Rich Gelder, Candidate for Ward 13 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2018

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Candidate Details (top)

NameGelder, Rich
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2018
AreaWard 13
Email gelder4dundas@gmail.com
Website http://gelder4flamborough.ca
BioTwenty-three years ago, Rich moved back to the Hamilton area after earning post-secondary degrees across the country. He began running and exploring the trails of the Dundas Valley and fell in love with the town. In 1997, he moved to Dundas and has never looked back.

Rich was born on the east mountain in Hamilton and at a young age moved to Stoney Creek where he was raised by a single mom with three boys. He has educational experiences across the country.

- Saltfleet High School class of 1987
- Bachelor of Honours, Political Science, Carleton University, 1992
- Bachelor of Law, University of Victoria, 1995
- Bachelor of Education, University of Toronto, 2000.

Upon his return to the Hamilton area, Rich began volunteering and coaching with the Hamilton Olympic Club (track and field), a volunteer commitment that is now more than twenty years and has culminated with him serving as current club president. His volunteer work with HOC, as well as a more than twenty year commitment to the CANUSA Games (annual competition between the cities of Hamilton and Flint, Michigan), led him to a different professional calling.

Rich entered the teaching profession in 2000 and has spent 18 years with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. Having taught at both Parkside High School and Highland Secondary School, Rich was the first Head of Modern Languages at the new Dundas Valley Secondary School, a role he still fulfills. He also spent eleven years teaching at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School in Hamilton.

In recent years, Rich has become active on a range of civic issues related to complete streets, including speaking out in support of public transit, bus lanes, light rail transit and cycling. A cycling commuter, Rich has also served as a house league coach with the Dundas Minor Hockey Association for the past five years.

Rich currently lives in the shadow of the Dundas water tower with his beautiful and supportive partner, Catherine and their two sons, Liam and Jamie. When he isn’t working or volunteering in the community, he enjoys being physically active including road and trail running with several local groups. He also enjoys the solitude of a long road bike ride.

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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 Be vigilant and ensure that whatever consortium wins the right to design, build, operate, maintain and finance the project is doing their job through frequent and publicly-accountable oversight. We also need to ensure that businesses in the corridor whose livelihoods will be disrupted during the phased-in project are supported.
Do you support improved public transit in Hamilton? If so, what changes do you propose? If not, why not? Yes Yes I do. In this order:

1. Completion of the LRT line from McMaster University to Eastgate Square;
2. An end to the current practice of area rating for public transit and a move towards a straight urban-rural split.
3. Enhanced service for the outlying areas, in particular Dundas and Greensville (which doesn't have transit currently).
4. Implementation of the other four letters of the BLAST network as envisioned by the 2011 Rapid Ready Report.
5. A return to the schedule of the 10-year transit plan.
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 support the immediate conversion of one-way to two-way, hopefully as part of the move to light rail transit. With LRT going down King, Main must be simultaneously converted to two way.

The six decade experiment with one way streets has proven a dismal failure in the downtown core. We have also seen evidence of a neighbourhood revival, James Street North, when it was converted back to two-way.
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 This starts with public transit. We need to move fast and get going on light rail transit, which presents the biggest opportunity for accessible transit with ground level boarding. Further, we need fund the HSR and DARTS, in particular, so as to increase the frequency and response time of these services.
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 Yes, I believe we need to put an end to suburban sprawl which puts onerous costs on the city to service these hinterland areas. Rather, development ought take the form of dense, infill, however still respecting the local character of certain areas of the city. As a starting point, higher and denser development ought be incentivized and diverted to the LRT corridor.
Do you support phasing out area rating for transit? Why or why not? Yes I believe we ought end the current practice of area rating and move towards a straight up urban-rural split. If your area receives transit, you pay the same tax rate (and fares) as everyone else in the city. That way, we all contribute to each other's transit improvements. However, if you do not receive transit nor ever will, then you ought pay nothing for transit.
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 In addition to re-committing to funding public transit so as to get people out of their cars, we need to ensure that our waste diversion program is robust. We need to solve the odour problem of our central composting facility and ensure measures are in place to ensure proper recycling initiatives.
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 most assuredly be attempting to attract young people to the city. Although the city can't really affect the programming at places like McMaster, Mohawk and Redeemer, which is outstanding, we can still prioritize affordable, dense housing and high order transit for young people, more of whom are eschewing private car ownership. This means LRT. This means the BLAST network. This means a return to the Ten-Year Transit Plan.
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 strongly and unconditionally support the LRT plan in Hamilton and am proud to be the only candidate in Ward 13 that does. I believe that, in addition to being a transformative and environmentally sound transit initiative within the BLAST network as envisioned by Rapid Ready, it presents Hamilton with a generational opportunity to attract development and investment that will grow our tax base. In addition, it creates incentive for dense,high storey development, the likes of which is appropriate in the LRT corridor AND not in other parts of the city, like Dundas.
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 support Vision Zero and what I call Vision 40. We need to implement traffic calming measures chief of which are high-speed one way thoroughfares through our downtown. We need other traffic calming measures, other than simple stop signs, including bumpouts, physically separated cycling lanes and saner speed limits. Vision 40 would see any residential street not identified as an arterial road with a speed limit of 40km/h. Perhaps the city "unless otherwise posted" speed limit ought itself be moved to 40km/h.
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 believe the city does have a role to play in attracting more affordable housing. And that starts with attracting more dense, infill development to begin with. With such developers come requests for zoning and other variances, which the city needs to leverage so as to require developers to avail themselves of inclusionary zoning provisions in the form of affordable unit quotas.