‘I’m Not a Politician’

Top News Sep 14, 2018 at 6:45 pm
MILES ROQUE for Councillor, Mississauga Ward 1

MILES ROQUE for Councillor, Mississauga Ward 1

Miles Roque, Councillor candidate, Ward 1, Mississauga:

By Irish Mae Silvestre

The Philipppine Reporter

When Miles Roque, 31, talks about his childhood in Mississauga, he remembers it with fondness: an idyllic time growing up in a close-knit community, playing sports and walking home from school.

Applewood Acres had been home to Roque’s parents (his mother is from Batangas, his father is from Pangasinan) since they bought their home in the early 1980’s. It’s also where they raised him and his two sisters, Simone and Shelley. But in 2016, their home was expropriated to make way for the QEW interchange. Although it was sold at market price, Roque said that his parents could no longer afford to move back into their beloved neighborhood.

“I don’t want anyone to go through this hardship,” he said, adding that it’s what fueled him to run for councillor for Ward 1.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that, if elected, one of his main priorities is to provide affordable housing for people in his ward.

“I know how difficult it is first-hand because of this expropriation process,” he said. “My overall goal is [to ensure] that there’s affordable housing for people in Ward 1 to rent and own.” To do so, Roque said that it’s important to work with developers and land owners to include affordable housing options.

Sherway-Street-SocialAnother interesting solution he’s put forth is to increase tax breaks or provide benefits for homeowners interested in renting out their second unit. “If they’re able to provide a second unit, they should have benefits for letting people move into their homes,” he said.

In addition to affordable housing, Roque added that it’s important to support Ward 1 residents who “strengthen our cultural diversity” by providing housing for special needs individuals and those with lower income.

Roque says that he brings diversity to the table when it comes to his background. He graduated from University of Toronto Mississauga with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and earned his master’s degree in Environmental Applied Science and Management from Ryerson University.

“My background and passion is the environment,” he explained. “That’s another priority: I want to make sure that we make the environment a top priority. I also want to make sure we preserve our trees because the trees in Ward 1 are so beautiful. There are so many trees along Port Credit and Lakeshore that are over 100 years old – they’re gigantic. You cannot replace these trees.”

Talking to Ward 1 residents, coffee with Miles (Photos provided)

Talking to Ward 1 residents, coffee with Miles
(Photos provided)

Currently, he’s a planning manager at Canadian Solar Solutions, Inc. and helped the company set up their Tokyo office where he lived for several years. Prior to that, he also worked as a public servant for the City of Toronto, providing accessible programs and services for seniors and individuals with special needs.

When asked whether being young poses a challenge when running for councillor, he said, “I’m not a politician; I want to serve and advocate for the community. I want to bring diversity to the council, I’m very passionate about the community and I am a planning manager. Yes, I am 31 but I do have that background that makes me an ideal candidate for Ward 1.”

Roque also said that he’d like to support local businesses to create more local jobs, invest in the city’s Waterfront and reduce traffic congestion by creating “sustainable transit options.”

“People are not going to stop driving, to be honest,” he said. “We have to take measures to make sure that traffic is moving but we also have to be careful of road safety.”

When discussing his plans, he mentions the late Jim Tovey, whom he considers an inspiration. Tovey, who was the Ward 1 councillor, died suddenly in January this year and was the driving force behind the West Village development.

Roque recalled meeting Tovey while taking an urban planning course and found that he truly connected with his vision. He said that the former councillor was a “champion for heritage and the environment” and was “a true visionary.”

“I want to champion his vision, I want to make sure that [the plan] goes through,” he said. “We have one chance so we have to make sure we do it right.”

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