John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Cable 14 City Matters Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, ruddick, steve ruddick, ruddick ward 8, voteruddick, steve ruddick chch, chch

Top Action Priorities For Ward 8 From Candidate John-Paul Danko

In my previous city council election campaign, I had the privilege of speaking with thousands of residents in the new Ward 8.

After registering to run for Ward 8 in the 2018 City of Hamilton municipal election I have spent the last two months talking to as many people as possible about what their priorities are for Ward 8 and the City of Hamilton.

If elected, here are the top action priorities I’ve heard our friends and neighbours in Ward 8 say need to be addressed:

If elected to Hamilton City Council for Ward 8 in the municipal election on October 22nd, 2018, I will:

Work to Reduce the Residential Tax Burden

In 2017 the City of Hamilton relied on property taxpayers to fund 57% of the total operating budget – and the City’s reliance on residential taxes is increasing.

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Cable 14 City Matters Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, ruddick, steve ruddick, ruddick ward 8, voteruddick, steve ruddick chch, chch

For me, this is by far the single biggest issue we face as a City. In the golden age of Hamilton’s manufacturing and industrial past, commercial and industrial taxes paid for a substantially larger portion of City services.

Today, the City relies on property taxes – which means that individual taxpayers are paying much higher rates than they should, and it also severely restricts the City’s ability to pay for badly need but expensive improvements – such as repairing our roads, water mains, escarpment walls and making improvements to transit and social services.

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Cable 14 City Matters Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, ruddick, steve ruddick, ruddick ward 8, voteruddick, steve ruddick chch, chch

The solutions to this problem are complex, but really what it comes down to is making a concentrated effort to attract new and expanded private business and industry to our city.

Of particular importance in this election: LRT is a catalyst to develop millions of dollars in new residential and commercial development which directly benefits all taxpayers.

Cut Red Tape Barriers to Business and Jobs

Talk to anyone who has opened a small business in Hamilton and you will likely get a story about how frustrating it was to deal with the bureaucracy at City Hall.

From unnecessary delays on permits and inspections, to ridiculous interpretations of arcane by-law requirements, the City of Hamilton can be it’s own worst enemy when it comes to developing and expanding small business and adding jobs.

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Cable 14 City Matters Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, ruddick, steve ruddick, ruddick ward 8, voteruddick, steve ruddick chch, chch

In most cases this isn’t necessarily a problem with our existing by-laws and regulations (although there is lots there that needs to be modernized) it is mostly a customer service problem at City Hall.

Too often, staff at City Hall tend to see business owners as adversaries. Instead of helping to get a problem solved, they end up as a barrier and throw the problem back at the business.

The City of Hamilton is a giant organization and business owners often end up in a catch 22 loop as their applications are shuffled between departments and staff who never seem to talk to each other.

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Cable 14 City Matters Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, ruddick, steve ruddick, ruddick ward 8, voteruddick, steve ruddick chch, chch

Fortunately, this problem is not expensive or complicated to fix, and Hamilton’s Economic Development department has been slowly improving things for years, but it takes a long time to turn around a ship this big – more forceful and consistent support from council is badly needed.

Find Solutions to Traffic Congestion and Speeding

The single most consistent issue that I hear from residents I talk to at the door in Ward 8 are concerns about traffic congestion and speeding.

From an engineering perspective, speeding is actually a fairly simple problem to solve. Transportation engineers have long established that a driver’s speed is almost entirely based on the design of the road – speed limits, stop signs and enforcement have very little influence on how fast people actually drive.

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Cable 14 City Matters Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, ruddick, steve ruddick, ruddick ward 8, voteruddick, steve ruddick chch, chch

If we truly want to address the problem of speeding, we need to accept a different roadway design. Bump-outs at intersections, narrower lanes, street trees, islands, planters, boulevards, speed humps at pedestrian crossings and protected bike lanes are all design elements of a complete street that can be designed to effectively eliminate speeding – at a relatively low cost.

