John-Paul Danko, Candidate for Ward 8 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2018

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Candidate Details (top)

NameDanko, John-Paul
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2018
AreaWard 08
Email votedanko@gmail.com
Website www.jpdanko.com
BioIt is an exciting time to live in Hamilton; we have one of the fastest growing economies in Canada with a diverse mix of educational, institutional, healthcare, light and heavy industry and small business.

While there are many success stories throughout our city, Hamilton still struggles with profound issues of poverty, income equality and a fundamental property tax mis-distribution that puts an unsustainable burden onto residential tax payers.

The question before us is: How do we want to live?

Do we want a modern city that is vibrant, inclusive, safe and green, or are we satisfied with how things are?

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Council 2018 Election, Terry Whitehead, Christopher Climie, Anthony Simpson, Whitehead, Climie, Simpson

I am running for Ward 8 Councilor because I believe that we need to embrace change, and follow through on our long-term planning.

I come from outside of Hamilton’s political circles and hope to bring a fresh new perspective on what is great about our City and where we can improve from here.

I am running because we need at Ward 8 Councillor who is ready to stop talking and start doing!

About John-Paul Danko

John-Paul Danko is a Professional Civil Engineer with 20 years worth of experience working with municipalities across Ontario.

He is also a founding member and currently sits on the executive board of the Centremount Neighbourhood Association.

If elected John-Paul would be the only engineer on Hamilton City Council as they tackle a $3.3 billion dollar infrastructure deficit, and over a billion dollars in annual development permits.

John-Paul Danko is also a small business owner who cares about people and responsible service.

"As a Civil Engineer I have hands on experience with the design and construction of large scale public infrastructure projects.

"As a small business owner, I know how important it is for municipal government to be consistent, responsive, open and honest. There is no substitute for real world experience, when it comes to controlling costs and managing spending."

John-Paul Danko is personally invested in Ward 8. He is a lifelong Hamiltonian who lives where he is running – in Ward 8.

"I was born at Henderson Hospital. I grew up on the Mountain. I went to school on the Mountain. I graduated from McMaster University and now I am raising my family on the West Central Mountain. I am your neighbour in Ward 8."

John-Paul Danko is not affiliated with any political party, union or other special interest. He is free to speak up to protect your tax dollars.

"I am a professional engineer and a small business owner – not a politician. I solve complicated problems for a living and I would be honored to bring that same approach to City Council."

