Uzma Qureshi, Candidate for Ward 7 in Ward 7 By-Election 2016

Details page for this candidate.

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Candidate Details (top)

NameQureshi, Uzma
ElectionWard 7 By-Election 2016
AreaWard 07
Email info@uzma.ca
Website http://uzma.ca/
BioUzma lives in Ward 7 with her husband and four children.

The daughter of a draftsman turned small business owner, and a stay-at-home mom – Uzma Qureshi was born in Hamilton – living on the Mountain since childhood.

During the last decade, Uzma has been a leader in our community, keeping Hamiltonians connected and focusing on positive change through citizen participation. In 2012, she was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal, presented to her by former Hamilton Mountain MP Chris Charlton.

Prior to running for city council, Uzma managed Hamilton’s “Newcomer Family Centre” at the Settlement Integration Services Organization and is a trusted public relations advisor to a number of progressive organizations across the City. She currently serves as the Coordinator of Marketing & Communications for the YWCA Hamilton.

Uzma’s real passion is building better communities – especially here on Hamilton Mountain – by working collaboratively with local residents. She has long believed that public service is a shared responsibility. She has sat on many community and city committees dealing with topics such as education, refugees, and the status of women.

Uzma attended Hill Park Secondary School, and at the age of 16 she began managing a local discount store. After high school Uzma went to Mohawk College where she graduated from the Small Business Management Program.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UzmaForHamilton/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/uzmaqk

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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 Yes, I will. I want better, more reliable transit for Ward 7. Our bus service isn't good enough for Ward 7 residents. The buses run too infrequently. They're often full which results in them driving by passengers who don't even have a bus shelter to stand in out of the weather, whether they're going to work, to school, or to a doctor's appointment. East/West connections are often very inconvenient, meaning passengers have to travel north or south to then go east or west. The LRT system may provide some opportunities for us to reassign buses that now run downtown to the mountain. We'll likely need to buy new buses also, but some of the rolling stock we have is still very serviceable.
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? Yes Although there is much work still to be done, Ward 7 already has some cycle paths that were approved by Councillor Scott Duvall. I do plan to work with neighbourhoods to determine where best to locate safe and convenient cycle paths so that local residents, and residents from other Wards, are able to cycle safely on the mountain.
Will you encourage the creation and growth of more neighbourhood associations in your ward? Yes I'm committed to encouraging, supporting, and assisting neighbours to come together to share a common voice about issues that affect their neighbourhoods and Ward 7. I don't view vocal neighbourhood associations as a threat, I view them as a sign of a strong and healthy neighbourhood. As Councillor, every neighbourhood that wants to come together to speak with a common voice will have my support.
Will you encourage the city to shift new development away from car-dependant sprawl? Yes I support choice in terms of where and how we live, but not at any cost. That's why I want to improve transit, as a key priority, so that Ward 7 residents have a choice. I support improving and maintaining our infrastructure with the money we have. We need to balance the need for growth in our residential base with our ability to afford the infrastructure we have already.
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 I support plans to ensure that housing is affordable for all residents of Ward 7. That means we have to look at different models for different situations. Seniors who can't afford to maintain the homes they have spent most of their lives in need our help. People who may have lost their jobs, or had their pensions reduced through no fault of their own, need our help. People who can't pay market rent for an apartment, need our help. Tough choices, but putting people and their families first is one of my core beliefs.
Do you support a more vibrant neighbourhood retail destination on Upper Wellington? If so, what do you propose to achieve this? Yes I hope that we can see entrepreneurs choosing Upper Wellington as a place to set up new businesses, just as I do for all of our main retail streets in Ward 7 and beyond. But to do that, we must truly be "open for business". I understand the challenges small businesses face first hand. I will work to streamline processes and levels of responsiveness so that entrepreneurs can open their doors as soon as they're ready and not have to wait for city approvals while they're paying rent on premises they can't open.
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 I have always embraced goals and targets. I know our staff want to do a great job. Objectives are not created to catch people doing something wrong. They should, and must, be aspirational. They become our contract with ourselves and with our residents. So yes, I will work with my Council colleagues and with the City Manager to ensure that we establish clear objectives for what we plan on achieving in the coming year.
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'd like all of Council to be clear about how we'll work together to strike the right balance between what the residents of our Wards need with the needs of the entire City. I think we can fine tune that balance. It can't be one or the other. We must constantly strive to try to do both at the same time. Not easy, i know, but it's critical, in my view. I think that's what most Hamiltonians want too.
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 think I bring a number of proven skills to the table. One skill for which I'm pretty well known is my ability to work with people to reach consensus. Collaboration is a strength, not a weakness. By harnessing and focusing the power and the goodwill of all of Council, we can achieve great things for our constituents, and for all Hamiltonians. That's not pie in the sky. That's a fact.