NEWS November 1st, 2011

By Shawn Star

Colle looking forward

Incumbent focusing on local projects for the next term

After being re-elected with the greatest margin of victory he’s ever had, Eglinton–Lawrence MPP Mike Colle said he’s glad to be heading back to Queen’s Park.

Even though it’s a minority government this time, he says he doesn’t think it will impede any progress on major issues.

“It’s never speedy anyway,” said Colle, who believes all parties have the same priorities in education and healthcare. “Government doesn’t move that quickly, there’s always public hearings, there’s always debate.”

Earlier in the campaign, Colle had done a walk along Eglinton Avenue where the route is expected to be underground, starting at Kennedy Road in Scarborough and ending at Black Creek Drive in Weston. He maintains the LRT is his top priority for the next term.

“The one thing is I want to make sure we get well underway the Eglinton Crosstown and to see some stations going up,” he said. “So we want to see that finally brought to fruition.”

Aside from the LRT, Colle said he has a few projects he’d like to get started on, mostly dealing with revitalizing major streets in the riding like Marlee Avenue and parts of the stretch of Bathurst Street that runs through the Eglinton-Lawrence boundaries.

“I want to take on Bathurst because it’s one of the best streets in the city, but it needs some updating and needs some activity on it to sort of bring people together,” he said, identifying Bathurst and Lawrence as an area of focus. “I’m really looking forward to bringing some excitement to these main streets again.”

While Colle is looking forward to getting started on the next term, his defeated opponent, Progressive Conservative Rocco Rossi also said he was getting started on his next steps — spending more time with his family.

“My closest friend is getting married on (Oct. 15) in Ravello (Italy), “ Rossi said the night of the election. “And it’s not a hard duty to spend a few days on the Amalfi Coast, so I’m looking forward to that with my wife.”

Rossi added he felt he has had a very fortunate life in which he doesn’t have to work, but he chooses to, in order to give back to the city. For now he has no plans to step back into the political realm.

The riding of Eglinton–Lawrence managed the highest voter turnout in all of Toronto, according to Colle, with about 53 percent of residents heading to the polls.

“It’s (the result of) a lot of events, a lot of people and a lot of volunteers out there encouraging people to vote,” he said. “They just don’t come by themselves, so you’ve got to contact a lot of people and we did it starting way back in the spring.”