Hamilton·Hamilton Votes

'That is a lie': Ward 1 candidate who uses wheelchair disputes inaccessibility of LRT

Sophie Geffros, Ward 1 election candidate, uses a wheelchair and often watches crammed buses pass by. So when a light rail transit (LRT) opponent said the planned transit system wasn't accessible, Geffros couldn't help but fire back.

13 candidates are running for Ward 1

Sophie Geffros, a Ward 1 candidate who uses a wheelchair, takes exception to the notion that LRT isn't accessible. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Sophie Geffros, Ward 1 election candidate, uses a wheelchair and often watches crammed buses pass by. So when a light rail transit (LRT) opponent said the planned transit system wasn't accessible, Geffros couldn't help but fire back.

The 23-year-old was one of 13 candidates in a Ward 1 debate at McMaster University Tuesday. Held by the McMaster University Students Union, the debate focused on rental housing, safety — and of course, LRT.

Carol Lazich, a candidate who opposes LRT, said the system contravenes the provincial Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Geffros, who's been left on the side of the road many times, got visibly riled.

Carol Lazich, Harrison White and Sharon Cole (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

"Some of us worked on steering committees regarding its implementation," Geffros said. "That is a lie.

"The LRT is a truly accessible mass transit that will hugely benefit people with disabilities in the city. In fact, the accessibility committee at city hall universally recommended it as accessible transit.

"I know what I'm talking about. Don't come at this issue."

Lazich doubled down. Even though she's not "as well versed in that area as I possibly should be," she said, she knows LRT stops will be between 600 and 1,000 metres apart. 

Sharon Anderson, Ela Eroglu, Maureen Wilson. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

"I can't understand how you feel that does not contravene the accessibilities act when people have to navigate 1,000 metres between the stops through snow, ice, through rain."

Geffros said afterward that HSR buses only fit two wheelchairs. Buses regularly pass people in wheelchairs — in the snow, in the dark.

"I felt disrespected," Geffros said of the argument. "And I felt tokenized at the same time. I didn't appreciate it."

Eleven candidates are running to replace Aidan Johnson in the Oct. 22 municipal election. Johnson isn't running again.

Lyla Miklos, Syed Bakht. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Other moments from the debate:

  • Harrison White, 22, says he knows what it's like to have an absentee landlord. His old landlord let the sink flood the kitchen for six months. He was also hit by a car when he was 10 and had to relearn how to walk. "When I say I want safe streets, I mean it."
  • Maureen Wilson proposed looking at transit through a "gender-purposed lens." That means safer, brighter-lit transit stops. More than 60 per cent of transit users are women, she said.
  • Lyla Miklos proposed holding regular town halls at McMaster to engage students and hear their issues.
  • Jason Allen proposed a more streamlined process for people to complain to police. This will help police get better data about what's happening in neighbourhoods. He also proposed a sort of "social media Neighbourhood Watch."
  • Lazich and Wilson disagreed on how to characterize LRT, which will be run by a third party through a public-private partnership. Wilson said it'll be a public asset "like GO Transit." Lazich says it'll be more akin to Highway 407.
Jordan Geertsma, Jason Allen. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

For more on the Ward 1 candidates, check out their profiles below. Candidate Syed Bakht did not submit a response.

The election is Oct. 22.


Jason Allen

Jason Allen (Jason Allen campaign)

Age: 46.

Occupation: Director, Learning and Networking for the Canadian Urban Transit Association. Before that I spent seven years at Metrolinx. I am a long-time transit professional and expert.

Where do you live?: In Kirkendall, near Locke Street.

Past experience: I ran for this role in 2014, and in the past 10 years have sat on the participatory budget advisory committee, the Strathcona Community Council, the Kirkendall Neighbourhood Association, the Kirkendall Development Review Commmitee, and the Kirkendall Neighbourhood Plan Committee. I have also written several op-eds in the Spectator and elsewhere in the past few years drawing attention to ward issues such as safe streets and the broken public consultations process at city hall. Finally, as an acknowledged transit expert, I have the understanding and experience with transit to ensure that legacy projects such as the LRT are executed successfully.

What are the top issues facing your ward?: The issues I am hearing the most from residents are about safe streets (beyond just speed bumps, but figuring out how transit, cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles can share the road safely), safer neighbourhoods, especially in regards to by-law enforcement, and better development, not only of large buildings, but also infills.