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, wicken, colleen, colleen wicken

Congestion is a much more complex issue. Did you know that Hamilton’s population will increase by roughly 30% in the next 20 years. This means that one out of every three homes where people will live in 2038 have not even been built yet!

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Cable 14 City Matters Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, ruddick, steve ruddick, ruddick ward 8, voteruddick, steve ruddick chch, chch

If we think we have traffic congestion problems now, if we don’t plan ahead it’s nothing compared to what we’re facing in just 20 years.

Part of the solution is encouraging the province to address congestion and access issues on provincial highways – in particular what happens at the ends of the Linc and Redhill.

Locally we can make sure that our main arterial roadways are as efficient as possible – this means streamlining traffic flow with signal timing and making sure that there is sufficient capacity where it is required.

We also need to do a better job figuring out where people are going to and from and finding ways to streamline those specific routes.

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Cable 14 City Matters Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, ruddick, steve ruddick, ruddick ward 8, voteruddick, steve ruddick chch, chch

However, the only real solution to congestion – the kind of serious congestion we will be facing in 20 years – is to stop building and maintaining a city that requires a car to get around.

One obvious first step is to immediately raise development fees to cover 100% of the lifecycle cost of development.

Then we need a real, organized and sustained commitment to provide transit, cycling and walking options that will encourage people to leave their cars at home – as their preferred choice, not their last choice.

Invest in Public Infrastructure Like Roads, Sidewalks and Watermains

Almost all of Hamilton’s existing public infrastructure has a grade of C and is constantly getting worse.

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Cable 14 City Matters Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, ruddick, steve ruddick, ruddick ward 8, voteruddick, steve ruddick chch, chch

The City of Hamilton is also responsible for an amazing $19.5 Billion dollars in public infrastructure! If you look at the chart below, you can see that over 50% is just water and wastewater and another 35% is roads and transportation.

 

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Cable 14 City Matters Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, ruddick, steve ruddick, ruddick ward 8, voteruddick, steve ruddick chch, chch

 

This is a huge amount of infrastructure to maintain – without even considering that we are constantly adding new infrastructure!

However, from an engineering perspective infrastructure construction and maintenance are relatively simple to forecast and manage.

Engineers know what was built when, how long it should last and what repairs will be required over it’s lifecycle.

From there, it is pretty straightforward to calculate the net present value of an asset – that is the amount of money required today to maintain an asset over it’s lifecycle and then replace it at some time in the future.

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Cable 14 City Matters Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, ruddick, steve ruddick, ruddick ward 8, voteruddick, steve ruddick chch, chch

The problem is when municipalities refuse to budget to actually maintain their public infrastructure and instead ignore the problem for a future council to deal with.

As a structural engineer, this is an attitude I have seen at many municipal councils, and it can be very frustrating.

The fact is we can no longer afford to simply ignore our long standing infrastructure deficit – every year we wait costs our future selves more and more money.

As a City we need to determine what infrastructure investments need to be made now, what infrastructure can be effectively downsized or abandoned and what level of assistance we will need from higher levels of government.

Once a plan is in place – we need to follow through!

Focus on Safe Family Friendly Communities for All

My wife Dawn Danko and I are raising two children (and three cats if you’re counting), so it’s no surprise that safe family friendly communities are a priority for us.

The best thing about family friendly neighbourhoods is that they are not just great places to live for families – they are great places to live for everyone!

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Cable 14 City Matters Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, ruddick, steve ruddick, ruddick ward 8, voteruddick, steve ruddick chch, chch

To me, a family friendly neighbourhood is somewhere where the kids can meet their friends and ride their bikes – where teens can rely on efficient public transportation and where adults and seniors can safely walk the dog at night, get a great coffee at a local cafe or go for dinner at a local restaurant.

But a family friendly neighbourhood is more than that.

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Cable 14 City Matters Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, Wicken, Colleen

I am a founding member and currently sit on the executive board of the Centremount Neighbourhood Association.

