I believe that the people of Hamilton are tired of hearing the same promises, from the same councillors, year in and year out.
That is one of the reasons I am running in this municipal election. I am running in this municipal election to A.C.T.: to be Ambitious with my plans for growing Ward 1 and Hamilton as a city; to be Community-centric in decision making and development; and to be Transparent with my decisions. Through use of these three pillars, I believe that we can bring real change to Ward 1 and hopefully the rest of Hamilton. In practice to A.C.T. means to bring real change to Ward 1 and the City of Hamilton. It means making REAL promises for things that I know can be implemented or changed in a realistic time frame. It means being transparent through holding weekly constituent meetings, being available 24/7 through social media, meeting and working with citizens, not sitting behind a desk planning my own future or providing patronage. This is how I will A.C.T. if elected, but before me, it starts with you.
With my plans for growing Ward 1 and Hamilton as a city.
In decision making and development
With my decision making
I would like to facilitate the growth of Ward 1 through the provision of more affordable housing. There is a major problem within this ward regarding housing, especially affordable housing, which when combined with a lack of education can allow the exploitation of citizens in this ward. We need to find a balance that allows both renters and landlords to prosper, without impacting the overall cost of homes in the area. This is a balance I believe we can reach through community outreach as well as detailed policy analysis and implementation. While I do agree that the landlord licensing plan was a good idea, it requires significant policy analysis to be effective and explains why it has not been implemented yet.
To address the problem immediately, I would recommend partnering with the University of McMaster, Columbia College and the neighbourhood associations to increase the accessibility and amount of information available to renters. We should be educating first-time home buyers on programs such as the Home Buyers Plan (HBP) which provides the ability for first-time home buyers to utilize their RRSP contributions to secure a home.
In addition, I believe we should work with property owners in the area to look at establishing community Co-ops such as those being implemented in Switzerland. Community Co-Op properties would look to the federal and provincial governments to provide some funding, through this we would be able to provide perspective buyers with lower interest rates and longer mortgage repayment periods. While this would take a lot of work and would be looked at as unfeasible to most, I believe it can be done, but will time to establish.
The city should work with the newly elected government to re-introduce rental-property based tax breaks, this would hopefully lead to an increased supply in property available throughout the city. There a plethora of other options that can be explored, but the biggest problems require the most information before a decision should be made. Therefore, I suggest first focusing on educating the public and increasing by-law inspections to ensure those who live in the area are living in a safe environment.
There are plenty of individuals within Ward 1 and the city who face day-to-day struggles in accessing the services available throughout our city. I would like to see accessible bathrooms and benches in Alexander and Churchill park. For Churchill I believe the city should be working with the RBG to facilitate the upgrades, as Churchill is owned by the RBG not the city. These types of upgrades should not be difficult to implement nor cost an outrageous amount but will do wonders for the day-to-day life of many within the ward.
I would like to see the city work with business owners and home owners along high traffic walkways or transit stops to establish a program to address snowfall in the winter. Many older residents in my neighbourhood faced difficulty with clearing their walks, let alone walking to the bus stop. I would like to work with by-law to ensure home owners are clearing their walks in a timely manner and the city is doing its part to clear all sidewalks along bus routes. This would make all the difference to those with mobility issues.
The city of Hamilton should be working with non-profits to create benches that not only facilitate people’s movement throughout the ward but have meaning, such as establishing ‘yellow is for hello’ benches’ for example. By doing this, not only would the city offset costs, but the benches would represent far more than just a space to rest, they would hold meaning within the community. There are plenty of other accessibility issues that need to be addressed, however the above is simply a few that can be addressed without significant cost or delay.
With all the talk of LRT in Hamilton, transit has become a hot-topic in the city. What was once focused on the implementation of bike lanes, has now shifted toward improving the established cycle routes and public transit. This section will not focus on the LRT, as that is an issue in-and-of itself but will speak to the Transit Master plan the city drafted. Hamilton’s population is growing, but so is the population of seniors. I believe the current plan to be a good one that focuses on providing accessibility, environmental sustainability, and economic efficiency. I would like to improve it through working directly with McMaster to implement a transit hub at this location, like the one found in Guelph.
I found this facilitates an easy landmark for those not familiar with the city to establish where they are to friends or families in the city. In addition, regional transportation for students would provide a draw to the University from those who originate in other parts of the country. When I was a university student at Guelph, the inability to travel between my hometown of Hamilton and the city of Guelph without major inconveniences was disheartening.
