Councillor Michelle Berardinetti was returned to City Hall to represent Ward 35 for a second term after besting her seven challengers in Monday’s election.
Berardinetti won with a huge margin over her nearest competitor – taking 63 per cent of the vote. She won the ward in 2010 with 50 per cent of the vote against the incumbent.
“It’s great. I’m just so proud of the work that my staff and my office did over the past four years,” she said at her low-key victory party held at her campaign office in a strip plaza at Kennedy Road and Corvette Avenue.
Her supporters were all smiles when the first results for the ward came rolling in showing Berardinetti with a likely insurmountable lead.
This time around, Berardinetti was the incumbent with a record to defend; a record she said she was proud of and that the results show her that she and her team are on the right track.
“It was much more rewarding this time,” she said of the election and win. “We were running on our record rather as a new face. We’re proud of our record over the past four years.
“It feels great to not be the newbie anymore,” she said smiling.
Berardinetti said there are a number of priorities she wants to tackle in the coming term – all with a strong local focus. She wants to address the lack of development in Ward 35, which has the second lowest average income of any ward in Toronto, by establishing incentives for developers to invest in less profitable areas like her ward.
And she wants to work with the province to make sure that section 37 money, which is investment in a community funded by development charges, are more fairly distributed citing the example of one ward in the city having $50 million in sect. 37 money compared with Ward 35, which has none.
“That’s the haves and the have nots,” she said. “We need to do something provincially to make sure it is shared.”
Another issue she wants to raise with the province is the length of the campaign, which the Liberal government has said it is considering.
“I was hearing from a lot of voters who were sick of the election at the end,” she said.
Also running in Ward 35 were Paul Blocking, Sharif Ahmed, Christopher Upwood, Shahid Uddin, Teferi Assefa, Anwarul Kabir, Saima Shaikh and Jason Woychesko. Blocking finished second with 14 per cent of the vote.