Mayor Bevilacqua takes a stand for his city via Skedline
“Vaughan has some serious work to do if it hopes to succeed in attracting new residents, especially skilled and creative workers, according to a report released,” reporter Adam Martin-Robbins said in his article released on Sept 24.
There are 50 Canadian cities in this report, grouped into seven categories: society, health, economy, environment, education, innovation and housing. The report states that Vaughan is one of the 17 cities that received a ‘C’-rating, which is due to a poor outcome on economy and society.
When the report is mentioned to him, a few weeks after its release, Mayor Maurizio Bevilaqua actually gives a little gasp. “We are one of the safest cities in the community. How people measure things, I’m not responsible for that, but when I’m out there people are saying some really good things about the city.”
Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua is a passionate defender of the city and feels like this report is unfairly judged which makes Vaughan get a bad rap.
“I know that since I took office in 2010 to now, 15 000 jobs have been created, 20 000 more people are living here and it’s one of the fastest growing areas in North America,” says Bevilacqua.
Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua was elected in 2010 to become the mayor of Vaughan and holds the record of most votes as a mayoral candidate, with a record of 45,054 votes. This was after he dropped out of the 2006 race to run for leader of the Liberal Party.
“It’s not about your personal agenda – it’s about making sure that you’re giving of yourself where you are most required,” says Mayor Bevilacqua, “What I found was that the city was facing many challenges and so I felt that my experience could help the city grow and better itself and it has over the past four years.”
Mayor Bevilacqua attended York University for a Bachelor of Arts. After graduation, he gained more knowledge in politics as was an assistant for two members of federal and provincial parliaments, where he ran campaigns. This prepared him for 1988 where he was the youngest person running for federal politics.
“I spent the first part of my career writing the youth employment strategy for the federal government in 1993 then became the chair of the finance committee for five years as well as serving cabinet for minister state of finance,” says the Mayor.
22 years later Mayor Bevilacqua became the Mayor of Vaughan.
As a Mayor he obviously faces challenges. A common topic is the Vaughan Hospital which Mayor Maurizio says will be coming soon, but has been promised for at least six years.
“The hospitals been approved and will be built in 2018-2019. Were gonna’ put the shovels on the ground next year,” says Mayor Bevilacqua. “It will happen. The minister said it would, the premier said it would, so I take their word.”
Another concern involves the long periods of time in between bus schedules and lack of bus shelters for the elderly and disabled which is an issue in winter. Bevilacqua says that the extended subway will be changing things.
“The participation in bus service has gone up in the York Region which is a good sign, but people that live in suburbs usually are families that have more than one car so that’s how they move around because it’s not like in a city where you have people who walk and take the subway… that’s what we’re trying to build,” says the Mayor of Vaughan.
“It’s an attitude change. People are going to have to change how they view transportation.”
Mayor Bevilacqua believes that as a politician you’re there for public service and to do your best to improve the quality of life for people by being true to yourself because it is what defines humanity.
Even though Vaughan has been given a C-rating, Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua says, “You could have all the money in the world, you could have all the wealth in the world, but if you’re not helping your fellow men and women then your existence is kind of limited and there’s a selfishness that the world really does not need right now.”