Andrea’s Action Plan
for a Thriving Hamilton

I am a proud Hamiltonian who has lived in our wonderful city all my life. My Dad worked on the assembly line at the Ford Motor company, and he and my mom raised their 4 children in Stoney Creek. I went to high school at Cardinal Newman and later by waiting tables and working summers in a factory, I was able to attend McMaster University here in town.

Hamilton and Hamiltonians are my bedrock and my inspiration.

In 1997, I was honoured to be elected City Councillor for Ward 2. During my three terms on Council, I chaired the solid waste management committee, the municipal non-profit housing corporation, and co-chaired the health and social services committee.

Since 2004, it has been a privilege to serve Hamiltonians as the MPP for Hamilton Centre.

Now, I am honoured to run for Mayor of this city I love.

There is so much to be done at City Hall. As Mayor, I bring my years of experience, my proven track record in public life, and my deep roots in Hamilton to tackle the challenges that face us today and to prepare our city for a vibrant future.

Together we can ensure that Hamilton thrives and is a great place to call home. This detailed Action Plan for a Thriving Hamilton lays out what I want to accomplish as Mayor in the coming term, and how we can achieve these goals.

Andrea Horwath

Andrea Horwath

A Great Place to Live

Action on Housing

Hamilton is a wonderful place to live, but for too many of us, it has become difficult to find and afford the right place to rent or buy. We can do so much more at City Hall to ensure that Hamilton is affordable across all of our neighbourhoods and communities. As mayor, I will make meaningful progress to address one of the major causes of Hamilton’s housing crisis – that there is simply not enough of the right kind of housing available.

Over the next four years I will work with City Council, staff and the community to: 

  • Eliminate the affordable housing waitlist by collaborating with not for profit housing organizations, private market developers, and the provincial and federal governments to get smart, ambitious projects underway fast. 
  • Increase housing supply in Hamilton to bring market costs down so that people can afford to buy their home here and to ensure our kids can stay in Hamilton.
  • Create a dedicated department at City Hall to streamline the building process for all because housing is the top priority I hear from Hamiltonians.
  • Recognize that housing is a basic human right. Tackle homelessness and create supportive housing for those struggling with mental health and addiction, accessible housing designed for persons living with disabilities, and safe transitional housing for women and their children fleeing domestic violence.

How we’ll do it:

  • Set clear targets for housing starts to increase the supply and options for market value and truly affordable housing throughout the city, including increased development of “Missing Middle” housing.  
  • Overhaul housing and development approvals and management process with a focus on transparency and accountability. Create a dedicated department that encompasses all aspects of housing projects to manage and streamline the process to completion. Give projects clear online tracking so individuals and organizations can easily track their progress. Give each project a dedicated staff point person with a proactive mandate to avoid delays.
  • Work alongside non-profits, who are experts in addressing homelessness. They are critical partners in responding to homelessness and we must work hand in hand to avoid the closure of beds and services because of inadequate funding. 
  • Evaluate, improve, renew, and resource Hamilton’s 10-year housing plan in 2023.
  • Leverage well established relationships at Queen’s Park and in Ottawa to deliver provincial and federal investments to Hamilton through a team Hamilton approach. Tap into available funding from all levels of government for innovative existing affordable housing plans like the Hamilton is Home plan, which will build 3000 affordable units in 3 years. 
  • Leverage land that the City owns or has influence over, and establish affordable housing targets for projects built on that land.
  • Revitalize City Housing and ensure that it operates as a resource to strengthen communities and support people who are at risk and experiencing poverty. Implement a City Housing plan to improve infrastructure and quality of housing, connect to the community, and work in partnership with other community services to support tenants.
  • Work with affordable housing providers and private developers to ensure there is an adequate supply of market affordable housing as well as truly affordable and high quality rent-geared-to-income housing.
  • Work alongside other municipalities and the province to explore and implement a “use it or lose it” policy for development, to ensure housing is built and lots don’t sit empty or underused.
  • Explore innovative financing arrangements to build affordable and co-op housing faster, and ensure it stays affordable.
  • Ensure development charges support the parks, infrastructure, health care, libraries and public services that will build communities, not just houses.

