Simon Wookey, a strong candidate In Ward 27, in October Municipal Election
"My grandfather (Bishop Lepik) taught me that if you look after the pennies, the dollars will look after themselves," said Wookey. That has been his basic credo.
His father is a well known property developer responsible for Yorkville, now a hub of elegance in Toronto, who taught him the ins and outs of civic development. Wookey is now a vice-president of the family firm, Seniority Investments Limited.
"I was born and raised in Ward 27," said Wookey. Wookey still lives on the street where he was born and has been involved in local organizations like the Bay-Bloor Business Improvement Association.
Wookey ran agaist TTC chair Adam Giambrone last municipal election and came in second. He has been involved in inter-party and community campaigns. Again in this election he is considered in the top three to win.
Wookey is disappointed with the way city hall has been mismanaging the affairs of the city. During the Mayor David Miller years the municipal budget has gone up from 6 billion to 10 billion (in eight years). They have added on employees, costs and neglected necessary needs.
Wookey points out that public housing has deteriorated. Apartment buildings are falling apart while at the same time city properties that have been expropriated and are worth a few million are being rented out for a few thousand.
Another example pointed out by Wookey is the use of salt during the winter that causes damage to roads, pollutes the lake and boosts rotting of automobiles. Ecological alternatives must be found.
The highly trumpeted removal of one of the lanes on Jarvis is something that should have been studied in depth explains Wookey. "If the flow of traffic is impeded on Jarvis it compensates by going along arterial routes (like Church Street) The people will continue to come down to work."
An example of government waste and incompetance is the way they have mishandled the construction of the Peter Street Hostle, a home for 24 men which now has costs run up to $14 million. "They decided to make a rooftop recreation area for the residents where they could go up to smoke. To make it easy they decided to put in an elevator for a million four hundred thousand dollars," said Wookey.
When Wookey was shown the choices the Estonian community had regarding Estonian House, whether to rip it down and replace it with the community centre on the lower floors and condominiums above or simply renovate the existing structure he answered, "if you take the first option and have the condos, I know my mother will be in there in a minute, as well many other Estonians. Renovation would be a stopgap solution."
"We need more Estonians in politics," said award winning Estonian filmaker Marcus Kolga. Kolga is planning a "meet and greet" for Wookey at the Estonian House Cafe.
With many of the similiar ideas towards cost conserving and efficiency of mayoral candidate Rob Ford yet with greater elegance, presence and intelligence, it’s only a pity that Wookey isn't running for mayor.
"A way to help Simon Wookey, to deliver an efficient government is to phone his campaign at 416-816-7419 and offer to go canvassing with him, or donate to his campaign," said Kolga.