By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Stoney Creek’s downtown is starting to flourish, with a new parkette soon to open this spring, and business-friendly grants the city provides owners to improve their buildings. And in a few more years King Street is expected to be redeveloped, adding to a downtown that more than a decade ago remained in disarray.
But there are more projects on the horizon, said Ward 9 councillor Brad Clark, and how they are finished is one of the reasons why the veteran politician will be seeking a third council term this fall.
“I know for a fact a number of (the projects) would fall off the ways (if he wasn’t there),” said Clark. “I can’t accept that.”
Clark was first elected in 2006, edging incumbent councillor Phil Bruckler 3,394 votes to 3,271 in a hard-fought campaign. Clark was re-elected again in 2010, by a wider margin, but in a no less contested contest against Nancy Fiorentino, 3,454 votes to 2,353 votes. Two other candidates drew less than 1,000 votes each in the election.
Prior to his council terms, Clark was MPP for Stoney Creek, serving from 1999 to 2003 in the Mike Harris cabinet.
Over the last three years, Clark has been shepherding a number of Ward 9 projects, including seeking an interpretive centre for Battlefield House Museum, expansion of the library at Valley Park Arena, and searching for a new location for a library in downtown Stoney Creek.
Other items on his to-do list include completing the east Mountain trail, building a splash pad in upper Stoney Creek, constructing a new rugby field and enticing the city to take over a number of woodlots.
His one major project that is expected to begin in a year is the redevelopment of King Street, a major agenda in revitalizing downtown Stoney Creek. It’s a compliment to the work that was done improving the Battlefield House Museum grounds and its entrance.
“I’m confident (King Street) will be finished in the next couple of years,” said Clark. “But I don’t want to walk away from that and leave that in the hands of someone else.”
He says downtown Stoney Creek is starting to emerge from the doldrums. The parkette, although a difficult project because of issues with the contractor, will only add to the former city’s downtown emergence.
“The redevelopment of downtown Stoney Creek is happening,” he said.
He helped convince his council colleagues to provide downtown businesses with the same municipal grants and programs that downtown Hamilton owners have always enjoyed. It means, he said, facades can be improved, for instance.
“It will really fix up the downtown,” said Clark. “People will be very pleased. There are only a few vacant properties left and there has been lots of interest from companies to relocate to Stoney Creek. They can see the change. (People) can see it when they come through the community. Downtown Stoney Creek looks alive. People are on the streets walking, even in the cold weather.”
Over the last few years Clark has had to deal with some health issues.
But he’s emphatic his arthritic condition hasn’t deterred him to from representing his ward or constituents.
“There are thousands of people who have arthritis and continue to do their jobs every day,” said Clark. “So do I. I get things done.”
Clark is expected to have competition in the Oct. 27 municipal election. So far Hamilton resident Brett Tillotson, who relocated to Stoney Creek in 2012 from downtown Hamilton, is the only challenger to Clark.