Roads, Sewers, and Public Infrastructure

Hamilton has a $2.3 billion infrastructure backlog that needs to be addressed. When we fall behind on city projects, infrastructure will start to fail causing inconvenience, safety issues and added expense. I will focus on catching Hamilton up and fixing the basics like roads, sewers, and public infrastructure now.

Over the next four years I will work with City Council, staff and the community to: 

  • Cut Hamilton’s infrastructure deficit significantly, ensuring roads, bridges, buildings and underground infrastructure are ready for future generations.
  • Approach infrastructure projects with a commitment to environmental sustainability so that as we clear our infrastructure deficit we do so with sustainable and environmentally responsible projects that help tackle the climate emergency, last longer, and respect our obligation to future generations of Hamiltonians.

How we’ll do it:

  • Develop a comprehensive four year plan, within the 10 year capital program, and work with Council to meet annual infrastructure funding and construction targets.
  • Set sustainable goals and guidelines to ensure all retrofits and new projects meet a sustainable standard.
  • Evaluate quality of work to determine whether contractors continue to qualify for city projects.
  • Take into account communities and neighbourhoods across the municipality, and place special emphasis on ensuring infrastructure renewal meets the needs of people in all of Hamilton's unique communities.
  • Learn the lessons of existing problematic streets and build new infrastructure that incorporates the safety and accessibility of all users.

A City Hall that works for Hamiltonians

Hamiltonians need to have access to city services when and where we need them. We need to ensure that City Hall has a strong, motivated, and thoughtfully structured staff team to deliver those services. Hamiltonians should have access to critical information as soon as it becomes available, and they should feel confident that their elected officials are working in their best interest. When Cootes Paradise was flooded with raw sewage, Hamiltonians deserved to know that it was no longer safe for them and their families to use – as soon as their city council did.  When the Red Hill Valley Parkway was found to have possible major safety concerns, Hamiltonians deserved to know right away so that they could make informed choices to keep their families safe, and potentially save lives.

Over the next four years I will work with City Council, staff and the community to: 

  • Collaborate with all City of Hamilton stakeholders to address concerns about transparency at City Hall.
  • Make responsible, high quality, investments that are right for Hamilton, that will last and provide the best value for communities, not just the lowest cost
  • Bring local politicians together at a Team Hamilton Leadership Table to ensure we can maximize our collective service to the people in our City.

How we’ll do it:

  • Strike a diverse Public Advisory Committee in the first 90 days, tasked with recommending improvements to access, transparency and accountability at City Hall.
  • Build and Chair a Team Hamilton Leadership Table, bring together Hamilton’s elected representatives from all orders of government (municipal, provincial, federal and school boards) to work together for the benefit of Hamiltonians.
  • Ensure that the City has the talented staff needed to deliver services. By developing a comprehensive recruitment and retention plan for the municipality, we will make sure we can meet the needs of Hamiltonians by having the staff in place to deliver services. 
  • Ensure that procurement delivers the best value for communities –  instead of just the lowest cost – because respecting every public dollar means spending wisely. We all know that there are costs to doing things on the cheap, and that savings can come from investment in quality. 

A Great Place to Work and Prosper

Good jobs and a Diverse Economy

Hamilton’s best days are ahead of it. We can continue to diversify our economy and make sure that every Hamiltonian has access to a great job that pays the bills. We can do our part to tackle affordability issues for people and we can build on our strengths like agriculture and food production, arts, culture and heritage, research and innovation, and the digital economy to realize our full potential.

