Matt Jelly, Candidate for Ward 2 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2010
Details page for this candidate.
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Candidate Details (top)
|Election||Hamilton Municipal Election 2010|
Responses to Questions (top)
|Question||Brief Response||Full Response|
|Is Hamilton doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods? If not, what should the City be doing?||No||Fair taxation for downtown businesses and properties
Fair taxes for downtown businesses is critical to their success. I will fight for fair tax policies in the City budget and with the provincial assessment corporation so downtown businesses can continue to thrive.
Key Developments - Connaught, Barton-Tiffany, Waterfront
There are key developments in downtown Hamilton that must happen. We cannot afford another 20 year Lister Block. I will fight to give the Royal Connaught a heritage designation and bring this important downtown landmark back to life. I will also support redevelopment with our leading edge waterfront and downtown plans.
A Strong Arts Business Community
I will work with local arts groups to bridge the divide between artists, arts organizations, arts entrepreneurs and City Hall. We need to find common ground, and to recognize the significant economic impact the arts have on our City. I will bring together key members of the arts community for regular consultation on how we can further facilitate a strong arts community in our downtown. As someone with a professional arts background myself, I understand these relationships well, and recognize that the arts will play a significant role in Hamilton's economic development.
Downtown Business Advisory Council
I believe very strongly that small business is the life blood of downtown. Our downtown businesses are entitled to a Councillor who is in their corner and accessible to them. I will establish my Downtown Business Advisory Council to meet regularly with me on taxation, city services, city capital budget, and downtown business issues.
Sustained funding for business community organizations
Downtown business organizations are entitled to stronger and sustained funding. I support permanent funding for the BIA Association (HABIA) as well as for downtown business community organizations. I will also work with my own Business Advisory Council and the BIAs to find common ground.
Creating an environment where downtown businesses can flourish
I will not shy away from downtown's most complex problems - graffiti, abandoned buildings, crime, and addressing Hamilton's homelessness crisis. At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, I truly believe these are key elements, which would help to go a long way in attracting and keeping businesses. I will work towards a more sensible approach to housing social services- these are much-needed services, but downtown should not be the only part of town that shoulders this burden. All of Hamilton needs to work together on this issue.
I fully support efforts to lobby senior levels of government to put in place key federal and provincial funding to establish a world-class LRT system in Hamilton. I believe this is one major component to linking Hamilton's many communities, and expanding our existing transit system.
There are gaps in the current HSR system - I firmly believe we need more north-south connectivity between Main Street and the North End. As someone who relies on transit and walking as primary modes of transit, I take these issues seriously.
|The City of Hamilton has committed to doubling transit ridership by 2020. Do you support this goal? If so, how would you realize it?||Yes||The first task is a rethink of our transit service and routes. This is best achieved by talking to the people who use transit - what are their needs? And we must talk to the people who don't use transit - why don't they use transit? Only then can we build a transit system that reflects people's actual needs and not their perceived needs. Consistent with the use of open source data, I believe we need to open the HSR run time information and routing to the community. Let the community program the apps to assist transit users and to look at routing choices. I favour LRT and its immediate implementation.
I believe we need to support key transit users such as seniors, OW, and ODSP recipients with transit passes at no cost. Our social safety net must include additional funding for transit for workers as well so that the transition from support to independence isn't chewed up financially by the cost of going to work. I also favour transit support through employers so that they can provide transit subsidies to their employees - this reduces their parking requirements at their job sites. Finally, we must have long term sustainability of our pass program for post secondary institutions.
