Little Israel Coming to Vaughan?
Vaughan Ward 5 candidate Yehuda Shahaf outlines his vision for development.
Imagine walking down a street and hearing only Hebrew being spoken around you. Imagine entering a restaurant where the Hebrew speaking owner serves you a delicious falafel sandwich. And all this just within walking distance of your Thornhill home.
If you think this is too good to be true, ask City of Vaughan Ward 5 candidate Yehuda Shahaf who will tell you that this is more than possible. Shahaf, who is running for the third time for Vaughan City Council, recently spoke with Shalom Lifeabout his vision for development in Vaughan, which would include designating Bathurst Street as Little Israel, as shown in the attached map.
Shahaf believes that since the Bathurst Street area is already heavily populated with Hebrew speaking residents, it would only make sense to officially call it Little Israel. Shahaf said that he would initiate such a motion for the City of Vaughan to officially recognize this area as the hub of Israeli activity in the city.
Shahaf also addressed the issue of commercial development in Vaughan. “Every day, thousands if not tens of thousands of vehicles pass through the city’s streets,” he said. “These vehicles simply pass through without actually doing any business in the city. They could be a huge source of revenue for us.”
He therefore suggests that sections of the major streets in Vaughan (namely Steeles Avenue, Bathurst Street, Yonge Street and Dufferin Street) be marked off and designated as areas of massive commercial and office development. Shahaf said he believes this would result in more residents having jobs in the city and in the long run, more revenue.
“Currently, there are not many small businesses in the city,” said Shahaf. “The larger companies make the profits and the private businesses do not. If the marked areas are designated for office buildings, more of the city’s residents could make a profit within the city.”
Shahaf also spoke about residential development, in wake of the recent protests by some Vaughan citizens regarding the high density residence planned in the city.
“I believe that residential development is extremely important in the city, since there are so many senior citizens as well as bachelors living in Vaughan who need apartments,” said Shahaf. “If more housing units are built, once again the city will see revenue in the long run and the value of the current properties could even rise.”
Shahaf believes that in a matter of several years, Vaughan will be even more populated with senior citizens, bachelors and divorcees who will seek apartments in the city. He added that high density residence must be accompanied by transit development, including extending the subway into Vaughan.
“We must develop the city for us and more importantly, for our children,” concluded Shahaf.