Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Vox Populi

Well, that was some election! Fred is our new Mayor in something of a landslide and I have to say I was surprised - the polls were actually right for a change!

Arlene Vanderbeek is our new Councillor, again, in something of a landslide. She picked up around 44% of the vote for which 44% of Dundas turned out. That works out to roughly 19% of all eligible voters.

Greg Van Geffen is our new public trustee and I am very glad. He seems like a great guy. At least one of my votes stuck!

Me? I came in fifth with almost 400 votes or 5% of votes cast which means the City will refund my nomination money. Sweet!

It was a tremendous amount of work and I don't have a single regret. I got to see Dundas from a completely new perspective and I made a ton of friends that I wouldn't have otherwise. I made a plan and stuck to it. I raised a lot of important issues along the way and I know people were listening.

It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there and people really do recognize the effort. Just today I walked down to the Metro and had people congratulate me in the street for running. That sort of thing really puts a spring in your step.

Would I do anything differently next time? Absolutely! Clearly signs are now a thing in Dundas so that needs budgeting. I would also need to budget for a mail drop or two. Delivering my cards by hand was a lot of fun but it does limit coverage.

Would either of those things have made a difference this time around? Nope! I'm pretty pleased with what an unknown guy was able to achieve with unpopular ideas and a relatively tiny budget!

My campaign has lit a fire in me that won't soon be extinguished. I'm really excited to get involved at Central once the boy starts there next year and I am really looking forward to working with (and hopefully on) the new Community Council.

Remember those new shoes from my first post? They're absolutely done.

Poor things
Thanks for reading everyone and an extra special thank you to everyone that voted for me. Please say hi if you see me around town!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Live on Air!

Despite the sombre air of remembrance yesterday, all of the candidates for Dundas were scheduled to appear on the Scott Thompson Show on AM900CHML. Five of us made it out on what turned out to be a gorgeous afternoon.

Rick was running a little late.
I hadn't been on the radio since back in my university days when a friend hosted a late night music show. The host was really great to work with and he did a great job of putting us all at ease. People that listened tell me that the difference between all the candidates was quite evident from the discussion and I see that as a positive thing. We may all have different ways of getting there but we all want what's best for Dundas.

If you missed it, here's a link to the entire show: https://soundcloud.com/.../why-should-we-vote-for-you...

Finally, I made one last campaign video this week to share on the Dundas FB page. It's not quite as slick as Brian McHattie's new video but it still gets the point across.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A Day Unlike Any Other

I had planned to write something today about how I want to rebuild Governor's Road. Then, things changed.

I want to draw your attention to two remarkable Canadians.

The first is Sargeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers. He is a hero. Thank you for protecting our Government.

The second is Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. He is a hero. Thank you for safeguarding our Country.

There will be a book of condolences set up for Cpl. Cirillo on the first floor of City Hall starting today through next week. There is also a memorial Facebook page you can visit here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rest-In-Peace-Cpl-Nathan-Cirillo/374096932740216

A Better Way to DVSS

One question that's been on my mind since I started my campaign is "Is there a better way to connect Dundas Valley Secondary to Downtown?"

On a purely personal level, I'm looking ahead to a time when my own son needs to find a way to get himself to DVSS for school (I have time yet, he just turned 3...).

I keep thinking to myself that there must be a way to implement a cross-town greenway from DVSS to the soon-to-be Rotary Creekside Parkette.

Let's take a look at what Google tells us today.

24 minutes
This route is currently the most direct for a pedestrian. It takes 24 minutes and it's almost entirely along Governor's.

28 minutes
This route is slightly longer at 28 minutes but it does take advantage of the Spencer Creek trail, the Chegwin Park path and Central Park Avenue. There's a stretch along Creighton and the last leg along Governor's.

32 minutes
This route is longer still at 32 minutes but it's far more pleasant (and quieter), making use of Ann, Sullivan and Huntingwood with a greatly reduced amount along Governor's.

That's pretty good and clearly a lot nicer. If I allow myself to daydream for a bit, I think we could cut that route back down to something a lot closer to the original 24 minutes.

How about a bridge over Spencer Creek connecting the condos to the Spencer Creek trail?

How about including a section through the Montessori School property?

How about building a trail along the creek off Ann or down the hill at the end of Begue?

Why not install a pedestrian activated crosswalk across Governor's at Huntingwood?

Maybe a protected multi-use path along the south side of Governor's from Huntingwood to Castlewood?

