Teresa DiFalco, Candidate for Ward 10 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2014

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Candidate Details (top)

NameDiFalco, Teresa
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2014
AreaWard 10
Email teresadifalco@cogeco.ca
Website http://www.voteteresadifalco.com
BioTeresa was born and raised in Hamilton, lives in Ward 10 and has called Stoney Creek her home for the past 25 years. She is married to her husband Cal who together have a daughter that is married with one child. Teresa also has a grand-dog.

Teresa has vast experience in Government and has held senior positions in the Ontario Government. She worked in the Ministries of Health and Long-Term Care, Community and Social Services, Attorney General, Management Board of Cabinet, Gaming Secretariat, Environment, Labour, Transportation, and Cabinet Office. Teresa has received many awards recognizing excellence in public service and her leadership.

In the private sector, Teresa has worked in media and communications, finance, education, business and law.

Teresa’s work in the not for profit sector has earned her being awarded Stoney Creek Citizen of the Year in 2014, by the Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce. Some examples of her volunteer work include: serving as Publisher of The Hamiltonian, an online media source in Hamilton, being a member of the city of Hamilton's Engagement Committee, the Hamilton Farmer's Market Focus Group, the Stoney Creek Secondary Expansion Community Advisory Committee, and serving as President of the Fruitland-Winona Community Association for Safe and Healthy Neighbourhoods. She is an advocate for seniors, children, people with disabilities, immigrants, and anyone needing assistance.

Teresa’s well rounded experience, in the public, private and not for profit sectors, has given her a firm foundation for understanding and advocating for the concerns of people from all walks of life. “ I am looking forward to working for you, the people of ward 10. I believe that public service is not a lifelong career. It is a calling to provide service to your fellow citizens. I am asking for your vote so that I can be your voice, your partner and your champion.”

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
Do you believe City Hall should be more accessible to Hamilton residents? If so, what steps would you take to achieve this? Yes Public meetings should be held in the evenings so that the public can attend. All meetings should be recorded and made available on the city website. City owned buildings need to be barrier free. City departments need to be more clear about their roles and mandates. The city website needs to be totally re-hauled (despite the recent attempts). Online transaction processing should be expanded. I support openness and full transparency.
The Province plans to allow municipalities to use ranked ballots in future elections. If so, will you vote to adopt ranked ballots in Hamilton? Yes Yes, I believe we need to change the system so that it cannot be manipulated by tactics such as vote splitting, etc.
Do you support the city's plan to build an east-west light rail transit (LRT) line with full capital funding from the Province? Maybe In principle I support LRT, based on the following assumptions:

• Capital funding is provided 100% from the province.
• The full costs, other than capital funding are declared and known, and deemed to be affordable to Hamiltonians.
• A strong business case is in place to ensure benefits outweigh costs.
• The implementation is a made in Hamilton solution that takes into account our unique characteristics.
• LRT is a component of a broader proper mix of transit options.
• BRT is enhanced in Ward 10 and for other areas requiring better transit services immediately.

I have read all the materials on this topic and there are just too many important questions left unanswered.

In a recent Spec questionnaire about LRT, in which participants had to pick either Yes or No, I requested clarification if I could explain my answer because this is not a straight Yes or No question. So without having all the answers that I need, I said No, but that is not to say that I am not remaining open to looking at this further.
Do you support the use of participatory budgeting to allow ward residents to propose and vote on local capital projects? Yes Yes, and have made that part of my platform.
Do you support an expanded role for Hamilton to provide more affordable housing? If so, what should Hamilton do? Yes Provided it is correlated to demand - yes. Hamilton should provide incentives to meet the demand and should work closely with other levels of government to identify any disproportionate needs we may have.
Do you support converting more of Hamilton's one-way thoroughfares into complete, two-way streets that support walking, cycling and transit? No I am not a fan of converting one-way thoroughfares into complete, two-way streets for several reasons. I am hearing from business owners, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers that the conversion is not working and is more of a risk than anything else. Some things that I am hearing are:

• Two way streets takes away parking options, thus affecting businesses.
• Two way streets provide limited space for bike paths and bike parking.
• Two ways streets would also limit space for other alternative means of transportation.
• Two way streets make traffic more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.
• Two way streets may slow down traffic but there are other options available to do that.

That being said, I do support the need to improve our streets in making them more accessible and safe for all users. I believe we can achieve this in a more comprehensive and suitable way.
Do you believe Hamilton should do more to protect and enhance its built heritage? Yes Absolutely. We are known for tearing down our beautiful buildings and allowing them to get to the point of decreptness. We need to be more proactive about arresting erosion of our buildings and insisting on proper maintenance. We need to build better partnerships with our businesses and other stakeholder groups. One idea that I have been sharing is connecting owners of these heritage buildings with our prominent builders and encourage retrofitting the buildings for office space and condo living. This would help bring life and vibrancy to the downtown core and rejuvenate our city.
Do you support implementing a Vision Zero for Hamilton, with a goal of eliminating all pedestrian and cyclist deaths on our streets? If so, what specific actions would you take to implement this policy, and if not, why? Yes Yes, I am the President of a Neighbourhood Association for Safe and Healthy neighbourhoods. Safety is a very important component of the work that we do.

I think we need to seriously look at traffic calming, alternative means of getting around that are less likely to cause death or serious injury, we need to study the root causes of injuries and fatalities and match solutions to that intelligence.

It is also important that we work in partnership with the police. Each candidate received an invitation by the Acting Chief of Police to attend an information session on Crime and Public Safety. I was the only Ward 10 Candidate that attended. I take public safety very seriously.
The City's Cycling Master Plan is up for review. Do you support improving the plan to speed the installation of cycling facilities and provide more high-quality protected infrastructure like the new Cannon Street cycle track? Yes Yes, where bike lanes are appropriate and an existing and/or projected demand is in place/foreseen.
The Province has shelved a proposal to build a mid-peninsula highway from Niagara Falls or Fort Erie around Hamilton to connect with Hwy 401 or 407 north of Burlington. Do you agree with the Province's decision to put its development on hold? Yes I am concerned with giving up green-spaces and agricultural resources. The plan could see millions of acres of prime farmland paved. I believe we need to be very thoughtful and think about this long term and from many perspectives. It is not only about moving products and people, it is also about preserving our agricultural lands. I would want to see a plan that strikes the right balance in finding environmentally responsible solutions.