|Should we spend the Future Fund to build a Pan Am / Ticat stadium on the CP Rail Yard lands? Why or why not?||No||There are much higher priorities for the City of Hamilton than a stadium. The Future Fund money must be used for these higher priorities including brownfield redevelopment, addressing the infrastructure deficit, investing in active transportation, and fixing the neighbourhoods that are flooding. It is shameful that we are considering using Future Fund money for the stadium when residents are continually bailing out their basements and when we are seeing areas of the City flood for the first time, as we did last week. Our priorities must be health and safety of homes and residents, quality of life, and a prosperous Hamilton.|
|Hamilton's Cycling Master Plan has Council approval. However, the implementation timeline is very long and ward councillors can block individual bike lane projects. Do you support accelerating the completion of a continuous bicycle network and other initiatives like a bike sharing program and better access up and down the Escarpment? Why or why not?||Yes||The City's road infrastructure budget must include the cycling master plan implementation. Both time and money must be built in to the budget to consult, in a meaningful way, with residents and businesses where the cycling and road infrastructure work will take place. In addition to the infrastructure, we need to move to requiring safe storage for bicycles at work locations, showers, and reward employers who provide these. The City can lead by example by ensuring all City workplaces have these facilities.
Because we are an Escarpment City, it is very important that all Escarpment crossings on the cycling master plan provide safe cycling routes. This includes all Escarpment stair facilities which need to have bike rails adjacent to the steps.
I do support the bike sharing program and support funding for it. I also support providing incentives for City employees to use their bicycles to commute to work - again, leading by example.
|For your campaign, will you be accepting donations from corporations or unions? If so, why? If not, why not?||No||We will not be accepting union or corporate donations - only from individuals.
|Will your term change people's first impression of Hamilton, and make that first impression more attractive to visitors, students, commuters and newcomers? If so, how?||Yes||I believe that the City's website must be completely done over. The website is the one of the main platforms for showcasing our City. We need to move quickly to develop a new more functional website, to catch up to municipalities across Canada who recognize how important a functional, user-friendly website is. We need to move into the 21st Century in this regard. Having a website that has significantly better functionality showcases Hamilton in very positive ways including more engagement and interaction with those new to our City.
I support a strong business arts community. It is one of the cornerstones of the new economy and a key opportunity to bring people to Hamilton. Investment in this business sector is a priority of my campaign.
I will not shy away from downtown's most complex problems - graffiti, abandoned buildings, crime, and addressing Hamilton's homelessness crisis. At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, I truly believe these are key elements, which would help to go a long way in attracting and keeping people and businesses.
I will continue to fight for brownfield remediation including an interest free loan program for cleaning up brownfields. This is key to changing our City's image.
Finally, I will work to ensure key developments in downtown - the Connaught, the Barton Tiffany area - are achieved in accordance with Putting People First (downtown) and Setting Sail (West Harbour).
|Council is poised to vote on the Airport Employment Growth District, a 3,000 acre plan to expand the urban boundary around Hamilton International Airport for employment lands. Do you support this plan? Why or why not?||No||I believe our focus has to shift towards brownfield remediation and redevelopment within a firm urban boundary, reinvesting in the existing framework of transportation infrastructure, and attracting new clean industry. We now know that air freight is not viable long-term due to the rising cost of oil, and to plan such a large project at such a huge expense predicated on this unsustainable mode of transportation doesn't make sense.
We tend to define brownfields out of existence. We need to take a full inventory of Hamilton's vacant brownfield sites, and lobby for reinvestment from all levels of government to make these lands viable again for a new, clean industrial use. In doing so, we need to employ our own workforce in the clean up and rehabilitation of these properties.
Hamilton's industrial sector needs a reboot- not just for our long term economic viability, but for the health and well-being of some of our most vulnerable citizens. We also need to protect our agricultural lands to ensure we can grow food locally in the long-term. While I recognize Hamilton's need to sustain assessment growth to take the tax burden off residents, I do not believe AEGD is the way to go about it. In the end it will cost us in more ways than we can imagine.