Do you support LRT?: 100%, and I'm the only Ward 1 candidate with enough experience in transit to work to ensure it's done properly.

Why are you the right person for the job?

I'm the best person for the job because I have volunteered countless hours in the past 10 years working to improve the ward and make it better for people who live here. I've done this work on top of my professional career and I want to put all my energy and experience into making the ward the best it can be.  I know the ward, the people, and the issues. I know I can get the job done.

Something you'd like voters to know about you:

I love the outdoors, especially camping, and am an avid gardener.

Sharon Anderson

Sharon Anderson.

Age: 34.

Occupation: Asset management specialist for a neighbouring municipality.

Where do you live?: Ward 1 —​ Ainslie Wood.

Past experience:

  • Six years working as a municipal structural engineering consultant.
  • 1.5 year Masters of Engineering in Cities Engineering and Management.
  • Two years and counting working at a neighbouring municipality improving their policies and procedures and helping to plan their infrastructure renewals and inventories.

What are the top issues facing your ward?:

  • Communication between the different groups which live and work in the ward.
  • Affordable housing.
  • Complete streets providing increased safety for all road users throughout the ward.

Do you support LRT?: Yes with some adjustments and clarifications. 

Why are you the right person for the job?

I am able to listen, communicate, problem solve, and collaborate effectively and then stubbornly persist until the identified solution to issues has been implemented. 

Something you'd like voters to know about you:

I grew up in Ward 1 and graduated from McMaster University. I have friends, family, work colleagues, neighbours and acquaintances throughout the ward who are not shy about sharing their opinions on how things are going. If elected, I will do my best to work with all of you to maintain and improve a Ward 1 where you feel welcome, listened to and involved. 

Sharon Cole

Sharon Cole.

Age: 64.

Occupation: Business owner.

Where do you live?: On the border of Ward 1 and 2.

Past experience: I am a business professional with over 25 years of entrepreneurial and business development experience in Hamilton, including a wealth of corporate, marketing and property management experience. Through my personal and professional experiences, it has always been important to me to have a presence and involvement in a number of governance and service roles with municipal, provincial and national groups and agencies. I have always been a strong advocate and ambassador for sustainable growth within Hamilton.    

What are the top issues facing your ward?:

  • Housing solutions: The need to examine and find solutions to the increased cost of housing with a focus on the diversified, evolving population base, the needs of established  homeowners, renters and students and the challenge of affordability and quality. 
  • Improved public transportation: The development and ease of accessibility to public and alternative transport, including integrated rapid-transit solutions and safe, efficient cycling options that reflect the spirit of Vision Zero initiatives adopted by other cities.  I do strongly support integrated LRT and rapid-transit solutions as a means of enhancing investment, growing our economy and providing convenient access to city-wide programs, services, businesses and institutions.  
  • Economic growth: The continued development of Ward 1 as an education and innovation hub along with acting as a hive for small and independent businesses and services. This has to be done with a keen respect and balance for the environmental and conservation needs of our vibrant and attractive community.

Do you support LRT?: Yes.

Why are you the right person for the job? 

I will apply my years of governance and business experience to champion for unified decision-making processes within city council. I believe in balancing the opinions and input of our various neighbourhoods with the need for council solidarity.  My values for the city embrace innovation, conservation and collaboration and my goal is to apply these values to the continued resurgence of the west-end, its people and ultimately the city as a whole.  

Something you'd like voters to know about you:

I have a lifelong connection with Hamilton, in particular its vibrant and inclusive west-end community. From its industrial roots, exceptional educational and health care institutions, to the growth of the small and independent business community. I am proud to not only call Hamilton my hometown, but also the place I've chosen to establish a fruitful career.  'Giving back' through community engagement and volunteerism is something that I and my husband strongly practice, believe in and inspire in our children.

Ela Eroglu

Age: 49.

Occupation: Licensed Architect / President of ELAARC Architectural Services Inc.

Where do you live? Although currently I live in an adjacent community, for many years I lived in west Hamilton, raised my family there. I know the area and community very well and I have deep connections with having family members currently living in the area. It is a place with loving memories, a special place for me and my family.

