By Kevin Werner, News Staff
After seven years Hamilton-Wentworth Public School Board trustee Tim Simmons feels he can do more as a councillor than as a public school trustee.
Simmons, 48, filed nomination papers Jan. 6 to run in what is becoming a crowded race in Ward 3.
“We accomplished a lot at the school board,” said Simmons, who was born and raised inHamilton. “With my experience I feel I can do more at the council level.”
During his time as the public’s board’s chair, Simmons felt he was involved in council politics, as the board and city negotiated a proposed partnership to build a recreational centre within the Pan Am precinct, and discussed school closure issues with various politicians.
“It was a great experience,” said Simmons, who will remain a trustee as he campaigns for the Oct. 27 municipal election.
Simmons, who has two children with his wife, was first elected as a trustee in 2006 and re-elected in 2010 for Ward 3.
Whoever represents Ward 3 will see the world descend upon the community with the 2015 Pan Am Games occurring in the area, the opening of the new Pan Am Stadium next summer, and the subsequent improvements the city wants to make within the community, including a new recreation centre, as part of the Pan Am legacy. The city decided to build the recreation facility on its own rather than partner with the public board.
Simmons acknowledges there will be significant improvements occurring in the community over the next few years which will go a long way towards eliminating the so-called Code Red stigma from the neighbourhood.
As a council candidate, he wants to see continuing improvements made to housing in the area, creating walkable streets, better facilities and programs for seniors, more green space, and creating an environment to welcome entrepreneurs. Simmons, and his wife, both are small business owners, so they know the troubles, and obstacles entrepreneurs have to continually face. City hall, he said, should be at the forefront of providing some assistance to them, he said.
Hamiltonhas been involved in creating neighbourhood projects, including in Ward 3, which have been initiated by community groups. Simmons wants to make sure those recommendations contained in the neighbourhood plans are realized.
“It will take many years to bring them to fruition,” he said. “But we have a lot of engaged citizens here.”
As for any backlash Simmons may get from the Ward 3 community because of school board policies, he doesn’t believe that will happen. Sure King George’ school closed, but the board rebuilt Prince of Wales, and invested money into Memorial School. And Cathy Wever school was opened.
“Everything has been improved for those facilities in the area,” he said. “We have been modernizing the education system,.”
He does want a new high school build in Ward 3 within a few years, over decade after Scott Park High School was closed. He says it was the wrong school to shut down. There are also plans to closeDeltaHigh Schoolas well.
Also registered so far at this very early stage in the nomination process are Matthew Green and Victor Robert Rosetanni.
Incumbent councillor Bernie Morelli has represented the ward since 1991, and in 1988 he served Ward 3 as the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District trustee for one term. It is unclear if Morelli will seek re-election. Morelli since last year has been dealing with some health issues, including a stay in the hospital.