By Kate Oliver and Kris Baker
Candidate joins the race in support of housing, safety, sustainable development and public transit.
Ask Susan Gapka what kind of ice cream she is and she’ll tell you she’s a “banana split.” This helps explain her ideas for Ward 27 – they are sprinkled with diversity, although some might be a bit nutty.
“I want to see more responsive and more inclusive representation in Ward 27,” says Gapka. The ward is diverse; it ranges from Rosedale to Regent Parto “The Village”.
The York student is trying to take what she learns in the classroom and apply it to the real world as she pursues an honours in Public Policy and Administration.
“School is a time of study.” says Gapka, who says she is strongly against the commercialization of student buildings.
However, as Gapka tells an anecdote, her strong opinions on commercialization seem to wane.
“There needs to be a compromise between commercialism and academic space,” she sayswhen addressing how she’d replace corporate funding on campuses.
One idea Gapka proposes would be to issue small grants to Ryerson busi- ness grads for them to start their own businesses in the area. She claims this would result in weaken the “big business” presence on university campuses. “(But) I’m in no position to try to take on big business,” she admits. Gapka also spoke out against the commercialization of Dundas Square which is the home of many advertisements that provide the city with a substantial amount of funding. After walking around the square one day, Gapka determined that there needs to be more green space, saying “Hang some plants, for crying out loud.”
Unimpressed by the commercial billboards, Gapka hopes to replace them with those of a more “social nature” but wouldn’t elaborate. After spending “many years” on the street, one of Gapka’s major concerns is homelessness. She says that homeless people aren’t being treated fairly and have a right to beg.
“These are public streets,” she says.
Gapka says the city should build more low-income housing and that making neighborhoods more diverse would increase overall safety.
Gapka has spent four years on the York Senate Executive Committee, been on the Board of Governors at York and has been the Trans, Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay commissioner for the Ontario branch of the Canadian Federation of Students.