Candidates describe the five most important actions they would take to improve Hamilton.
By RTH Staff
Published October 20, 2006
1. More accountability from public officials - During this election, our city has been placed under a political microscope; much of this scrutiny extends from lack of accountability. City staff and councillors need to be responsible for their actions and decision as our public officials. Some examples are: the residents affected by several flooding in the past year, also transportation in the new City of Hamilton is very poor; many areas are not effectively serviced. These are two things that could have been handled differently.
2. Decrease in poverty and crime – Unfortunately, poverty and crime are not easily answered. To eliminate either is not a realistic goal. However, to reduce these problems is within reach. Addressing poverty will help address crime and vice versa. Having more police on the streets is not the only solution to the influx of crime in our neighbourhoods. Implementing more preventative measures may be a practical solution. The city's approach to many issues are reactive, taking a more proactive stance with offenders will help with the rehabilitation process.
Increase in economic growth – Although this situation was marred with environmental and ecological stigma, Maple Leaf proposed to move their Burlington plant to Hamilton. 80 per cent of the 1,200 workers live in Hamilton. We lost a $250 million opportunity, with $9 million a year in municipal revenue. Unfortunately, we were unable to capitalize on this venture. As a business owner in the community, I was disappointed to see another major company leave (Firestone Canada, Dominion Glass, Canadian Westinghouse, Proctor & Gamble, Levi Strauss and Camco are just a few that have left over the years). We need to encourage businesses to set up in our city. Hamilton needs to revamp business incentive programs and to restructure the way we attract businesses.
Improve infrastructure - Transportation in the new City of Hamilton is very poor. Many areas are not effectively serviced. For example, Satellite city and Ancaster do not have night service. Areas in Ward 3 no longer receive service. At one point in time, Ward 3 was a booming hub of industries. This no longer exists, but does this mean residents in this area no longer deserve bus service? There used to be service along Wentworth St. to Wilson St. up to Sherman Ave to Main St. then to Maplewood Ave and the Blake St. This was called a cross-town service. Working closely with residents, community members and councillors before unilaterally making service decisions will help meet the needs of the riders of public transit.
1. Maintain public safety as a top priority. We need to nurture neighbourhood environments that are well-policed, conducive to raising a young family, responsive and comfortable to senior citizens, and safe for everyone. We need to continue to increase front-line police protection and Neighbourhood Watch programs.
There are numerous things in all neighbourhoods that are absolutely wonderful and conducive for making a vibrant and enjoyable living environment for everyone. Some of these are: good neighbourly habits; neighbourhood assistance (e.g. people checking on their elderly neighbours); programs such as Neighbourhood Watch; other various partnerships formed between neighbours (e.g. take turns shovelling snow); various sharing between neighbours (e.g. garden plants; vegetable gardens; fruit trees) - things that we need to continue to do to show respect and compassion to reinforce and preserve a sense of community.
We also need to lobby for tougher "laws and sentences" especially in the area related to illegal drugs, prostitution and property standards, and to completely remove the Dangerous Offenders Halfway Residence from the City of Hamilton.
2. Preserve our neighbourhoods. We want want to do things that maintain and preserve behaviour in a fashion we all know is conducive to a wonderful life - dealing with crime, social issues, and the needs of the people as they evolve. We must continue to fight to eliminate disruptive elements such as neighbourhood prostitution, theft, speeding traffic, housing intensification, poor maintenance, and illegal units.
3. Fight to maintain and keep open our inner city schools and to recognize their key role as community centres.
4. Hold the costs on seniors' bus passes and all expenses for seniors with fixed incomes. We need to develop and maintain our hospitals and medical services, to assist our seniors with home care.
5. Further aggressively develop our East and West Harbourfront Parks and Trails, and develop more soccer and recreational facilities in Ward 3 to promone a clean air environment.
Air pollution is emitted through such things as: private and public vehicle exhaust systems; mechanical equipment; industries. The objective is to recognize the emission sources and work reasonably and practically to reduce them. For example, regular checks on catalytic converters in vehicles, and increased use of public transit both help to limit emissions.
The bottom line is that each and every instance of environmental pollution needs to be addressed realistically and practically. It needs to be assessed and dealt with - keeping well in mind that the ideal situation is not always achievable but we can work towards exposing misuses so that they can be eradicated. One of the most recent examples of misuse of our Harbourfront was the unnecessary installation of the Biox plant and Liberty Generating plant. I was strongly opposed to these projects - both for their location and the nature of their operations and their negative impact on the surrounding areas.
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