Maybe we could pave and light the entire thing and put SoBi bikeshare stations at either end...

Hey, that might be pretty nice! Imagine that.

Culvert at the bottom of the Begue Street trail.
Intersection of Huntingwood and Governor's
Entrance of the Sullivan Street trail.
Exit of the Sullivan Street trail on Huntingwood

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Debate Night in Dundas

To call last night's debate well-attended would be a massive understatement. The room was jammed! It was to be expected - this is a big election for Dundas and we are nothing if not engaged.

I'm very pleased with how it went and I think each of the candidates did a great job of giving the room an impression of who they are. It was a great night and the feedback I received was very positive, which is always a good thing.

But don't take my word for it! If you weren't able to attend last night, here's a link to the Spec and CBC summaries and the live-stream. Enjoy!

Spectator summary: http://www.thespec.com/news-story/4924756-ward-13-candidates-divided-on-lrt-question/

CBC summary: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/people-of-dundas-to-candidates-we-re-different-keep-it-that-way-1.2806917

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_MacB6K5R0

Monday, 20 October 2014

All Candidates Debate Tonight!

For my 100th blog post, I'm going to keep things very short and sweet. Please join me and my fellow candidates tonight at the Town Hall for the Chamber of Commerce All-Candidates Debate. The doors open at 6:30 and the event itself begins at 7:00.

I've spent some time today getting ready and I'm really looking forward to it. I've been to almost all of these debates but this will be my first time sitting in front of the audience instead of being part of it!

Oh ya, this is the Memorial Square sign for this week:


Sunday, 19 October 2014

99 Posts and Counting

It seems like forever ago that I started this blog. Today is going to be post number 99 and there are just 8 days yet to go to election night. Over the course of the last hundred days or so, I've done my best to give you an idea of the kind of person I am and the sort of decisions I'd make as a Councillor.

I've also tried to provide you with some insight into what it's like to run for public office. Maybe, just maybe, I've encouraged you to give it a shot yourself in the future. It really is very exciting!

Today started like any Sunday for us in mid-October - we opened a new trail at Christie Lake!

The woods are lovely, dark and deep - Robert Frost
This little bit of trail actually connects the double-track network to the the Runway/Ebb & Flow network and it really is a nice way to wrap up the season. Next week, we start planning and mapping the next section of trail that will take us closer to the lake in a new and breathtaking way. Stay tuned!

This being fall, the trees are in rare form. Check it out!

I spent the rest of the day canvassing on what turned out to be a glorious day for a walk! Tomorrow, I'll be getting ready for the debate at Town Hall. I can hardly wait!

Home Stretch

At this point in the campaign, for me, it's definitely a battle between what I want to do and what I have to do. Our weekends are usually times when I get to chill and hang out with my family. At the tail end of an election campaign, not so much.

 We got up early and made a big breakfast and headed out to soccer. After that, I got dropped back home and set about making all our food for the week. We enjoyed lunch together and then I was off canvassing and getting myself out there, as usual.

I had a great afternoon, despite the weather. The people in Dundas are a great bunch and talking to them as I do is a lot of fun.

As usual, I had a lot of fun cooking too. I attempted my very first dashi!

Dashi is a Japanese soup stock. The principal ingredient is kombu, or dried kelp. At first, you soak it for half an hour in warm water. Then you score it length-wise and bring it to a boil. Once there, you remove the kombu and add in the bonito (dried, shaved tuna) flakes. Strain the broth and you are all set to make the best chowder you've ever had. Close your eyes and you're ocean-side!

Dashi as the bonito flakes steep
The rest of my cooking time was spent making a killer chili that should carry me through the end of the week.

I'm going to leave you with a seasonal image from around town and a picture from our dinner.

Dismemberment - always funny!
Oyster season is upon us!

Oh hai, PEI!
That's horseradish from our garden. I'm so proud! :)

Friday, 17 October 2014

Dundas All-Candidates Debate

We got the official word this afternoon while I was out preparing material for the debate of the final list of participants for the Dundas All-Candidates Debate hosted by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce:

Court, Rick
Norton, Kevin
Risdale, Marc Rhéal
Scime, Danya
Vanderbeek, Arlene
Yull, Toby

To my mind, there are two surprises in this list. The first is the participation of Kevin Norton, one of the last people to enter the race and the second is the absence of Mark Coull.

