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Oomen says she’s ready for council seat

By Karolyn Coorsh

August 16, 2010

Neighbourhoods: Armour Heights / Wilson Heights

Originally published in our Toronto Today (Midtown) print edition(s).

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After years working behind the scenes at city hall, Nancy Oomen says she’s ready to step into the role of city councillor.

The former executive assistant to Councillor Mike Feldman registered as a candidate for Ward 10 York Centre the same week her boss announced he would not be seeking another term in municipal office.

Oomen’s foray into the political realm was as a resident — she became active in the community by joining a working group focused on a planning application in the Yonge Street corridor.  From there, she was hired as an assistant to Willowdale councillor John Filion.

That first experience taught her a lot about achieving consensus among different interest parties — a lesson that has served her well during her 16 years at city hall, she said.  

“I love to try and find a solution to things, something that kind of works for everybody and that’s where that journey began.”

After working for Filion, Oomen moved offices to become Feldman’s senior executive assistant, where she’s remained for the past 10 years. Oomen has now stepped down from that job to run for office.

Oomen, who once worked in the commercial aviation industry, says if elected, she’d continue to work on ward beautification projects.  

“I like the grassroots things and I want to build on that,” Oomen said, adding she was instrumental in obtaining the funds to complete the giant mural at the corner of Wilson Avenue and Bathurst Street.

More intensification is inevitable, she says, and she’ll use her experience to ensure the community has a voice.

“I believe that things are going to change, and in a perfect world we would be able to keep everything the same but I do believe we need to respect communities as much as we can.”

Oomen said she wants to see more responsible spending at city hall.

“I think we need to take a hard look at where money is put,” she said, adding the current council is not being money-efficient.

“If your roof is leaking at home, you don’t go and renovate your basement.”

Oomen would also like to see more investment in road infrastructure, and said if there’s a choice between subways and the planned light rail lines, she would advocate for subways — if they are financially viable.

“Some things are nice to do, but some things are a must-do,” she said.

“I think you need to address the must, and if there’s money left over, then you can do the nice stuff.”

Oomen, who lives in Willowdale just outside Ward 10, said her knowledge of York Centre will only help if elected as municipal rep for the area.

“I enjoy helping constituents, getting things done and I think that I have a lot to offer.”

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