With municipal elections approaching, three candidates are vying for the city councillor position to represent Mississauga’s Ward 8, the district that contains UTM.
Incumbent Councillor Matt Mahoney has represented Ward 8 for the past eight years. In an email to The Varsity, Mahoney framed himself as a strong advocate for additional student housing. “As a parent with kids attending University, I understand the need for UTM to provide safe, and affordable housing on-campus as well as ensuring all off-campus housing is legal and safe for our students.”
He endorsed the new UTM master plan, which includes development of an additional student residence. He mentioned that he is working in collaboration with the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union on a variety of issues, including student housing.
Mahoney also expressed support for investing in public transit. He highlighted the City of Mississauga’s 2018 decision to approve the addition of an express bus along Dundas street, which will “provide rapid transit options for students… to the corner of UTM campus at Dundas and Mississauga road,” as a development he is pleased with.
Mahoney explained that his top three priorities are using tax dollars more effectively, focusing on community spaces and parks, and working with Peel Regional Police and Crime Stoppers to keep crime rates low.
Rahul Mehta decided to run for councillor “to bring a change.”
Mehta explained in an email to The Varsity that he has lived in Ward 8 for his entire life. As a UTM alum, Mehta plans to be “a tireless advocate” to better students’ experiences when it comes to university tuition fees and course and program availability. He hopes to get the council to approve clear policies to protect renters and ensure that secondary housing units — a term that, according to the City of Mississauga, refers to self-contained living spaces such as basement apartments — are clean and safe.
When it comes to transit, Mehta believes that “UTM students are being ripped off and their needs completely ignored.” He hopes to “double” transit services, secure a GO transit discount for students who have a U-Pass, and “[create] free transfers to and from adjacent cities (where many students live and currently have to pay extra).”
Mehta wrote, “I would also work with campus administration to improve shuttle bus service and upgrade and expand the transit terminal facility, with more shelters, heated pavement in the winter and digital signs, maps and announcements for ease of use.”
Mehta’s platform priorities are bringing more transparency and accountability to local government. He also hopes to build more affordable housing and safer transit systems that take different methods of transportation — including biking, public transport, and walking — into account.
According to Irfan Farooq, he is running for Ward 8 councillor “to serve and be an advocate on behalf of community.” Farooq, who works as a paralegal, previously received the Civic Award of Recognition from Mayor Bonnie Crombie.
As a candidate for councillor, Farooq is primarily focused on reducing property taxes and building community, according to his Facebook page. Farooq pledged to increase police presence, in the hopes of decreasing carjackings and improving community safety. He also pledged to improve access to public transportation, as well as to repair roads.
Farooq did not respond to The Varsity’s request for comment.