Past experience: I am a member of Ontario Association of Architects and appointed to association's complaints committee for the term ending December 2020. I was a public employee at the City of Mississauga before I established my own architectural practice in Hamilton. In that role with the City of Mississauga at the capital planning section of facilities and property management department, I retained, coordinated and managed external and internal resources, provided leadership and advice on short, medium and long- term capital investment budget. I am a certified project manager and a member of Project Management Institute. I am an advocate for sustainable and environmentally sensitive design and development, a LEED accredited professional and a member of Green Building Council. I am a member of Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and a successful business woman and a leader in the community.

What are the top issues facing your ward?

In Ward 1 violation of bylaws related to rental housing and property use along with noise and hygiene problems needs to be addressed. Difficulties on enforcing bylaws such as property standards, parking and absentee landlords are making the situation worse. This makes it extremely difficult to maintain a balanced neighbourhood that students and non-student residents live in harmony at a safe environment with a sense of community. The neighbourhoods around McMaster are suffering from bylaw violations for a long time.

Secondly, creating a safe and friendly neighbourhood that everybody feels safe. Enhancing a walkable, cyclable roads and developing more continuous paths for bikes are essential. In its current condition throughout our ward and the rest of the city, it is hard to say that our roads are safe to drive, walk or bike. The condition is very poor. It's been long neglected and needs our attention. Providing a reliable, accessible and affordable public transportation is vital for our ward as well. By investing in our public services wisely we can make transportation, housing and access to arts and recreation affordable and accessible to everyone.

Another one is ending poverty. This is one of my priorities. Sadly, so many families with children in Ward 1 lives under the poverty line. People living and dying on our streets, children going school with empty stomach and parents working on two-three jobs and struggle for providing basic human needs for their families are not acceptable.

Do you support LRT?

Yes.

Why are you the right person for the job?

An architect with over 25 years of experience and a leader with accountability and responsibility on major projects, I have demonstrated proven leadership skills and a vision that I can bring to the table and be a strong voice for the residents of Ward 1.

The residents of Ward 1 will be selecting a representative that will be making decisions on education, seniors care, the environment, infrastructure and safety in our community. They deserve a hard-working person who is proud of my non-partisan campaign – ready, willing and able to bring solutions to the growing challenges we all face in these critical aspects of municipal life.

Something you'd like voters to know about you:

I am running for council because I profoundly care about this community and I know I can make a real impact and represent Ward 1 in a transparent, engaging, and progressive manner with the interests of people always prioritized. For me, it is all about community and leadership, it is not about politics but people.

Jordan Geertsma

Jordan Geertsma.

Age: 36.

Occupation: Owner, Snooty Fox Pub in Westdale.

Where You Live: Ward 4, Rosedale.

Past experience: Running a pub for the last 10+ years has given me managerial experience including, but not limited to, cost/revenue analysis and allocation of funds; cost/benefit analysis and implementation, and the efficient use of sometimes limited resources such as staff, product and capital. Being a pub owner has given me customer service expertise, which has taught me that listening to my staff and my guests, as well as engaging in debates and discussions before an idea is implemented is the only way to progress in business and not to become stagnant or irrelevant. I am confident that these, among other, lessons learned make my past experiences very relevant for the position of Ward 1 councillor.

The Top Issues Facing Ward One: Obviously the hot-button issue facing Hamilton and Ward 1 right now is the LRT debate. I believe, however, that the top issues facing Ward 1 are perhaps a little less glamourous. Preventative repair and maintenance of our sewers, roads, sidewalks, bike lanes and parks are crucial, and have not had as much attention (or funds) paid to them as may be necessary. As both the population of the city and ward grow, and as weather patterns change, we should be preparing ourselves instead of addressing problems as they occur. Also, with the yearly flux in population due to the student bodies of McMaster University and Columbia International College, we in Ward 1, should be looking for housing solutions that eliminate overcrowded, and sometimes illegal, student rentals in the area.

