Dear Ward 7 Neighbours:
For her recent article “13 People Running In Ward 7 – and That’s Just The Beginning” CBC Hamilton reporter Sam Craigs asked each Hamilton Ward 7 by-election candidate four questions.
Here are my full answers:
1. How will you stand out in a crowded field?
I come from outside of Hamilton’s established political circles and I believe that I offer an alternative to the party politics and voting blocks that often seem to stand in the way of sound decision making at City Hall.
I am running for Ward 7 Councillor because I believe that we need representatives with real world experience in industry and business. I offer a specialized skillset in structural engineering, business and project management that would be an invaluable asset on City Council.
In such a crowded field of candidates, I believe that I am the only independent candidate with the experience and community connection necessary to effectively advocate for all residents of Ward 7.
2. Why do you think there’s so much interest in running?
It is an exciting time to live in Hamilton; we have one of the most diverse economies in Canada and we’re on the cusp of a massive investment in new public infrastructure – so it is understandable that a by-election would draw a large field of candidates.
Overall I think that most candidates are genuinely interested in serving the City as a whole and are running because they want to make a difference.
However, Municipal politics is often seen as a stepping stone to higher office. For those with political party aspirations this by-election could be considered an opportunity to gain experience and prepare for a future provincial or federal run.
I believe that this by-election comes at a critical time for our City. A large portion of every resident’s property taxes go to fund the Public Works department. As a professional structural engineer with a career’s worth of experience designing and building public infrastructure, Public Works is one of my main interests. I am interested in bringing a more strategic and pragmatic approach to spending our tax dollars.
3. What do you think is the most important issue in Ward 7?
Ward 7 is a mix of older established communities in the north with communities still under development in the south. With such a wide range of areas, specific issues tend to vary; however, there are some key issues that are consistent throughout the Ward.
Concerns about property taxes, roadway and sidewalk maintenance, traffic and speeding are common.
Ward 7 is by far the largest Ward in the City (by population) and contributes approximately 40% more property taxes and 40% more business taxes than the average for all other Hamilton Wards.
However, we do not see investment in our Ward 7 communities that is proportional to our contribution.
For example, the City has invested in both Huntington Park Recreation Centre in Ward 6 and Westmount Recreation Centre in Ward 8, but not Hill Park Recreation Centre in Ward 7.
I believe that in order for Ward 7 to finally realize its potential, we need a City Councillor that is able to aggressively pursue investment in Ward 7 while remaining consistent with an overarching vision for the City of Hamilton as a whole.
4. Do you live in Ward 7? Do you think it matters?
I live in Ward 7 with my wife and two children.
In order to truly represent the views of the residents of Ward 7, I believe that the City Councillor for Ward 7 should be personally invested here – they need to live here in order to truly understand the concerns of residents.
Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!
John-Paul Danko – Hamilton City Council Candidate
Ward 7 Hamilton Central Mountain
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