Siri Agrell, a longtime resident of Ward 4, has experience working in the mayor’s office at city hall, so she’s seen how effective decision-making can be done within Toronto City Council. “I see how [city councillors] can take care of people and I haven’t seen that happening in my ward,” said Agrell, explaining her run for the Parkdale-High Park seat currently held by Gord Perks.
Less than two week before the vote on Oct. 24, Agrell has endorsements from Arif Virani, the Liberal Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park, former Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall, and the incumbent mayor of Toronto and Agrell’s former boss, John Tory.
Before spending four years at city hall as city hall as Tory’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, Agrell worked as the Urban Affairs reporter for The Globe and Mail. She has served as a private sector consultant on a number of urban projects for notable clients such as The 519, Union Station and the Urban Canadian Institute.
Agrell’s feels the ward can have more effective representation on city council. “I think part of what I’m trying to say is, like, this ward is falling behind because of the approach that we’ve had at the council level.” said Agrell.
Agrell clarified, by addressing Ward 4’s current City Councillor, Gord Perks’ approach to problem-solving. “I don’t think [Perks] is doing enough on most fonts, and I think he kind of says, ‘Oh, well, there’s no money, and I can’t do that, and that’s too hard.’ That can’t be the answer,” said Agrell.
Should Agrell get voted into the city council, she plans on addressing three major issues within the ward. First of which would be to address the increasing disenfranchisement between the city council and the citizens of Toronto.
“The job of leadership is to show people that they can affect change and that they can be taken care of. So good representation is like a big part of what I think is lacking in the ward and all the impacts of that,” said Agrell.
The second issue Agrell intends on addressing is making Ward 4 a safer and more harmonious place to live. This would be achieved by addressing some of the more fine-grain issues pertaining to the ward, instead of focusing on big-picture issues.
“We’re really at an inflection point in Parkdale-High Park, but also in the city where that’s going away really fast. If we don’t get a handle on that, the things that we love about our city, and the things that we love about our neighbourhood are gonna go away,”Agrell said. “The other thing is like keeping everybody safe, like, the amount of traffic calming issues, road safety issues, you know, people getting frustrated in their cars, because of all the big, like, mismanaged construction projects.”
The third and final issue Agrell intends on addressing is Ward 4’s aging infrastructure. This means rejuvenating the area’s streetscapes and reinvigorating its parks.
“We have High Park, and we have the waterfront, and we have all these amazing things that are starting to fall into disrepair. And that can’t be the path forward … we’re a ward that’s so specifically oriented around little retail areas,” said Agrell. “We need to like infuse some sort of like pride and delight into the places where we spend [our] time.”
In addition to Agrell and Perks, Chemi Lhamo, Andrew Gorham, Christopher Jurik, and Steve Yuen are seeking the seat.