Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/7/2018 (1041 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
There are already two candidates running to represent Point Douglas at city council.
On June 21, Coun. Mike Pagtakhan announced he won’t be running for re-election. Vivian Santos and Kate Sjoberg announced their candidacies on June 28 and July 3, respectively. Both women have been highly involved in the community in different ways.
Santos is a legal administrator by trade and has worked as Coun. Mike Pagtakhan’s executive assistant for many years and worked as Mayor Brian Bowman’s legal assistant during his mayoral campaign. She worked alongside Pagtakhan managing several projects such as the George Heshka Park renaming and the Roger LeGrand fitness trail.
Santos said she was taken aback when she heard Pagtakhan wouldn’t run for council again, but the idea of running for council herself was always in the back of her mind.
"Ever since working with Mike, has always been an interest. I’ll take that opportunity and continue the work that we’ve done together," she continued. "I’ve always told myself I would do another four years with councillor Mike, help him with his campaign and go for another four years and get more experience, and he was ready to retire or step down from the position, then I was going to run.
"It just came a little bit sooner, but I’m ready for the task."
Aside from knowing how to navigate the political system, a big part of her job as Pagtakhan’s assistant is constituency work, recognizing the problem and finding solutions at the municipal level. She said she will continue to advocate for the Arlington Bridge, implement after-school programs for youth, rally for better transit services in the Point Douglas quadrant and better parking in the Exchange District, as well as advocate for arts and culture.
As a fitness enthusiast, Santos will also encourage more physical activities and hopes to put an outdoor gym in the inner city.
"I really do like this job. I really enjoy the community aspect and the changes that I was able to see while working has been amazing," she said. "I want to continue on with that. I want to meet with people to come up with other ideas. If they have other ideas and they think that would be great for the community I want them to tell me.
Sjoberg is a former executive director of the Spence Neighbourhood Association and the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre. She advocates for better access to recreation facilities, proper supports for youth and seniors, better transportation and improved safety. However, she said she wants to hear to the community’s concerns to add to the list of things she hopes to accomplish.
"I believe in our ability to work together especially when we are seeing clearly," she told the crowd at her campaign launch. "If we understand that access to transportation is a critical factor in access of the city, we are less likely to deny entire communities of people the right to travel by increasing fares. If we understand that healthy, open and active public spaces, recreation and libraries are the places that we get to know and care for one another, if we value this care, we prioritize and invest in them in more useful ways."
Sjoberg brings to the role experience in community organizing and has been highly involved with the issues that affect the ward.
"I really understand how the broader city issues impact everybody," she continued. "This is the beginning of my campaign and what I really want to do is listen to what people in the ward are saying. It’s going to take me some time to build the relationships that I want to. The things are open that way, but I think my record shows the things that I’m already paying attention to."
Community journalist — The Times
Ligia Braidotti was the community journalist for The Times.