Erik Hess, Candidate for Ward 2 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2010

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Candidate Details (top)

NameHess, Erik
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2010
AreaWard 02
Email ehess@rocketmail.com
Website http://www.erikhess.ca/

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
Should we spend the Future Fund to build a Pan Am / Ticat stadium on the CP Rail Yard lands? Why or why not? Yes The future fund is a one time legacy fund that needs very careful consideration. What value does this bring to our community, long term? We do not know the final costs. That is very disconcerting. A decision cannot be made without that knowledge. What value to the downtown does this stadium bring? We need many questions answered, and at this time I would not spend this fund on the stadium.
Is Hamilton doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods? If not, what should the City be doing? No Hamilton should be pressing for provincial and federal money to assist in recovering our brownfields. Because of Hamilton's industrial past, we are not on a level playing field with municipalities that don't inherently have such areas to clean up. If we are left to pay for those costs alone, it increases our municipal tax burden, which in turn, affects the decisions of businesses we're trying to attract.

I believe that when the empty spaces in our core areas are redeveloped, the neighbourhoods thrive. People naturally draw business with them - people move in, business moves in to serve them, and a neighbourhood lives. We must work to rejuvenate the dying areas within our city before expanding outward.
Some cities have committed recently to publishing their public data in an open format that citizens can directly access. Should Hamilton pledge to become an "open source city"? Why or why not? Yes Sharing of data can bring value with open and up to date information. The cost is a concern, however this may well be off set, with the value added from timely and accurate information available to all equally. We must also be cognizant of what information and privacy issues should be taken into consideration. That said, we need to make public data as open and accessible as possible.
Do you support Hamilton's LRT proposal? If so, what will you do to ensure Hamilton's success in building LRT? If not, why do you oppose it? Yes The intensification of our downtown living space hinges on the LRT. Through my past work with the city, I have always considered all the options and presented what I believed to be the best plan for any given project. If elected, I would work to that same end with the LRT, and support the routes and plans that best serve Hamiltonians.
Council is poised to vote on the Airport Employment Growth District, a 3,000 acre plan to expand the urban boundary around Hamilton International Airport for employment lands. Do you support this plan? Why or why not? No This is much too large of a project at this time. I believe that we must look at the brownfield areas as our future growth area. The businesses that MUST be near the airport should, of course, be near the airport, however non airport businesses need to be part of our brownfield development area.
Hamilton's Cycling Master Plan has Council approval. However, the implementation timeline is very long and ward councillors can block individual bike lane projects. Do you support accelerating the completion of a continuous bicycle network and other initiatives like a bike sharing program and better access up and down the Escarpment? Why or why not? Yes Having the opportunity to design and build many trails through Hamilton I feel this program which I was part of in its early years of development needs to continue rolling at a faster pace. The master plan indicates a system of interconnecting trails throughout the city that would allow for not just recreational use but also commuting to work opportunities.

The preferred trails would be off street and separate from motorized traffic. However, in the interest of a complete interconnecting system we will need to implement bike lanes in a sensitive way with the community where off street trails are not possible. I have designed and built many kilometres of trails on the waterfront and the city and understand the issues and costs related to this project and also the benefits to our health and the environment.
For your campaign, will you be accepting donations from corporations or unions? If so, why? If not, why not? Yes As a candidate with no corporate or union affiliations, I will accept campaign donations from all sources with the intention of using those donations strictly for campaign purposes. I will not accept money from any source that makes it contingent upon a perceived agenda or with strings attached.