Gord Perks questioned over opposing new development reports opposing new development

Candidates for Ward 4 took part in an election debate Oct. 17 in Parkdale. – Rahul Gupta/Metroland 
Wednesday evening’s final Ward 4 election debate in Parkdale touched upon issues both citywide and local, as candidates had the opportunity to answer questions directly from the voters on a range of topics including affordable housing, road safety and poverty.
The unique debate format organized by the Parkdale Residents Association saw the 10 candidates address questions and concerns directly from attendees assembled at 20 West Lodge for the debate, the last scheduled before Election Day Monday.
Incumbent councillor Gord Perks who has represented Parkdale since 2006 was squarely in the sights of challengers such as David Ginsberg, a small business owner who accused the leftwing councillor of dividing the local community in opposing new development.
“Too often Gord Perks has stood against things which built this city,” said Ginsberg, who promised a more collaborative approach between developers, the community and the city in deciding what and where to build. “Gord Perks has divided this community.”
Kalsang Dolma also had Perks in her sights, promising not to be “distracted by ideological battles at City Hall”, a seeming shot at the incumbent who’s waged memorable battles with right-leaning councillors over his time in office.
For his part, Perks stayed above the fray focusing on his record of advocacy for more affordable housing, better road safety and championing public spaces like the Parkdale hub.
Perks also drew the evening’s largest round of applause when he pledged his full support to a contentious 100 bed men’s homeless shelter planned for 2299 Dundas Street West near the busy Bloor intersection. The issue came up twice during the near two hour session.
“If you’re asking if I am in support (of the shelter) then yes, absolutely,” said Perks.
First time council candidate Valerie Grdisa touted 18 years as a frontline healthcare worker, treating some of Parkdale’s most vulnerable residents.
On the subject of road safety Grdisa pledged to demand a city audit of conditions particularly along Lake Shore Boulevard.
“We need to understand where the near miss and fatality spots are,” said Grdisa.
Candidate Alex Perez, a Swansea resident, admitted he won’t let his kids ride their bicycles on painted city bike lanes, calling cycling in Toronto an “extreme sport”.
Perez promised more investments for improving road safety.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated from its original version to correct the name of one of the council candidates. Oct. 18, 2018.

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