• Time for Someone New to Represent Ward 2

    I’m literally on the wrong side of the tracks to be able to say I live in Ward 2. But arbitrary lines on a map don’t define community.  I’ve called east London’s Argyle neighbourhood home for more than 20 years.

    Argyle—or Ward 2—is where I work, shop, and play. It’s where my heart is. Home.

    For the past 12 years I’ve been privileged to work as the assistant to our Member of Parliament, Irene Mathyssen in her office on Dundas St., handling local priorities and needs while she has been working at the national level in Ottawa for us.

    In that role I have helped deliver millions of federal dollars to our area through:

    • Canada Summer Jobs funding for small business and non-profits, creating about 100 jobs a year
    • Accessibility Fund grants to help places like Trinity United Church to become accessible buildings for people with disabilities
    • New Horizons for Seniors funding to support social and recreational programs for seniors
    • Supporting City of London requests for federal funding to help with infrastructure building and repairs

    And helped businesses and individuals navigate federal departments to:

    • Get visitor visas for tourism projects to bring in foreign performers
    • Straighten out tax problems with Canada Revenue
    • Sort out delays in getting Employment Insurance Benefits

    For the past 5 years, I’ve spent most of my free time at the Argyle Arena, volunteering for London Bandits minor hockey. I may be terrible on the ice, but I love hockey and helping our kids grow and develop, not only as players, but as people. I’ve been a hockey fundraiser, parent rep, team manager and back-up trainer. I’m the team stats-keeper, website-updater, stick-taper, water bottle-filler and skate-tier.

    A member of the Argyle Community Association since 2008, I’ve served on the board of directors for the past two years.  First, as chair of infrastructure issues, I pushed for the new community centre in East Lion’s Park, the Kiwanis Park trail connection and pedestrian bridge over the CN Rail corridor and the Vimy Ridge Park project at the Hale St. Roundabout. Then, as chair of the board and continuing to work on those projects, I organized a community meeting and an online survey and took the results to put Argyle’s  transit concerns on the city hall agenda. Along with others, I went door to door and talked to residents about the proposed new strip club on Dundas St., then delivered a petition to City Hall expressing the community’s objections.

    It is important for a community to come together and have fun. I also worked to bring free events to Argyle residents, such as:

    • Our first “Movie in the Park” night in Kiwanis Park
    • A free bus ride to view the Christmas lights in Victoria Park, with a tour of City Hall and meeting with the Mayor for residents
    • Our “Free Family Day Skate” at the Argyle Arena

    I’ve also worked in the media as community producer and show host on Rogers TV and as political pundit on the Craig Needles Show on AM radio on 980 CFPL. That’s given me a chance to raise issues important to east London’s Argyle neighbourhood and issues important to the whole city.

    I’ve given my time and energy to these things because I’m proud to be an east Londoner. I love our city, and I love our neighbourhood. But our city and neighbourhood do have some challenges. We deserve better. It’s time for a change.

    After 24 years of the same person in the job, the first thing we need to change is our city councillor. It is time to elect someone new to be our voice at City Council.

    Ward 2 needs a champion who will speak up for the east end, because for far too long, the east end has been the last on City Hall’s list of priorities. Ward 2 doesn’t need a councillor who feuds with others, Ward 2 needs a councillor who will work with other members of council to get things done!

    We need someone on council who will be proactive, not just reactive. We deserve someone who knows how to engage with people, not just in an election year, all the time;  someone who will personally answer emails, return calls, and connect over social media.

    And we deserve a councillor who instead of spending time and public resources chasing farming plowing matches (the plowing match London councillors should be focused on is the one our snow plows have with Mother Nature every winter) or proposing bridges to nowhere in west London, focuses instead on neighbourhood needs and what makes sense for the City of London as a whole.  

    I know how to get things done at City Hall. For the past 4 years I’ve served on the City’s Committee of Adjustment. It doesn’t have an exciting name but it does important work granting exceptions to by-law and zoning applications, like the approvals that were needed for the new wave pool at Eastpark.

    As part of the City of London’s Neighbourhood Decision Making Committee, I helped give people a vote on how to spend $50,000 for a community improvement. As a result Kiwanis Park is getting new naturalized playground structures this year.

    In recent years, I’ve met with dozens and dozens of people who help run this city; the mayor, the city manager, union presidents, business owners and current and former council members. I’ve sat down with them as chair of the Argyle Community Association and as a TV interviewer, and in both roles I’ve taken the opportunities to ask tough questions and work toward solutions together.

    My name is Shawn Lewis. My community and my heart are in east London. It’s home and I want to make it better. I have the experience to make it happen. That’s why I’ve decide to run for city council,  and will be asking London to elect me as the next city councillor for Ward 2.

Comments are closed.