To one Hamilton young professional, the No. 1 priority is jobs

The Word from Young Professionals:
Part of a series of Q&A features with members of Hamilton Hive in the lead-up to the 2014 Municipal Election.

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Name: Toby Tresidder

Age: 28

Current job: Administrative Coordinator, Hamilton Conservation Foundation.

Desired job: The one I’m in. Fundraising for the environment is very rewarding! Mayor or editor-in-chief of The Spec sound like pretty good gigs too…

Where do you live?: The downtown end of the Durand neighbourhood.

Have you ever voted before: Yes!

Why do you vote: To make sure my voice is counted.

What are the civic issues most important to you? Making the city more child and family-friendly! Transit, land-use planning and culture are important to me too.

What are the most important issues to you in the upcoming election?

1. Jobs. 

Gentrification is making downtown an exciting place to live right now and there are many more opportunities for employment than there were 10 years ago. I think it’s really important that the next council appropriates the city’s resources in a way that encourages more creation of desirable jobs in parts of the city that already have the infrastructure to handle them.

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(Left: Austin Buehner; Chantal Taylor, Sonia Sirpal in 2013 Spectator file photo at a Career Foundation program. Hamilton’s youngest workers are among the lowest paid in Ontario, See that story here).
 

2. Land-use planning

I’m worried that the low-density sprawl that has happened in some parts of our city is going to cost future generations an extraordinary amount of money to keep servicing. Council needs to make sure that its decisions are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable beyond the next election cycle and for generations to come. That’s a huge responsibility and it’s one that previous councils have ignored at our collective peril.

3. Transit

LRT would be a huge boon for the jobs and increased density that are already making downtown a better place for my family and I. The investment, however, only makes sense if council is serious about continuing to move away from low-density suburban development and focusing growth in high-density nodes along the LRT route.

What issues are not getting the attention they deserve?

1. The gender gap. It’s 2014 and, to my knowledge, we still haven’t had a high-profile female candidate for mayor here in Hamilton. That’s shameful.

2. Aerotropolis. We only get one shot at developing these lands as greenfield sites. I don’t think the current plan has had nearly enough scrutiny or public consultation from council to convince me that the time is right to develop these lands.

What do you think is Hamilton’s biggest problem?
Contaminated brownfield sites. We have thousands of acres of land in this city that aren’t as productive as they would be if contaminators were held responsible for remediation.

What does the current council do well?
Promoting Hamilton as a great place to do business.

What does the current council do poorly?
Fostering inclusiveness. The LGBTQ community in Hamilton needs more positive spaces and council hasn’t helped to make that happen. If council worked with the LGBTQ community to develop a district of positive spaces we could really accelerate economic development in a part of the city where other businesses don’t want to invest.

What qualities do you look for in your elected municipal officials?

I look for candidates that will build consensus rather than go it alone. Nothing meaningful get accomplished at council without compromise and collaboration.

 

SpecVotes will publish more young professional profiles in the coming weeks.

To see more stories on the October municipal election, go to thespec.com

 

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