Russ Powers, Candidate for Ward 13 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2010

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Candidate Details (top)

NamePowers, Russ
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2010
AreaWard 13
Email russ@vote4powers.ca
Website http://www.vote4powers.ca
BioRuss Powers has been a long-time resident of Dundas for almost forty-five years, and has participated in and supported numerous activities and organizations throughout the community.

For more than 25 years, Russ has served the Community of Dundas as a member of Dundas Town Council, Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Council, the Hamilton City Council and Canada’s 38th Parliament.

Russ is a strong supporter of Dundas' local identity, its quality of life, the importance of its environmental integrity, the need to constantly renew our municipal infrastructure, and to ensure a continued vitality in our chosen place to live and do business.

Retired after an almost 30-year career in health sciences at McMaster University, Russ Powers devotes his time to the needs of Dundas.

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
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 support utilizing a portion of the Future Funds as our contribution (along with the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada and the Hamilton Tiger Cats) towards the replacement of Ivor Wynne Stadium on the CP Rail site in West Hamilton. another portion of the Future Funds will be our contribution towards the construction of the velodrome which I consider as a Pan Am gem and the real legacy project. Monies will also be utilized for renewal of the West Harbour site.
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 support the plan, in principle and also reducing the implementation period from 20 years down to a 12-15 year period (this range would reflect the annual demands relative to the proposed projects). I am supportive of the need for each project to be subject to community consultation i.e. neighbourhood, business sector, etc. before implementation. Dundas is a myriad of housing and building stock...some areas have virtually no off-street parking therefore would be a challenge if on-street parking was eliminated to accommodate a designated bicycle lane only.
For your campaign, will you be accepting donations from corporations or unions? If so, why? If not, why not? No As in my past municipal election campaigns, I do not accept donations from corporations and/or unions.
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? Maybe The AEGD is a forward-thinking document, but only if the developing circumstances are perfect. Council should only support a single phase at a time and not move onto the next until success is achieved or revisit before moving on...the price of the plan is too expensive in my opinion!
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 I chaired Council's Governance Committee that over the past year undertook an extensive review of Council's Procedural Bylaw and made many improvements to improve process and increase accessibility and transparency (these changes are now law). Respect, courtesy and decorum go hand in hand...sometimes the Chair must be more forceful.
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 Yes - I strongly support the opportunity of introducing an LRT (rather than BRT) system onto the main routes traversing our City. It will relieve current congestion and provide our citizenry with a modern, efficient and quicker mode of travel and the opportunity for downtown economic renewal. I'm pleased that my Council colleagues have supported and approved my request for future westerly extension of the 'B Line' of the LRT system to University Plaza in Dundas to connect with our local collector bus routes. The LRT has a $1.2B price tag that will only happen with willing partners, who are prepared to contribute their fair share...the future of LRT in Hamilton is contingent on a satisfactory arrangement for all.
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 Every municipality can improve however it requires ever increasing resources to stay current. I feel that the City of Hamilton does a pretty reasonable job of making available all permitted information in a timely manner to not only assist City Council in their deliberations but also inform the interested public.
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 It will be achievable, if and only if, two focused strategies are pursued, namely; a significant start on the implementation of the city-wide LRT system (only possible with an appropriate funding formula) and the introduction of additional collector routes that connect with the LRT at best locations in a timely manner.
Is Hamilton doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods? If not, what should the City be doing? No It's very easy to say no because there's never enough that can be done. The availability of limited and dedicated resources and the setting of priorities defines what and when issues are dealt with in neighbourhoods but never soon enough! The City's capital infrastructure budget is $159 million short of the dollars annually needed to carry out everything that's wanted in any given year but are all taxpayers prepared to accept a 2% surcharge on their tax bills to make this happen...I don't think so!

There are many positive things that the City is doing to assist neighbourhoods and the City as a whole that are very helpful but then red tape, cumbersome bureaucracy and antiquated legislation grinds everything to a halt. A review of rules and process was initiated a couple years ago but will legitimately take substantial time to correct...significant issues are receiving priority.