In any case, here are the rest of the details:

As we have done in the past, the Dundas Division has organized an All-Candidates Meeting for the Dundas Community.  This meeting will be held in the upstairs auditorium of the former Dundas Town Hall on Monday, October 20th, 2014, using our usual format:
  • Opening remarks (2 minutes) by each candidate, in alphabetical order.
  • All candidates will answer each question (1 minute to answer)
  • Each new question will rotate in progressive order
  • Closing remarks (1 minute) in reverse order to the opening remarks
Forms will be available for the public to submit written questions.  A panel will select and present the questions to the candidates.

  • The meeting starts at 7:00 pm sharp.
  • Doors will be open to candidates shortly after 6:00 pm.
  • Doors will be open to attendees at 6:30 pm.  Wheelchair access is available via the elevator at the front of the building.
  • The agenda runs from 7:00 to 8:30 pm.
  • Candidates are welcome to bring brochures to distribute on the chairs.
  • There is no opportunity to stick signs or posters, etc. to the walls at Town Hall.
Our moderator will be Alex Szabo.

I'm really looking forward to it and hope you can make it out. It should be very lively!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Ward 13/14 & 15 School Trustee Debate

Before I get into last night's trustee debate, here's the link to last night's CHCH profile of Ward 13: http://www.chch.com/home-vote-competition-ward-13-seat/

Having done a few of these now, it's always interesting to find out which of the several 15 second answers you give them make it to air. Apparently, the producers thought my bit on running without signs and the dire condition of Governor's Road were the best fit for the piece.

Interesting fact I learned: you'll see just at the start of my bit that I'm talking to a woman and her 2-year-old son (that was not staged by the way, that just happened to be what I was doing when the CHCH truck rolled up). The cameraman really liked the image and I mentioned that it was too bad he couldn't use it without a release. It turns out that if you're standing on public property (like a street or sidewalk), no release is needed! Huh!

Getting back to the debate, the moderator of the Dundas Facebook page was quite keen to get my perspective on the event so when I got home, I posted this quick blurb:

"It sure was busy! The organizers said this was the best attendance they've had yet! Later on in the evening, the room got even more crowded. I'm quite happy I went. There were some great questions and positions were made quite clear by the candidates. Really looking forward to my own debate next Monday - it's going to be packed! "

This morning, there was already some more activity on the page and again, I was urged to dip my toe in the water. 

"More than anything, the thing that stood out to me was there is still a very deep division in Dundas between the people that want to save Parkside and  the people who just want to move ahead with DVSS. I personally found the crowd quite loud for a Dundas audience - at one point someone from behind me (I was in the front row) yelled out to Bob Maton that he should run for Premier. 

It would be a personal priority of mine to get the City to purchase Parkside because I really want to save the building and open it up to broad community use. I'd really like to see a daycare in there, a senior's facility, studio space for artists and classroom space that we could lease to the school board for the sort of alternative educational programs (or even FI) that Bob had mentioned.

I am really alarmed at the potential long-term prospect of not having any high schools at all in Dundas in 15-20 years and that's why my #1 long-term goal is to make Dundas really family-friendly and grow the sort of population that will keep our schools full and open."

After that, things pretty much got out of hand and the debate rages on as we speak, which I think dramatically underlines my very first point. 

I'll end this post with one final exchange.

  • Marc Risdale [...]

    The thing that really concerns me as a parent is that the projections for the DVSS student population show the school going under-capacity in a very short time frame. In my opinion, we have to do everything we can NOW as a town to turn that around. I don't want my son going to Ancaster or Waterdown for high school (no offence to those towns - they're lovely but they're no Dundas...)
  • Rich Gelder IMHO, the belief that DVSS might eventually be slated for closure is fear-mongering that has been manufactured to create misinformation about the ARC process. Another one of Dr. Bob Maton's porkies last night was the suggestion that there was a "documented" plan by the Board to close all Dundas secondary schools and ship kids to Ancaster. That was all completely unfounded rumour.

    Unless there is a pending wave of sterilization in town, I think our population of 25,000 (not including surrounding communities in the catchment) can perpetually sustain a high school of 1,000.
  • Marc Risdale While the population will remain there, it's the mix we have to watch. If all we build are condos and small homes marketed to empty-nesters, the proportion of kids in town will drop.

My point in all this is that I believe that there is a undeniable link between school closures and municipal policy. Any Councillor that simply throws their hands up and says it's all up to the School Board is doing you (and me) a gross disservice.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Some of my Best Friends Are Politicians...

