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You told us what matters most to you this municipal election | CBC News

Londoners are heading to the polls on Oct. 24 to elect a new mayor and city council and they’re making their views clear in the My neighbourhood my vote questionnaire. 

CBC London asked people to complete a survey exploring issues and priorities. At the time of publication, almost 500 people had responded, with the survey still open for comment. 

Here’s a snapshot of what you told us matters most to you in the 2022 municipal election: 

Top issues

Homelessness, affordability and public transit were the three top issues for Londoners heading into the 2022 municipal election. (CBC London)

Homelessness is top priority

Homelessness and the factors that influence it, including addiction and mental health concerns, were overwhelmingly on Londoners’ minds. The impact of not having enough affordable housing and social services stretched to the limit also worried Londoners, as did a downtown in peril and an increase in crime.

A specific question addressed a recent decision in August 2022 to allow encampments in the city

People living without permanent housing have set up camps downtown, in parking lots, alleys and along the Thames River. In August 2022 the city, in consultation with social service agencies, agreed to allow most people to stay in their camps. It came after a hunger strike and protest on the steps of city hall. (CBC London )

Empty buildings and developers

Affordability in the housing market was also a top issue for Londoners. Many people noted vacancies in the downtown and questioned how those spaces could be converted into affordable rental units.

We asked specifically about the role developers should play when politicians approve new buildings.

Many people said affordable housing and homelessness were top election issues. Outgoing Mayor Ed Holder challenged developers in 2021 to build more affordable housing units. In 2022, council reduced the number of affordable units developers Drulow and Auburn were required to put into a massive new build on Bradley Avenue and Wellington Road. (CBC London )

BRT bitterness and urban sprawl

Another theme was the environment and urban sprawl. London councils have committed to growing upward, while at the same time, construction has reached the city limits. This recent council spent a lot of time discussing school services in new subdivisions, and that conversation is far from over. 

Public transit and traffic congestion made the list of top issues, with an even split on a controversial decision made in 2019 to cut a fully-funded transition expansion. Here’s a refresher on what was cut and who voted for it in 2019.

Probably one of the most expensive and bitter debates this council discussed was whether to implement a Bus Rapid Transit system in London. In March 2019, eight councillors, including Mayor Ed Holder, voted to cut two arteries out of the plan. All of the women on council voted to keep the system intact. The downtown loop is currently under construction with no service planned for the north or west end of London. (CBC London )

Many of you also mentioned the fact that London is still waiting for a green bin program, despite many cities of similar size being years into their own composting plans.

Apathy or enthusiasm? 

So much of our immediate day-to-day lives is dictated by city council yet voter turnout in London has been low. In 2018, approximately 39 per cent of people cast a ballot. The election before, in 2014, it was 43 per cent. 

Voter turnout in London’s municipal elections are historically below 50 per cent. The majority of people who took CBC London’s survey say they are interested in this one. (CBC London )

Have your voice heard

There’s still time to tell us about the issues that matter in your neighbourhood. Check out the My neighbourhood my vote survey and add your voice. 

Have an election story you think we should cover? Send us an email: [email protected]

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