This is the third in a series highlighting the six candidates for Ward 1 Councillor in the upcoming municipal election. The Silhouette will be profiling each candidate in advance of the election on Monday, Oct. 27.

Ira Rosen, an almost life-long Westdale resident, has been an active member of the community for over a decade. Rosen emphasizes the great impact McMaster and its students have in the local community. As a Ward 1 candidate, Rosen is greatly concerned with solving landowner, student and Westdale resident conflicts by improving the overall conditions of student-rental homes, as well as working with developers to build new homes that fit into the financial model of students.

His plan also includes encouraging the development of small businesses on Emerson St., in a similar manner to Locke St. and Westdale Village, as well as introducing big box retailers for the area, such as Canadian Tire.

Rosen has had a long history with McMaster, working with numerous MSU Presidents including Teddy Saull as well as the Presidents Advisory Committee on Building an inclusive Community. He has acted as a nominator for the MSU-sponsored Good Neighbour Award, a coordinator and supporter for the Student Community Support Centre and is as an avid supporter of the Peer-to-Peer program that allows local residents to peacefully solve by-law issues with student neighbours without the involvement of the city or police.

Rosen is an advocate for the implementation of a rental housing license to hold property owners accountable and subject to health and safety inspections and standards.

He recalled his involvement in an MSU pilot study on fire safety after several incidents in student rentals, some of which involved fatalities a number of years ago. Though students must observe by-laws and take some responsibility for their homes, Rosen acknowledges students often only live in single rental homes for one year because of poor conditions.

“It’s terribly unfair for the students. For many students it’s the first time they’re living on their own,” said Rosen. “The international students have no idea what they’re getting into […] they aren’t from our area, they don’t know what our standards are […] and they’re living with mould and mildew and potentially other health issues.”

Rosen also supports the university’s ongoing downtown expansions, noting that the current campus capacity has been maximized.

“I can work with Patrick Deane as well as the staff of the university and we can really do great things, but we have to work together […] we need to know the enrolment plan of the university so we can make sure we are doing things that are best for the university, best for the community, and best for downtown.”

For more information on Rosen and his campaign, visit his website at http://www.irarosen.ca/index.php/en/

Twitter @IraWRosen

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