As we near the end of the municipal campaign, I'm starting to run into the other candidates for Dundas with almost comic regularity. I think I've seen Danya every other day for the last two weeks. Yesterday, I ran into both Rick and Toby in the same neighbourhood at different times of the day. Today, I ran into Arlene out on Little John... not far from Toby's house.

Inevitably, our little encounters turn into little gossip fests and chances to exchange war stories. Campaigning is nothing if not entertaining.

On my way out of the house this morning, I checked my voice mail and discovered a message from earlier this morning from Lisa Hepfner at CHCH. It turns out that they wanted to do a Ward profile on Dundas for this evening's news and they wanted to assess my availability.

I got in touch and they decided to come meet me out on the street. A few exchanged texts later and there I was in front of a camera!  It was fun and from what I hear, it turned out great. I'll dig up a link to it tomorrow.

For the rest of the night, I was in rapt attendance at the School Board Trustee debate at Town Hall. It was packed but it's quite late now so I'll give you a quick wrap-up tomorrow night.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Saying Yes - Part 3

I was greeted this morning with a wonderful sunrise. Sailors take warning!

This is a good sign, right?
With two weeks left in the campaign, it's full speed ahead right to the end. Once I'd read the morning papers and checked social media, I was off to post this week's Memorial Square sign, return a bunch of material to the library and canvas the University Heights neighbourhood.

Art Sale!
Udon soup at the new Fortino's noodle bar
Boo scary on Shirley Street!
Before we get into my next round of questionnaire answers, be sure to take note of the Public School Trustee debate tomorrow night. I know I'll be there paying close attention!

School Trustee Candidates Meeting: Wards 13&14, Ward15 (Dundas, Flamborough, Waterdown) 
Wednesday, October 15th 2014 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm.
Council Chambers (the Round Room), Dundas Town Hall, 60 Main Street Dundas, L9H 2E8

As promised, here are my answers in full to a survey from the Hamilton Arts Council. This one made me do some research, which was great because I learned a lot about the City's Cultural Plan! Again, please forgive the formatting - it got a little weird from all the copy-pasting.

(1)        Active engagement in local culture is a key component of building civic pride and a sense of belonging in our community. How would you encourage Hamiltonians in your ward to participate in cultural experiences?

Luckily, Dundas already has an extremely active and involved arts community. From the Carnegie Gallery to the Dundas Valley School of Art to the Hamilton City Ballet, we are blessed with a number of great arts organizations. As Councillor, I will make it a priority to actively participate (as I do now) in local art events and encourage all residents to do the same through promotion using social and printed media.

(2)        Funding for the arts in Hamilton has been frozen for upwards of 10 years. A newly approved funding structure approved unanimously by Council in September 2014 included a recommended increase of $500,000 in arts funding for 2015 budget deliberations followed by further increases over the next two years to reach an additional $1 million in new arts investment by 2017. Would you support this staff recommendation or propose an alternative strategy for increasing the City’s investment in the arts?

Yes, I would support this staff recommendation. As an event organizer myself, I am also looking forward to the simplified grant application process currently under development. I think it will make access to funding much more equitable and evenly distributed.

(3)        Many of Hamilton’s neighbourhoods have underutilized space that could provide low-cost infrastructure for artists and creative workers to establish new ventures in this city. What measures would you take you reduce the barriers artists face in the adaptive reuse of these spaces for cultural purposes?

In Dundas, we recently lost one of our high schools to the ARC process. As councillor, I would actively pursue acquisition of the building by the City with the aim of transforming the space into a community hub, including dedicated space for artists and other creative workers along with space for start-up businesses, day care and a senior's centre.

(4)       What is your top priority item from the 78 recommendations in the City of Hamilton Cultural Plan?

My top priority is 5.1 "Ensure culture is considered in the planning and development of major city initiatives including for example: Waterfront; West Harbourfront, and Confederation Park and transportation planning." I am particularly interested in Planning and Public Works and believe incorporating culture into new projects from the start is the right way to do things. Culture is so much more than special events and building that mindset into everything we do is the best way to ensure equal access for all.

(5)        What is your favourite piece of art or cultural experience you’ve encountered in Hamilton and why?

My family and I really love Supercrawl. The blend of music, visual art, dance, vendors and food is incomparable. I especially like it because it attracts people from across the City, drawing patrons from the core and suburbs alike.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Giving Thanks

As our son and our nieces get a little older, they get more and more fun to be around and this Thanksgiving was no exception. My entire extended family gathered at my Mom's house bright and early Saturday morning. The air was crisp, the skies were bright and we were off en masse to visit Science North!