Part of the role of an effective councillor is to support and promote community groups. If elected I will continue to do that for all of the amazing community organizations throughout Ward 8.

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Cable 14 City Matters Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, ruddick, steve ruddick, ruddick ward 8, voteruddick, steve ruddick chch, chch

It is also important to remember that we do have a substantial level of poverty in our Ward 8 neighbourhoods – it’s usually not as obvious as some other parts of the city, but it’s there.

As a community, we need to ensure that those who are struggling to get by as well as people from all cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic status are welcome and included.

If elected, one of my priorities will be to make sure that suitable levels of affordable housing are integrated into our neighbourhoods – we all benefit when we live together and learn from each other.

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Cable 14 City Matters Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, ruddick, steve ruddick, ruddick ward 8, voteruddick, steve ruddick chch, chch

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 lets talk!

Sincerely,

John-Paul Danko, P. Eng.

John-Paul Danko Hamilton City Council Candidate

Ward 8 – West Central Mountain

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson, wicken, colleen, colleen wicken

WHAT YOUR NEIGHBOURS ARE SAYING ABOUT
JOHN-PAUL DANKO

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I totally support you JP. Your dedication to community and genuine interest in issues of marginalization and oppression demonstrate how you're a leader this city needs to move forward so we can all thrive.

Tim Gordon Hamilton Mountain Social Worker

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JP's passion for city planning and infrastructure coupled with his extensive business experience will make him a force to be reconned with on City Council.

Randy Retail Manager, Resident-Ward 8, Hamilton West Central Mountain

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Nice!! Congrats man! You'll do great!

Jason Hamilton Resident

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I wish John-Paul Danko had been the Councillor for Ward 8 during the ARC, he has already proven he wouldn't have been afraid to get involved with the process, get his hands dirty and work with the community!

Stefanie Store Manager, Resident-Ward 8, Hamilton Central Mountain

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I was so happy to hear your running again! Good luck!

Karl Hamilton Resident

 

 

13 thoughts on “Top Action Priorities For Ward 8 From Candidate John-Paul Danko”

  1. Good evening. Surprised not one of your concerns is about our green space and adding to our tree canopy. These two things will grow our population, protect families and they are our infrastructure.

    1. Hi Nola – thanks for leaving a comment. For sure I am concerned about green space and adding to our tree canopy! The first thing my wife and I did when we moved into our house 15 years ago was plant a tulip tree through the City’s street tree program. It’s now big enough for the kids to climb and shades our entire front lawn. You might also like this post about greening our City parks. Cheers JP

  2. Hi John-Paul,

    First, I completely agree that infrastructure/traffic are huge concerns.

    One of the other issues that the next council will need to decide is whether to ‘opt out’ of cannabis dispensaries in the city. Where do you stand on this issue?

    Thanks!

  3. Hi John-Paul,
    I read your bio and the issues that you believe are important to our ward and the city. I realize that the role of a councilor is to represent their ward but also to see the bigger picture of our entire city. We have been in the same house on Cloverhill Road for over 20 years and have seen a steady decline in our once proud family neighbourhood. I would say that 30-50% of the houses on our street and surrounding area are student rentals/rooming houses and we have issues with absentee landlords, garbage, shopping carts, unkept properties, snow removal from sidewalks, long grass, cars parking on lawns, students playing cricket at midnight in our park, it goes on and on. I would like to know what your plan is in dealing with these issues.