Over the next four years I will work with City Council, staff and the community to: 

  • Make life easier for families. Folks are experiencing increasing cost pressures due to inflation on everything – from buying groceries to putting gas in the tank. Property taxes and other Municipal fees are a significant part of everyone’s household budgets, and we must do everything we can to keep these costs as low as possible.  Instead, we can rely on new, innovative revenue streams, and the rebalancing of residential property versus industrial and commercial. 
  • Increase the footprint of a growing Film and TV production sector, creating hundreds of high quality jobs that folks can raise their families on.  
  • Seek opportunities for expansion of digital industries and support them by working with the post secondary sector to expand educational programs in this field.
  • Support our research and bio-tech sector as a key to our future. The synergies that McMaster University and Mohawk college bring –not only to the burgeoning McMaster Innovation Park, but in so many other spaces – are crucial.  MIP’s biomanufacturing plans, the McMaster centre focusing on pandemics and biological threats, and the innovation and research that is attracting top doctors and scientists to Hamilton’s hospital are all crucial to our economy.  As Mayor, I will encourage, support, and facilitate these and future initiatives.  
  • Harness the potential of the farming and agribusiness sectors. We can create growth in these sectors by encouraging and supporting innovation on the family farm, and making sure we respect the enormous contributions of our city’s rural and farming communities. Agriculture and Agribusiness already contributes over $1 billion to Hamilton’s economy annually, and we are ideally poised for further growth in this sector.
  • Explore a Cargo Superhub at Hamilton John C. Munro Airport.

How we’ll do it:

  • Strike a Mayor’s task force on affordability charged with boosting revenue generation, and rebalancing residential property taxes versus industrial and commercial property taxes by augmenting the capacity of the economic development department.
  • Make Hamilton a Major North American film hub by taking a team Hamilton approach, working with producers, unions and guilds to market Hamilton to the world.  
  • Invest in the film and studio office at City Hall to maximise and streamline film projects, making Hamilton the most film friendly city in Ontario while also ensuring that film is Hamilton friendly, respecting residents and being good neighbours.
  • Make Hamilton a destination for live music and theatre by partnering with local businesses and community assets, artists, and other sector players to bring music and theatre festivals to the city.
  • Ensure farmers and agribusiness is taken seriously at City Hall with a dedicated liaison specializing in rural affairs and food. Protect agricultural lands, providing timely permitting, good infrastructure, and a dedicated focus. 
  • Build on transformation already underway in traditional industries and support and facilitate the work of Slate in the rejuvenation of the former Stelco lands into a world class hub for green industries and jobs.
  • Encourage the development of a Cargo Superhub at Hamilton Airport, building on Hamilton’s status as Canada’s largest overnight cargo hub, and further leveraging Hamilton’s location on major highways, rail lines, and our deep water port.

Action on public transit

Hamiltonians need to be able to get around all parts of our city, whether that’s to and from work, into our shopping, entertainment and arts districts, or to access our natural and recreational features as conveniently and affordably as possible. Our city has a number of completely unserved transit areas — including business areas that are desperate for workers — and many underserved routes. Our transit system should grow with our city. As Mayor, I will never stop expanding Hamilton transit.

Over the next four years I will work with City Council, staff and the community to: 

  • Renew Hamilton’s transit plan to take us beyond 2025, and work with key transportation stakeholders to expedite the implementation of the BLAST network.
  • Expand Hamilton’s transit routes and reach to include convenient transportation between all of Hamilton’s communities that meets the needs of Hamiltonians and Hamilton workers and employers. 
  • Make driving safer by improving roads, and building more electric vehicle charging stations to encourage folks to switch to low emission vehicles. 

How we’ll do it:

  • Undertake a comprehensive consultation to renew Hamilton's Transit plan beyond 2025. Focus on expediting HSR frequency and service levels, including increased services between communities and neighbourhoods and improving the quality and reliability of accessible transit for persons living with disabilities. 
  • Keep operations related to running public transit publicly funded and ensure that they are operated, maintained, and supported by the HSR and ATU 107 ensuring accountability, transparency and quality service.
  • Transition to a low carbon fleet.
  • Keep the LRT on track with regular reports and updates to the Mayor and council, and ongoing engagement with Metrolinx. Create a communications strategy that keeps Hamiltonians, businesses and stakeholders informed and engaged with this transformational project. 
  • Make taking transit more convenient by providing better access to Presto reloading at or near transit stops.
  • Ensure Hamilton is included in GO Transit’s two-way all-day Regional Express Rail network getting commuters to and from Hamilton with safe, frequently accessible and staffed Hamilton stations.
  • Explore and implement practical ways of connecting potential riders in areas currently not serviced by public transit to the network to encourage ridership, grow support and access, and provide affordable transportation options for people to get to jobs.

