Name: Zac Piette
Tell us a bit about yourself:
After being born in Cambridge, Ontario, my family moved to Guelph and soon after we moved to London. I have had great experiences living in these communities; seeing the opportunities they offer.
I have a passion for politics and serving in public office. I had the unique experience of being a Page at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario; four dedicated weeks in Toronto assisting in the running of the house. I enhanced my learning in Ontario’s Model Parliament program in February 2016 and then spent a few days in Ottawa with the Youth in Office program through Big Brothers Big Sisters. I spent a day in MP Kate Young’s office, learning the specifics of how it operates. I also had the privilege of meeting Prime Minister Trudeau as he answered questions from our group.
Why do you want to be a Youth Councillor?
Growing up I always thought that change could only be done by those who are in charge. I have learned that one person can make a difference. I have worked as a volunteer with the London Youth Advisory Council for the past two years and I know that I can make a difference for youth in London. My experiences in both the Toronto and Ottawa legislatures have shown me that individuals can make a difference in their community, and the world. I want to represent Ward 10 as a councilor, to not only advocate for my peers, but to also promote positive change in my community.
Identify three community issues you find important:
1) Mental Health: An ongoing challenge in my community is connecting with mental health services for youth. Many services that are available in London are offered with limited availability and are not close to home for people within ward 10. This has made it extremely difficult for people without consistent transit to access the services. Many users above the age of fourteen are not even able to find the services that they need in their ward. This makes the most viable option for mental health help to be accessed through the schools, which has limited options and availability. Some students obtain their needed assistance during school hours, missing classes, and potentially putting more stress on their academic success than before. Students who are unable to miss classes to obtain help may be restricted by their limited transportation options to return home. The solution to this is simple: Increase mental health services at more locations and times services to better help youth in need.
2) Pedestrian Safety: Across from Westmount Shopping Centre there is Jean Vanier Catholic School, Westmount Public School, and Saunders Secondary School. The number of schools so close to a mall creates very high amounts of traffic (pedestrian and vehicular), especially around school start and end times. Unfortunately, many pedestrians (primarily students) do not always cross at the traffic lights and/or wait for the traffic light to give them their signal to cross. This puts the students and drivers at risk. Over time there has been a disconnect between pedestrians and drivers resulting in a lack of respect for one another making both pedestrians and drivers less likely to obey traffic laws. There is an opportunity to work collaboratively with the students, schools, drivers and community to enhance safety and build respect for road traffic in this area.
3) Litter & Pollution: I have seen a significant increase in the amount of litter, especially in ward 10. Although, the community and schools have tried to pick up improperly discarded waste, the problem has not vanished. There are still people who think that throwing waste on the ground is acceptable and don’t try to dispose of their garbage at an appropriate recycling and/or garbage receptacle. This litter can be a health and safety issue if picked up by children, attracting vermin, or a danger to wildlife. This is a community issue and I would like to work collaboratively with Ward 10 neighbours to develop a campaign and strategy to help keep the neighbourhood clean. We could work with our partners and municipality to have more places for people to recycle and/or dispose garbage within the ward. Very few bus stops, schools, or parks have easily accessible garbage cans for people to use. Having a two-pronged approach of an education campaign as well as enhanced number of locations for garbage and recycling would help address this issue.
You can contact Zac by:
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org