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Crowd sourcing an election platform

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

 Binbrook has different issues than Carlisle residents wrestle with, while Winona homeowners are confronting problems that are marginally different than people in east Hamilton are talking about.

Those communities may be worlds apart, but sometimes the issues are similar. It’s just that maybe there are better ways to implement the solutions. It’s why Ward 1 councillor Brian McHattie wants to hear from residents across the city about specific issues within their neighbourhoods that need to be solved.

“How do we treat areas differently within one big city?” said McHattie, who is running for mayor. “That’s the trick.”

The veteran councillor who has represented Ward 1 for about a decade, knows that the Westdale area is much different than his Strathcona nieghbourhood is, which is worlds apart from the problems confronting Ainslie Woods. Yet for all their neighbourly differences, their issues can be universal at times.

McHattie says magnify those neighbourhood differences 1,000-fold across the city, and you find neighbourhoods within Winona,Stoney Creek and Ancaster have similar and distinctly different issues that need to be addressed.

“Binbrook is different than Waterdown, Dundas, the mountain,” he said. “The problem comes when we do a one-size-fits-all policy with no flexibility. Some of the (city) staff get that, others say ‘that’s what the policy says, that’s it.’”

And to compound the problem are the issues within the urban portion of Hamilton are sometimes vastly different than what people in the rural areas of the city are confronting, he said.

As McHattie campaigns throughout the city, and as a lead-up to the municipal election, he has launched an online campaign platform survey that asks residents to identify what the issues are within their community.

“What is important to your neighbourhood?” he said.

After launching the survey March 6, McHattie says about 300 people have responded. Topping the list of residents’ concerns are improving sidewalks, and traffic calming measures.

So far, said McHattie no one has suggested de-amalgamating from the city.

“I’m sure I will get some of those,” he said.

The survey will accept residents’ feedback until about June. McHattie will review the responses then ask the public to comment on them. Eventually, the so-called crowd sourced issues will form a portion of his platform.

McHattie had already identified five themes he will be focusing on during the campaign, including stronger neighbourhoods, smarter growth, healthier environment, more open government and more jobs.

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