Carmichael Greb focuses on sense of community
Christin Carmichael Greb swore she’d never get into politics.
An eight-foot hole in her driveway some years ago helped change her mind.
What it took to get that hazard cleaned up — four days of appeals to local politicians and utilities people — left Carmichael Greb, 41, determined to find a better way.
“I was appalled. That shouldn’t have to happen,” she said in a recent interview. “We have to change how the city operates, to be more responsive to people who have issues like that.”
Handling issues just like that as city councillor in Ward 8 — Eglinton Lawrence — is how Carmichael Greb has spent the last four years. She hopes to be re-elected next week. We spoke to her a few days ago as she canvassed neighbourhoods around Lawrence Ave. and Bathurst St.
She says she has always been politically inclined, but worked behind the scenes on other people’s campaigns — helping her dad, John Carmichael, for example, former MP for Don Valley West. She never intended to run for office herself.
“Once I became a homeowner and learned more about what the city did, from a taxpayer’s and property taxpayer’s standpoint, I became the person on my street who got called to fix things for other people. People often don’t know what to do,” she said.
“We have 311 now, but still, if it’s a pressing problem, people don’t even know to call their councillor, or who to call, and I wanted to change that.”
The mother of three is content to operate at the municipal level.
“I ran municipally because I didn’t want to be involved in party politics. I wanted to be able to help every single person, no matter what they believed politically. It’s about helping the residents. I have no intention of climbing the political ladder. I love what I do and I love helping people, and I believe at the municipal level you affect the most change.”
For example? “Say someone doesn’t get their garbage picked up. We make a call, it’s picked up that afternoon, and people are thankful for that. It’s not like federal or provincial, which is more policy based and doesn’t affect your everyday life.”
Carmichael Greb uses her business background in project management to serve her constituents. Her main goal, she says, is to make government more responsive to residents, “so they know the money they pay in taxes is being used wisely, effectively and efficiently.”
She is the council advocate for chief transformation officer Michael Kolm. The work underway is to streamline procedures and processes in the city, and get things done quickly and efficiently on behalf of all residents.
Said Carmichael Greb, “How do we transform our city government to make it work for residents? That has not been done, and it has to be done, and we’re making progress on that.”
As for her corner of the city, Ward 8 is bigger now, and some days it seems most of it is under construction.
“You have Lawrence Heights being completely redeveloped, and a lot of development on Dufferin and Lawrence. Yorkdale is also going under another big development,” she said. “I have Yonge and Eglinton, too, with everything going on there.”
Whether residents live east or west in the ward, says Carmichael Greb.
“I want them to know my focus is making sure everyone knows they’re heard.”
C. GREB More responsive