Lots of anticipation on our way in.
Butterfly conservatory
The lake was gorgeous.
Signature exhibit: the fin whale skeleton

Five hours later (!), we got back to my Mom's house and had an extremely generous Thanksgiving dinner and eventually slipped into a long food coma.

Mom's bird feeder was doing brisk business. 
Sunday, we eventually emerged to a breakfast of eggs and waffles. Having scrubbed the sleep from our eyes, we tromped out to Onaping Falls to take in the best of the fall colours. I'm only going to post two pictures here but I took several more. 

The falls from the lookout.
The falls from the top.
Tomorrow we head home and into the last two weeks of the campaign. Deep breath!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Saying Yes - Part 2

Thanksgiving is one of my two major "family" holidays (the other being Christmas). I think it's probably a holdover from my days as an undergrad at the University of Waterloo. Those were the two holidays when I made the utmost effort to get home, even if it meant spending hours on buses and skipping the odd class or two...

They've become even more meaningful to me now that both my sister and I have kids. Bar none, our son's favourite thing is to spend time with our two beautiful nieces and we take every opportunity we can to make that happen.

And so, after 11AM this morning, campaigning was put on hold and I loaded the car so we could make our way north to Sudbury.

The car is loaded.
It was a glorious drive and the leaves are in prime "peeping" state north of Barrie.

Parry Sound parking lot.
I'm writing this now from my Mom's dining room table and the lot of us are piled around various rooms doing family stuff. I wouldn't trade this for anything.

Having said that, I am happy to share with you the full text of my answers to the questionnaire I was sent from the Hamilton Organizing for Poverty Elimination (HOPE) - please forgive the formatting, it gets a little weird from all the copy-pasting:

1. Access to affordable housing
a. Will you aggressively pursue the implementation of the City’s 10-year Housing and Homelessness Action Plan, “Everyone Has a Home?”

Yes. As we all know, there is a serious deficit of affordable housing across Hamilton and all residents should have access to a safe space to call their own.

b. Will you explore and implement an inclusionary zoning bylaw requiring a certain component of housing developments to be affordable?

Yes. This is of particular importance in Dundas since nearly all of the new development projects are "luxury" condos and I believe we would benefit from greater diversity.

2. Access to safe and affordable transit
                a. Will you create an Affordable Transit Pass for people living in poverty?

             Yes. I will support the creation of an affordable transit pass. The best way to lift families out of poverty is to give people good quality jobs and we need to make it as easy as possible to get to those job opportunities where ever they may be across the City.
                b. Will you support a ‘Complete Streets’ policy, making our roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists?

Yes. In fact I was the first municipal candidate in Hamilton to take the Active Communities pledge which supports complete streets as well several other worthy livability initiatives.

3. Access to nutritious food
a. Will you actively pursue consultation and implementation of Hamilton’s Food Strategy in order to ensure every citizen has access to nutritious quality food?

Yes. Again this is an issue of particular importance in Dundas. While we have access to a lot of great food through our vendors and farmer's market, the nearest discount food retailer is in Ancaster, which means low cost food is difficult for people living in poverty to access.

4. Making the City of Hamilton a living wage employer
                a. Will you work to ensure that all City of Hamilton employees, full and part-time, are paid a living wage?

Yes. Earlier this year, President Barrack Obama delivered a speech saying "Nobody who works full-time should have to live in poverty" and I could not agree more. This is the fastest and best path toward eliminating child poverty which is a main platform plank of my campaign.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Saying Yes - Part 1

So, I was out canvassing up near University Plaza today when I heard a loud squeal and a bang. I turned around to see a big red SUV coming right for me on the Osler/South Street sidewalk. I high-tailed it out of there and happily everything came to a rest without hitting me. I, along with some other witnesses, rushed over to the vehicles involved and made sure the drivers were OK. Someone called 911 and I started picking up the bigger bits of debris from all over the road. The ambulance arrived and took control of the situation. It was a mess but it could have been so much worse!

Yes, this car is facing the wrong way on Osler.
 Anyhow, as I've mentioned, I'm learning that as a candidate, putting yourself up for office leads to an inbox packed with surveys and questionnaires. I really like taking the time to answer the questions for a few reasons. First of all, I've staked my run on a promise of responsiveness and it would be fairly disingenuous of me to ignore people that are looking for my opinions and ideas. Secondly, they often force me to do some research and learn about things that aren't necessarily among my priorities.