A Great Place to Raise a Family and Grow Old

Safe streets for everyone

Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers all deserve safe roads. Over the last year we have seen a staggering increase in collisions that have endangered and tragically taken the lives of people in our city. Children should be safe to use our roads to get to school, cyclists whether for recreation or as their main form of transportation should bike free of fear. It is my commitment to ensure our streets are safe for all users.

Over the next four years I will work with City Council, staff and the community to: 

  • Take bold action to end collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists on our streets. 
  • Fix existing problems and improve the standard of our roads to make them safer.

How we’ll do it:

  • Champion the ongoing work at City Hall to implement Hamilton's Vision Zero action plan that began in 2019, furthering our progress on improving roadway safety through evaluation, engineering, enforcement and engagement initiatives like new speed cushion locations, new pedestrian crossovers, designating community safety zones, and more traffic signage. 
  • Implement relevant recommendations of the Red Hill Valley Parkway Inquiry ensure roads are safe.
  • Provide dedicated focus to improving the safety of roads, expressways and connections to provincial highways as we work to update our infrastructure.

Clean, Green and Livable Neighbourhoods

Around the world and in our own backyard we are seeing a rise in climate related events. These events can drastically impact our daily lives. We must take strong, innovative measures to ensure we are building a green and sustainable future, seizing the opportunity to create green jobs and a thriving economy by planning for a transition to low carbon transit and incorporating energy efficient, climate resilient alternatives into our plans to update infrastructure. We can make significant progress on Hamilton’s Climate Change Action Plan and make our communities cleaner, greener, more livable, and more welcoming for future generations.

In Hamilton, we all deserve to feel safe, heard and supported. Sadly, many Hamiltonians have experienced hate, racism, homophobia, and transphobia first-hand. Throughout my career, I have been steadfast in my commitment to standing against hate in all its forms. Through partnerships with communities, organizations, and advocates I will continue this work as Mayor. Everyone deserves to feel safe in our community, when they walk down the street or visit their place of worship and I will work tirelessly to ensure that that is realized.

Over the next four years I will work with City Council, staff and the community to: 

  • Tackle hate, systemic racism, and discrimination in all their forms and work with communities and leaders to build robust policies that make Hamilton safe and welcoming for all. 
  • Protect and better maintain existing green space and parks and identify opportunities to increase green space and parkland in all areas of the City.
  • Work to provide more sidewalk clearing in all of Hamilton’s communities. As Canadians we all do our part to keep our sidewalks shoveled, but it’s not always possible. This City should be there to help when folks can’t get this done. 
  • Make life easier for all Hamiltonians by providing better access to community services.

How we’ll do it:

  • Make significant progress on all aspects of Hamilton’s Climate Change Action plan and transparently measure progress on the plan and all of the contributing strategies contained therein.
  • Work with other orders of government to make sure that seniors have what they need to stay in their homes as long as possible and enjoy their golden years in comfort and familiarity. 
  • Tackle systemic hate, systemic racism and discrimination in Hamilton by working in partnership with BIPOC, 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, folks living with disabilities, women, and communities of faith. Ensure that City Hall actively engages with organizations and individuals already doing the hard work in the community. 
  • Support, resource, and champion the existing Urban Indigenous Strategy. Undertake an Indigenous-led review of how the strategy has been implemented across city departments, and how it can be further implemented. Track our progress with an annual assessment of the implementation of the municipally relevant 94 TRC calls to action and the 231 MMIWG2S calls for justice
  • Make it a priority for neighbourhoods to welcome everyone. Ensure parks, public buildings and services are accessible for seniors, people with disabilities, and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
  • Explore through the board of health and community organizations initiatives to better support those suffering from mental health challenges especially young people.
  • Work with city staff to increase sidewalk clearing with a goal of affordable, universal sidewalk clearing.
  • Implement Hamilton’s Urban Forest Strategy and make it a priority for more trees throughout Hamilton’s neighbourhoods.
  • Maintain a sense of city pride in all our community spaces by boosting attention to litter pick up and maintenance. Add more recycling receptacles in business districts and at festivals and events.

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