Mark DiMillo, Candidate for Ward 3 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2010

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Candidate Details (top)

NameDiMillo, Mark
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2010
AreaWard 03
Email markdimillo@sympatico.ca
Website http://www.markdforward3.ca

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
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 If by public data you are referring to the city's financials, budgets, reports, and minutes of meetings, I know Hamilton has all of this online. Much of my research for this election has come from the online information provided by the city. If there is more information that might be useful to the public, then it is definitely worth looking into. Moving forward by improving our communications with the residents with respects to City Hall matters is encouraged. Transparency is also encouraged and will help remove the apathy that residents now have for our local democracy.

However, some information is hard to navigate and interpret. For example certain accounting measures used in municipal governance might be hard for the public to understand if they are not accustomed to the same. This could also lead to misinterpretation or misunderstanding of information, which might then have a negative impact or reverse impact in the pursuit of transparency. Definitely, a review of the public data currently available, and a recommendation on how to improve direct access is supported.
Should we spend the Future Fund to build a Pan Am / Ticat stadium on the CP Rail Yard lands? Why or why not? Maybe I have promised my constituents that I will consult and engage them in the discussion of the same. It would be unfair of me to answer without knowing what the voters want. The current proposal I don't think will fly, it is seriously underfunded and too many variables and unknowns. As a businessman, I make all decisions with as much calculated risk as possible, and after extensive due diligence is achieved. To date I do not feel the City has had sufficient time to do either. However, if we can get the deal done with $50 million from the future fund, and build a good business case for the project, which reflects the political and social will of Hamiltonians - then YES!
Is Hamilton doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods? If not, what should the City be doing? No Many of my constituents have indicated that they would like to see better property standards enforcement, especially with respects to older commercial buildings. The City in my opinion is not doing enough enforcement to help preserve the integrity of the buildings in older neighbourhoods.

How this is relevant? If an investor sees depressed buildings or neighbourhoods, the general feeling is that although this may create an opportunity to purchase investment property inexpensively, it also makes it very difficult to resell and obtain financing for redevelopment. Therefore, an investor may not be inclined to invest.

Having said that, the city's new zoning by-law stage 1 which has been adopted by council and is waiting for Provincial approval, or may have already been approved was designed to support the redevelopment of the lower city, and in the BIAs. It will remove much of the red tape usually associated with redevelopments.

As well, the City is providing grants and loans, and money for remediation through the LEEDS program to help encourage developers to invest in older neighbourhoods and brownfields. The general feeling again, is that if someone has a good idea, but the zoning doesn't support it, the new zoning by-laws may make it easier to bring a developers vision to fruition, without having to go through the expensive re-zoning process.

As a City Councillor, I will ensure that there is continuous monitoring and measurement of these programs, and make sure that any improvements will be implemented swiftly to accommodate new investment opportunities in the lower city, to encourage continuous growth and revitalization of the older areas of our City.
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 Of course I agree that council meetings should be more respectful and professional. Personally, it seems to me that the Councillors do not meet outside of council to discuss and deliberate issues that are presented on the agenda in advance. The formal televised sitting of council should be the last step in the process to publicly support, refer or decline to move forward with agenda items.

I will encourage that we meet more regularly, without time restraints and cameras and seek to get all of the answers we need in advance, so as to present ourselves in a professional manner, showing deference to our positions as Councillors -representing the electorate in a unified and professional manner.
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 do support the cycling master plan for Hamilton. To accelerate certain aspects of this master plan should be considered during the next term of council. I also think it should be considered together with our LRT plans, so that we can incorporate both plans together, to maximize the efficiencies of public transit together with cyclists, who no doubt will use the LRT as a combined method of transportation.

We wouldn't want to expend our resources, only to find out we have to re-do or remove some of the cycling lanes to accommodate the LRT.

Cycling will form an integral part of our forward thinking initiatives here in Hamilton, and should be kept on the agenda, and we should set achievable goals moving forward.
For your campaign, will you be accepting donations from corporations or unions? If so, why? If not, why not? Yes I will not accept campaign contributions from unions or companies that are under contract directly or indirectly with the City of Hamilton. However, if a friend of mine who runs a small business wants to contribute from his business account, no problem.
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 I believe that Hamilton Airport can be the catalyst to driving business to the area, especially if we develop the Employment lands surrounding the Airport. Attracting air commerce related businesses, and new opportunities for employment is the eventual result of the plan. Hamilton Airport could you use a boost, and the associated plan, together can generate non-traditional revenues which is something we need to look at during the next term of council. Yes, if executed properly I do support the plan. Having said that I also, do believe that we should protect our farmlands, at the same time meeting the future growth needs of our City.
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 strongly support LRT. If elected on October 25th, I would immediately take steps to initiate a community-wide lobby effort of both the Provincial and Federal governments. This type of effort proved successful for Hamilton when I led the community in lobbying the McGuinty government for assistance with Social Services funding.

The community group I would bring together to lobby senior governments would include McMaster University, Mohawk College, business, labour, community groups, social services, citizens representing our city's diversity and organizations who've been advocating for LRT. I would also ensure that our entire community was represented: Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook and Stoney Creek.

Working together with Council and members of the community, we would produce a "Transit Hamilton" report that would describe our community's need for, benefits of, and plan regarding LRT. We would undertake a major community campaign including social media, petitions, rallies and presentations to governments in Toronto and Ottawa.

The city's existing transit plans must also be revised to include areas of the city beyond the proposed LRT lines at Eastgate Square and McMaster University. This revised transit plan would provide details on LRT feeder routes and implementation timelines. The current plan excludes every other area of our community except for the old City. This is not how you build consensus and support - it's not how you build a city. We need to include and engage our entire community in the city's LRT and future transit plans.