The Public Record Email Edition for Monday, January 23, 2023

City Council meeting in December 2022


The Public Record
Email Edition for Monday, January 23, 2023

WILL TINY SHELTERS EVER HAPPEN?

Joey’s Newsletter Note

It was an interesting week at Hamilton City Hall. It felt like Groundhog Day the movie. You know, the movie in which Bill Murray’s character relives the same day over and over again.

Encampment indecision repeat.
HATS indecision repeat.
More audits revealing systemic City Hall staff culture issues.
Capital budget near indecision.

Finally, on Friday, Council appears to be finding its feet.

They approved the 2023 capital budget – with reservation.

They voted to hold a workshop by March 31st to map out their priorities.

In a late Friday 14-0 vote, they committed to prioritizing the implementation of active transportation infrastructure during this term of Council.

More on the week and Council below in the summary stories.

– Joey
I always welcome your feedback and thoughts by email, click reply to send me a message.

Prime Minister Trudeau Visiting Hamilton Monday to Wednesday with the Liberal Cabinet
– Expect Funding Announcements –


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the entire federal Liberal Cabinet are visiting Hamilton this week for their annual retreat. They’ll be setting their legislative priorities for the coming year in Parliament and likely figuring out election strategy if their minority government is toppled.

The 2023/24 federal budget will top their agenda.

Hamiltonians can expect the PM to drop announcements daily in areas of priority for the federal Liberals: Education, Health Care, and Housing.

I noted in the mid-December newsletter that the 322-unit Kiwanis Homes & Victoria Park Community Homes project at 60 Caledon Avenue was moving unusually quickly through City Hall approval processes, and all the project needs is federal funding.

Mayor Andrea Horwath noted the November 10 federal rapid housing funding announcement during her November 16 inaugural speech. As I wrote, Horwath enjoys a very good relationship with Hamilton’s federal cabinet minister Filomena Tassi.

This past week, the Committee of Adjustment granted final approval for zoning variances.

Bill 23 (Doug Ford’s controversial Planning Act changes) removed the right for third parties to appeal CoA decisions. 

60 Caledon is signed, sealed, and just needs federal funds delivered.

A picture-perfect photo-op for the Prime Minister. I’ll be shocked if funding is not announced this week.

Past cabinet retreats have seen Ministers out in the host community meeting leaders, visiting institutions, and making smaller announcements.

Of course, the PM will visit a few small businesses. Trudeau has a sweet tooth for Donut Monster.

Who knows, you may meet the Prime Minister this week. 

[Click the link for a photo of the March 14, 2018, Hamilton Spec front page, the other front page headline that day? “Will Andrea Horwath consider a run for the mayor’s seat?”]

IMAGE: Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

2023 City of Hamilton Budget

$295.26 is the current projection for Hamilton 2023’s average property tax increase, based on a house with an assessed MPAC value of $386,000.

[Yes, this is the average assessment, which differs from market value due to lag in MPAC re-assessment periods.]

Councillors voted Friday to approve the 2023 capital budget of $251-million.  There was a brief debate regarding delaying approval.

Delaying would increase construction costs. Council decided to focus their energies on making changes in time for the 2024 cycle.

They will ratify the capital budget this Wednesday.

Police Budget on Track to Approval

City Council spent 3.5 hours hearing from and questioning Hamilton Chief of Police Frank Bergen on the HPS’ 6.71% budget increase ask for 2023.

The debate on the police budget will be held in February.

Council can only vote yes or no to the Police Board request. They cannot amend the police budget. If Council votes down the budget, the Police Board can appeal to the Ontario Civilian Police Commissioner to force approval.

Council approval is virtually guaranteed.

Seven councillors already state they will vote in favour: Francis (W5), Jackson (W6), Pauls (W7), Danko (W8), Tadeson (W11), Spadafora (W14), and McMeekin (W15).

Kroetsch (W2) voted against the budget at Police Board.

Mayor Horwath, Councillors Maureen Wilson (W1), Nann (W3), Hwang (W4), Brad Clark (W9), Cassar (W12), and Alex Wilson (W13) have asked questions but not definitively declared how they will vote.

“Nobody actually campaigned on removing frontline officers or defund the police,” stated Danko during his questions.

More of the councillors quotes and comments in this TPR story: Joey’s Notepad: Where Councillors Stand on the Police Budget

Councillors Happy with Conservation Budgets

City Councillors praised the Royal Botanical Gardens, praised Conservation Halton, especially for its recent reports giving monetary valuation to natural watersheds flood protection, had a love-in with the Hamilton Conservation Authority for its retention of paid members following the COVID explosion in people buying conservation passes, expressed thanks for the multi-jurisdictional work of the Grand River Conservation Authority, and expressed thanks to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority for its substantial reforms and governance improvements following years of fiasco and scandal tied to one of Hamilton’s appointees to the Authority.

