In 2006, when Hampstead was reconstituted, following the demerger from Montreal, the town had to deal with a crumbling infrastructure and many urgent problems. In the past eight years we have improved our infrastructure until it is now one of the best, possibly the best on the island. We have got our finances in order and given residents six years in a row of below inflation local tax increases while reducing debt substantially. There have been significant improvements in all areas from Urban Planning to Communications to Community Services and Recreation, to Beautification and many more.
As we approach the start of our centennial year, this is a time to reflect on 100 years of progress, to learn from the past and, most importantly to move forward to an even brighter future for our town. The following are our key goals for the next four years.
There will be no local tax increases above inflation for the next four years. Whatever else we do, we will respect this commitment.
Our service is good now but it can be even better. Under the direction of a Quality Municipal Services manager, we will strive to ensure that the following standards are met.
- Return phone calls or e-mails acknowledging issues within 24 hours.
- For simple issues, resolution or an expected date for resolution within a week.
- As much as possible, requests for info will be handled quickly but those subject to the Law on Access to Information must be handled as prescribed by law.
- We will strive to make the claim process as simple as possible for resident claims that we can not settle directly without involving our insurance company or a contractor.
- We will implement a new web site which will include web-based tools for asking questions, reporting issues and/or making claims. This will be in addition to the current phone and e-mail options.
- Communications related to unexpected events (boil water advisory, water main breaks, Hydro power outages, etc) will be distributed ASAP via all appropriate means (eHampstead emergency e-mails, phone call out system. web site, Twitter, Facebook and the media).
Even though we have rehabilitated 26% of our water mains in the past eight years, maybe the best record on the island, the work will continue as long as necessary with the Federal and Provincial governments covering 2/3 of the costs.
We will study LED solutions for our street lights and if we find a cost effective solution, we will gradually convert all or most of our street lights to LED.
The remaining roads, sidewalks, pathways, sewers, etc. that require replacement will be done in priority order. The rate of replacement/rehabilitation will be determined by budgetary considerations.
New and/or improved facilities
The town hall and community centre are in bad shape. We will launch studies to evaluate our needs and possible solutions ranging from minor/major renovations to rebuilding to combining into a new environmentally friendly civic centre.
The Montreal West hockey arena which is used for our hockey leagues is near the end of its life. We will explore many options to solve that problem. An above ground arena in Hampstead (NOT an underground one) is only one of many possibilities to be considered.
With respect to the above items, there will be ample consultation and, if necessary, a professional random phone survey as we did when assessing resident opinions on a high rise on MacDonald and Langhorne.
We will also assess the Public Works building and yard and look into options that may make us more efficient, reduce costs and even yield more revenue for the town.
All the by-laws must be reviewed, updated and consolidated.
Inspections and enforcement of our by-laws will be tightened.
Public Security and Traffic
Our Emergency Measures plan will be updated.
We will continue to implement traffic calming measures, as needed.
We will look into ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our Public Security force.
We will continue to expand our town beautification efforts with an emphasis on trees, perennials and some annuals for extra color. As much as possible, irrigation systems will be installed when we redo a park. In some cases, we may add decorative lighting as well. Improving all green spaces and parks could take as much as 5-10 years.
We will continue to provide maximum communications about upcoming events and work. As mentioned above we will strive to provide very quick information in the event of unexpected emergencies.
Our new web site will be more user friendly and will gradually have more and more interactive services for residents such as permit applications, dog license renewals, reporting burnt out street lights, pot holes, etc, registration for programs and more).
We will NOT put every possible document on our web site as many are of no interest to most of our residents and the costs (including translation costs) would be enormous. It is not the town’s money, it is the taxpayers’ money and we must always be conscious of that.
That said, we will put as much information, of interest to residents, on the new web site as we can. We will not normally put legal contracts, collective agreements and tender documents on our web site but we will put the summary background document for each contract awarded by council resolution on our web site. This has previously only been seen by staff and council members but it exists and there is nothing to hide. We always give contracts to the lowest conforming bidder or we don’t award the contract.
The Mayor will continue to deliver messages to residents using various media outlets. These will explain not only what we are doing, but why we are doing it.
We will continue to look for ways to make our community more sustainable. Curb side compost collections will begin after we have access to Montreal island site to which we can deliver the compost.
Community Services and Recreation
We will review and examine all events and programs in an effort to increase participation and reduce costs. Popular programs/events will be expanded and improved while unpopular ones will be dropped. The cost of each program/event will be a major factor in evaluating the effectiveness of the offering. We will also look for new and exciting events and programs.
Improved sports coaching will be a further goal for programs like soccer, baseball and hockey.
2014 is our centennial year so we will have extra events and celebrations including a parade and a historical exhibit.
RESOLUTION 2013-266: ADOPTION OF GOALS 2013-2017
Hampstead’s Town Council adopted the Goals for fiscal years 2014-2017 at its Town Council Meeting held Monday, December 2, 2013.
To view Resolution 2013-266, please click here.