by Mac Christie Flamborough Review
Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge sees job creation and the Waterdown bypass as priorities in a busy 2019. – John Rennison,The Hamilton Spectator
Vehicles attempt to navigate Dundas Street to east of Mill Street during evening rush hour in Waterdown. Population growth in the community has outstripped infrastructure, leading to daily traffic headaches for residents. Local councillor Judi Partridge says she expects congestion and the bypass routes to be among the biggest issues affecting the community this year. – Mac Christie/Metroland
The new Stryker building anchors the business park being built on Clappison Avenue. Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge hopes to announce another major corporation moving to the park in 2019. – Mac Christie/Metroland
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“It’s going to be busy.”
That’s how Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge describes 2019 for Waterdown and east Flamborough.
The third-term councillor said she expects the biggest issue over the next year to be the Waterdown bypass routes.
“The money is definitely there and we’ve been spending money for the past two years on property acquisition,” she said. “So the bypass certainly is the big one — not just the east-west portion, but also the north-south portion.”
Partridge said she’s very concerned that if both routes are under construction at the same time or there is overlap, it could mean traffic chaos in Waterdown.
“Where do you divert the traffic to?” she said. “That’s the big issue.”
Partridge said the growth in the community will continue to be an issue moving forward, as there are some large applications sitting at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and its replacement, the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).
In 2019, Partridge said she is focused on seniors housing, noting there are two applications coming for seniors housing built in the city’s core area.
As well, Partridge said the city will roll out a youth strategy for Waterdown in the spring.
She said the strategy will identify where the gaps are in terms of needs in the community and what youth are looking for.
“It’s not about hearing only from organizations and adults who work with youth,” she said. “We need to hear directly from youth — what do they want?
“So that part, I’m really quite excited about.”
Partridge said once the strategy is released, the question becomes what the city does to address the needs identified.
Other projects that are ongoing include a feasibility study for a public pool in Waterdown, and Partridge said the city is still in talks with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board about a potential partnership that would see a pool at the new school build slated for east Waterdown.
“But that isn’t going to happen until 2020-2021, until the land gets registered and they can actually lobby the province to get the money to build it,” she said of the proposed new school.
Another big focus for Partridge in 2019 will be creating jobs in Flamborough.
She said there is available space both by the new Stryker building and behind Rona on the south side of Dundas Street. Partridge said there are multiple large companies that are looking at locating in the area, but she’s not at liberty to say which.
Partridge said she hopes to be able to bring 2,000 new jobs to the area by this time next year.
“The big thing for me is we have so much development and so many people moving into our community who are new,” she said. “I want them to be able to have jobs here — so they can live here and they can have jobs here.
“It’s a better community when people can live here, work here and be with their families — we live in an amazing community and it is that connectivity that makes it that way.”
Another change in 2019 is the new ward structure, which sees the former Ward 14 divided between wards 12 and 13 — and councillors Lloyd Ferguson and Arlene VanderBeek.
Partridge noted she worked very closely with former Ward 14 Coun. Robert Pasuta on several issues, including agricultural development issues due to the Greenbelt Act, Clean Water Act and various conservation legislation.
“Those are all legislations Coun. Pasuta and I have literally lived for the last eight to 12 years,” she said. “But Arlene and Lloyd have not really had to deal with the rural part of their new wards.”
Partridge said as a result she plans to sit down with the two councillors to share her experience with the various legislation.
“I’m absolutely there to help,” she said.
While Hamilton’s proposed light rail transit was a touchstone issue in October’s mayoral campaign, Partridge said as far as she’s concerned, the LRT ball is in the province’s court.
“What are they going to do with that $1 billion?” she said of the PC government, who said during the campaign the funding could be used for other projects.
Partridge, who voted against supporting the LRT in the last session of council, said her position remains the same.
“We need more regional transit connectivity to bring all of our communities together,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense to me that we have areas of our city that are highly populated that do not have regular bus service.
“That’s where I believe we should be concentrating first — LRT in the future.”