An Aurora resident of nearly 30 years, Nick Biase has seen a lot of change – and now, as a candidate for Ward 1 in this fall’s municipal election, he wants to be part of shaping Aurora’s future.
He’s long wanted to become more involved in the community and now, with the time and ability to do so, he’s seeking a place at the Council table to advocate on behalf of his neighbours.
“I was only going to run in the ward I am living in,” he says of his decision to throw his hat into the ring. “I know there are policies in place where you can run in another ward, but, to me, we’re not really serving the people in the community [that way]. I’m in with both feet and I think it’s important that if you say you’re going to represent [your neighbours] you need to be with them. It’s kind of like being the captain of a ship.”
In his home ward, Biase is offering a simple platform that he’s boiled down to an acronym: P.E.A.S.E. This stands for people, environment, accessibility, safety, and economic growth.
“I am trying to approach this in a holistic way,” he says of his campaign platform. “Although you’re running for the ward, you’re hoping what you do for the ward resonates across the rest of the Town. The environmental piece of this is preserving what we have today right now. There are lots of buildings and lots of things going on and irrespective of whether we have space or room in our ward where people want to do more stuff, we want to make sure we don’t let it get out of hand – and that’s not just in our ward, but right across the board.
“The other thing is safety in the community [and] that too is across the board. There are a lot of thefts these days, vandalism and so forth. How do we address some of this stuff? That’s something I really want to tackle and take a look at. One of the things that is underlying for everybody is accountability we all have from a financial perspective. Everyone who lives in Ward 1 wants to make sure their dollar is spent wisely. It’s about making sure we’re getting our fair share as well for some of the activities the Town is doing for us.”
On the People front, Biase is running on a platform that “embraces cultures” and looks at “expanding services to assist our aging population. The Environmental plank of his platform includes preserving and protecting greenspaces in the community, the improvement of park management and “Town cleanliness” while also promoting a walkable community.
Accessibility, to his mind, includes “honest, straight talk communication, financial responsibility, transparency, and timeliness, accountability and action-driven” work.
Safety platform planks include neighbourhood watch programs, speed reduction solutions, traffic calming measures, and “bylaw enforcement to keep pace with the growth of the Town.”
Economic growth proposals include supporting local businesses and fostering opportunities for job creation.
“The whole concept of going to a Ward System is the smartest thing Aurora could have done,” he says. “You’re calling the person who is representing you within your ward. I spent most of my career in the corporate world in a very complex environment, different lines of business, a different hierarchy… although I have spent it more within a technology environment, there’s the same kind of foundation, the same view, if not more complex, that would be even within…the Council or the Town with politics or the public sector we have today.
“My ability right now to have worked in that environment and to have held many senior positions and really understand how to get things done and how to lobby for things that need to get done and how we move things quickly through the system, being able to have some very good straight talk on a lot of items will help me tremendously. I am not tied to the public sector so…although I may have worked in an environment that had a very similar structure, I was also in a world where, at the end of the day, if things didn’t get done you didn’t have a job. At the end of the day you’ve got to get results.”
As he heads into the election campaign, Biase says he’s very much looking forward to meeting more of the people within Ward 1, hear their views, and share his own.
“The ability to interact with these folks a little closer, more one-on-one, and get their true views and perspective on things and reassure what I’m wanting to do is the right thing and whether I need to shift gears, that’s important to me – to get a good sense and a good handle on exactly what the folks are thinking.
“We need to focus on things that are present, things that we can address, and that we can action relatively quickly. That’s not to say we shouldn’t have some short-term and long-term [goals] but, in my opinion, we need to move on the things I think we can make some quick hits and really address right away.”
Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran