For Residents of Mississauga Centre, It’s Back To The Polls All Over Again

By:  Monica Kucharski

Exercising their civic duty on October 22 may seem like déjà vu all over again for residents of Mississauga Centre.  Only three years ago they voted in a by-election triggered by the resignation of their then-councillor Frank Dale, who was appointed as the Peel Regional Chair and had to step down from his council seat.

At least for this year’s municipal election, Ward 4 pool of council candidates is not as crowded as it was in the 2015 by-election—that one saw 26 candidates run!  John Kovac, a rookie with little political experience other than working for Mississauga MPP Peter Fonseca as a constituency assistant, won the day, but only by very slim margin—just 98 votes.

Kovac is still considered by some a rookie and not exactly a political mover and shaker.  As Councillor for the last three years, he has been mostly focused on improving the quality of the Ward’s parks.

One initiative that did win him general praise though was getting a boxed soccer pitch in Ward 4 at Mississauga Valley Park in the works.   “I’m excited for the installation of a second boxed soccer pitch for Ward 4 and our downtown,” said Ward 4 Councillor John Kovac. “Creating outdoor recreational spaces for residents, especially our youth, is important to the quality of life in densely populated areas of the city,” he said.

Kovac also made some more splash recently by taking a lead position in City Hall on the use of public spaces, when he took issue with Mississauga Ribfest festival being staged at the city’s civic precinct, the Celebration Square.

Kovac objected to the event cutting the venue off to residents for the week of the festival, and charging a $2 admission to taxpayers who paid for the construction of the Square.   “The Square was built for and paid for by the taxpayers and needs to remain always open and accessible to the public.”  The Ribfest has since relocated to Port Credit.

But on the whole, Kovac’s record is rather lacklustre. So, despite Saugans’ inclination to vote for the incumbent, Kovac may have a tough time getting re-elected.

Although only eight candidates are challenging him, they all express a passion and determination to work on what matters most to Ward 4 residents, including better transit, neighbourhood safety, community inclusiveness and engagement, affordable housing, and senior and youth welfare.

They include:  Grant Gorchynski, the founder of Kingsbridge Matters, a citizens group advocating the addition of a Hurontario LRT at Kingsbridge Garden Circle and manager of a commercial plaza at that condo-surrounded intersection; IT specialist Hugo Reinoso, community workers Yoliana Yazer, Josephine Bau, and Safeeya Faruqui, as well as  Hardat Sookrah, engineer Nawres Fouad,  and real estate professional Duc Thanh Tran.

Kovac’s contenders are all grassroots candidates with little political experience but then again, so was he when he was elected.