Ward 3 Councillor Candidate Responses to SHN Questions

Ward 3 Councillor Candidate

Amanda Salonen

I've been a resident of ward three for thirty of my forty years. I'm not a politician, I'm a palliative care nurse (though I spent many years as a mental health and addictions nurse before moving into palliative care)and a single parent. When I looked at the demographics of ward 3 I saw that this ward was poorest and has the most single parents. This ward needs affordable housing solutions desperately-and that people have been displaced as a result of LRT buy ups and increases in home values and rents. When you look at the social determinants of health and wellness there is much that can be done to affect better outcomes for our neighbours here. I'm compassionate, responsive and a great advocate. I feel I can do the job well.

1. Gage Park
2. The bells of Ryerson United Church on a Sunday morning.
3. Tim Hortons Field (an avid TICATS fan and season seat holder)

Our water systems in Hamilton are in a sorry condition. There are flooding issues and many people's homes have been affected. When you look at the sewage treatment plant, overflow stations, water mains and pipes-too high a percentage of our components are between 80-100 years old. Our roads and homes are all on top of these systems. We are building on a broken system and with future population projections we need to ensure water delivery is efficient, socially responsible (we are not adding to the blue algae in the bay-phosphorus and ammonia), doesn't damage peoples homes/ruin their property and doesn't ruin the investments we've made in road work and road repairs.
We need affordable and reliable transit that services ALL residents of Hamilton, inclusive of amalgamated areas. We need to weigh ALL of our options and look at what is progressive, cost effective and gives service delivery for all. We need to also look at what options will displace some residents and which options will not be accessible or of use to some residents.
Parking challenges
When we look at projections and infrastructure planning we must look at residents in their homes. We must adhere to the public engagement charter and get adequate feedback from our neighbours and implemented changes must be transparent. Parking solutions should be offered in the form of alternatives/grants for adapting property to suit. People have cars, that's the reality. People have disability and accessibility issues and change doesn't mean residents of decades should be forced to move from their homes to accommodate their car. Many lots in this ward are older, somewhat irregular and don't have driveways.

Specifically, what are your priorities for infrastructure and facilities investment? What would you propose to ensure these are addressed?

Reducing red tape to bring small businesses to ward 3. This is important because it brings fresh faces, employment, services and revenue to our neighbourhoods.
Any policies relating to bringing in and providing affordable housing and its accessibility. This is important because of all of the wards in this city ward 3 is the poorest. There is a true and genuine need for intervention, accessibility and sustainability for affordable housing for our neighbours who need it for themselves and their families. When you look at the number of lone parent families here it really is essential.

How will you approach the challenge of navigating (actual or perceived) tensions between the interests of Ward 3 and the City as a whole?

I'd like to have a monthly meeting each month that any resident can come to and be heard at. I'm compassionate and responsive. I will be available and accessible to each and every one of you. I will respond within 24 hours, or have someone in my office do so on my behalf if there is an unforeseen delay on my end. I work for you. If my boss at work says, 'I need to speak with you,' I don't make them wait and essentially ward 3 residents are who I answer to. With that said when it comes to the city vs ward 3, ward 3 is going to trump. I'm ward 3s voice and advocate and I represent ward 3. I'm cognizant that different parts of this city will focus on needs not necessarily as specific to us. I will listen and be respectful to all and will access all information available to me through my best resources. Know I advocate for you specifically in all meetings, votes, appearances and decisions. I'm here for you.

How will you communicate, stay in touch, and be responsive to the people in Ward 3? What sorts of relationships do you expect to have with community groups?

I have no tolerance for classism, racism oppression or privilege. It has no place in my world. I'm an advocate and a voice for ALL residents without exception. As a nurse I've looked after everyone without judgement for 14 years-and I will continue that in this role.

How will you engage with and address issues such as classism, racism, oppression and privilege?

For social and economic programs my primary focus would be seniors/youth/mental health and addictions. As a nurse, I'm considering the social determinants of wellness. Seniors cannot be isolated. If we have the programming how do they access it? Best health and best outcome depend on it. We have a sandwich generation that have children at home and aged parents as well...in dire need of supports. We have THE most lone parent families in this city - meaning nutritional programmes in school and after school programs as well as youth recreational programmes are profoundly needed here. When you look at mental health and wellness you shouldn't have to be in crisis and admitted to hospital to access the service you need without a too long waiting list. Service delivery needs to be accessible in home and community before it gets to that point, and for most it isn't. We need to bridge that gap and keep people at home living their best lives with their supports -not have an admission based crisis based system.

Specifically, what are your priorities for social and economic programmes? How will you ensure that these priority areas addressed?

Ahhh your fine bonus question. Without any hesitation I tell you I'd emerge as a healer, and would call myself Amanda because I like it just fine.

Bonus* if you were to find yourself stuck in a mutagenic yet fortuitous puddle of phosphorescent ooze and would emerge with a superpower of your choosing, what would it be? and what would you call yourself?

I feel I am not judgemental, that I am considerate and respectful of others-whether or not I agree with them. I feel these things are an asset when negotiating in any environment. I'm confident that I will do well.

What are your thoughts on the sometimes adversarial nature of municipal politics and its effect on council function? How will you negotiate that environment?

The knowledge and skill that I bring to the table is different than many options you've been given with your vote. I've been a nurse for 14 years. I've worked with very vulnerable people during the very worst times of their life. I've treated them with compassion and nurtured them and their families. I've brought them comfort when they were the most uncomfortable that they've ever been. I am great at looking at the whole of a situation and weighing what is best for best outcome. I perform as well under pressure and strain as I do when there is none. I can make a decision on my feet. I am a great listener. I thrive on talking to people that think differently than I do to see why their perspective is as it is-even if I don't necessarily share it. I treat people, all people, with kindness and respect. I don't judge people and I don't look down on anyone (unless it's because I'm trying to help them up). I've been a single parent many years, lived paycheque to paycheque and understand what it is to struggle to make ends meet. I am very tenacious, full of grit...I don't give up.

What knowledge, skills, perspectives, or experiences would you bring to the role of councillor?

How will you be innovative? What are your new or fresh ideas for the city?

Why did you decide to run for council this term?

What are your favourite Ward 3 Assets?

What are your primary areas of policy interest, and why are these important to you?

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