Do you support LRT? As mentioned above, the LRT debate is a popular one right now. I have many concerns with the proposed project, including safety, necessity and economic impact. It is for these reasons that I do not support the LRT. My safety concern is the turmoil that will be caused during the construction period. All of us who live in Hamilton know what happens in the city when the 403 or the Skyway is shut down. Traffic slows to a crawl (to put it mildly), and that is with Main Street being open. I could not imagine a scenario in which a shutdown happens, Main Street is not accessible, and all traffic (bicycles and vehicles) are diverted onto secondary routes. This is a recipe for disaster and someone is going to get hurt. I do not believe that the LRT is a necessity in Hamilton either. The amount of taxpayer money spent on running a rail line from McMaster to Eastgate would be better spent on improvements we could make to the HSR and to other infrastructure projects necessary to the city. Finally, as a small business owner and as one who has connections to other small businesses in Hamilton, the economic impact on the businesses along the proposed route would be devastating. During construction of the line there would be limited, if any, access to the businesses along the route. This could take years to recover from economically, if recovery were even possible. I do not believe it to be fair to even consider a project that could destroy someone's livelihood.

Why are you the right person for the job?: I believe I am the right person for the job because I have spent the last 15 years as both an employee at, and then an owner of, an establishment that has given me the opportunity to listen and to speak to residents daily about the joys and frustrations of living in Ward One. I promise to be a direct line of communication between city hall and all of those who either live or do business in Ward One, whether that be through social media, newsletters, meetings or just walking around talking to people. I will be present for votes and I will be available. I believe Ward 1 and Hamilton deserve a more accessible and user-friendly city hall and I will deliver that.

Something you would like the voters to know:

I am married to my best friend Christine, and we are the proud parents of our hilarious and intelligent six year-old son Lukas. Just having these two in my life loving me, supporting me and holding me accountable make me a better person.

Sophie Geffros

Sophie Geffros.

Age: 23.

Occupation: Researcher and community organizer.

Where do you live?: Ainslie Wood West.

Past experience: I have been a longtime advocate for housing and transit justice, and have worked on the #FixTheHSR and #FightFor15 campaigns. I have extensive policy development experience: I have consulted on the Ministry of Education's policies on disabled students, the Ministry of Health's policies on medically fragile children, and sat on the special education advisory committee as the Easter Seals representative from 2010-2013. I was part of the team that founded and developed Maccess, a peer-to-peer disability equity service at McMaster University. I currently serve as the working youth coordinator for the Ontario NDP, connecting precariously employed young people with resources and education on their rights as workers. Earlier this year, I worked as a voter contact organizer for Sandy Shaw.

What are the top issues facing your ward?:

Safe and affordable housing; pedestrian safety and traffic calming; and public transit.

Do you support LRT?: Yes — I believe that if implemented correctly, LRT can be used to develop equity in our city. As an example, I believe that all developments built along the proposed line must include affordable and geared-to-income units alongside market rate units. LRT is also the only fully accessible transit option currently available to us: as a wheelchair user, I am very familiar with the experience of waiting for much longer than those without mobility devices because HSR buses can only accommodate two wheelchair or scooter users at a time.

Why are you the right person for the job?

I am a passionate advocate for my community with a proven track record of getting things done. In a community as large and varied as Ward 1, it is important that our councillor not just listen to and amplify the voices of their constituents, but that they act as a conduit to connect community members and stakeholders with each other. I am committed to improving the process of community consultation and communication around new developments, to improve our transit, and to address the appalling housing conditions in our ward. Our campaign has been about reaching out to those who are not always heard — older adults, newcomers, people with disabilities, racialized people, and students, to name just a few. As a councillor I pledge to be proactive in reaching out and developing relationships with constituents, and to include them in all aspects of the political process.

Something you'd like voters to know about you:

I believe fundamentally that everyone has the right to safe and affordable housing, reliable public transit, and safe and accessible infrastructure. This belief has driven everything I have worked on throughout my life. I also would like to address the fallacy that my age means that I am inexperienced. As addressed above, I have more policy and organizing experience than many people twice my age: I simply got started early.

Carol Lazich

Carol Lazich.

Occupation: Sales/business owner.

Where do you live?: Ward 1.

Past experience: Past president of Strathcona community council.

What are the top issues facing your ward?: Financial / infrastructure/ safe community.

Do you support LRT?: I support a better transit system by advocating to implement the BLAST network which would service all Hamiltonians.

