Tuesday night, July 12, 2016, 26 people (including your reporter) gathered in the hall of Erskine Presbyterian Church on Pearl Street North for the first organizational meeting of the No LRT in Hamilton movement.
Sitting at the front table – the three lead organizers of the No LRT movement and Ward 7 Councillor Donna Skelly who gave the main speech of the evening. 2/3rds of the people present are LRT opponents and 1/3rd LRT supporters. The supporters sat in the back row, with two standing at the back of the row.
As public gatherings go, this was an interesting one and productive for all involved. There were moments of strong discourse, and even some disrespectful dialogue, but in the end there was calm dialogue and a good start to what is likely to be a very heated few months of political division as City Council stirs this issue.
The result of the meeting is that the No LRT in Hamilton movement agreed to mobilize to have a presence at summer festivals to gather signatures on a petition to stop the LRT, that more communication will occur, and when at festivals, they’ll work to distribute No LRT in Hamilton signs.
Of note for the long-term LRT debate, beyond the organizing of the No Side, is the strong opposition of Skelly. Ward 7 Councillor Donna Skelly says Hamiltonians need to pressure all three provincial leaders to commit to Hamilton getting the $1-billion after the 2018, to end the “all-or-nothing” element of the debate.
Skelly told the crowd Hamilton has higher priorities and Council should be able to determine how to best spend $1-billion.
Donna Skelly’s Speech
I’m clipped out Skelly’s opening address outlining the reason she is against building the B-Line LRT at this time:
Terry Cooke’s Speech
Former Regional Chair, and current CEO of the Hamilton Community Foundation Terry Cooke spoke to the crowd during the discussion period, opening by citing his leadership on another mass transportation project – the Red Hill Valley Parkway – saying LRT represents a once in a generation opportunity for Hamilton.
Directly addressing Skelly, Cooke said if he were on Council, he wouldn’t want to be pass on this opportunity.
Here’s the full replay of the meeting.
Donna Skelly is an evil opportunist and is only looking out for herself. Anyone who claims to be the voice of the silent majority should be scrutinized, ridiculed, and seen for what they truly are – selfish and ignorant. It’s clear from her ‘questions’ at council that she knows next to nothing about LRT, other than to scream about ‘OUR TAX DOLLERZ!’ in an attempt to hide behind the financial interests of her mountain constituents. Pure scum.
What’s the precedent on a mountain councillor leading an insurrection in a lower city ward? What’s the accepted protocol? And how can the councillor credibly take a rosy stand on non-LRT technologies (most obviously gondolas) when they are burdened with so many of the same unanswered questions that she considers dealbreakers on LRT?
Furthermore, why does Councillor Skelly not do her homework on the basics around her complaints — her “don’t quote me on this” guesstimate of West Harbour GO train service (which doubles the real service level), for example , or the cost associated with acquiring and upgrading rail between Aldershot and McQuesten Bridge/West Harbour, the absence of which has been identified as the impediment to all-day GO train service? (Speaking to Hamilton Community News’ Kevin Werner in March 2014, then-Minister of Transportation Glen Murray cited that cost at $2B.) It’s one thing to be troubled by the absence of answers to legitimate questions, but when you make no effort to answer questions whose answers are in the public domain, it has the effect of making your outrage seem calculated and cynical, which I’m sure is not the intended effect.
On the whole, Councillor Skelly’s main concern seems to be that LRT is not a Mid-Pen Highway. Then again, neither is the HSR. Neither are gondolas. I suppose we should accept that she will be continually running for a Tory seat in senior government and do our best to work around her partisan programming.
May 16, 2014 8:19 am
@donnaskellypc > @OntarioPCParty will take urgent, decisive action to fix the GTA traffic problem. Better GO service instead of LRT vanity projects #adfw
May 18, 2014 4:37 pm
@donnaskellypc > @timhudak speaking on @AM900CHML on Friday saying taxpayers can’t afford LRT in #HamOnt http://t.co/hcQEdzePrb #adfw
March 8, 2014
“The LRT is about $1 billion we don’t have. It is an attempt to get us to be part of the GTA … a new GTHA. We don’t need an LRT running to Stoney Creek. We need more buses to Waterdown and Dundas and Ancaster to use the system we have better.… We need a highway that runs from the Peace Bridge in Niagara to the 403 as the Niagara to Windsor route is a main economic link.”
Arrogance by Corbin Dallas to Donna Skelly is
not needed.It,s. obvious this guy can’t deal with
the facts.Needs to learn before He speaks.Sad
to see He gets press.