Donna Skelly, Candidate for Ward 7 in Ward 7 By-Election 2016

Details page for this candidate.

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Candidate Details (top)

NameSkelly, Donna
ElectionWard 7 By-Election 2016
AreaWard 07
Email info@skellyward7.ca
Website http://skellyward7.ca/
BioDonna has a strong reputation of standing up and advocating for people – across the City, including the Mountain. That’s one of the most important roles of your next Councillor.

See below to learn more about her experience and service to the community.

* Reporter, producer, anchor and host on television and radio

* 28 years on Hamilton’s hometown station: CHCH-TV

* President, Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union, Local 1100

* Instructor, Mohawk College

* Represented local jobs and interests before the CRTC

* Led the grassroots fight to save CHCH-TV in 2009

* Advocate for families of developmentally disabled adults, citizens without a voice and local jobs

* President of Parent’s Council at her sons’ school

* lives on Hamilton Mountain with her two sons

An Active Volunteer and Leader in Our Community:

* Woman of Distinction Award (May 5, 2010) — awarded a Woman of Distinction Award in the Politics and Public Affairs category.

* Host, McMaster Children’s Hospital Annual Telethon (1990s – 2006)

* Board of Directors, Banyan Community Services (not for profit that develops and operates programs for disadvantaged or at risk children within our community)

* Volunteer World Vision, travelled to El Salvador to document World Vision’s volunteer work in poverty stricken area around San Salvador

* Board Member, Canadian Culture On-line National Advisory Board (2003)

* Member of the Campaign Cabinet, United Way of Hamilton-Burlington (2012)

* Host, “Singing Her Praises”, annual event held on International Women’s Day celebrating women 2014, 2015

* Emcee, Art Gallery of Hamilton International Film Festival, 2013, 2014, 2015

* Host Hamilton First Night, The city of Hamilton’s first non-alcoholic, family New Year’s Celebration

* President, Parent Council, St. Joseph’s Elementary School

* Volunteer, annual Lung Association Fashion Show

* Volunteer annual Tim Horton’s Camp Day

* Volunteer annual Ronald McDonald Day

* Volunteer, annual Hamilton Volunteer Awards

* Volunteer, Dundas Hockeyville

* Volunteer, Make It Seven – grassroots effort to bring NHL Team to Hamilton

* Volunteer Judge, Hamilton’s Got Talent, 2016

* Volunteer, Living Rock Soup Fest, 2016

* Emcee, St. Joseph’s Foundation, Gala Fundraiser 2016

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
Will you push for increased transit investment on the Mountain? If so, how will you pay for it? Yes As Hamilton's population ages and more people move to the mountain, transit use and demand will increase. With that increased use will come demand for more buses. As Councillor for Ward 7 it would be my responsibility to advocate on behalf of transit users to ensure those demands are met and exceeded, but those additional costs cannot be borne by the current taxpayer. Instead Hamilton must encourage more businesses to open or relocate here growing our tax base.
Will you push for a safe, continuous cycling network in Ward 7 with better connections to the rest of the mountain and the lower city? Maybe Since January I have been meeting with community groups and residents of Ward 7 and, while not a priority, cycling is becoming an issue for some residents concerned about safety of both the cyclist and pedestrian due to the lack of dedicated lanes. As Councillor for Ward 7, one of my priorities will be to encourage growth on Concession Street. I will be working with young entrepreneurs and artists encouraging them to establish a business on the street. As Councillor I will track the growth and change of demographic which I expect will lead to more extensive conversations about cycling routes in the immediate area and across the Mountain.
Will you encourage the creation and growth of more neighbourhood associations in your ward? Yes Neighbourhood associations are a necessity in a city that believes in smart growth. I would absolutely encourage the creation and growth of more neighbourhood associations.
Will you encourage the city to shift new development away from car-dependant sprawl? Yes I believe in a smart growth solution to urbanization. Hamilton has tremendous opportunity to address intensification by developing brown fields in the former industrial area. The objective is costly but ultimately will have a powerful impact on on Hamilton's social and economic future. Realistically this long-term objective will require a dedicated and committed council to lobby provincial and federal governments to assist in the onerous cost of the cleanup.
Income inequality is a serious problem in Hamilton, and poverty is increasing in mountain neighbourhoods. What will you do to reduce inequality in Ward 7 and across the city? Yes The availability of social housing is an ongoing problem throughout Hamilton including Hamilton mountain. As has been argued continually by Councillor Sam Merulla, the cost of social housing should be borne by the province but there are things the city can do to help alleviate the problem. Many homeowners would like to provide affordable space in their homes but red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy at the city level often makes this prohibitive. The city must find a solution to allow homeowners who want to rent safe units to tenants to be able to do so without the endless stream of red tape. This change in culture must be followed by a strong and continuous lobby effort directed at the province to upload the cost of social housing. As for reducing inequality, the best way to fight poverty is for Hamilton to aggressively attract more businesses that provide full time, high paying jobs and a tax base to sustain city services.
Do you support a more vibrant neighbourhood retail destination on Upper Wellington? If so, what do you propose to achieve this? Yes Whether on Upper Wellington or elsewhere in Hamilton I support entrepreneurs who have the courage and work ethic to start and grow a business. To facilitate this growth, I believe the city must eliminate the red tape businesses encounter daily. The amount of onerous and sometimes unnecessary paperwork is costing the city jobs and acting as an obstacle to economic growth. I believe council must work together to make Hamilton more business friendly eliminating unnecessary red tape.
How important is it for Council to work with specific goals and targets for each City Department at the beginning of each year? How would you ensure this happened? Yes Hamilton council has trust in its city manager to make positive changes for the city. Working with him, identifying concerns such as the unnecessary red tape facing businesses as pointed out earlier, is one way to move projects forward while respecting professionals within the city workforce.
In your view, what's not happening now in the City of Hamilton that you'd like to see happen? Why? What's not happening now in Ward 7 that you'd like to see happen? Why? What's not happening now at City Hall that you'd like to see happen? Why? Yes I would like to see the city direct more attention to its natural assets such as Hamilton's waterfalls and waterfront. We can exploit those opportunities by working with artists and entrepreneurs to promote these natural wonders through community engagement. In Ward 7 one of my priorities will be to encourage investment and arts on Concession Street. This area of the city is poised to realize an economic boost -- as long as the city facilitates that growth and doesn't stand in its way.
How will you help to break down barriers between Councillors and the Wards they represent to ensure a more cohesive Council and more balanced decision making? Yes I believe the city is poised to forge forward to bigger and better things. For the first time in the over 20 years I have been covering council, I see an opportunity for its 15 members to act as a united force for the overall good of Hamilton and all of its residents. Hamilton councillors have a responsibility to care for the needs of their constituents both inside and outside their direct ward. As the representative for Ward 7, I will address poorly paved streets, uneven sidewalks and broken water pipes, but my responsibilities do not stop there . As the new Ward 7 Councillor I realize I will become a board member of a multi-billion dollar corporation and my experience, team spirit and vision will have a positive and profound influence on the future of our city.