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
Do you support improved public transit in Hamilton? If so, what changes do you propose? If not, why not? Yes Yes, I support improved public transit in Hamilton. In Ward 8, a big part of the problem is that bus routes are often convoluted and confusing and do not serve people well to get where they need to go when they need to get there. The first step is to re-align and simplify the existing bus routes to reflect the modern realities on the mountain. I believe that the HSR is currently in the process of doing this. The second step is a commitment to drastically increase bus headways on key routes. We have to make transit much more convenient before people with ride the bus because they want to not because they have to.
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 Millennials recently overtook baby-boomers as the largest population demographic in Hamilton - so clearly it is critical for the future success of Hamilton to make sure that we build a city that provides a lifestyle this demographic is looking for - along with opportunities for quality jobs, business development, affordable housing and a thriving arts and culture scene. One of the biggest assets we have as a City is our pool of motivated, educated students at Mohawk, McMaster & Redeemer. We have to remember that as a city we are not just competing with the GTHA and Kitchener Waterloo for talent, we are competing with cities across Canada and the world.
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 Yes, I support vision zero. Most vision zero changes are relatively low cost and would have minimal impact on car drivers (such as slightly narrower lanes to accommodate more space for other road users and 30km/h speed limits in residential areas). I think that Hamilton's engineering staff are well aware of the simple design changes required to achieve many vision zero goals - but a lot of the time it requires the political support of the area Councillor to
Do you support phasing out area rating for transit? Why or why not? Yes Area rating for transit is a long standing barrier to improving transit service to Hamilton's amalgamated communities. I support the immediate phase out of area rating for transit - along with an equal commitment to increasing transit service to those areas affected.
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 It has long been established that neighbourhoods function best with a mix of residents from all backgrounds and economic status. I support affordable housing, including mandated requirements for minimum percentages of affordable units for new development. I also support third party partnerships with affordable housing builders and would work to better streamline the bureaucratic process for City permits - especially for small scale developments.
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 Hamilton's one way street network was developed to address the traffic challenges of the day - mainly getting thousands of workers to and from work in Hamilton's north end. These traffic patterns no longer exist and we are way past due converting most streets back to a much more functional two-way configuration. Right now we have a mix of old one way streets, streets that have been converted back to two way, and streets that were designed to be one way but were never actually converted. This is a relatively simple transportation engineering problem that should be addressed without political interference.
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 Hamilton's plan to comply with The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act involves a tiered approach where the most critical and cost effective updates are prioritized. I think that this is a reasonable plan considering the substantial cost involved (in the order of $157 million). Of course, we would all like these updates to be completed long before the deadline, but without help from the Province a phased approach is required - especially for an old municipality like Hamilton where simple changes like ramps and elevators are very challenging to retrofit into old buildings.
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 Yes, I support completing the LRT plan. LRT has already proven to be a catalyst for jobs, new business and significant development. New tax revenue for the City along the LRT corridor helps to address one of Hamilton's most significant long term issues - an over reliance on residential taxpayers. New tax revenue downtown takes some of the tax pressure off of residents in Ward 8. LRT also speaks to our vision for the kind of City we want to be. With a population of 750,000 projected within the next 20 years, we have to make sure that Hamilton is competitive on the world stage. At some point, we can no longer be afraid of success.
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
Ward 8 is nearly built out (in its' current form) and the population of the Ward is not projected to increase significantly in the next twenty years. However, the population of the City of Hamilton as a whole is projected to grow by 30% within the next 20 years. New car-dependent greenfield development on the south mountain will have a major impact on the quality of life in Ward 8 where residents already have major concerns with traffic congestion and speeding at 2018 population levels. It is well established that sprawl development is heavily subsidized by denser inner suburbs, urban centers and urban commercial development. As a first step, it is clear that greenfield developers should pay 100% of the lifecycle costs of any new development. In Ward 8 the Upper James corridor is mostly low density strip-malls and converted single-family housing. I see this corridor as a fantastic opportunity for new transit oriented low rise, mixed use residential/commercial development.
Bonus question: If LRT goes ahead, what will you do to ensure Hamilton receives the maximum benefit? Yes If nothing else, the LRT debate has highlighted that we do have serious problems with our existing HSR transit options. We can't build LRT, then continue to ignore bus transit - one cannot succeed without the other. We also have to find ways to address the displacement of vulnerable populations through increased property values. Affordable housing has to be part of the LRT plan. Finally, we must leverage our investment in LRT - the whole purpose of this project is to make Hamilton a better place to live and encourage urban growth. We have to make sure that zoning and regulations are in place to make sure that we encourage quality growth, with attention to how people will interact with urban spaces, the aesthetic qualities of the urban form and allowances for green space and recreation.

But here is what YOU can do. This is an important election for Hamilton. With the boundary realignment, the new Ward 8 councillor will likely hold a deciding vote on many of the issues discussed above. If these issues are important to you - there is still time to help out with the campaign: http://www.jpdanko.com
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 We are already seeing the effects of Climate Change in Hamilton - engineers now oversize stormwater management systems and bridges because the historic 100 year flows are proving inadequate for a functional design. As an industrial city, there are a number of initiatives that we can undertake to address climate change that also help to reduce pollution. Focusing on infill transit oriented development instead of sprawl, supporting local agriculture, zoning and building permit changes to require better energy efficiency and higher quality construction with longer lifecycles, charging for stormwater runoff to discourage large impervious surfaces and continuing to expand Hamilton's urban forest canopy.