Why are you the right person for the job? I am the right person because I have lived In the ward for over 30 years, as well as raising a family here. This resulted in community involvement, volunteerism and awareness. I have been involved in a 65-year-old service-oriented business in Ward 1 which has supported and contributed to Hamilton. In addition to working locally I spent the majority of my career in other businesses travelling internationally which allowed me the opportunity to experience other cultures and nationalities negotiating, teaching and mentoring. I believe I possess all the characteristics needed to make a strong , effective councillor. I am a strong, dedicated team player who will advocate for the constituent as well as community.

Something you'd like voters to know about you: Crime Stoppers board member.

Richard Massie

Richard Massie.

Occupation: Storekeeper/receiver in materials management, Oakville Hospital.

Where do you live? Live in new Ward 14 on the boundary of Ward 1.

Past experience: I have proven leadership, retail business operations, and labour management experience in private sector and unionized workplaces. I have skills in finance, budgeting and communicating priorities. I have a paramedic diploma and a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics. I have 14 years community volunteer service.

Top issues in Ward 1:

  • Economic development: Small business is the catalyst for revitalizing our neighbourhoods and building wealth. I want to identify high growth businesses and support young high achievers with opportunities for work to raise incomes and move our economy forward. At the same time, I want to support existing community services that are in a constant precarious position due to the concentration of poverty, addiction and mental illness.
  • Infrastructure and housing: Ward 1's economy relies on water, electrical, facilities, safety services, and transit network connections. We need to build affordable housing for growing families, first-time owners, renters, newcomers, and our seniors. A well located dwelling can save significant household travel costs and improve overall family economics.  The money can then be invested in local schools, businesses and jobs — building a healthier neighbourhood.
  • Enhance, protect and maintain clean green spaces for everyone: Ward 1's parks, forests and wetlands reduce air and water pollutants, provide wildlife habitat, and benefit everyone in the neighbourhood with a place for physical activity, stress reduction and community interaction.

Do you support LRT? I support LRT but not the current proposal. It doesn't go far enough. Transit is a vital public utility. It needs increased funding, reliability, and better connections (higher ridership means less subsidizing with our tax dollars) to our neighbourhoods downtown and on the mountain, GO stations, hospitals, university and college, and the port and airport.

Why are you the right person or the job?

I am the right person for the job because I respect taxpayer dollars. I will act on behalf of all individuals and groups with diplomacy and respect. I will emphasize common ground to move Ward 1 forward in dispute resolution processes. And I will cultivate and put forward new ideas. 

Something you'd like voters to know about you:

I'd like voters to know that I live right beside Canada's largest international student residence, a closed hospital, and a greenspace where a developer has plans for condo development 'bigger than Hamilton mountain has ever seen." I personally experience noise, traffic and opposition to intensification. Most recently I stood up to a large corporation (Canada Post) when it failed to properly consult Hamilton citizens and local municipal rights.

Lyla Miklos

Lyla Miklos.

Age: 44.

Occupation: Education worker, lay chaplain, publicist, broadcast journalist.

Where do you live?: Ward 1.

Past experience: Over 20 years of experience as a sex positive, queer, feminist, activist. Helped create and served as president of Mohawk Pride, Mohawk College's first official club for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, two spirit, and more (LGBTQI2S+) students. Instrumental in forming the GLBT Advisory Committee for the City of Hamilton, later sitting on it as a member and interim chair. Member of Hamilton Pride Festival Inc. for over a decade, chairing it in 2005 and 2002. Support group facilitator for the Toronto Bisexual Network, Bisexual Women of Toronto and the Hamilton Bisexual Network and a volunteer with the Toronto Women's Bathhouse Committee. Co-staff advisor with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board for Parkside High School's Gay-Straight Alliance Club and Westdale Secondary School's Positive Space Club. Former member of the Ontario Federation of Labour's Solidarity & Pride Committee representing OSSTF. Former Chief Negotiator for OSSTF D21 OCTU.

Former Chair of OSSTF D21's Political Action Committee. Former Union Steward for CEP Local 723M. Secretary for the CHUM Locals Council. Over 20 years of experience in the Broadcast and Communications industries. Currently the Host and Producer of Centre Stage on 101.5 FM The Hawk and is the Owner of Lyla-The Publicist. Lay Chaplain with The First Unitarian Church of Hamilton. Former Co-Chair of the Church's Worship Committee.

