New council has first meeting (with no fireworks)

8 Dec

By Joshua Freeman

Vaughan’s new city hall embodies change in the city, Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua says.

The new mayor drew attention to the brand new city hall at the inauguration ceremony Monday night after taking his oath of office in front of uniformed guards, his fellow council members and a gaggle of VIP guests.

“Tonight’s inauguration is taking place inside one of the greatest symbols of change in Vaughan – our new city hall,” Bevilacqua said. “(With) walls of windows, this building embodies transparency and openness that represents a new era for our city.”

The new city hall — done up for the inaugurationg ceremony — was a construction zone again yesterday morning, returned to its former state the day after it hosted the swearing in ceremony. And, with the new digs back to being  a “hard hat zone”, council got down to business — in its old council chambers.

They eased into proceedings with a debate about whether to add a crossing guard outside Herbert H. Carnegie Public School at Via Romano Boulevard and Lady Valentina Avenue.

With some of the new councillors still finding their feet in council chambers, chair Alan Shefman took time to explain points of process.

Asked afterward how council compares to parliament, Bevilacqua said it’s good to be back in Vaughan.

“The House of Commons is a house and this is very much my home,” Bevilacqua said. “You’re dealing with issues that direct people in a  very direct way every day, whether you’re talking about crossing guards and the safety of our kids or you’re talking about the architectural landscape you want to create for the city. These are things people see.”

After the meeting adjourned, council members retreated to a side lounge for lunch, where they appeared friendly and talkative with one another while munching on their salads.

It was, by most accounts, not a terribly exciting council meeting  — but for a city that’s seen its share of excitement in municipal politics, boring might just be the right tone to start off with.

On Monday night, at a ceremony with lots of pomp and circumstance, Bevilacqua thanked the previous council for their work and vowed to work together with all members of the new council to move the city forward in a collaborative and constructive fashion.

“We will always act with dignity and in accordance with our well-defined values and principles of mutual respect,” Bevilacqua said.

Dressed to the nines, each councillor then presented his own vision for the city. Ward 1 Councillor Marilyn Iafrate said voters had made plain what they expected from her. She pledged to work to bring post-secondary education to the city and to re-open the issue of development in the whitebelt lands. Ward 4 Councillor Sandra Yeung Racco promised to make seniors’ issues a priority, while Ward 5 Councillor Alan Shefman called for a new era of civility in civic engagement both at council and beyond.

With limited space available at the new council chambers, the ceremony was telecast, for the first time ever, to a banquet hall where council joined hundreds of residents afterward for a celebration.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: