Hamilton City Hall west face Credit: Joey Coleman / The Public Record

Councillors approved a new roadside memorial policy, debated and tabled a proposed small kids playground climbing wall, approved speed bumps on a dead-end court, approved purchased twenty (20) new replacement articulated buses, and heard resident concerns about lighting at Victoria Park.

Roadside Memorial Policy

Councillors voted to approve a staff recommendation for a roadside memorial policy following recent instances where staff removed sizeable memorials as safety concerns. At the same time, friends and family of those who’ve died in motor vehicle collisions state the City’s removal caused them angst.

City staff state Hamilton’s new policy (pending Council ratification next Wednesday) “is meant to provide public transparency, consistent and respectful way in which we manage roadside memorials while ensuring a safe, accessible, and efficient transportation system for the movement of people goods and services across the city.”

They state the policy is based upon the practices of thirteen other municipalities and legalizes the practice of memorials.

Roadside memorials will be allowed for 18 months and can consist of “tributes, such as but not limited to, photos, wreaths or crosses.”

Locations for memorials are detailed in the policy to prevent them from being a safety risk.

Clr Tom Jackson says the policy will bring “a very delicate, thoughtful, considerate sensitive approach to this” and thanked staff for working in response to recent events following removals of memorials.

Existing memorials will be “grandfathered” staff told Council, and they will “look at those on a case by case scenario and consult with the best we can the stewards of those memorials and the ward councillors in which those memorials are installed.”

The policy passed unanimously.

The policy can be read here: https://pub-hamilton.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=306808

The Climbing Wall Must Find Climb at Council

Ward 8 Clr John Paul Danko wants to add a climbing wall at Newlands Park at the cost of $60,000 using the Ward 8 area-rated discretionary funds.

Danko said play equipment, in his opinion, is “a little bit over sterilized in recent years and in attempts to remove that element of risk” and “we’re becoming able to better understand the benefits of having a little bit more risky play elements, if you can put it that way, incorporated into our children’s routine. So they’re not just bubble-wrapped.”

Clrs Russ Powers and Lloyd Ferguson both expressed liability concerns and asked for more information.

City staff provided assurances any installation would meet safety standards and be regularly inspected.

Ferguson asked for more details, including pictures of the proposal.

Danko tabled his motion to a future meeting to provide more information.

“I think as long as we have the funding in place for the 2022 construction season, we can wait till the next meeting,” Danko stated.

Speed Bumps for Jeremiah Court

Ward 7 Clr Esther Pauls wants to spend $14,000 from her ward discretionary funds to build speed bumps on Jeremiah Court, a dead-end street with 38 houses.

Pauls says she is receiving complaints of speeding on the street.

Ward 8 Clr John Paul Danko expressed some reservations about using two (2) speed bumps on this kind of street and changing the standards for installing speed bumps. He voted in favour.

HSR replacing 20 natural gas-fuelled articulated buses.

Twenty of the HSR’s New Flyer articulated 60-foot buses will be replaced in the coming year after Council approved sole-sourcing the replacements. The HSR is authorized to have 49 articulated buses in the fleet, which are primarily assigned to busier bus routes.

Clr Tom Jackson asked why the HSR is purchasing natural gas buses instead of electric buses.

HSR Director of Transit Maureen Cosyn Heath states the HSR does not have the infrastructure to operate electric articulated buses.

Lighting at Victoria Park (Ward 1)

Nick Becker, a representative of a citizens group, the Victoria Park Assembly delegated to Council asking the City to replace the lighting for the baseball diamond at the park. The lights were used to illuminate the volunteer ice rink each winter and evening activities throughout the year.

City staff state the lights were removed for “health and safety reasons” near “the end of their usual life,” and replacing them will cost “likely around $350,000.” Staff told councillors, “there is a floodlight provided which is consistent with the other community ice rink programs across the city,” and will review lighting at Victoria Park.