I believe that by establishing a transit hub in or around McMaster University will improve the cities transit, but also encourage further development of McMaster itself.
I would also like to look at establishing bus routes that focus on seniors, as they will be a major part of Hamilton’s growth. A senior should not be limited to their home just because they have difficulty accessing the bus, buses that drive senior routes would be fully accessible as well. While the transit hub at McMaster is a difficult thing to establish and would take time, re-assessing or adding a bus route specific for seniors in the ward may be accomplished quickly.
I would like to see the Hamilton garbage collection system move to a bi-weekly collection cycle like that of other cities. During my time at Guelph University I lived within Guelph, who operated under a bi-weekly collection system. Politicians in Hamilton have said they are content with the status quo, and do not see a need to shift waste management strategies. I believe that if tax payers were aware of just how much money could be saved by addressing the waste management system in Hamilton, they would be very interested in what was to be said there.
In the last round of talks regarding waste management contracts, it appeared that the city could save about a million dollars a year while taking additional strain off the Glanbrook Landfill. Hamilton has come no where near their waste-diversion targets, and could learn from communities like Guelph, who has hit a 68% diversion rate under their bi-weekly model. Guelph’s cart-based, bi-weekly system not only cuts down on waste, but also lowers economic costs to the city and tax payer alike, Guelph was even able to do this without privatizing the process. While the current plan in Hamilton has been effective, the master plan suggested two alternative plans for garbage collection that would increase our diversion percentage, bringing us closer to the provincial average.
Hamilton needs to consider the environment as an expanding municipality, we should not settle for the status quo if we can do better. Especially with the recent closing of our compost facility, municipal waste needs to be a topic of discussion. I believe that this is an issue that city council should address, despite some councillors being content with the status quo, especially considering the illegal dumping taking place across Hamilton. Why settle for good when we could be the best?
General Issues of Concern
I would like to work to ensure that the Aviary is re-located to Gage Park as discussed within the Gage Park master plan. This facility is underused as an educational resource, by working with the RBG and the communities involved, we can ensure that future generations have a place to learn about exotic birds.
I would like to work on implementing more solar-powered pedestrian/cyclist activated cross walks in the Ward 1 communities. By doing this in specific areas, especially along busier streets such as Main or King, cars would be forced to slow down when necessary, but would not impede traffic as much as permanent fixtures would, such as a stop sign. This would allow for increased pedestrian safety without restricting traffic flow without cause. As somebody who was injured in a car accident as the pedestrian, this is one thing close to my own heart.
I would like to see more trash receptacles around town, or at least ash-trays to reduce the litter in our neighbourhoods. This would be relatively easily to implement and would not be overly expensive while improving the atmosphere of the communities.
I would like to work, where possible in master plans, to establish and continue to develop projects like Victoria Parks community garden. This would again encourage a feeling of belonging in the area and establish Ward 1 as a place where City and Community connect.
I would like to see an increase in the number of bicycle racks within the neighbourhoods, especially with the success of the SoBi program across Hamilton. Hopefully the introduction of bike racks, with the improved cycle transit in Hamilton, would encourage the use of alternative transportation throughout the city and reduce the likelihood of locked bikes in inconvenient locations.
Work with the province and the community to work on a solution for the shortage of paramedics in the area. Over 500 people with life threatening calls to 911 had to wait more than 20 minutes for help in 2017, particularly due to a lack of ambulances. This is a major problem and needs to be addressed.
I believe my education tied with my life experience in the ward and my ambition stemming from my age make me the best choice to fight for this ward and Hamilton as a whole.
Harrison White, The Hamilton Spectator / Read Full Article
Running a campaign is unfortunately a costly process. Even if I was in a position to fund the entirety of the process myself, there is a legal limit on how much each candidate can donate to their campaign. The legal limit that I can incur in expenses is $23,504.50. Of that, no individual can donate more than $1,200. Please keep in mind that you can only donate a maximum of $5000 to any of the candidates in this years election as well. You will be issued a receipt for any donation made, but unfortunately they are not able to be written off. Cash contributions must be less than $25, any more than that and the donation must be made in a different manner such as cheque for example. Please include your name and address if you plan to donate more than $100. I will be keeping all receipts of donations and expenses so that the people of Ward 1 can see where their money is going.
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I appreciate your support and look forward to continuing to A.C.T. on my issues with your help.