James Novak, 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|
|Bio||Born, raised and educated in Hamilton, James Novak has a stake in the future of Ward 2 because he lives in Ward 2!
He attended St. Mary's Boys School on Mulberry Street. He went on to attend Glendale Secondary School and studied Communications at Mohawk College.
As a young businessman and public administrator he lived at 180 Bold Street in the Durand neighbourhood. Novak has owned homes on Hess Street South (Durand Neighbourhood) and Hughson Street North (North End Neighbourhood). He currently resides on John Street North in the north end of Ward 2.
In 2002 James Novak sold his business and began to execute a long-time dream.
"For a number of years, I had thought about taking a 10-year period of my life to give back to the community that had given me so much. I understood it would be an extraordinary challenge to commit 10 full years. No income, spending savings to affect positive change in Ward 2. Well, here we are in 2010, eight years later and I have enjoyed every minute of the last eight years. I am both humbled and proud of what I have been able to contribute to my community".
Responses to Questions (top)
|Question||Brief Response||Full Response|
|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||I made this very clear at the Durand Neighbourhood, All Candidates Meeting. Urban implementation in 8 years and full implementation in 14 years. I also suggested front-loading the implementation to include bicycle storage and racks, promotion and educational programs.|
|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?||Maybe||I support a Rapid Transit System for Hamilton. However, currently available data and or proposals do not clearly demonstrate the need for rapid transit at this moment. Population trends show that the population in Hamilton increased by only 15,000 residents between 2001 and 2006. We need to know what our current ridership is with the HSR and what the projections are for the next 20 years. Will our historical buildings downtown and throughout the city suffer structural problems because of vibration? Hence, the city is expected to call in engineers from Europe who have dealt with preservation and safety of historical structures in a LRT environment. With a price tag in excess of $800 million, we need to determine how LRT fits into our priorities from a ecoomic development point-of-view. How will it affect our neighbourhoods and the downtown. We must also consider less expensive alternatives.|
|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?||Yes||City staff have not demonstrated that there is an immediate need. I believe we should build as the need becomes apparent. If that means we develope 33% of the project now, because there is a demonstrated need, then I would agree. Leave the other 67% until we can rationalize the need. Of course there is a lead-time required in order to meet future needs. Civic staff should be providing yearly reports and councill should respond to future needs as they become apparent. The cost of building the entire project now is mind boggling.
We need to immediately put funds toward updating our current infra-structure in the neighbourhoods of the lower city, now! Our water and sewer system, roads, parks, recreation centres, arenas etc.
|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||I believe all citizens have the right to know. I believe we should all have the same access to information as our councillors, civic staff and special interest groups.
I have proposed, for Ward 2, a pilot project to engage the residents of Ward 2. I am proposing an online/mail-in pilot project, by which every elector will have access to all of the research reports on a specific issue that the councillor has access to; an online forum allowing residents of Ward 2 to discuss the issue among themselves; and, a unique code permitting residents of Ward 2 to vote on the issue directly. Those residents without access to a computer will have the option of a mail-in-vote.
|For your campaign, will you be accepting donations from corporations or unions? If so, why? If not, why not?||Yes||I will accept only donations which are legal under the Ontario Municipal Act.|
|Is Hamilton doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods? If not, what should the City be doing?||No||Hamilton is not doing enough to encourage nor support investment in our older neighbourhoods!
Some say, "If you build it, they will come". I say, to the city, "If you build it, then maintain it".
In the lower city, we have beautiful old homes and below them we have rusted-out and or lead water and sewage pipes, we have beautiful parks that are not maintained, we have insufficient transportation infra-structure, we have roads that are in terrible shape, many without bicycle lanes, we have had libraries closed in Ward 2.
Money needs to be spent immediately to remedy this situation. We have city housing that is in need of immediate repair. Our most vulnerable (the poor and seniors) are made to live in un-dignified and un-reasonable conditions. If you build city housing, then maintain it!
Remember, when non Hamiltonians are looking to move to Hamilton, they investigate all of these things.
At the moment, we do not appear to be very attractive compared to other cities. Only an attractive city with new or up-dated infra-structure will attract the population we need to grow and prosper.
|Should we spend the Future Fund to build a Pan Am / Ticat stadium on the CP Rail Yard lands? Why or why not?||Yes||I will support a stadium on a couple of conditions. The major condition concerns the taxpayers investment. Currently we are told there is a shortfall in the financing of of $53 million or about 1/3 of the total estimated cost. Based on these numbers, and I understand they are constantly changing, like the location, I would insist that at least $70 million of the cost be paid to resident labour. At least we would be guaranteed the benefit of investing in Hamilton citizens who spend their wages in our community.|
|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||It is important to realize once you are elected as a Councillor, the election is over! It is then time to get down to work and fulfill the expectations of those who entrusted their vote to you. The structure of civic government demands co-operation among mayor and councillors in order to move ahead with the civic agenda. We have been stalled over the last year because Councillors and the Mayor have gone off in many different directions attempting to stake out election positions instead of working together for us.
I know how civic government works and will work together with the mayor, council and citizens to move the Ward 2 and city agenda forward. I may not agree with the mayor or other councillors on certain issues, BUT I will always be respectful and considerate of their opinions. Following an election, check the ego at the door of City Hall, it is time to get down to work.