For whatever reason, I've been finding the questionnaires quite easy to answer recently. So much so that I've taken to starting my answers with the word Yes. I think it's a good sign since a lot of the best things that have ever happened to me have come from me starting a sentence with Yes.

I don't know how many of the results of these surveys will make it to the public so over the next few posts, I'll reprint the questions and answers here in full. I encourage you to think about how you might answer these questions yourself. It's a great exercise!

Today, we'll begin with a questionnaire from the Raise the Hammer website. They have already made my answer part of my candidate profile (link: http://elections.raisethehammer.org/candidate/329/5) but it's a great way to start this series.

* Do you support the city's plan to build an east-west light rail transit (LRT) line with full capital funding from the Province?

Yes. I have openly supported LRT throughout my campaign. Based on the evidence I have seen, it is a vital key to the economic development of Hamilton and the renewal of the core. This is of great importance to Dundas as it is the most sustainable way to reduce our extremely high tax burden.

* Do you support converting more of Hamilton's one-way thoroughfares into complete, two-way streets that support walking, cycling and transit?

Yes. One-way streets are few and far between in Dundas and I believe we are a model neighbourhood when it comes to walkability. While there are still several areas of concern, traffic along King Street is generally well behaved and people feel safe on foot. Motorists generally drive too quickly along the major one-way streets in Hamilton and it leads to far too many injuries and close calls.

* The City's Cycling Master Plan is up for review. Do you support improving the plan to speed the installation of cycling facilities and provide more high-quality protected infrastructure like the new Cannon Street cycle track?

Yes. As Vice-Chair of the Hamilton Cycling Committee this issue is of prime importance to me. I fully support the Cycling Master Plan and intend on advocating for its adoption throughout Hamilton.

* The Province plans to allow municipalities to use ranked ballots in future elections. If so, will you vote to adopt ranked ballots in Hamilton?

Yes. Ranked ballots are a concept worth exploring, especially in municipal elections where the number of candidates in a ward can mean that a Councillor could be elected with as little as 10% support. Ranked ballots would ensure that the eventual winner would represent the broadest possible range of interests.

* Do you support an expanded role for Hamilton to provide more affordable housing? If so, what should Hamilton do?

Yes. In addition to the city's 10 year Housing and Homelessness Action Plan, we need to advocate more forcefully both at the Provincial and Federal levels for more action on poverty reduction. In addition, we need to implement inclusionary zoning to promote greater diversity in all our neighbourhoods.

* Do you support implementing a Vision Zero for Hamilton, with a goal of eliminating all pedestrian and cyclist deaths on our streets? If so, what specific actions would you take to implement this policy, and if not, why?

Yes. I am proud to be the first municipal candidate in Hamilton to have taken the Active Communities pledge and I will hold myself to fulfilling their initiatives. These simple changes are key to reducing not only the number of deaths on our streets but preventing hundreds of costly injuries as well.

* Do you believe City Hall should be more accessible to Hamilton residents? If so, what steps would you take to achieve this?

Yes. I stand for transparency, accountability and equity. I have also pledged a 100% open door policy as Councillor. I will maintain the current Councillor's office in Dundas and will continue to consult a new and improved Dundas Community Council. Furthermore, I plan to have a special resident's panel on responsible development in Dundas and I will publish a regular news letter outlining specific municipal and local issues.

* The Province has shelved a proposal to build a mid-peninsula highway from Niagara Falls or Fort Erie around Hamilton to connect with Hwy 401 or 407 north of Burlington. Do you agree with the Province's decision to put its development on hold?

Yes. I agree that the mid-peninsula highway should be reviewed more thoroughly and I also believe that in light of the recent closure of the Burlington Skyway due to an unfortunate accident that we think seriously about an alternative route to the QEW. As a major trade route in our region, it would be wise to look at some form of redundancy both as a safeguard against the type of closure we suffered but also as a way to ease volume on the QEW, which can be a very dangerous stretch of highway through Hamilton.

* Do you support the use of participatory budgeting to allow ward residents to propose and vote on local capital projects?

Yes. Dundas has a long history of community consultation through our Community Council and I see participatory budgeting as a natural extension of our strong civic engagement. 

* Do you believe Hamilton should do more to protect and enhance its built heritage?

Yes. I believe we are on the right track with our Heritage Registry and Downtown Built Heritage Pilot Project and would support a greater use of both in Dundas. We are in a fantastic position to the see the blending of old and new buildings across the city and it will be one of our great advantages in attracting newcomers and desirable businesses in the future.