A really dumb politician

2020-11-05

Oui. C’est moi! When I led the battle to get Hampstead demerged, I was told I was naïve and that you can’t fight Montreal and the provincial government. Well, I wasn’t naïve, but I was principled, believed in democracy and we got our town back.


Now, no one needs to tell me that I am a dumb politician. I know, and I am telling you myself. But again, I am simply being principled. Every 4 years when I am sworn in, I sign an oath to do what is best for the residents of Hampstead. I never consider the political implications - I just do what, in my carefully considered opinion, is the right thing.


Why is that bad politically? Almost any Mayor will tell you that if you lose a referendum on a controversial zoning issue, give up. If not, the opponents will work to get you defeated in the next election. It is true but I won’t give up when I know how important rezoning CSL Road is to Hampsteaders. The decisions taken on this issue will affect us for decades to come.


The three councillors fighting me on this have already decided that rezoning CSL Road should not allow buildings higher than 6 stories with maybe one or two recessed additional stories. They don’t want any additional information and actually voted against giving a mandate to the Altus Group to do a study that will tell us the financial implications of 6, 8 or 10 stories. I haven’t made up my mind on the height that I will favor but I certainly want to know all the financial implications. I also want to have all residents surveyed on their opinions after we finish gathering as much information as possible. Only then will I make my decision based on ALL the data. This is much too important to make a hasty decision based on incomplete knowledge or only one factor.


In a year, you will have an opportunity to elect the Mayor and councillors who you want to represent you. It will be a very important decision because it will impact the future of Hampstead in many ways. Once I have the information that I need, I will write more on this topic, but I can share my vision of CSL Road. It will have beautiful Hampstead-quality buildings. The zoning will attract developers to do quality projects. Developers have explained that a building must be a certain minimum size for them to be able to afford quality finishes and amenities. Residents who wish to downsize or young adults wanting to go on their own at affordable rents will have options. The extra annual tax revenue will permit exciting projects which will make Hampstead more desirable and increase the values of our homes. It is a very rosy vision which I hope you share.


But what if I am wrong and you don’t want significant new tax revenue, a much more beautiful CSL Road, a new Recreation Centre, more concerts in the park, more Beautification, better roads, sidewalks and sewers and the list goes on. What if you feel everything is fine as it is? Well, then I may not be re-elected, but I will leave with great pride knowing that for the past two decades I have made a real difference, primarily for Hampsteaders, but also for Montrealers. I promise you that next year I will campaign as never before and with a team of like-minded councillors. Then YOU will decide.


If you have any comments or questions on this topic or anything related to Hampstead, please e-mail me at wsteinberg@hampstead.qc.ca or call me 7 days a week until midnight at my home office (514) 483-6954.


Sincerely,


Dr. Bill Steinberg
Mayor, Town of Hampstead