Councillors opined against Premier Doug Ford’s decision to strip Conservation Authorities of many of their environmental roles, including forbidding them from broadly reviewing land use and development applications for ecological and other environmental impacts.

Thumbs Up for the Farmers Market

The Hamilton Farmers Market Board will decrease its advertising spending in 2023 to meet Council’s request for a budget freeze.

Graphs showing year-over-year foot traffic in the Hamilton Farmers Market
With recent turnover at the Market Board, Market Manager Bill Slowka presented this year’s budget to Council.

Slowka is an operational employee of the City, and he speaks with the honesty of a front-line worker sharing the market’s challenges and where he sees opportunity.

He presented the Market’s foot traffic counts (click the graph above for larger image). The Market is still experiencing a drop of more than 50% in foot traffic, some popular vendors have left for new storefronts, and there’s the issue of Market hours.

The new Council is very supportive of the Market. Mayor Horwath’s comments capture the mood of Council.

The Market is a “jewel in our crown as a city” that is “a destination” which should remain public.

“The Farmers Market is a public entity, and I believe we need to protect that.”

There is an ongoing consultants review of the Market. When the report is presented to Council in the coming months, Council will need to provide increased funding to implement whatever plan comes forth to get the Market back on track to financial self-sufficency.

RELATED TPR COVERAGE: The Market Board meet on Jan. 9. They debated Market hours again.

The Market continues to operate on March 2020 “temporary COVID hours,” closing at 4 pm on the days it is actually open.

At the Jan 9 meeting, the two delegations were informative. Former Market Chair Eric Miller told the Board he is “deeply worried about the current market and more worried now than I have at any time.”

Market vendor Darren Kregar shared his frustration at the non-enforcement of Market lease agreements. He says with most vendors closing at random, his business is suffering.

“I actually saw people coming up the stairs, see everything shut down and literally turn around. ”

Full Story on TPR: Farmers Market Board Debate Hours, Again. No Decision Made

HAVE YOUR SAY: The Market Board will again debate operating hours at their Monday, Feb 6, meeting. 5 pm, City Hall.
Register to delegate by email to the Market Board Chair, Ward 2 Councillor Cameron Kroetsch. Cameron.Kroetsch@hamilton.ca

Everyone Loves the Library [Budget]

The Library’s request for a 3.5% budget increase gained strong support as Councillors went around the horseshoe praising the library.

City Hall watchers know that Ward 6 Councillor Tom Jackson asks the same rhetorical question each and every year seeking reassurance that “my seniors” will continue to receive bookmobile service in front of seniors’ buildings and long-term care facilities.

This year, rookie Ward 14 Councillor Mike Spadafora asked about bookmobiles first, leaving Jackson to vary his question by asking Chief Librarian Paul Takala to discuss routine lifecycle replacement of bookmobiles.

“The messaging today, especially for many seniors that are shut-ins the bookmobile so valuable, is that you’re going to maintain and continue them on the road and look to the future to hopefully replace down the road. Count me in if you need capital dollars,” Jackson opined.

City Manager violates AODA refuses to Make Clean Budget Available

The City Manager’s Office refuses to provide the City’s budget documents in a machine-readable open format.

In a first for any Canadian municipality, Hamilton applied a cipher layer to the City’s budget PDF to prevent search engines from reading the budget and stop people from using scripts to analysis the budget.

The cipher violates the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. AODA requires accessible PDFs that can be read by screen readers

When a reader selects text in the budget layer, the invisible cipher layer is selected. Any attempt to copy public information actually copies the cipher layer. “2023 Tax Supported Capital Budget” is ciphered into “7D[ 6XSSRUWHG &DSLWDO %XGJHW”

An image showing how the City of Hamilton ciphered its 2023 budget documents

On December 22, City staff told Council the problem is caused a third-party vendor [the vendor provides services to thousands of local governments none of whom are affected by the alleged issue] and they were working with the vendor to remove the cipher.

If this were true, the cipher was applied when City staff uploaded the document; then City staff have a clean PDF sitting on their computers.

A month later, City staff are still unable to provide a clean budget document.

HAVE YOUR SAY – Budget Delegations on Feb 6, 3 pm to 7 pm

When debating delaying the capital budget, a few members of Council cited a desire to hear from the public before approval.

Budget public delegations will be held on Monday, February 6, beginning at 3:00 pm in the Council Chamber at City Hall, 71 Main Street West, Hamilton.

You can speak on any topic, provided you tie it to the budget. It’s as simple as saying “I think the City budget should prioritize (or not) …”

Delegations can be in-person, by video, pre-recorded, or written.

Register on the City website.

