Where I Stand

Municpal Government Responsibilities

By Kelvin Chang

Markham's local issues and concerns

#1: Building Permits & Construction

A common issue brought up about construction and adding new features to buildings is handicap ramps. It is immensely important that most, if not all buildings with elevated areas in Markham should include handicap ramps as key additions because they allow provide handicapped citizens to be able to access their needs and wants for entering the building. Adding automatic doors to buildings is also important, as it provides a convenient way for the handicapped people to enter and exit locations with ease.

The reason both of these issues are important to the citizens of Markham because they provide equality to people with disabilities, one of the sections in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If handicapped people cannot enter or fully access a building, it could be considered discrimination, which is one of the major issues that Canada has been striving to eliminate since the Charter was created. So in the end, adding these features to buildings is a big step towards equality and disability rights in the local community of Markham.

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Ramps in buildings assist handicapped people for easy entry.

#2: Senior Services

Another concern that locals may have about the city of Markham is the lack of senior services, specifically public nursing homes for the needs of senior citizens. The reason it can be an issue is that the private nursing homes can be quite expensive for senior citizens that require special needs and catering. Most do not have the money to support themselves and will have to resort to living with their families, who are already occupied with their own matters. Also, those senior citizens who have medical conditions will have to go to the hospital and that would increase waiting times for other patients. Senior citizens would also be cared for better and more personally in nursing homes than in hospitals, which are constantly busy with many other patients.

Increasing the amount of public nursing homes in Markham funded by the government would be an easier way for needs of seniors to be met. Those seniors who need special service could receive more personal health care without having to pay expenses they do not have or be a burden to their families. Opening up public nursing homes would also create jobs for nurses and those who provide service. So in summary, senior citizens and their families, and hospitals in Markham would benefit greatly with an increase in public nursing homes with a variety of services.

#3: Planning & Urban Design

As Markham continues to grow and evolve into a city, new residents continue to move in and settle in the city, increasing the population while the traffic will also rise. Nowadays, traffic in the city of Markham has substantially increased and it can be quite frustrating for citizens to get to work or school, especially during rush hour. One idea that is frequently brought up is to pave new roads and alternate routes. This would greatly benefit locals because less time will be wasted in unnecessary traffic and civilians will be able to get to daily locations, such as work and school much quicker and life would be much more convenient for everyone driving in Markham.

Another controversial urban planning event that is more recent is the proposed campus for York University in the new down-town Markham. Although it may be convenient for students in terms of transportation for the time being, but the location may not be as convenient for others. After all, many students there are not all day commuting students and housing in that area is desperately needed because the land is scarce. Long-term affects must be taken in consideration such as the possible traffic congestion if the campus was built in down-town Markham, or the future NHL arena that will also require a vast amount of space. Decisions like this must not be made impulsively, as Markham is continuing to develop as a city and cannot afford to squeeze all possible urban plans because of the limited amount of space.