Scott Stewart, Candidate for Ward 14 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2014

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Candidate Details (top)

NameStewart, Scott
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2014
AreaWard 14
Email scottstewartward14@gmail.com
Website https://twitter.com/stewart_ward14

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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 Assuming accessible in your question is not referring to physical accessibility but information transparency, I will be posting my office expenses online quarterly (City website or I'll create my own). I will also urge Council to have any significant Committee and Council decisions posted to the City website (or I'll do it myself) showing a summary of the issue in everyday language and the recorded vote if there were one. This will save people having to sort through multiple committee, GIC and Council minutes to find detail and then usually searching further for relevant documents, as I had to do for details of the 20 year stadium license agreement (lease?++).
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 I'm in favour of the ranked ballot system.
Do you believe Hamilton should do more to protect and enhance its built heritage? Maybe I believe that Hamilton should take measured steps to protect buildings and communities that reflect the City's heritage. I've been involved in some development activities with clients and in certain situations I agreed that a building was old but not culturally significant or was in such poor condition that only pieces might be salvaged.
Do you support the city's plan to build an east-west light rail transit (LRT) line with full capital funding from the Province? No I'm certain based on more current comments that Councillors have backed off on LRT support as it stands now. My business & government experience have me concerned regarding what the Province will fund. I'm in support, at this time, of something more in line with a Transportation plan that includes aspects of the Rapid Ready Report. I believe that utilizing additional bus routes to areas of increased population is useful, that adding express buses to say the B Line and elsewhere is a more flexible improvement to transit along that corridor and that the City is more likely to obtain significant, firm funding for such an approach than LRT. Having worked in Toronto for over a decade, I've seen how a tracked system still controlled by traffic lights creates congestion.
Do you support an expanded role for Hamilton to provide more affordable housing? If so, what should Hamilton do? Yes I'm generally in favour of the City's involvement in affordable housing. My concern has always been how to best address the matter. There are usually multiple factors at play resulting in a family or individual requiring housing that is "affordable". I suggest that there are a great number of groups in Hamilton addressing socioeconomic matters and that these organizations and the City should meet to consider if fewer organizations may be more efficient in their activities and in using City funding. Additionally, as new developments are proposed, there has to be some means either have some # of units designated as "affordable" or some defined portion of development fees put into a distinct fund for the City to then build and manage say apartment and town-home developments distributed among a variety of urban areas of Hamilton.
Do you support converting more of Hamilton's one-way thoroughfares into complete, two-way streets that support walking, cycling and transit? Maybe I believe that having certain one-way streets allows an efficient flow of traffic through the downtown core and elsewhere. I honestly will need to do more research; however, I think there is room to convert additional streets to two-way traffic with sidewalks. In Ward 14, I would like to consider wider lanes on some roads that will then accommodate the cycling club(s) using such roads - safety for cars and cyclists.
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? Maybe I need to do more reading on the Mid-Penn Highway situation, especially as it may pass through my current property or close to it. Unfortunately, this is another Provincial initiative that takes resources and time to sift through. I believe that the Golden Horseshoe/GTHA is very entrenched in personal travel via car but more importantly, commercial transit from ports such as Hamilton, border locations in Windsor, etc., that existing highway expansion or additional highways will become needed. Based on my reading, there are various options and locations that I will want to look into further to determine how to manage such a new highway or advocate for another option.
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 I certainly want to see zero deaths on City roads; whether pedestrian, cyclist or driver. Using HPS data to continue doing as they are, increased patrol/monitoring of key intersections and roads. Continue and likely increase enforcement relating to pedestrians and cyclists to ensure they are less likely to contribute to incidents. Bike lanes, laid out appropriately as part of a Transportation Plan will likely assist to reduce the number of cycling deaths.
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? Maybe I will need to do further reading on the Cycling Master Plan. I'm supportive of adding bike lanes as roads are redone and if part of an overall connected system. I believe that due to a lack of infrastructure spending in the past, that sewer, water and general road repair among other activity will likely trump specific, one-off bike lane funding in the near term.
Do you support the use of participatory budgeting to allow ward residents to propose and vote on local capital projects? Maybe I have a concern with Participatory Budgeting in the sense that once elected as Councillor, one will receive input from various people, groups and community councils to ensure the elected representative has those specific Ward interests in mind. My take is that there is already a poor budget process that slices/allocates amounts for more discretionary use within a Ward (by Councillors) creating less effective overall use of the revenue side of the City budget. If Council pursued, for example, to allocate say $1 million to each Ward for use under the Participatory Budgeting process, then I will assess that move in relation to the overall budget approach. I will try to extract saving on the cost side of the budget in general and perhaps directly as an offset to my example of $1 million per ward.