Jason Allen, Candidate for Ward 1 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2018

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Candidate Details (top)

NameAllen, Jason
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2018
AreaWard 01
Email jason@jasonaallen.ca
Website http://jasonaallen.ca/
BioJason Allen has been working on improving neighbourhoods in Ward 1 for over a decade. This began with the Strathcona Community Council in 2008 where he helped both to finalize the Victoria Park Master Plan and then promote it. In 2008 Jason Allen also joined the executive of the Down Syndrome Association of Hamilton where he stayed for six years, including two as president of the association. In that time he led the group’s transformation from a support model to a service delivery model, doubling the number of volunteers and opening up new fundraising channels. He remains a strong advocate for disability rights to this day.

He joined Ward 1’s Participatory Budget Advisory Committee in 2013, where he established the social media strategy and worked with the sub-committee that developed the branding and marketing that is still key to the high levels of engagement enjoyed by the ForWard1 process to this day. He remained on the committee for two years.

Jason Allen and his family then moved down Locke Street from Strathcona to Kirkendall where he joined the Kirkendall Neighbourhood Association, sitting as communication coordinator in 2014/15. There again he developed a strong marketing and communications strategy that was key to promoting initiatives such as Lean Aberdeen, the Neighbourhood Plan and the Fill A Bus, Feed A Family food drive.

For two years Jason Allen was also on Ward 1’s Development Review Committee, where he met with dozens of planners, architects and developers; helped run community meetings; and provided a liaison between developers and residents.

In addition to his work in the ward and with the disability community, Jason Allen has delivered hundreds of hours per year of outdoor and environmental education programming to youth aged 5-14 through Scouts Canada for the past eight years.

Professionally, Jason Allen is an acknowledged leader in transit and urban mobility. Having worked for Metrolinx for seven years, he recently took his skills to the Canadian Urban Transit Association where he manages several national learning events and an international training program for transit industry members. His professional accolades are numerous, including awards for innovation and service excellence.

