Candidate - Councillor Ward, 2
Virtual Campaign Office
My name is Mara Nagy.
My campaign is proudly endorsed by a number of green advocates and activists, and notably, the Durham Region Labour Council. I want to be your next City Councillor for Ward 2.
I am a teacher, essential worker, and an activist.
I have spent my career fighting for equal access to opportunities for underserved voices. As a teacher and food service worker, I have seen first-hand the challenges our community has faced over the last four years, and as a PhD Candidate in community history and development, I am well-poised to support growth and development in mindful, sustainable, and community-oriented ways.
As an activist, I have worked to repeal the wetlands MZO in south Pickering, stood with teachers and educators at the Rally for Education at Queens Park, and joined workers at the picket lines, because everyone deserves a fair shot.
I stand with residents, small businesses, and essential workers, as they struggle to have basic everyday needs met, like affordable taxes and a community in which they can thrive.
As your City Councillor for Ward 2, I will fight for affordability, community, transparency, and safety and security. I firmly believe in loving where you live and supporting local, because when we work for those around us, we all win.
My platform centres around a five-pronged approach: responsible growth and development, transit and infrastructure development, environment and climate, working with government representatives, and transparency and accountability.
Responsible Growth and Development: Respecting green space and our need for green space in Pickering is crucial, and we can still decide the direction we want to grow, prioritising the “missing middle”- low-rises, co-ops, inner courtyards, townhomes, duplexes, etc. with, or perhaps surrounding, green spaces, youth centres, and senior centres (along with the programming to go with them), with higher developer fees to go with it - Pickering charges the lowest fees in Durham, and our city is putting too much taxpayer money in. Mindless growth, development for the sake of development, report after report, or more explicitly, throwing up 75+ condo towers without the infrastructure needed, will inevitably result in more taxes - our taxes will never go down unless we actually support businesses, both small and industrial. We need considered, environmentally sustainable, community-minded infrastructure, such as grocery stores, medical centres, gas stations, schools, transit links, a HOSPITAL, safely designed bicycle lanes, interspersed affordable housing to allow everyone to live with dignity, and smaller builds (not high-rise) spread out to protect the businesses along Kingston Road.
Transit and Infrastructure Development: Improving transit infrastructure across the city, not just along Kingston Road, is imperative to moving forward as a progressive city. We could be just like transit-oriented cities such as Ottawa, Hamilton, Kingston, etc. - growing along the main arteries, electrifying our buses and vehicles, using smaller vehicles, working with the City of Toronto to expand the TTC into Durham Region just like they did in York Region, taking already-developed plans for bus lanes and adapting them for other main streets, and especially growing areas of the city, like Seaton.
Environment and Climate: With climate crises on the rise, it is crucially important that we work to protect our green spaces, for example (and especially) our wetlands and our forests. The recent flooding across Toronto is a sobering reminder that it is directly due to Durham residents\' continued fight to save our wetlands that we did not suffer the same. Our green space has come under attack more and more, and the only way to fight back against climate instability and do our part is to stop pretending it’s just down to individuals. We must work as a council to grow in environmentally sustainable ways on spaces that are not provincially significant, and incorporate green initiatives in everything we do (such as green/solar roofs, bicycle/scooter incentives, etc.). Pickering belongs to everyone, and highlighting spaces like Petticoat Creek, West Shore, even the Brock waterfront trail, and providing accessibility (from being able to access the space, even across the water, and have ample parking by visitors to ensuring a universal design model exists to allow anyone to enjoy the space, irregardless of ability) to those spaces, and rezoning marshlands as environmentally significant, as well as redoing the boardwalk and highlighting Nautical Village and the Liverpool waterfront as a year-round destination, are great ways to remind folks of that, as well as increasing visibility and traffic through temporary events and festivals to attract residents.
Working with the Government: We just went through a provincial, and recently federal, election with extremely low voter turnout, but the people who did vote spoke volumes. It’s important, although it should go without saying, to express my excitement and readiness to work with our government, and look to foster collaborative and cooperative relationships that take into consideration the needs of our residents and our city. Our elected government officials here are both prominent and well-regarded members of our city, and it is the responsibility of council members to represent residents’ interests and always push for more and better from our governments. Additionally, all five school trustees are positions whose reach and impact in the City of Pickering have often been overlooked by both candidates and elected trustees alike. I would like to bring trustees further into the planning processes in Pickering (in allocating for new builds and renovations for schools) by ensuring their voices are also heard in meetings, insofar as schools, students, and parents are concerned.
Transparency and Honesty: I believe in a policy of transparency, and vow to maintain open lines of communication with residents. I also firmly believe in the need for a lobbying registry, as well as creating a system to openly display how members of council have voted on items brought before them, and exploring the possibility of banning donations from developers or developer interests for electoral candidates. There have been resident concerns over the inaccessibility of council, either through the vast number of in-camera meetings, or through unprofessional actions online. As a teacher and a graduate student, I am very comfortable and highly aware of the level of professionalism needed to conduct my business both on- and offline. I also believe in accessibility and quick responses to residents; I take this responsibility very seriously, and have already undertaken steps to ensure accessibility by providing residents with my own contact info to reach me directly, and by making sure that my platform and I remain as accessible as possible through eliminating jargon or unfriendly formats, and by being active on social media as well as reachable by email, phone, and my website, to allow constituents to follow my campaign in whatever format is most comfortable for them.
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