Chaim Dov Ber Chein – or Dovi Chein, as his friends call him – was only six years-old when he moved with his family to Churchill Avenue in 1996.
Growing up in Kitchissippi Ward, he has seen the community change over the last 18 years.
But now, he wants to be part of a new change, and has decided to run for city councillor in the upcoming municipal election.
“I grew up here, and I’ve lived here almost my whole life. This is my home,” he says. “I love the people, and I think this is the friendliest neighbourhood in the city by far.”
Chein’s passion for his community is one of the reasons he decided to run for city councillor.
He says he started thinking of running a couple summers ago, but knew he had to take a crash course in municipal politics.
“I didn’t know municipal politics, so I decided to try and understand how the system works,” he says.
Chein made his final decision to run this past September, after speaking with his friend Justin Campbell who’s running for city councillor in Osgoode ward.
“I said, I have to run,” Chein says. “It’s my city, it’s my area of town, and if I can do anything to help it continue to be the best area of town, then why not?”
If elected, one of his main priorities is to be accessible to people in the ward – something he feels has become an issue.
To get ready for the campaign, Chein has been busy knocking on doors every night and listening to residents’ concerns.
“My priority is the people. I’m not coming in with an agenda – I’m coming in with an open mind,” he says. “My door will be open, everyone will have my cellphone (number) and my email. You won’t have to talk to my assistant. I’m there to listen.”
One of the biggest issues he finds that residents are facing in the ward is development.
While he doesn’t take a pro- or anti-development stance, he says that what’s most important is how development can make a positive impact on the community.
“(Richmond Road) was not a street you walk on at night alone, and the way that the area is being developed is beautiful and it looks nice, but residents are not getting the most out of the situation,” Chein says. “Residents should come first. Let’s figure out how developers can give back to the community or reimburse the residents, and make it a better living space for everyone.”
As a fourth-year communications student at the University of Ottawa, Chein hopes to wrap up his degree at the end of the summer while he campaigns.
He says he brings something new to the ward, and is very different from his running mates.
“I don’t think I’m similar to any of them – whether it’s age, experience, ideas or motivations,” Chein says. “My motivations are just to make this place the best place in the city.”