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
Should Hamilton be trying to attract more young people to live, work and start businesses here, including the 60,000 students studying at Mohawk College, McMaster University and Redeemer University? If so, what should we be doing? If not, why not? Yes Hamilton should definitely be doing more to attract young people to move or stay here after school. One way to do that would be to attract investment to our city, so that there are good paying jobs for young people to work at. I have always said, however, that in order to attract investment like that, you have to first build a city where young people want to live. Creating an arts friendly city with active transportation will create a city where knowledge workers want to live, prompting employers to choose to locate their businesses here.
Global warming is an existential challenge facing humanity. Do you think Hamilton should play a role in addressing climate change? If so, what should the city be doing? If not, why not? Yes Cities have the greatest role to play in climate change adaptation (resilience) despite having a smaller role in mitigation. Hamilton has a climate change charter it implemented in 2011 and the city has already taken many steps towards reducing its climate footprint. For instance, emissions in Hamilton were reduced by 29% between 2006 and 2012, exceeding the target by 205. An adaption issue we are already facing is regular flooding incidents, which will require the refitting of our storm water system. I would like to see a storm water charge applied to property owners with large parking lots that would then go towards upgrading the storm water system so it doesn’t dump sewage into the bay or Cootes Paradise during a heavy storm. We could also mandate permeable pavers for those wishing to pave their front yards to make them into parking spots. Finally, we need to better communicate to people how to be prepared for extreme weather events, including creating a heat event plan that would prevent the deaths of isolated people (especially seniors) in the event of a protracted heat warning.
Do you support improved public transit in Hamilton? If so, what changes do you propose? If not, why not? Yes I support improving public transit in Hamilton by council honouring its commitments in the 10 year transit plan, especially around city funding for transit that was denied in year three of the plan. HSR also needs to take advantage of the Public Transit Envelope of the Federal Infrastructure Fund, in order to upgrade and replace much of its fleet while those dollars are available. inally, HSR needs to extend transit out to the exurbs and rural Hamilton, but not by running empty 40 foot buses along those routes, but by developing a mirco-transit solution such as they have in Airdrie, AB, or York Region.
Bonus question: If LRT goes ahead, what will you do to ensure Hamilton receives the maximum benefit? Yes I will ensure that inclusionary zoning is implemented along the corridor, in order to ensure that the benefits of LRT-driven investment are spread out more evenly. I will also use the lessons I learned working with the Eglinton Crosstown team to ensure that businesses along the corridor are well supported. Finally, I will encourage the Economic Development department to stop chasing after big name marquee employers for the development along the corridor, but instead invest in incentives and assistance for small to medium businesses, which are the engine of our economy. We don’t need another ill advised #Hamazon campaign chasing after a project that we don’t have the city infrastructure to support. What we need is to support strong, vibrant small businesses in Hamilton who are employing people now, and could use a bit of help to employ even more.
Do you support the "Vision Zero" goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Hamilton? If so, what specific actions would you take to implement this policy? If not, why not? Yes I have written about the need for a Vision Zero program for many years now, and would fully support such a measure. I would support it by requiring the city to track and publish statistics about accident prone intersections, enabling us to quickly determine where to focus our efforts. The city also needs to fund a Vision Zero office within the traffic department with a mandate for proposing changes to intersections that are a safety hazard.
Hamilton has been experiencing a slow-motion crisis in housing affordability. Do you support an expanded role for the City to provide more affordable housing? If so, what should Hamilton do? If not, why not? Yes There are a few things the city could be doing to encourage affordable housing in Hamilton. The first is to implement inclusionary zoning in some parts of the city – especially long the proposed LRT corridor – that would allow the city to bargain building height for below market value suites in mid and high-rise buildings. The second thing we could do is encourage laneway suites to possibly ease rental shortages and to revitalize our laneways. Finally, there is an innovative program coming out of Waterloo where they are offering loans to homeowners of up to $25,000 for either building below market value secondary suites in their homes, or to bring existing suites up to code.
Do you support phasing out area rating for transit? Why or why not? Yes I support phasing out Area Rating for Transit, but not doing away with Area Rating altogether. While the transit portion of Area Rating has been a huge impediment to extending transit across the city, Ward 1 depends on the Area Rating program in general to help with the upkeep of our much older infrastructure. In the end though, Council needs to keep its promise to transit riders and honour the commitments of the 10 year plan. Hamilton likes to compare our ridershiop trends to cities like Brampton and even London, but it’s not secret that those cities’ successes have depended on heavy investment in Transit by the municipalities.
Hamilton has a legacy of multi-lane, one-way arterial streets dating back to the 1950s. Do you support accelerating the conversion of these streets to two-way? Why or why not? Yes Yes I do. Main street especially needs to be converted to two way before the LRT construction begins, otherwise Aberdeen will become a dangerous arterial road that will endanger people living in Kirkendall South. Finally, the Queen Street two-way conversion needs to happen before any other vehicles end up on their roofs.
Council has voted dozens of times since 2008 to advance Hamilton's light rail transit (LRT) project, including voting to submit the plan with a full funding request to the Province in 2013, and voting to accept full funding and implementation from the Province in 2015. Do you support completing the LRT plan? Why or why not? Yes I fully support LRT, along with the 1200 construction jobs, 200 permanent jobs, and likely over $3 billion in property investment it will bring to the city. I am well aware that the majority of people in Ward 1 who oppose LRT are older than I am, but I continue to remind them that they are not going to be able to driver forever – at some point their doctor will not permit it. At that point they are going to want a safe, accessible, reliable transit system, and LRT provides that.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act mandates that cities must be completely accessible by 2025. What changes would you make to ensure Hamilton complies with this mandate? Yes The first step in ensuring the city is AODA compliant would be to conduct an accessibility audit to see where the gaps are between where we are now and compliance. Once that is complete, it is vital that council directs the resources required to bring the city into compliance by 2025.
Since the 1950s, most new residential and commercial development in Hamilton has been single-use suburban sprawl. Do you believe Hamilton needs to concentrate new development within the already-built area? Why or why not? Yes I have been pretty vocal publicly about the fact that suburban greenfield development is an urban planning Ponzi Scheme. Under provincial law, we are only able to charge developers 80% of the cost of providing new services (rec centres, parks, roads, sewers, and even 911 service) to a new subdivision. And the rules against ‘gold plating’ those services often mean we can charge less than that. Development in our city needs to turn towards increasing densification on already serviced land, which will ensure higher property taxes per square foot on land that doesn’t require significant additional costs to provide services.