In 2018 I was humbled by the support and encouragement from residents, business and community leaders urging me to return to council after my four-year hiatus. Appreciative of the strong support, I was honored to be elected as City Councillor for Ward 9 in October of 2018.
Prior to this and in my previous two terms on council (2006-2014), I was successful in securing approval for 20 road rebuilds as well as approval for the construction of the Upper Redhill Valley Parkway with an eco-corridor for wildlife. I advocated for and successfully secured approvals for flood investigations/mitigations in the Bland and Jasper neighbourhoods, the preservation of the Eramosa Karst feeder lands, installation of the leash-free dog park, rebuilding of Green Acres outdoor pool, and the construction of the Stoney Creek Recreation Centre & Pool. I also secured $4million in non-tax revenue to purchase lands for the new Saltfleet Conservation Area to prevent flooding in lower Stoney Creek.
When elected in 2018, I promised residents that I would consult them on the proposed Elfrida Growth District and the Municipal Comprehensive Review. Residents were rightly miffed when in the previous term of council the consultation was limited to homes within 120m of the proposed growth district. This proposal would have increased the population in Ward 9 by 80,000 residents, which was on top of the already approved 50,000 new residents. Subsequently, I successfully moved a motion for the largest mail-in public consultation in the history of the city. There was a record number of 18,000 responses received with the overwhelming majority supporting no urban boundary expansion. The results lead the council to freeze the urban boundary for the next ten years.
In Dec 2018, I successfully moved a motion directing staff to create a real-time public notification process for any untreated or partially treated sewerage discharges into the natural environment. Hamilton was the third municipality to approve such a bylaw. The city web site has a section where any discharges to the natural environment is made public immediately. Moreover, staff were directed to issue a press releases warning the public about potential bacteria in our natural waterways as result of these discharges.
In 2019, I noticed that staff reports had legal advice scattered throughout these documents. As result, the entire document was marked confidential as it contained legal opinion or advice. To remedy this governance issue, I successfully moved a motion that directed staff to separate any legal advice from the staff report, thereby making the staff reports public documents.
I also promised residents that I would tackle the state of repair of roads, sidewalks, bridges, facilities and parks. Working with staff I was able to find a funding source that enabled us to set a record for the replacement of sidewalks that were identified as trip hazards. In total, we replaced 13.7km of sidewalks for $1.2m. We were successful in getting Rymal Road and a portion of Regional Road #56 widened. Mud Street was resurfaced east of Paramount Drive. Paramount Drive was redesigned and rebuilt with 23 beautiful floral islands. Currently, we have several road rebuilds under tender, including Gatestone Drive and Highland Road.
In terms of facility improvements, we have opened the newly expanded Valley Park Library and Community Centre. The Valley Skate Park had a few delays but is well under construction and expected to be completed soon. Cline Park was redesigned to include an improved parking area, new playground equipment with a shade cover and a multi-use water and dog fountain.
This term, we exceeded 15,000 emails and 3,000 calls/texts. We also addressed a significant increase in Property Standards concerns. I am pleased to report that we resolved close to 100% of all inquiries or community concerns.