LRT is an easy wedge issue for an election campaign, but in the new Ward 8, most residents are more concerned about what their next City Councillor can do to improve things here.
Here are five priorities the next Ward 8 councillor will have to address that have nothing to do with LRT…
1. Opt In or Out of Private Cannabis Sales
The provincial government has given municipalities the option to opt in or out of private cannabis sales.
I am strongly opposed to the illegal sale of cannabis that has been going on in Ward 8 for far too long.
Now that cannabis is legal, I do not think that prohibition is a viable long term approach. However, under the current provincial legislation, I am very concerned that if Hamilton accepts private cannabis sales now, we risk losing the ability to control zoning and by-law control over the private sale of cannabis, while being stuck with police and by-law enforcement costs.
Until all illegal cannabis stores are shut down and it is better understood how private sales will be regulated and enforced, and the costs of enforcement versus new tax revenue are established, I would choose to opt out of private cannabis sales in the short term.
2. Reduce Neighbourhood Speeding
Speeding on residential streets is the number one concern of Ward 8 residents.
Some neighbourhoods have reduced speed limits and traffic calming measures (speed bumps, block outs etc.), while other neighbourhoods have drag strips.
Speeding is actually a very well understood engineering problem that can be addressed with effective design.
If elected I would work to have a ward wide traffic analysis done to determine what roads are likely to be problem streets (long straight roads, cut-through routes, short-cuts etc.) and proactively install necessary traffic calming measures.
3. Hire a New City Manager & Improve Customer Service at City Hall
With the departure of previous City Manager Chris Murray to Toronto, one of the most important tasks the next term of council will face is the hiring of a new City Manager.
The City Manager has a critical role that guides both the priorities of staff and the culture at city hall. The person hired for the job will have direct influence over the policies set by the next term of Council and the approach that front line staff have towards customer service.
If elected I will work to make sure that the person hired as the new City Manager is dedicated to providing better customer service at City Hall and is committed to a more open and transparent approach to municipal service.
4. Repairs to the Claremont Access Retaining Walls
The reason the galvanized steel retaining walls along the Claremont Access and other escarpment accesses are falling down is because successive previous councils chose to ignore engineer’s recommendations to replace them.
As an engineer, this is a problem I face on a regular basis: it is well known that exposed galvanized steel has a maximum usable lifespan of around 50 years – so even without an engineer’s investigation, it should have been obvious that the escarpment retaining walls needed replacement, and advanced planning should have been made to take care of this.
If elected, I will work to make sure that the repair or replacement of the escarpment retaining walls is a priority for public works.
5. Plan for New Development & Intensification Along Upper James
There is significant interest in the Upper James corridor by developers who are looking to demolish the existing low density strip-malls and parking lots to build new low rise and high rise residential and commercial developments.
It will be important for the next Ward 8 councillor to make sure that these developments are transit oriented, take into account the character and concerns of adjacent residential areas and are well planned and good quality.
With new infill development along Upper James, it will be critical for the City to provided much better transit options (increased HSR bus service in the short term and A-Line BRT/LRT in the long term) along with street improvements to Upper James that accomodate all road users while prioritizing smooth traffic flow.
What’s Your Priority for Ward 8?
Is there anything on the list that you have questions about?
What issues would you like to see addressed by your new Ward 8 councillor?
Please leave a comment below and let’s talk!
John-Paul Danko, P. Eng.
John-Paul Danko Hamilton City Council Candidate
Ward 8 – West Central Mountain
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