Robert Iszkula, Candidate for Ward 14 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2018

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Candidate Details (top)

NameIszkula, Robert
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2018
AreaWard 14
Email robert@ward14.ca
Website https://www.ward14.ca/
BioDriven by Community
I'm here to listen to the issues that concern you and to represent you at Hamilton City Council. I'm not satisfied with the status quo and believe we deserve more than the bare minimum effort that is currently being given in Ward 14.
Here are some of my ideas to grow and improve Ward 14:

Building a Strong Community
Working with you, my neighbours in Ward 14, I will fight for better community spaces that are safe, accessible and serve the needs of the residents. We do not have a library branch in Ward 14, and many of us do not have easy access to indoor or outdoor gathering spaces. I will fight for a new library and enhanced public spaces.

Improved Public Transit
I will fight to reduce traffic issues through smarter street design. I will push for better transit service to Ward 14 and I will ensure that future road projects include safer spaces for people of all ages to walk and cycle.

Accountability and Transparency
Ward 14 deserves a stronger voice at City Hall. I pledge to attend all council votes and represent you at every meeting. My job on council will be to work for you, and to that end I will be transparent and accessible throughout my entire term.

Wise Spending
I recognize that creating a better Ward 14 will cost money, however the solutions that I bring forward will be created with an eye towards fiscal responsibility and efficiency. For example, we have highly-trained professionals already on payroll - often expensive third party consultants are not needed. I will keep the work local, saving time and dollars.
Let's have a conversation about improving Ward 14. Thank you.

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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
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 Yes, Divesting from fossil fuels and encouraging all large organizations in Hamilton to do so would be a great start. It is also imperative that we anticipate environmental impacts when we create bylaws that drive development. Permeable pavers that reduce runoff pollution and heat island effects, planting more trees, encouraging use of electric vehicles, transit and cycling, as well as zoning so that people have amenities close to their houses - all of these can improve quality of life for local residents while at the same time making a positive impact on climate goals.
Do you support improved public transit in Hamilton? If so, what changes do you propose? If not, why not? Yes Yes. Previous councils have been underfunding the HSR for the last 20 years. This needs to be reversed. I will ask the HSR to completely revisit the bus routes to tie into the new rapid transit along the B-Line. This reconfiguration will mean that even the neighbourhoods nowhere near the line will see vast improvements in transit using the resources we already have. I want to see a more efficient HSR network of bus routes on the mountain, with easier connections to downtown. LRT is a huge opportunity to leverage provincial funding to free up the buses we already own for better service throughout the city.
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 creates high quality graduates from our world class post secondary institutions. We can no longer afford the local "brain drain" caused when these young people move away when the city does not offer what they need. We must begin to acknowledge that today's youth have different needs than those of us who graduated in past decades. I will work for what youth want: better transit, high quality jobs, compact urban living, car-lite lifestyles, etc. so that those who chose to learn here are more likely to decide to build their careers and families 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 Yes, our current road designs encourage dangerous situations because they are built to accommodate high speeds through neighbourhoods where people live. We can have streets that are efficient and convenient for drivers while making it safe for all users, whether they are driving, walking or cycling. Separated on-street facilities for bikes are a perfect example: they remove slower bike traffic from car lanes, improving driving efficiencies, while at the same time creating a safe space for cyclists and a buffer between cars and pedestrians. The most dangerous encounters happen at intersections. By adopting best practises that have been tested in other municipalities, we can make our intersections much safer for all users by removing "ramp" style turn lanes from residential areas, tightening turning radii, and creating clearer pavement markings. I also support truck route bylaws and enforcement to keep large trucks from using residential neighbourhoods as shortcuts.
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 Every citizen deserves a place to sleep and call home. The city plays a vital role in making that possible. I will work towards higher percentage of geared-to-income housing in new large developments. I will also support small scale intensification that can create more affordable options as well: shared homes, tiny houses, in-law suites, etc can be encouraged through modernized zoning. I believe the city has a responsibility to create and properly manage public housing initiatives, but the solutions require a more holistic approach.
Do you support phasing out area rating for transit? Why or why not? Yes Yes, Area rating for transit needs to be phased out. Public transit is an indicator of a city's well being, and is part of a package that a city can use to attract new investment. We need to commit funding across all wards, because good transit not only helps those who ride it, but helps the rest of us by making our city a world class place to call home.
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? Maybe I support continuity in our streets, right now we have roads that go from two way to one way and back again - this doesn't serve anyone. I support using one way streets as tools to create efficient, balanced transportation system for all residents. Some of our one way streets do move traffic efficiently, but others are detrimental to wayfinding because they force you to circle multiple blocks to find your destination. I do not want to remove every one way street, but I would like to see many of our one ways reverted to two way in cases where they better serve local residents and businesses.
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 can't wait to "Ride the Tiger"! LRT will ultimately be a beneficial piece of infrastructure all Hamiltonians can be proud of. It will not only move more people for less money over its lifespan, but it will move us up on the world stage and attract more residents and jobs to the city. We will also leverage the provincial investment to complete some much needed infrastructure improvements below the pavement that we would otherwise have to pay for from our own property taxes. LRT is a win for all of us and worth our support.
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 Our city has a long way to go and I will work toward allocating budgets to ensure that people of all abilities have complete freedom of mobility here. Our buses are accessible, but getting to the bus stop is difficult. I support an increase in sidewalk widths - currently two people walking cannot pass without turning sideways in most areas. I also want to see a new standard in driveway ramps so that they do not take up most of the waking area with a slanted section making it difficult for mobility devices, strollers, and even pedestrians walking - especially in winter.
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 In order to prosper, our city needs to embrace more residents and more employers, who will share the infrastructure costs by adding tax revenue. Sprawl costs more to service than it brings in from new tax assessments, so by necessity we must increase our density. I will support adding residential and employment density, especially downtown where the infrastructure is already in place.