Dear Ward 1 Residents
I am deeply grateful for your support. Thank you for giving me the privilege of serving as your Councillor for another four years. I will continue to work hard to sustain your trust over the next term of Council.
Thank you, and congratulations to Ian MacPherson for running an excellent and clean campaign. You were a most worthy competitor. Our community is better for your contributions. Please stay involved.
Thank you for the kindness that was shown to me and the great team of volunteers at the doors over the past four months.
We had many good conversations. You told me that you love your neighbourhood and that Hamilton's future is important to you. But you have real concerns.
You were angry and disappointed with the lack of decorum on Council these past number of years and believed that our city deserved much much better.
You told me that your trust and confidence had been eroded from the effort to hide from the public the volume and duration of the sewage spills in Checoke Creek and information about the safety of the Red Hill Expressway.
You told me that trust and confidence must be earned. Indeed, it does. And that must be the number one priority for this new council because, in its absence, important necessary work is difficult to do.
Road safety was raised by almost everyone. More and more residents are rejecting unsafe streets and understand that safe streets save lives.
We had many conversations about widening health disparities in Hamilton, growing inequality and homelessness. You underscored the urgency to act and understood that this crisis has been years in the making.
Residents also remarked on the deteriorating condition of the city's infrastructure - from stormwater to roads. There is a growing understanding that the city lost the opportunity to invest prudently, responsibly and strategically over the past 20 years, especially when inflation and interest rates were low.
Residents told me that they value quality services, including clean, safe and fun public spaces. You want municipal government to be transparent, responsive and accessible to more people.
A firm urban boundary was non-negotiable for you, with a growing understanding that sprawl has been financially and environmentally costly to Hamiltonians. Hamilton has almost 400 hectares of developable surplus lands and lots of vacant unproductive urban parcels laying dormant.
Real action in preparation for our changing climate was raised again and again at the doors. Residents understand that city planning and infrastructure will affect not only our ability to reach our climate action goals but to remain competitive and financially resilient, and job ready.
On the subject of hate, Hamilton has significant work to do. And whether you consider it to be a moral imperative to act or an economic one, act we must. The head of council has a particular responsibility to lead, and all council must follow suit in denouncing hateful acts and reject racism, overt and too often insidious, in all forms. We must make tangible commitments for action on systemic racism and truth and reconciliation.
I have listened. I have learned. You want me to lead. I am not infallible. I know that I will make mistakes, but I promise that when I do, that I will acknowledge my errors and do my best to mitigate any negative impacts. But mostly, I promise to get up every day to work hard and fulfil the very sacred mandate that you have once again given to me.