    1. Hi Gary – we live just a few blocks over and share your concerns (although we don’t have nearly as many student rentals as Cloverhill). I support licensing for rental properties to make sure that landlords properly maintain their properties and that students have safe, clean accommodations that are not overcrowded. The City of Waterloo has a similar rental housing bylaw already in place https://www.waterloo.ca/en/government/residentialrentallicences.asp and it has made a world of difference in the student housing areas around the University of Waterloo. The good news is that the current Council recently approved a pilot project specifically for licensing student rentals around Mohawk & McMaster https://www.thespec.com/news-story/8931363-rental-licensing-pilot-gets-nod-for-hamilton-s-student-neighbourhoods/

  4. Hello: I’m glad to see you running for Ward 8! Our household voted for you in the previous election and look forward to voting for you and your platform again! My question relates to the upcoming legalization of cannabis and whether City Council will “opt out” from allowing private community based stores to sell recreational cannabis. There is a store at U. Wellington/Inverness, several along U. James and despite several e-mails sent to our previous Council Member Donna Skelly and inquiries to the Hamilton Police Service neither of them could advise how we could shut these illegal stores down. Have you reflected on this issue and the upcoming decision that Hamilton City Council will have to make at the year end?

    1. Hi Kathy – thank you for your comment. Right now there are more illegal pot shops than Tim Horton’s in Ward 8! My understanding is that the Province is moving towards aggressive legislation with enormous fines to finally shut these illegal vendors down once and for all. With respect to opting out of private recreational cannabis stores once legalization is official – as much as I would like to say no, I don’t think that prohibition is a viable option. We’re still waiting to see what form the new legislation will take from the Province, but if we have to have retail outlets, I want them to be as tightly regulated as possible with strict zoning requirements to keep them away from community areas and restrict the numbers of outlets in any given area.

  5. A main concern of our street which is Atwater Cres is the spread of out of town owners who buy houses and convert them to rentals. Some have as many as 11 non related people living in them and they were originally single family dwellings. They are not looked after and a source of much concern.
    It is very frustrating when a street like ours, which at one time was pristine , with many people taking pride in ownership has slipped so far so quickly. I would love to hear your thoughts on this problem. I have dealt with Terry Whitehead many times about this problem . Thanks

    1. Hi Vic – thank you for getting in touch. We live just across Upper James at Inverness and have also noticed an increase in unkempt rental properties in our area. While canvassing I have been really surprised by the number of very dilapidated houses and even a number of vacant properties that should be condemned and demolished.

      Back in February, Councillor Whitehead was trying to get a rental property licensing bylaw passed. Unfortunately, it was ultimately defeated over concerns of increased costs being passed on to tenants. However, Council did just recently approve a rental licensing pilot project for Mohawk & McMaster which should help https://www.thespec.com/news-story/8931363-rental-licensing-pilot-gets-nod-for-hamilton-s-student-neighbourhoods/ I strongly support rental licensing, and if elected I will work with Councillor Whitehead and other like-minded councillors to come up with a rental licensing bylaw that is palatable to council, and also addresses the issues we’re seeing in our neighbrouhood with absentee landlord and terribly maintained rental properties (both the yard and interior).

      The City of Waterloo has a similar rental housing bylaw already in place https://www.waterloo.ca/en/government/residentialrentallicences.asp and it has made a world of difference in the student housing areas around the University of Waterloo.

      Hamilton’s existing property standards by-law does control the maintenance and use of the interior and exterior of all housing, however, it is my understanding that unless a City official is invited onto the property, only issues they can see can be addressed.

      Right now, the best that we can do is to document what’s going on and send in complaints to the City – even if nothing seems to happen, it’s important to keep a record and keep the City informed.

      I’m sure you are aware, but you can find the City’s property standard’s bylaw here: https://www.hamilton.ca/home-property-and-development/property-gardens-trees/property-use-by-laws

  6. There seems to be lots of Condo projects going up in our ward now and in the near future. This is also true for our city in general. Where do you stand in terms of rental control, and affordable housing? Poverty is a big issues in Hamilton, and as we see more and more Torontonians moving to our city, (since it a lot more affordable), how will you address gentrification and reduce community displacement?

    1. Poverty is a big problem in Hamilton and in Ward 8 – except in Ward 8 it is usually more hidden than other areas of the City. I fully support affordable housing, including minimum requirements for affordable units in new builds, and partnerships with third party affordable housing developments. I believe that our communities function best when people from all backgrounds and economic status live together and learn from one another in the same neighbourhoods.

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