The City of Toronto has officially filled the vacancies left by outgoing councillors Joe Cressy and Kristyn Wong-Tam, appointing Joe Mihevc and Robin Buxton Potts as interim councillors for Ward 10 - Spadina-Fort York and Ward 13 - Toronto Centre, respectively.
Their appointments, which were selected from a pool of 27 candidates, take effect immediately and will remain in place until the current term of Council expires on November 14, following the next municipal election on October 24.
As per City regulations, Council must fill any vacancies within 90 days. The position for the two qualified elector positions was first opened on May 13. To be eligible, candidates must have a qualifying Toronto address and be a resident of the City, either via ownership or tenancy of land (or as the spouse of an owner or tenant). They must also complete a Declaration of Qualification and Consent of Nominee form. Applicants who are already employees of the City of Toronto, its agencies, or boards, must be on leave of absence in order to apply.
Both appointees come to Council with a wealth of experience in municipal governance. Buxton Potts has been Wong-Tam’s chief of staff for the last two years, as well as former community relations and strategic advisor, with over a decade of experience in the private, government, and non-profit sectors. She comes to Council with Wong-Tam’s full endorsement. Wong-Tam announced in April that she was leaving municipal politics to seek a provincial nomination under the New Democrat Party.
“As my primary staff lead for the last two years, Robin is already intimately familiar with the unique challenges of the ward and can provide immediate and informed leadership for area residents and stakeholders,” Wong-Tam writes.
For Mihevc, it’s a return to the familiar, having represented Ward 21 - St. Paul’s between 2000 - 2018. Prior to the amalgamation of the City of Toronto, he represented Ward 28-York Eglinton between 1998 - 2000, and was a sitting York City Councillor between 1991 to 1997, and also held the position of York’s Deputy Mayor.
He has also held the position of Vice-Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission between 2006 - 2010, through which he's likely best known for his support for the $100M St. Clair Avenue streetcar right of way project, which saw the rejuvenation of the St. Clair West neighbourhood via investment in new transit, system, and public realm infrastructure. In his brief departure from politics, he has been acting as Visiting Professor of Human Geography and Urban Studies at York University.
He takes over from Cressy -- a two-term councillor known for his passionate approach to affordable housing and the COVID-19 pandemic -- who announced last fall that he not be seeking re-election this October in order to take the position of Senior Vice President of external relations, communications, and real estate development at George Brown College.