It is not a secret that the Queenston/Hartzel Road corridor needs revitalization. I group both of these areas together, since fixing one without fixing the other would be a mistake. I have listened to other candidates, residents, and local organizations. I have walked the area, personally have seen the 16 closed storefronts on Hartzel Road, and tried to picture what Queenston would look like after the hospital moves.
All is not bad in the area. One just has to drop in on places like the Lancer -reopened this past February by the Holley family and always busy. However, there is a lot of work (and vision) that needs to be planned, studied, and implicated.
The city has started part of this work (both for Queenston and Hartzel) but no firm plans are in place to guide us in this pursuit. That is why the next few years are important for the city (including residents of the Merritton Ward). The right individuals need to be elected and in place at city hall. I know that I belong at this table. As for what I would like to see for the Hartzel Road/Queenston Street corridor, here is what I support.
Hartzel Road needs to be greened in a substantial way to make it visually attractive to people walking or driving by. New trees (but not ones that cost $600 each), planted boulevards, and grass needs to be added along the street scape. People need to be enticed to stop, instead of just driving-by.
The city need to study whether Hartzel Road supports bike lanes; if it is too dangerous for bike riders to traverse; or if bike lanes would hinder local businesses . I am a firm supporter of more bike lanes in the city. However, the location of these lanes need to be on city roads which support the bike lanes. Wasting money, like the thousands wasted converting then re-converting sections of Welland Avenue into a bike lane and back, is unwarranted.
Incentives need to be offered to get more business to locate on Hartzel Road. The incentives could involve grants for facade/building improvements (not re-reimbursed after the work is done), or a year or two of favourable tax relief. I would work with other councillors to develop a way to bring business to not only Hartzel Road, but any area within the city that is facing similar issues (St.Paul St. for example).
For Queenston Street, I support trying to find another use for the hospital site after the hospital leaves. If one can not be found, then the site should be used for mixed-income housing with small commercial businesses (to take advantage of the new Wine Route that will be coming to the street soon). Doing this could compliment a revitalized Centennial Park, and be a draw that would bring new residents to the area. This would help with the revitalization of the downtown area as well.
What do you think?
Please comment, debate, or correct any or all of my plan. I do not profess to know everything. I feel based on the opinions of residents; local groups; and careful research that the above would benefit us, as residents, the most.
One more thing...
The point of Merritton.com is to give local residents a venue to learn more about my campaign. This website is a place to debate, engage, or inform the public concerning different elements of my platform- big issues and small. Some local politicians may feel that these issues (chickens, tree canopy cover, or community gardens) are issues which do not deserve the media attention. I could not disagree more! Do not get the wrong idea, I do understand that there are bigger issues the city is facing or will face in the foreseeable future(new police station headquarters, a bridge or two, fiscal responsibility, performing arts centre, new arena, etc.) I will be ready to work with other city and regional councillors to address these issues head-on. However, this should not mean that these smaller issues have to be put on the back burner at city hall. The city needs to understand that it is the ability of city hall (and council) to solve these smaller issues, that gives residents the chance to trust them on the bigger ones. How are residents suppose to trust us, if they feel that we can not help them solve these "little issues." I was just wondering. What do you think? Please comment.
Merritton Ward Candidate