Over 30 years of experience as a vocalist and community theatre performer. Former Board Member for Hamilton Theatre Inc. Former member of Arts Hamilton's Theatre Arts Committee.

Also served as a board or committee member with Elect More Women, Hamilton Centre Federal NDP Riding Association, Hamilton West Provincial NDP Riding Association, Mohawk College Alumni Association, Mohawk Students' Association, Status of Women Advisory Committee for The City of Hamilton, and Strengthening Hamilton's Community Initiative. Currently, Lyla sits on the Board of Directors of The Hamilton Independent Media Awards.

What are the top issues facing your ward?:

Access and equity, affordable housing, arts and culture, economic development and sustainability, parks and recreation, police carding, public transit and safe injection sites.

Do you support LRT?: Yes.

Why are you the right person for the job? My passion and love for the City of Hamilton. My ability to bring people together to create and sustain community. My commitment to diversity, equity and anti-oppression. My communication skills and creative talents. My core belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every living being. My unapologetic pride in being an out queer feminist activist. My desire to be a strong and effective voice for the residents of Ward 1 on city council and to respect and uphold the democratic process.

Something you'd like voters to know about you: I'm a lifelong Star Trek fan. Gene Roddenberry's positive vision of the future often gives me hope for humanity.

Linda Narducci

Linda Narducci.

Age: hmmmm, let me count, lol, 56.

Occupation: I operate a fitness business and work part time retail.

Where do you live?:  I live in Ward 1.

Past experience: Rather than one big project or contribution, it's important for me to work with the community rather than a solo entity of a community.  My roots in Ward 1 are deep, particularly in Kirkendall. I've served on our school council and St. Joseph's Parish Council. I've sat on board with the Kirkendall Neighborhood Association, volunteered with the Fill-A-Bus spring food drive, volunteered at 541 Eatery and Exchange, and been employed at St Joseph Parish for 13 years, where there is always a need to reach out and support the people of this community.  I was heavily involved, as a founding member, with The Mustard Seed Co-op — willingly doing the hard work needed to launch this wonderful community asset. As a volunteer I served on the sourcing team, helped with designing and constructing the layout, made product decisions, and participated in the many intense weekend work-bees needed to get the co-op up and running. As a staff member, I oversaw community engagement and ordered product for the meat department as well as supported general retail sales.  I've also been a member of a local community garden for our years, a proud SoBi rider and a story teller with Steel City Stories.

I have been a volunteer in two elections; Sandy Shaw's municipal campaign in 2014 and her most recent one for MPP.  Actually, I remember when I first moved to Hamilton, my first Hamilton friends dad was running as Alderman, Ken Edge.  I remember the fun comradery, making phone calls and sign making.  That was the day when you made them yourself.

What are the top issues facing your ward?: 

  • A) Street safety for pedestrians/cyclists/scooters. Our streets need to accommodate the diverse uses for our diverse population in Ward 1. Across Ward 1, an increase of red light cameras, bump outs, speed humps, designated bike lanes, two-way conversion will improve safety for all.
  • B) Reviewing participatory budgeting:  When the participatory budget was introduced it was because of excess tax dollars from Ward 1. As development has increased, and growth continues, home and property owners continue to see their taxes increase despite the apparent excess $1.5 million. I believe that constituents should still be involved in community development, throughout the year, and not merely when excess funds arise. Many constituents have expressed disappointment with this slush fund of $1.5 million of extra money that was meant for infrastructure but has been used for other, non-infrastructure related projects. It would be in the best interest of constituents to receive a tax cut, not a rainy day piggy bank. 

Do you support LRT?:  Yes.  

Why are you the right person for the job?

I am the right choice for Ward 1 because I bring a high level of competence, compassion, and sensitivity to the needs of Ward 1. I want to bridge the disconnect between the voices in our community and decisions made at city hall, particularly as we face the challenges of a growing city. My exceptional commitment to service and determination to see a task through to completion comes from having eight years' experience as a competitive athlete. I know how to set goals and follow through with daily actions and I want to bring that commitment to my role as councillor for Ward 1. I am eager to make a bigger impact and difference in our community. 

Something you'd like voters to know about you: 

My passions include gardening, community, fitness and more recently, raising monarch butterflies. 

