By Kathryn Stocks
Ward 44’s new councillor is Jim Hart, the former general manager for parks, forestry and recreation who had been working in Councillor Ron Moeser’s office for the last year during Ron’s illness and after his death.
Jim was appointed by Toronto City Council at a special meeting on Wednesday, June 28. Forty-eight people applied for the councillor’s position and more than 30 of them showed up at City Hall to address council with a five-minute speech. The process lasted most of the day and showcased many high-quality applicants from different wards.
When the 40 councillors in attendance voted, Jim received 27 votes. He needed 20 votes to be given the appointment. His closest rival was former councillor David Soknacki, who received nine votes. Four others received one vote each.
In his speech to councillors, Jim said he knows the planning issues in the ward and the community concerns with these issues. “I’ve already built relationships with many members of the community and have dealt directly with our community associations. I’ll be able to hit the ground running.” He has been dealing with planning staff on files that concern the community and has represented the ward at public meetings. He also said that Ron Moeser’s strong support of the natural environment is a passion that he shares.
Jim has been a resident of Ward 44 for 20 years and he said he will not run in the municipal election in 2018. “My sole concern is to complete Ron’s term and deliver on his mandate.”