Ward 3 Councillor Candidate Responses to SHN Questions

Ward 3 Councillor Candidate

Milena Balta

I have been a business fixture in ward 3 since 1986. My view is that ward 3 has been neglected for years with the exception of a few changes. We have so much to offer to the City of Hamilton including Hamilton Jewel, Gage Park. My focus is to provide accountability, transparency and job growth in our community. The changes in housing pricing is displacing tenants and rent control measures do not protect them once they are forced out.

Numerous historical buildings such as Westinghouse on Sanford North built in 1897. It is being currently renovated and will house businesses. There are various facilities inside of Gage Park that many aren't aware of, such as a dirt bike course. In addition to the growth of Ottawa Street, Barton street is starting to make inroads into rejuvenation.

I feel the transit BLAST network is a must in order to provide job accessibility to our residents anywhere in the city. Housing issues have to be addressed as well infrastructure in the neglected part of ward 3.

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

There are two aspects that need forging ahead, affordable housing and also low income housing. Mentoring and counselling of families, youth and individuals to improve their future.

I am running to represent the whole ward and to work together in harmony with the Mayor and other councillors. This is beneficial for Ward 3 and the City as a whole. If we work together as a united city everyone will benefit in the long run.

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 am planning to stay in contact and be accessible to the community. I would also be available and participating in the operations of the mentoring and counselling centre. It would mean a great deal to me to contribute to a project such as this since I am someone who grew up in an extremely poor household and have met all kind of challenges throughout my life. My vast knowledge of life challenges, including discrimination because I was not able to speak English, can help others.

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?

Unfortunately, there is lot of bias which leads to racism and discrimination. This also leads to many of the other issues I've mentioned. In order to overcome these issues, community groups have to be created from all walks of life. Sharing various problems and shortcomings in order to build cohesion in the community. All this can be done at the mentoring and counselling centre.

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

My plan is to create a mentoring and counselling centre in ward 3. This would help the community members improve their quality of life. Our future is our youth and we need to help them make positive decisions for their future. This kind approach will improve the whole community.

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

I would call myself the equalizer. Bringing balance to all citizens.

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 that working together is beneficial for all wards. My job will include demonstrating that helping ward 3 acquire more jobs on vacant lands improves their wards as well. We will get more tax revenue thus helping citizens across the city keep more money in their pocket.

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

Being a business owner I have first hand knowledge of financial needs to run an organization whether private or public. I am a Rotary member for 20 years and a past president which has supported many social needs over the years in addition to several high school bursaries for University and College every year. I am a McMaster Sociology graduate as well as Human Resources.

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

As stated previously, mentoring and counselling centre is a priority. We have lots of industrial vacant land. We need to provide attractive positive support for businesses to build and create jobs in our community. With this approach there will be more tax revenue to provide decent living for our less fortunate citizens. Benefits for the city will be huge, generally private sector jobs bring all kinds of off-shoot additional jobs into the city in order to support that industry.

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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