Harrison White

Harrison White.

Age: 22.

Occupation: Student/customer service.

Past experience: Completed a double major in criminal justice/public policy and political science, as well as obtained my certificate in public policy management. I worked for the Canadian Revenue Agency, as well as other customer service positions where I interacted with tax payers and handled sensitive material. I was a part of the Guelph Youth Council and interacted with the ederal MP and his aides as a result of that. I believe my experience with the public and my education make me more than qualified for this position.

What are the top issues facing your ward?: Balancing affordable housing for both families and students, addressing senior care and accessibility, and improving transit/street safety. 

Do you Support LRT: Hamilton (through Metrolinx) has already spent 1$05 million on the LRT project. I am unsure of exactly how much Hamilton would be on the hook for if they pull out of the consultation deals, but we would have already purchased $40 million+ in property. I AM NOT OPPOSED TO LRT but I am also not completely on board with the plan in its current form. I believe the city has done a poor job in it's transparency regarding the procurement of the LRT in Hamilton. In order to make my official decision on the LRT, I need to do more research on what property we have already purchased, the likelihood of investment into Hamilton neighbourhoods, the amount of land confiscated by imminent domain and much more. If Doug Ford does not provide the $1 billion in funding, then I would not support the LRT. I would also want to work with the province, as the major benefits of building the LRT stem from completing the Hamilton BLAST transit plan. That would likely require funding from the province to implement. As such, it is not a simple 'yes or no' question. While I'm not outright opposed to LRT being built, I'd have some serious concerns prior to aligning with the cities current plan.

Why are you the right person for the job?

I am young, ambitious, educated and I care about this city. I have grown up in this ward, seen its development over the years and am motivated to help it continue to grow. I have the most up to date education on public policy implementation and creation. I believe my education tied with my life experience in the ward and my ambition, make me the best choice to fight for this ward and Hamilton as a whole.

Something you'd like voters to know about you: 

I am the same age as Hamilton's longest serving mayor, Bob Morrow, when he won his first election in this very ward. I have been moulded and developed into who I am today through my experiences growing up in Hamilton, this city is a major reason I am who I am today. Street safety is important to me as I was hit by a car at just 10-years-old on Dundurn and Tom street. This was a major reason behind me pursuing education in criminal justice and public policy. There will be challenges, but I am not afraid to admit when I'm wrong and hope that my constituents will not be afraid to call me out if they feel I am. You can learn more about who I am and what I stand for on HWhite4Ward1.ca or by following me on Twitter @HWhite4Ward1. 

Maureen Wilson

Maureen Wilson.

Age:  52.

Occupation:  Urban planner and principal, UKSH.

Where do you live?  Ward 1, Kirkendall neighbourhood

Past experience: I am an urban planner and have held senior positions in local and regional governments.

What are the top issues facing your ward?

I have a five-point platform:

  • Stronger Neighbourhoods for a Stronger City.
  • Make Smarter Investments and Plan with Purpose.
  • Create Safe Shared Streets.
  • Build Better Transit.
  • Enhance our Public Spaces.

Do you support LRT? Yes, for a number of reasons. We have been planning for Hamilton's LRT since 1961 and over $100 million has already been invested in the project. Hamilton residents pay some of the highest property taxes in Ontario. We are also burdened with a $3 billion infrastructure deficit. Our city needs a plan of action. LRT is part of the solution. It will attract new investors, enrich our tax base, bring jobs to Hamilton and grow our local economy. LRT is an important piece in improving our overall transit system and it will also reduce air pollution from vehicle emissions.

Why are you the right person for the job?

I am the only candidate with experience in working at a senior level in municipal government.  I understand how municipal government works and how to navigate the complex issues involved in achieving a prosperous and sustainable Hamilton. I live in Ward 1, where my husband, Terry Cooke, and I have raised our three children. I have been actively engaged in my City for many years, working with other residents and groups to look at and act on better ways to solve problems.

Something you'd like voters to know about you:

I believing in telling the hard truths.  A city will never find real solutions if it is not honest in identifying its real problems.  I am a mother of three children. They have impacted how I see our city. My sights are on ensuring there is opportunity for the next generation of Hamilton residents.  I also believe our youngest and oldest neighbours should be able to move about our city safely.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She often tweets about Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca

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