also will help our environment one way or another,” Burlakova says.
Burlakova mentions market incentives, development assistance and biodiversity-friendly trade as important parts of including the environment in the agenda for Etobicoke-Lakeshore.
Mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat has shown Toronto voters that the environment is an important part of her politics, but, much like Burlakova, the emphasis is on addressing other concerns within the city.
“We need real leadership on this issue,” Keesmaat said in a press release in reference to improving Toronto’s approach to the environment.
Keesmaat has a page for environmental goals on her campaign website. Localized plans such as building green streets alongside routine road resurfacing are listed, as well as cooperating with larger goals for improving the approach to climate change.
Along with Keesmaat’s environmental plans for Ontario’s largest city, Burlakova notes that Etobicoke-Lakeshore’s concerns are not specific to the area’s environment but are a result of larger problems. Burlakova sees any big picture improvements on the environment as helpful to the Lakeshore area.
“Our behaviour should be responsible to the environment, to the land, to the water and air…,” Burlakova says.
Etobicoke-Lakeshore voters are still concerned about the environment in addition to popular platform topics.
Garbage and waste management is an issue that has Ward 3 voters talking. The City of Toronto has used transit ads in the area and an online recycling guide Waste Wizard to address some of the issues over the past year.
The littered lake shore is a part of a larger problem however. In late 2017 the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario released a 77-page Beyond the Blue Box report on Ontario’s waste problems and its plan to move towards more informed waste disposal. According to the report, Ontario produced 12 million tonnes of waste in 2014 and landfills such as the proposed Walker Environmental Southwestern landfill are being created to accommodate the excess waste just under two hours outside of the Etobicoke-Lakeshore area.
Proposed Location of Walker Environmental Southwestern Landfill two hours South-West of Ward 3.
Ward 3 voters care about the environment and are concerned about climate change even if it is not at the top of their voting concerns. Whether it is to prioritize other issues or leave the conversation to mayoral candidates, Ward 3 council hopefuls are leaving environmental opinions out of this election.