Colleen Wicken, Candidate for Ward 8 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2018

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Candidate Details (top)

NameWicken, Colleen
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2018
AreaWard 08
Email wicken4ward8@yahoo.com
Website (no website listed)

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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 do support improved transit. Part of my platform is to bring GO transit to the transit hub at Mohawk College. While working as Chief of Staff in the Ward 8 office I received a number of calls about poor HSR scheduling, late buses, no buses, missed connection making residents late for their jobs and appointments. I have also taken calls from parents who live on the East Mountain and their children have part time jobs in the Meadowlands. On the weekend, these young people would spend more that 6 hours on the bus and waiting for connections to do a 4 hour shift. This definitely needs to change.
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 Yes. The City of Hamilton should be engaging these students from the day they enter the schools to engage them in the advantages of having a business in Hamilton. The key is the city partnering with these schools to develop the thought leadership of starting a business here
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 As I understand it, Vision Zero looks at serious injuries and fatalities as opposed to the current way of thinking which is "Collision Rates and Cause" Vision Zero would engage the community in making all roads safer for all Hamiltonian's. We need to promote community engagement so our residents know we are listening, we appreciate their input and contributions to this important decision which ultimately involves the safety of all Hamiltonian's. Sadly we also need to educate our cyclists as to the rules of the road and pedestrians who continue to step out from the curb into traffic.
Do you support phasing out area rating for transit? Why or why not? No No but I do support dedicating a portion of area rating dollars to the betterment of transit as outlined above. I also feel that if each Councillor that receives area rating dollars dedicated 20% to Affordable housing and homelessness as well as another 5% to our food banks, we would make substantial progress in eliminating the extensive wait list and feeding our less fortunate.
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 Yes the City of Hamilton needs to step to the plate and insure a roof over everyone's hear. Hamilton needs to support a safe haven for those less fortunate. We need to work with owners of vacant factories and industrial warehouses that are often vandalized to be used as temporary hostels until such time as Hamilton can complete repairs to the many existing city owned properties that have been allowed to deteriorate to the point where they are inhabitable.. They need to work with the Province to further re-visit their decision of the Century Manor Browlands which would be a benefit to all. They need to enact by-laws with teeth that will police the vast number of unsafe apartments and low income housing across the City to make it both safe and affordable.
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? No I am a born and raised Hamiltonian and this City is unique in its approach to one way street systems. I do not support any further conversion. There are few streets left that remain one way and some now only have one lane dedicated to moving vehicles as this conversion continues. Commutes that at one time took under 10 minutes are now taking 20 to 30 minutes, this results in more idling vehicles during peak hours and more emissions / air pollution. The traffic department needs to have a tighter grasp on the synchronization of the traffic lights allowing a better flow.
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 We have neighbourhoods within Ward 8 and across the City that are still without sidewalks to accommodate safe passage to not only the children and elderly but to every resident. We need to insure that tenders for road and sidewalk repairs meet the criteria put forward by The Accessibility for Ontarians' with Disabilities Act and the Ward Councillor should work with the assigned project managers to insure the quality of work is met and that the 2 years guarantee on roadworks is fully inspected prior to the guarantee expiring.
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? No I DO NOT support LRT! There are too many questions that have not been answered. We already have a two level City with the Mountain and the lower City I have spoken to some people who are concerned that this will create a divide between North and South in the lower city. This is not the "Field of Dream scenario where "If you build it they will come" This is a "We need a way to get there!" before we tear the heart out of the core.

The community at large was not given the opportunity to give their input into this project. Yes Metrolinx took their show on the road for the residents to see, however, the residents left frustrated as no one was available to answer their questions or concerns. This should have been a referendum on this ballot if we are concerned with future growth and the destruction of the core. We have not been given a firm annual maintenance cost but another $14,000,000.00 to $15,000,000.00 annually out of the taxpayers pocket is excessive. We have not be told what it will cost to ride the LRT, we have not been told how many buses will no longer be running through the lower city as they will become redundant once LRT is completed. We have not been told of the planned conversion of Main Street to TWO WAY TRAFFIC. This was made obvious by the placement of the HAMILTON sign in the forecourt of Hamilton City Hall. Kitchener has the tracks laid and the trains delivered but they still have no service! It has been indicated that the system will be tested before the end of the year. How long would the core of our city be impassable?

While canvassing I had a long time resident suggest that if the LRT is a go, why not start it in the West end of the City Close McMaster and the Hospital send everyone home without pay until it is completed rather than expropriate and demolish the residences some of which are affordable housing which would add to our homeless percentage.

There was and still is a way this could have been done without the destruction of the core, the loss of a number of thriving businesses and it would have eliminated heavy truck traffic and industrial loads on our downtown arterial roadways. We were not offered any option other than King Street.
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 am confident that you are well aware in the Provincial mandate of Places to Grow to curb Urban Sprawl. In Ward 8 we have recently witnessed the closing of Mountain Secondary School creating a large green space which will developed to include affordable housing and as there is no safe play space for children within the boundary of the Yeoville neighbourhood, a play structure will be part of the project.
Bonus question: If LRT goes ahead, what will you do to ensure Hamilton receives the maximum benefit? Yes As previously mentioned I do not support the LRT Initiative as it is planned. If LRT should move forward, I will do all that I can to insure that there is improved North - South busing on the mountain from the Air Port to downtown that would include GO transit at the Mohawk College Transit Hub as well as complimentary East - West bus routes that are more frequent on weekends and holidays. We have these amazing retail outlets on both the East and West sides of the Upper City we need a way to get to there to support these businesses.
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 The city has an obligation to be a good steward of our community. Sustainability has three complimentary influences it is good for the environment, good for people and lowers our cost base as a city.