Q. The 2014 municipal election marked your 10th consecutive electoral victory. Eight as member of parliament for Vaughan, and now, two as mayor of the city. What keeps you going?
A. Vaughan is an incredible city and I have been blessed to do what I love, and that is to serve the people of this community who truly make it the place to be. I was humbled by the strong vote of confidence they gave me this past election. The people of Vaughan said that our agenda for positive change is working and our new image has given them a renewed sense of hope and civic pride. They agree that consensus building leadership is the way to effective governance and they believe Vaughan has what it takes to become world- class. This is what keeps me going. The people of Vaughan inspire me every day to do my very best to provide the kind of leadership and representation they deserve. They work hard, raise their families, build their businesses, create jobs and contribute to our diverse society in so many ways. I have a deep connection with this community and I am committed to seeing our citizens grow and prosper.
Q. Eight out of ten citizens voted for you in the last municipal election. That is a resounding endorsement of your leadership. It is obvious that the citizens of Vaughan have embraced your agenda for change. How does it feel?
A. As I was watching the results come in on election night, I felt blessed by the votes I received and in many ways it was the manifestation of all the work that took place since 2010. The fact that eight out of nine members of Council returned is an endorsement for the direction the city is moving in. You humbly accept the result with much joy and always remind yourself that there is much more work to do for our community.
Q. How do you feel about the council of 2014?
A. I think it has great potential. I believe that if we remain focused on city building and avoid becoming distracted by the static and noise that is at times part of the process, we will have a term as successful as 2010-2014. We were able to make a positive difference to the image of the city in both form and substance. We transformed the city for the better!
Q. The Vaughan accord was a key element of your platform in 2010 and was implemented just a few weeks after you were officially sworn in as mayor. Since then, there has been an evident positive shift in tone on council. Why did you think it was important to bring back the Vaughan accord again this term?
A. The Vaughan Accord is an important pledge made by Council Members to reaffirm their commitment to public service. I first introduced the Vaughan Accord in order to establish a new era of mutual respect and co-operation. I wanted to put into writing the promise of a productive Council that recognized the importance of working together as a team, with shared values, and an effective way of conducting the business of the City. Today, Vaughan is in the news for all the right reasons because we focus on what truly matters to the residents. I am glad that all my Council colleagues signed on again.
Q. Within the first 100 days of this term, you hit the ground running. You introduced a four year budget plan where taxes this term will never exceed three per cent while maintain- ing service excellence, council signed the Vaughan accord, a new city manager was hired and history was made when soccer’s new Toronto FC ii USL pro league came to Vaughan. That is quite an agenda to fulfill so quickly. Why such a fast start?
A. I believe that in public life one must never become complacent. We must always aim higher and be better. The Budget Plan, the Vaughan Accord, the hiring of the new city manager as well as the historical day that saw professional sports come to Vaughan, are part of Council’s determination to achieve great
things for our citizens. I fundamentally believe that to build a successful city you need to work fast, smart and in a strategic manner. For every disciplined effort there are multiple rewards.
“Vaughan is an incredible city and I have been blessed to do what I love and that is to serve the people of this community who truly make it the place to be.”
– Maurizio Bevilacqua
Q. You mentioned that a new city manager has been hired to replace the very effective and respected interim city manager Barb Cribbett, who will retire this summer. Tell us about him.
A. Mr. Steve Kanellakos will join the senior management team in May 2015 as the new City Manager, taking over for Interim City Manager Barb Cribbett, who performed exceptionally well in her role. Mr. Kanellakos comes to us from the City of Ottawa, where he most recently served as the Deputy City Manager of City Operations. His career in municipal government has spanned more than two decades, and I know he shares the values of public service and the importance of making a difference in our community. He will be a great addition to our team and possesses all of the necessary qualities to make a significant contribution.
Q. In a recent speech to over 500 attendees at the Vaughan chamber of commerce mayor’s luncheon, you touched on a number of important issues. Can you give us an update on the Hospital, the VMC and the Subway, as well as your desire to establish a lobbyist registry in Vaughan?
A. I am very proud of the incredible strides that have been made on several major initiatives in Vaughan, beginning with the Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital. In four short years it has survived two provincial budgets, passed multiple levels of ministry approval and early construction work began this summer. You can see it happening now at the northwest corner of Jane Street and Major Mackenzie Drive. Our hospital is a reality.
In the VMC, our new downtown core, cranes are on site and buildings rising from the ground. Construction is already underway on projects including the KPMG building and Expo City, a soaring tower that was recently named as Vaughan’s tallest building.
Tunneling on the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension is complete and construction on the three Vaughan stations — Pioneer Village Station, Highway 407 Station and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Subway Station — continues. In a few short years the subway will arrive in Vaughan. This term’s agenda will continue to focus on the values and principles that have guided our path to success. We will continuously seek opportunities for positive change including the establishment of a lobbyist registry. Only three cities in the province of Ontario have a lobbyist registry and the goal is for our city to be next. This is in keeping with our commitment to transparency and accountability at all levels.
Q. Are you feeling optimistic about our future?
A. Absolutely! There are many reasons to be optimistic.
Q. Is it too early to ask you if you will seek a third mandate in 2018?
A. The agenda I have for this city goes beyond 2018. There is much more work to do before we fulfill the promise of this city and I want to be a part of its realization.
» Lifestyle » Bevilacqua Win’s 2nd Landslide Victory