Hamilton City Hall Credit: Joey Coleman

Councillors discussed road maintenance, in the middle of the ongoing pothole season, received the 2021 Annual Drinking Water Report, approved new procedures regarding incorporating land widenings into city roadways, addressed sewage capacity issues on along Dewitt Road, voted to implement natural burials at the Mount Hamilton Cemetery, voted for a new playground at Eleanor Park in the Templemead neighbour in honour of 11-year-old Jude Strickland, a new pedestrian crossing and sidewalk for the Ancaster performing arts centre, adding more wheelchair-accessible swings to parks, and a series of local park improvements.

Long-term Pothole Prevention by Early Crack Sealing

Councillors heard from Hamilton’s Chief Road Official, Edward Soldo, on changes to how the City seals cracks on roadways.

“Once you have cracks in the road, you then will start to suffer things such as pavement falling apart in terms of creating potholes,” Soldo stated. “Crack sealing is a very effective means of preserving the roadway itself. We are right now in the process of developing and more robust preservation strategy for pavement.”

This follows the City conducting a “trial” sealing technique between 2017 and 2019 which failed, and a “pause in crack sealing by Transportation Operations & Maintenance in 2020 due to resourcing.”

An auditor revealed the decision of Public Works to discontinue crack sealing. Following the audit, in 2021, the City hired a private firm to conduct 18,000 linear metres of sealing. The City is increasing funding for sealing by 50% in 2022, and plans to increase funding by 5% each year going forward.

The City will prioritize sealing on roadways that are three to seven years old in non-residential locations. Sealing will occur during late summer and fall to prevent water from infiltrating the roadway during winter. This should prevent the development of potholes.

“All councillors have been getting a lot of tension on potholes,” noted Ward 8 Clr John-Paul Danko.

Councillors received the update without much debate.

Incorporating Road-Widening into Public Lands

The legal processes for incorporating new development and sub-division road widening and right-of-way lands into the City of Hamilton’s ownership is complex and “very cumbersome.”

City staff are streamlining the process by asking Council to approve delegating the entire process to staff. Council will approve the incorporation bylaws directly as bylaw bills instead of the present procedure of staff reports to committees, followed by Council approval, followed by drafting the bylaw bill.

Councillors discussed how complicated the present process is, and approved the new procedures.

Replacing and Expanding Wastewater Sewers on Dewitt Road

Councillors approved adding $1,561,000 to the budget for road reconstruction to expand sewer capacity underneath Dewitt Road between Highway 8 and Barton Street in Stoney Creek.

The expanded capacity is needed to both address present capacity constraints and to respond to development plans along Highway 8.

An August 2019 engineering report found portions of the existing sewers are already overcapacity. The 375 mm portion of pipe which runs from Highway 8 to just north of Juniper Drive is overcapacity. The pipe expands to 450mm in front of Orchard Park Secondary School. This 450 mm section is nearing its capacity between approximately MacIntosh Drive to Dupont Street, where it expands to 525 mm at the northern edge of the Our Lady of Peace Catholic Elementary School.

Half of the expansion will be funded from Development Charges, and half funded from the existing rate budget. The 2019 Development Charges Study determined half the expansion need is attributable to existing need and half is to facilitate new development.

The sewers north of Barton Street, which run to the Sanitary Sewer Truck under Seaman Street will require further expansion as well.

The overall budget for the sewers and road reconstruction on Dewitt Road is $4,173,238 (not including contingency and non-refundable HST).

More details, including the capacity diagrams, in another TPR story: Council Votes to Expand Sewer Capacity on Dewitt Road Following 2019 Study Showing It’s Maxxed Out

Natural Burials at Mount Hamilton Cemetery

The City of Hamilton will begin offering green burial options at Mount Hamilton Cemetery in the near future following Ward 7 Clr Esther Pauls committing $100,000 from the Ward 7 area-rated funds to create an 8,400 square metre space for burials done without non-biodegradable materials.

Hamilton resident Rochelle Martin worked to convince the City of Hamilton that green burials are viable, and many people expressed interest in the option. (See: TheSpec, August 2018)

Council also approved adding $55,000 per year to the cemeteries budget for a half-time position coordinating green burials.

“I think it’s very important that the funding for this natural burial section be passed to help people feel comfortable in how they want to proceed when there is a death in the family,” Pauls stated.

Ward 2 Clr Jason Farr thanked staff and Martin for working together on this initiative.

A Playground to Remember 11-year-old Jude Strickland

Councillors approved $220,300 for a new play structure at Eleanor Park in the Templemead neighbourhood which will include a plaque honouring Jude Strickland who was killed by a reckless driver operating a pickup truck in December 2020. Strickland was walking home from school. The driver pleaded guilty in January to charges of dangerous driving causing death and possession of a controlled substance.

The structure will be designed in consultation with Strickland’s family and the Templemead School community.

The playground will include a new climber. Jackson says “Jude absolutely loved spending so much time” on the climber.

“I still can’t get over the popularity of this young man,” Jackson continued. “There’s been families across the city that have, through the family and or directly to my office, reached out, with both love, sympathy, and support.”

$100,000 of the budget will come from the annual parks budget, and $120,300 from the Ward 6 area-rated funds.

Jackson says Council approval will “mean will so to the family.”

New Crosswalks and Sidewalks for the Ancaster Memorial Art Centre

Council approved two new pedestrian crossings for the new Ancaster Memorial Art Centre at the request of Ward 12 Clr Lloyd Ferguson.

A pedestrian crossing (PXO) will be installed on Sulphur Springs Road in close proximity to the intersection of Sulphur Springs Road and Queen Street at a cost of $40,000.

A sidewalk will be on the west side of Queen Street between Sulphur Springs Road and the Ancaster Memorial Art Centre at a cost of $30,000.

This is to connect the parking lot of Ryerson United Church to the new Centre, which will use this for overflow parking.

The projects are funded using Ward 12 Councillor discretionary funds.

New Wheelchair Accessible Swings at William Connell Park and Heritage Green Park

Council approved the purchase of two new ‘We-Go-Swing’ units for the parks at $60,000 each. The William Connell Park swing will be funded from Ward 8 area-rated funds and the Heritage Green swing is contingent upon funding from the Heritage Green Community Trust.

Renewing and Upgrading the Basketball Court at Powell Park

Powell Park’s basketball court will have newly repaired concrete, a new backboard, new rim, and the concrete wall behind the net will have a new community art mural as well.

Ward 3 Clr Nrinder Nann moved to spend $23,000 of the Ward 3 area-rating funds on the project.

New Pathway and Lighting for Eastmount Park

Ward 7 Clr Esther Pauls moved to spend $90,000 to create a new park pathway “east to west at the south end of the park at Eastmount Park” and install additional lighting in the park’s parking lot.