Hamilton City Council meets to discuss the relocation of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, creating a Hamilton Walk of Fame, a closure of the McQuesten High-Level bridge for a fundraising dinner, WiFi at Gage Park, and a delegation from the Beasley Neighbourhood advocating for the John/Rebecca Park.
Live video starts at 9:30am
Meeting is coming to a close. In member statements, Matthew Green thanks various staff and businesses for supporting the Gage Park Tragically Hip public viewing.
10.2 – funding and support for tall ships on Canada Day 2017 passes.
10.1 carries with one change – the staff report is to go to Board of Health as a health issue with the hope of getting provincial funding for increased pool and splash pad season.
Item 10.1 a walk-on motion.
Item 8.1. passes.
Now back to Item 8.1 – the McQueston Bridge special event
Staff say they can support the feasibility on a Sunday. Now they need to make a formal SEAT (special events) application.
UPDATE: A. Johnson confused his motions. He was speaking to a different item.
Council returns to Item 8.1 as A. Johnson is now present.
He moves a motion to table because VanderBeek is not present.
Item 6.1 John/Rebecca Park
Farr moves to have a staff report on options for the future of the John/Rebecca Plan. Carries.
Merulla says he is “disappointed” in Licensing enforcement, says there should be a “Show Cause” hearing following two murders outside of the night club.
He really hammers Licensing for not acting, not holding a hearing, and that nothing has changed.
Whitehead says they cannot just call a hearing, they must build a case and follow the rules of natural justice.
Item 6.1 John/Rebecca Park –
Councillors making speeches supportive of concept.
11:40am, Eisenberger arrives.
11:33am, Ferguson arrives.
Item 6.1 – John/Rebecca Park
Pearson asks questions to distinguish this site from the Sandbar situation – the key was that Sandbar had criminal activity inside the building.
Whitehead suggests moving forward with the park, even without owning the building, and that the City can move forward with expropriation at the same time as the park is built/being built.
“Let’s move on with the park and but a strategy together on those two buildings.”
Skelly asks the Director of Licensing if the licence can be revoked following the violence. He says Licensing looking into Club 77, says both Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario and Hamilton Police Service say the club’s operations are not causing more problems than other bars.
Director of Licensing says there is not enough evidence to bring the Club to Licensing Tribunal.
Director says you have to prove a bar contributed to the violence in order to revoke a license, says the Club has plans and security in place as expected by the license.
Item 6.1 – John/Rebecca Park
Green speaks, opens by noting he worked there a decade ago. He says he can understand how the crowds can become out of control.
Skelly asks if the violence as always been at this level or if it is new. Response is there have been ongoing issues with violence.
He wants to look at changing the plans if needed to make it fit the City budget.
Dale Mugford delegation on John/Rebecca Park and Club 77
Mugford opens with a list of the history of violence at Club 77 and other problems from the Club.
The Film Work Lofts pays over $300,000 per year in taxes, the City promised the park, but instead “we’ve got repeated violence only blocks from police headquarters”
Mugford attempts to show two videos, but the presentation computer audio doesn’t work.
Closes by saying the City needs to move forward with the park as planned, its time for the violence to end.
At 10:50am, A. Johnson arrives.
Returning to Item 6.1 as Farr is now present.
Item 9.1 – WiFi in Gage Park
Partridge amends the Green motion to have staff do a city-wide feasibility study, that Gage Park pilot will be for 12 months, and that the Gage Park WiFi still be funded from the Ward 3 cell-phone tower fee revenue.
Merulla says the cost should be funded city-wide because it forms a feasibility study.
Whitehead says the service will be for Ward 3 residents, so it should be funded by Ward 3 “It makes sense to me that the people who benefit from it pay for it”
Amendment carries, Merulla is opposed to the amendment as he thinks funding should be city-wide.
The motion carries. (Ward 2 – 11, 14, 15 councillors are present)
B. Johnson is concerned about what the amendments all mean, wants clarity.
Partridge says she plans to move a motion to create a city-wide implementation plan for WiFi in parks.
Whitehead tries to pose as an expert by talking about mesh networking, says a mesh network will reach more people but the proposal is just a hotspot and that’s not as good as a mesh network. Before the City adopts hotspots, Whitehead says the City needs to look at mesh networks instead.
(Not realizing that mesh networking needs strong backbones which the Gage Park proposal would be part of)
Whitehead’s next talking point is the importance of having Downtown WiFi for economic development and benefit. “I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that Downtown is an employment hub .. [lists downtown assets] … I believe the Downtown is important, believe it or not coming from Councillor Whitehead”
10:28am, Farr returns.
B. Johnson is fully supportive. Wants to see this pilot lead to an expansion city-wide.
Partridge says she wants to see WiFi in the rural area as well. Wants the Gage Park pilot to include a feasibility study for city-wide WiFi hotspots. Wants a timeline for the pilot project. Green says he’ll amend motion to be a 12-month pilot study.
Green speaks about the need to bridge the digital divide in Hamilton, speaks about how Gage Park will give the City to learn how to make public wifi more widely available.
Skelly opens with a will support the motion, ‘mostly because I believe the Councillor has the right to spend Ward-specific non-tax revenue as he sees fit’. She speaks about the problem of digital bullying, and “they need a chance to unplug … they need to be given an opportunity to really unplug and what better place than a park.”
Skelly closes saying Columbus Ohio is a Smart City which rejected LRT. (Green shook his head)
Merulla opens by crediting Whitehead for pushing for the original push for Downtown WiFi last decade. Then says we need to have public WiFi across the City. Says he wants to fund this from the city-wide budget and not the ward specific budget because the pilot will inform city-wide planning.
Item 8.5 – info report on Ontario’s Canada 150 funding programs
Item 8.6 – Hamilton Port Authority – City of Hamilton Liaison Cmte Report
Both are approved with no discussion.
Item 8.4 – Hamilton Walk of Fame – plenty of discussion and back patting as Council has a love-in on the idea. Merulla says Eugene Levy and Martin Short are both “very pleased by this initiative”
Council votes to approve the staff report and continue work on the plan.
Item 8.3 – minutes of the Hamilton Business Improvement Area Advisory Committee – leads to discussion of ensuring the Waterdown BIA continues to receive communication while they find a new Executive Director. There is also a review of funding programs for BIAs to create a better balance of funding across the City.
At 10:01am, Whitehead arrived.
Skips Item 8.1 – vote on McQuesten Bridge dinner proposal – because A. Johnson is not yet present.
Partridge arrived at 9:50am
Patrick Bermingham is presenting on his proposal to hold a fundraising dinner on the McQuesten High Level bridge in June 2017.
The goal is to raise funds for the Cootes to Escarpment Park.
Plan is to see 650 tickets at $300 each.
Dinner is planned for June 11, a Sunday to avoid traffic impacts, which is two days after the full moon.
Council is underway. On time today were: Conley, Farr, Green, Jackson, Merulla, Pearson, Skelly.
Pasuta arrived at 9:33am, Collins at 9:34am, Pearson arrived at 9:39am.
Farr left at 9:39am for a press conference at LIUNA new student-focused apartment building on James Street North.