CHCH News has been featuring some of the interesting races in Hamilton leading up to the October 27th municipal election — particularly those wards that don’t have an incumbent running. That includes ward 13, which is better known as Dundas.
Russ Powers has represented this riding for more than 30 years, although not always at the municipal level. He said that he decided to retire because at 65 he just doesn’t have the same energy anymore. So now the field is wide open, and nine people have declared an interest in his job.
Russ Powers is canvassing again in ward thirteen. But this time, not for himself. He hopes to pass the torch to his former assistant, Arlene Vanderbeek: “Arlene is very capable, she has past municipal political experience.”
Vanderbeek hears more about the proposed LRT than any other issue: “People are concerned that something will be put in place that we’re going to have to pay for in big dollars for a long time.
Dundas residents already feel overtaxed. Businessman Rick Court thinks his negotiation skills would be useful on council: “People understand that our taxes are going to Hamilton and they’re not necessarily coming back to Dundas. We want value for our money.”
People say services started deteriorating after Dundas amalgamated with Hamilton.
“Garbage. When they pick up the garbage, they’re late. The recycling, they just throw the boxes. No consideration.”
Marc Risdale: “A prime example is Governors Road. It’s a thoroughfare through Dundas, but it’s falling apart. Literally. Potholes that can eat tires. And bend rims.”
Engineer Marc Risdale follows the no-election-signs tradition in Dundas. But he’s one of the few. Interior designer Toby Yull’s signs are noticeably prolific. Yull has already started solving some complaints she hears. One man had problems with an ad on a bench: “The morning sun was hitting the plastic cover, and bouncing into his living room. He was blinded by this thing and at night the streetlight hit and would bounce back at him.”
He couldn’t get help from city hall, but Yull called the realtor on the ad, and now the bench will be flipped the other way: “So, in 24 hours, he’s like, Wow! Things are happening. I think we forget about customer service.”
One of the biggest issues in Dundas is keeping the small town feel. Keeping the buildings low. There’s a lot of controversy for example, over a proposed nine storey building right across from town hall.
It’s a big concern for antique market owner Danya Scime: “Dundas is a small quaint historical town, some of the height restrictions that are fine in the core have no right being in Dundas.”
Kevin Norton is the youngest contender, but he feels ready: “I find that a lot of skills that make a good teacher, also make a good politician.”
Two candidates did not respond to our interview invitation. Another has no listed contact information.