One of Hamilton’s mayoral candidates is targeting the city’s crumbling roads as a key priority ahead of the upcoming municipal election.
Keanin Loomis spoke to media on Thursday from a parking lot on Barton Street East, which was voted number one on CAA’s worst roads list of 2022.
“Like every other Hamiltonian, I am embarrassed by that distinction,” said Loomis. “But having driven all over the city, I can’t really distinguish Barton from so many other streets in Hamilton.”
He has released a series of policy pledges to “fix the roads”, building on last summer’s audit of Hamilton’s roads that included 25 recommendations for city council to improve road infrastructure.
Loomis said the current council hasn’t done enough to address that audit since it came out and is promising to “fundamentally change” how the city handles road construction and maintenance.
“What you see the city auditor’s report lay out is a completely overhauled asset management system for the city,” said Loomis. “It’s so fundamental that city councillors should not have to dip into their area rating funds to be able to address the roads within their community. That already should be part of the global asset management plan that the city has.”
His plan focuses on implementing strict penalties for work that fails to live up to contract obligations, updating the roadway maintenance protocol, looking at what other municipalities do well in regards to their roads and learning from them, adopting a 311 service for Hamiltonians to report road issues, and calling on the provincial and federal governments for more infrastructure funding.
The Loomis campaign is also urging Hamiltonians to send photos of roads that need improving in their neighbourhoods.
Mayoral candidate Bob Bratina hasn’t released a platform yet but in an email to Global News, he said he’ll be holding a fundraiser on Aug. 18 to announce in detail how he plans to address the “critical issues” facing Hamilton.
“Staff have told council year after year that we are falling behind on keeping our roads in a state of good repair,” Bratina wrote, referencing the road audit.
“No more studies are needed, but a real plan to start catching up.”
Fellow mayoral hopeful Andrea Horwath also has yet to release her platform, but addressed the infrastructure deficit that Hamilton is facing in an email to Global News.
“Our roads and sidewalks, our sewer overflow systems, and our city buildings are in desperate need of attention and thoughtful investment,” wrote Horwath.
She also said there need to be solutions to the infrastructure issues that don’t solely rely on municipal taxpayers.
“I’ll fight, in tandem with mayors across Ontario, for further infrastructure investments in our city from provincial and federal governments to ensure that we can address the infrastructure backlog and continue to build Hamilton together.”
The other two registered mayoral candidates, Ejaz Butt and Solomon Ikhuiwu, did not respond to requests for comment by publishing deadline.
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