Adam Vaughan served two terms on Toronto City Council. Vaughan was first elected in 2006 with a mandate to lead change at City Hall and he delivered on several key fronts.
A pledge to build more family housing in the ward saw more than 600 units of housing with three or more bedrooms constructed or approved than in the previous four years. This is almost six times more housing for families than was built in the ward in the decade before Vaughan took office.
A promise to reform the planning process was a critical area of focus. Working with neighbourhood associations across Ward 20, Adam led a successful campaign to map Trinity-Spadina. Vaughan also launched an interactive web-based data bank of land use patterns in the ward. An innovative partnership with Ryerson University's School of Urban and Regional Planning also produced a community plan for every neighbourhood in the ward. Together, the maps and plans were the foundation for a ward wide approach to planning that proactively puts neighbourhoods in the lead while shaping development in their communities.
Adam continued to work with communities to take back control of local parks. He secured money and resources to enable area residents to play a stronger role in guiding how these public spaces are redeveloped, maintained and programmed. Several major parks in the ward were re-designed and re-constructed with local residents making critical decisions.
Adam Vaughan also delivered on his commitment to ensure Ward 20 remained an affordable place for families, individuals, small businesses and artists to live and work in. He worked hard to reform the way in which City Hall generates revenue and collects taxes. In 2006, City revenues all came from one basic source; the assessed value of a property. Market Value Assessment (MVA) combined with a hot real estate market meant that downtowners were seeing their taxes rise faster than their suburban counterparts. The introduction of user fees for water service and garbage removal combined with the Land Transfer Tax, and the new billboard tax meant the city had a diversified tax base and revenues were derived from rate payers on an equal basis instead of being leveraged on the inflationary values assigned to property by MVA. This took almost $1 billion worth of pressure off of the property tax system - pressure that would have been shouldered almost entirely by downtown property owners.
Adam was a strong advocate for the arts, leading the successful campaign to save Theatre Passé Muraille, a Ward 20 landmark. He also supported a number of public and private investments in the arts, including a new initiative to create low-rent- low-tax commercial space for emerging artists.
In his first term, Adam helped form five new Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) in the ward to help small businesses negotiate better City services and finance new local improvement projects that benefit the entire community.
Working with Alexandra Park residents, Adam helped create and lead a neighbourhood planning and re-visioning process for their community, which is located south of Dundas between Bathurst and Spadina. Adam's advocacy and the strong support demonstrated by the local community convinced Toronto Community Housing to move Alexandra Park to the top of the list of housing projects to be revitalized in the city.
As part of Adam's responsibilities as Councillor he also served as a member of the Toronto East York Community Council, Planning and Growth Management Committee and as a board member for the Preservation Board, the AGO, Harbourfront Centre, and a host of other community-based agencies including all 10 BIAs in Ward 20.
Adam lives in the Queen and Bathurst area with his wife and two children. His lifelong connection to Ward 20 includes everything from playing hockey in Seaton Village at the Bill Bolton Arena to working as a journalist and living in the Entertainment District for close to twenty years. Adam attended school in the Annex, learned to swim in the Grange community and for a while managed a bar and restaurant on Harbord Street.
Adam grew up in one of the city's leading activist families. His parents helped lead the fight to stop the Spadina Expressway and save the neighbourhoods of the ward. His father Colin Vaughan, a noted journalist, was also a City Councillor for four years and led the citizen's movement to re-write Toronto's official plan, a document that saved and protected downtown neighbourhoods.