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Rosedale resident eyes council seat

By Kris Scheuer

May 5, 2010

Neighbourhoods: Deer Park / Summerhill Bennington Heights / Moore Park / Rosedale

Originally published in our Leaside-Rosedale print edition(s).

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North Rosedale resident Robert Meynell thinks Ward 27 is a great place to live and is running for council to ensure it stays that way.

“I love the ward. I grew up here. I have a house here and am raising a family here. With (Councillor) Kyle Rae stepping down, this was a good opportunity,” said the father of three boys.

“It’s an extraordinary place to live,” said Meynell, who works as the government relations associate for the Ontario March of Dimes.

He’s a cyclist and when he was living in Ottawa he served as a director of Citizens for Safe Cycling. But he questions the decision to put bike lanes on Jarvis Street as part of a revitalization. Bike lanes on Jarvis are not part of the city’s 1999 Bike Plan that’s only 40 percent completed, he said.

“According to that plan ... a bike path on Bay is a far greater priority than one on Jarvis in the interests of having a successful bike network,” he said. “Was there an honest need for bike lanes on Jarvis? I don’t think there was because there’s bike lanes on
Sherbourne. Or are they using bike lanes as a way to quiet streets?”

Meynell has taught politics at University of Ottawa and University of Waterloo and lectures at Trent University. He’s also written a book, Canadian Idealism and the Philosophy of Freedom. Now he wants to move from talking and writing about politics to being an elected official.

“I’ve always been interested in public office,” said Meynell. “I am interested in how society works well for everyone and implementing (solutions).”

He also touts his business experience.

While obtaining his PhD in politics in Ottawa, he bought several homes and rented out apartments. He’s been a renter and landlord.

He was a volunteer teacher for a year in the Yukon working with Vuntut Gwitch’n First Nations which helped him gain a greater appreciation for other cultures.

“There’s a need to understand and value different cultural differences. That’s something that will come in handy…this ward is quite diverse,” said Meynell, who currently serves on a committee for that provides accessible and affordable housing for people with disabilities.

As one of 13 candidates running in the ward, Meynell said he’s really enjoying canvassing and hearing about people’s concerns and finding solutions.

“I am interested in putting good ideas to work and I know how to do that,” he said. “I have a deep need to make positive change.”

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