Jackson and Whitehead say they will seek another term on city council
by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News
Infrastructure projects top the agenda for Hamilton Mountain councillors in 2018. – file photo by Gord Bowes
Fixing roads and what to do about light rail transit are the major items coming up this year for the three Mountain councillors.
“Continuing with the top priority of infrastructure, modernization and upgrades,” said Tom Jackson, who plans to seek a tenth consecutive term as councillor for the revamped Ward 6 on the east Mountain in October.
Among the projects Jackson said will be coming up this year are resurfacing Upper Gage between Concession Street and 7th Avenue and Fennel between Upper Sherman and Upper Gage.
Full road reconstruction, including sewer and water main work, is planned for Mohawk Road between Upper Ottawa and Upper Kenilworth and a sidewalk will be added to the south side of Mohawk between Upper Kenilworth and Mountain Brow Boulevard along Mohawk Sports Park.
Jackson said he will be setting up a citizens committee to look at improvements along Concession Street/Mountain Brow Boulevard between Upper Gage and Upper Ottawa, similar to what was done on Mountain Brow Boulevard east of the traffic circle in 2015 and he’s looking forward to the reopening of the Huntington Park Recreation Centre by the end of March after several months of renovations.
The east-Mountain councillor said the LRT will continue to be an issue for city council this year.
“A lot will be determined … on the outcome of the provincial election in June and to see exactly what the operating and maintenance agreement comes back with,” Jackson said.
On the central Mountain, Ward 7 Coun. Donna Skelly, who is also the Progressive Conservative candidate in the new riding of Flamborough-Glanbrook, said she plans to keep her council seat but will not take a city salary once the provincial election period beings in the spring.
The provincial election is set for June 7.
Across Ward 7, Skelly said, there is much to be done.
“I would like to continue working on upgrading our roads and our sidewalks and working with the Concession Street BIA to continue with improvements to Concession Street,” Skelly said.
She is also looking to continue working on issues at the city housing-owned Mohawk Gardens, adding work on the new parking lot should be finished in the spring or summer and she will continue to advocate for hearing loops at the Sackville Hill Seniors Recreation Centre and other city-owned buildings.
Hearing loops provide for improved hearing and reduced background noise for people who wear the compatible hearing aids through a magnetic, wireless signal that runs from a microphone and amplifier through a loop cable that is placed around the perimeter of a room.
Like Jackson, Skelly said the LRT is still an issue for city council this year.
“I think the LRT will be the defining issue in the municipal election and will have some bearing in the outcome of the provincial election,” she said.
“I don’t think (the LRT) is ever going to go away,” added Terry Whitehead, the Ward 8 councillor.
He said he will be seeking another term on the west Mountain, although he is still contemplating whether to run in Ward 8 or the new Ward 14 where he lives.
Whitehead said he hopes to decide where he will run by May 1, when the nomination period begins.
A number of projects will be on Whitehead’s mind this year.
They include building a winter destination park at either the Garth Street reservoir or at William Connell Park, and refurbishing and relighting the Cross of Lorraine on the Chedoke brow lands.
Both are being studied by consultants or city officials and Whitehead said he expects to see the reports in a couple of months.
Whitehead noted the widening of Rymal Road to five lanes will continue later this year with work being done between Upper James and Upper Paradise. And he will be looking to see what Infrastructure Ontario’s plans are for the 8.7 hectares (21.5 acres) of former Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital land it owns along Fennell Avenue next to St. Joseph Healthcare Hamilton’s West 5th campus.
Whitehead said some work may get done this year on the west-Mountain portion of the multi-use pathway the city is looking to extend across the Mountain near the edge of the of the escarpment.