|Do you support Hamilton's LRT proposal? If so, what will you do to ensure Hamilton's success in building LRT? If not, why do you oppose it?||Yes||I fully support efforts to lobby senior levels of government to put in place key federal and provincial funding to establish a world-class LRT system in Hamilton. I believe this is one major component to linking Hamilton's many communities, and expanding our existing transit system to better serve the entire City. LRT has been proven to be an effective stimulator of economic development in cities all over the world. City Council should not squander the opportunity to be the next municipality in line for Federal and Provincial investment in LRT. I will support any effort to make this case loud and clear.|
|Do you believe that poverty is the most critical issue facing Hamilton today? If so, please outline your solutions. If not, please explain your reasons.||Yes||Poverty is a critical issue and entirely avoidable social condition that is most certainly holding 40% of ward 2 residents hostage. I have several solutions to compliment the efforts of the Anti Poverty Roundtable, Hamilton Urban Core, Housing Coalition and other anti poverty stakeholders throughout the city. We must break down the solutions into a three-pronged approach that addresses income security, housing security and food security explicitly.
We need to lobby the provincial government to hasten the process of uploading the complete financing of Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) to the province. We must ensure that the monies that the municipality currently contributes to these programs are not clawed back following that upload, and are then available to be reinvested into affordable housing and social service upgrades.
We need to negotiate a low or no cost transit pass for ALL seniors on OAS/GIS, ALL OW recipients and ALL ODSP recipients.
I will commit to advocating for the creation of living wage jobs for our employable. I commit to advocating for social benefit and social service upgrades, and insist that these benefits and services be delivered in a manner that maintains the dignity of our most vulnerable citizens.
I commit to developing strategies to replenish the affordable and subsidized housing stocks, and work to establish youth housing units for <25. I will establish a committee that tracks the affordable housing lost in redevelopment projects with a view to ensure zero housing units lost within the year. We will challenge the economic development committee to demand developer’s account for the zero housing unit loss within each project, with a view to develop strategies that assist developer’s to replenish any housing stocks they remove within a given project.
I will lobby the future fund to support loans for affordable housing projects, and work to establish a low interest or no interest affordable housing loans program. We will assist developers to secure grants and loans for these projects.
I will continue to work with tenants, landowners, public health, municipal by-law, the Ministry of the Environment and others to improve the safety and conditions in the homes and neighbourhoods of our most vulnerable residents.
I support the universal food programs that are already being implemented in our schools. I also endorse a municipal top up to the food portion of social welfare benefits so that these citizens, our citizens identified in the recent Code Red series, have access to a healthy food basket.
I believe that these costs are NOT the municipality’s to bear alone. I will be investigating how we will work together with the provincial and federal governments, as well as local social services and NGO’s to investigate, fund, and monitor the implementation of all of these proposals.
|Many observers argue that Council meetings could be more respectful and professional. Do you agree? If so, what will you do to change this?||Yes||Respectful meetings begin with each Councillor committing to conduct themselves respectfully and I will certainly follow through on that. This includes listening to the public and fellow councillors; not working on other matters during meetings (including answering emails via blackberry or laptop); treating delegations with respect; and ensuring that I have read and am informed on the matters before the Committee or Council.
I think many of the meetings are too long - the marathon sessions of the Planning and Economic Development Committee do not foster good behaviour. Sitting for 7 to 9 hours is inappropriate for citizens and members of Council. We must have an agenda that deals with the issues, fosters citizen participation, and provides councillors with the time for respectful debate.
Finally, I think it is very important that we remind ourselves that we may disagree on issues but they cannot become personal attacks on fellow councillors, citizens, or staff. Good debate includes respect.
|Some cities have committed recently to publishing their public data in an open format that citizens can directly access. Should Hamilton pledge to become an "open source city"? Why or why not?||Yes||Open source data is fundamental to open accessible transparent government. Communication and enhancing our technology at the City is a key campaign commitment of mine. Open source data delivers:
- Open source data sparks innovation by making information accessible
- Open source data makes the City more sustainable through access by citizens and organizations to data to further the City's environmental, social, economic, and cultural goals
- Open source data enhances communication, opens opportunities for service delivery improvements in true partnership with the business and citizen communities and is a pillar to stronger civic engagement
- Open source data is a key initiative in leveling the playing field so citizens can use City data to provide feedback to Council on key community issues.