Sharon Cole, Candidate for Ward 1 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2018

Details page for this candidate.

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Candidate Details (top)

NameCole, Sharon
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2018
AreaWard 01
Email scoleward1@gmail.com
Website http://sharoncole.ca/
BioI have a lifelong connection with Hamilton, and in particular, its vibrant and inclusive west-end community — from its industrial roots, exceptional educational and health care institutions, to the growth of the small and independent business community. I am proud to call Hamilton my hometown. My core values for the city embrace innovation, conservation and collaboration and my goal is to apply these values to the continued resurgence of the west-end and its people.

As a business professional I have over 25 years of entrepreneurial and business development experience in Hamilton including a wealth of corporate, marketing and property management experience. Through my personal and professional experiences, it has always been important for me to have a presence and involvement in a number of governance and service roles with municipal, provincial and national groups and agencies.

I have always been a strong advocate and ambassador for sustainable growth within the municipality. With a focus on every member of the community, I will work with Hamilton City Council to bring our communities together while recognizing the absolute necessity for economic growth, conservation, prosperity and opportunity for all.

Community engagement

With a strong connection to local organizations and community involvement, my service commitment includes,

Board Director on the Elizabeth Fry Society in Hamilton
Board Director with the St. John Canada Foundation
Board Director, St. John Ambulance Niagara Region
President of the Bentley Place Condominium Corporation
Member of the Hamilton Business Ambassador Program
Fund Development Member with Marilyn Lastman’s Arts Council
Member of the Kiwanis Club – East Hamilton
Member of the Advertising and Sales Club of Hamilton
Executive Committee of the Hamilton Ringette Association
A lifetime of direct humanitarian service locally and regionally

“Giving back” through volunteerism and community engagement is something that I and my husband strongly believe in and inspire in our children. I am a proud recipient of local and national honours including appointment by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II as a Dame in the Order of St. John, recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and nominated Woman of the Year for the City of Hamilton.

My goal through the campaign is to hear your voices and act as your champion to maintain and strengthen the neighbourhoods of Ward 1. Through your belief in me and votes on October 22, 2018, I believe together we can achieve great things.

Sharon Cole – “New Voice, New Vision, New Insight”

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
Bonus question: If LRT goes ahead, what will you do to ensure Hamilton receives the maximum benefit? Yes Bringing all partners (the City, P3 partners, HSR, ATU, BIA's, businesses, community groups and residents) to the table will be paramount through the planning and development phases with the cornerstone being communication, facilitated by Councillors to ensure expectations are effectively managed. We are building rapid transit solutions for the future, not just for today and I believe it is my job as a Councillor to help them understand, participate and achieve that vision.
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 believe in the spirit of 'Vision Zero' adopted by a number of municipalities around the globe, which challenges all of us to achieve zero fatalities and serious injuries, by re-thinking road safety. To make human error part of the equation and thereby aim for safer streets through improved education, enforcement, engineering, evaluation and engagement. My initial emphasis would be on engineering, ensuring bike lane designs that have effective barrier protection and warning systems (signage, lighting) to alert drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.
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 Absolutely. Hamilton embraces an inclusive philosophy and culture. It is uniquely positioned to offer a diverse set of post-secondary educational opportunities, affordable housing alternatives to those in the GTA and a varied set of employment opportunities from a vibrant service industry, expanding arts and culture opportunities, a hive for innovation and entrepreneurialism, opportunities for skilled trades, an evolving industrial base which embraces innovation and research, and a centre for business (small and large). It offers a variety of recreational and sporting activities, a vibrant entertainment core, shopping and dining experiences, all surrounded by nature.
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 I do. In addition to what I have stated in response to the first question, Hamilton should continue to work with organizations like Indwell on the Hamilton Apartment Program, and encourage the continued research of emerging urban design options, including laneway homes, tiny homes and carriage homes.
Do you support improved public transit in Hamilton? If so, what changes do you propose? If not, why not? Yes My family has a long and rich history here in Hamilton, serving its industrial base and supporting unionized workers. I've been that worker. And I've been that supervisor, manager and business owner. I've worked in 'for profit' and 'not-for-profit' companies. I support publicly funded transit, though I also understand the commitments made to date and fiscal challenges at this stage of moving away from a public-private partnership solution toward solely public options. Therefore, I will strongly advocate for the compromises which have been reinforced to date between City Council and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) with respect to operating LRT, with the cornerstone being that workers be represented by ATU. Further, ATU through its workstation safety initiative is aiming to improve the overall health, safety and security of riders, pedestrians, drivers and workers and I support their efforts.
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 I do support accelerating lane conversations particularly around commercial development primarily as a means of enhancing business and economic access and growth. The caveat though is that we plan for emergency services accessibility among other critical needs in the design which may require retaining certain one-way arterial routes.
Do you support phasing out area rating for transit? Why or why not? Yes I do. I believe services like HSR have been underfunded and negatively impacted by that underfunding, primarily related to the inequitable fiscal challenges of Ward Area Rating. As we move into initiatives such as LRT and further integration of rapid transit solutions and associated infrastructure development, it will be imperative for the City as a whole to comprehensively and equitably support these evolving fiscal needs which will benefit the City as a whole.
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 I believe the key is communication and education. Many businesses, particularly small business are not that familiar with the incremental requirements and I believe the best role a Councillor can provide is helping their constituents, primarily those that provide goods and services to understand the AODA requirements, understand and manage expectations, understand the incremental deadlines and potential options that may be available to assist businesses financially to comply witch the requirements.
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 do not support single-use suburban sprawl - I support innovative urban designs as an alternative to traditional housing space and I support mixed-use development (business, residential, entertainment, etc.) with a clear understanding that mixed-use historically comes at a premium, which means we also need to address affordability and inclusive access to those from multiple levels of income and background. Second, urban sprawl creates a whole set of additional considerations in the undeveloped environs of a municipality from infrastructure, water, sewers, transit and reliance on automobiles, policing, public safety, impact on the environment and agriculture, etc.

There will always be those that on the surface claim to support infill and intensification initiatives in existing neighborhoods as long as they are "not in my back yard". I believe we need to, as part of the education process, help reassure residents that such types of development will respect and apply safe, green technologies, which are not only good for the environment, but provide assurances to residents that re-development protects vibrant green spaces, wetlands, etc.
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 have for a number of years, been a strong advocate of integrated rapid transit solutions in Hamilton, including LRT. I had the opportunity a few years ago to witness LRT in action in western Canada and was thoroughly impressed with the impact this form of rapid transit had on the entire community. I witnessed the advantages of LRT connecting the city, altering transportation habits for the better and enhancing community growth and its ability to integrate with other rapid transit options. That prompted me on my return to engage in the debate, penning Op/Ed's in the Spec. and on social media, and engaging with the City, the Hamilton Street Railway and the Amalgamated Transit Union. I felt it was time to lend my voice to protecting current and future investments in Hamilton's integrated rapid transit solutions.
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 Absolutely and particularly with those City facilities and services that are within the City's sphere of influence. For example, reductions in emissions from built environments, reductions in energy and water consumption. Reductions in emissions as part of the overall Transit Plan, including strategies to expand the use of clean energy and electricity options in public vehicles, buses, rapid transit, etc. Strategies to reduce the reliance on automobiles. Reduce the requirement for fossil fuels, landfill emissions, landfill use and increased recycling options and reductions in food and agricultural emissions.