The Upcoming Week’s Budget Presentations

Monday: Corporate Services Department
Planning and Economic Development Department [Presentation slides already available]

Tuesday: Public Works Department

Thursday: Healthy & Safe Communities Department

The Week at City Hall


Inside a model Tiny Home
Tiny Shelters Shelved Again

Council’s Emergency and Community Services Committee voted 5-0 to send the Hamilton Alliance for Tiny Shelters (HATS) project back to restart its site selection committee in what was an at times tense meeting Thursday afternoon.

Back in December, at the request of Ward 3’s Nrinder Nann, Council turned down 647 Barton Street as a site following community opposition.

HATS was instructed to work with City staff to find a more suitable site.

Council wants the political cover of staff recommending a site.

Staff do not want to make what is effectively a political decision – there is no ‘perfect’ site.

HATS came back last week with three proposed sites: Cathedral Park (the park beside Highway 403), the Barton/Tiffany lands, and a strip of land on Lloyd Avenue near Barton Street East and Gage Avenue North.

Underlying it all, the unspoken reality the HATS three-year “pilot” will become a permanent part of Hamilton’s housing continuum.

Thus far, Waterloo’s similar tiny homes project has only transitioned two residents to permanent housing. There is not enough rent-geared-to-income housing to move people into.

Maureen Wilson expressed concerns about the displacement of individuals presently encamped around Cathedral Park. HATS states they need exclusive use of an area for tiny shelter residents to be able to succeed in transitioning out of challenges which lead to their being unhoused.

“Displacing one community for another, I don’t think is [HATS] objective.”

Wilson noted that $100,000, which is what HATS is requesting from the City, “can prevent 55 families or 25 couples at risk from entering the stream of homelessness … we can secure housing to ensure they’re not in a precarious position for 90 singles … we could do direct $100,000 to indigenous service providers as part of our commitment to truth and reconciliation …  I would prefer if we have a surplus of $100,000 that it could be provided to ensure that 55 families don’t enter into that pathway of homelessness” [YouTube Link]

Ward 2’s Cameron Kroestch said he only learned of the potential for Barton/Tiffany at Thursday’s council meeting. “It’s complete surprise to me in this moment that the preferred site is on the Barton Tiffany lands.”

“This is a super residential neighbourhood,” Kroestch stated that people need to be consulted to get their views having HATS in their neighbourhood.

The vote to restart the process was carried 5-0 with Maureen Wilson (W1), Kroestch (W2), Jackson (W6), Clark (W9), and Alex Wilson (W13) voting in favour. Nann (W3) and Hwang (W4) were absent for the vote.

GM of Planning and Economic Development Jason Thorne says the work of reviewing potential sites “

is going to take a number of months to do.”

“I think for HATS unfortunately, the delegation today really was, in my humble opinion, a waste of their time,” noted Ward 6’s Tom Jackson.

The following Councillors took to Twitter Friday to make statements regarding their positions and vote on Thursday.

Maureen Wilson thread: Says she supports HATS, “I’m looking to staff for a firm, recommendation on an optimal location to depoliticize site selection process” and is seeking consultation before deciding upon a location.
Cameron Kroestch thread: Says he wanted the Sir John A MacDonald secondary school site and now wishes there to be public consultation of Barton / Tiffany neighbours.
Alex Wilson tweet:  “I was + am comfortable with endorsing the project with funding conditional on the location + operational components being resolved.

Public comments can be sent prior to 12 noon on Tuesday to be placed on Wednesday’s Council agenda when all 16 council members must decide on the HATS project. Submissions by email to clerk@hamilton.ca

Board of Health Reform

The new Council decided to proceed towards creating an independent Board of Health with a mix of elected officials, community members, and regulated health professionals.

There was not vote at BoH, instead an agreement to wordsmith a motion for this week’s Council ratification meeting.

Toronto and Ottawa‘s Boards consist of a mix of council members and non-political members drawn from health professions and the community. The advantage of a professional board of health is the members bring a wider range of experience.

The concern of past Hamilton Councils was the loss of control over public health decisions and the ability of an independent Board of Health to take positions which differ from the elected Council on budgetary decisions and public health approvals such as safe injection/consumption sites.

Elected Council will be able to vote against a Board of Health budget submission, however, the politics of such a spat would be messy.

Council agreed to a two-phased approach.

The creation of an “advisory” body until the City of Hamilton Act is amended by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to create an independent Board of Health.

[The Legislative Assembly returns on Feb 23. It’s summer recess is scheduled to begin no later than June 5]

To my ear, the “advisory” body’s members will become the Board of Health.

Ward 6’s Tom Jackson is opposed.

“We were elected by the community of 580,000 people in this city to serve for the next four years and do our best to make deliberations over the $2-billion Corporation of this City,” Jackson stated. “So I’m just fundamentally opposed for that reason, I just would feel it as a form of abdicating my responsibility.”

Short-Term Rentals

In a 10-2 Planning Committee vote, Council voted to restrict short-term rentals to the owner’s principal residence with no cap on the number of days it can be rented out.

There will be licensing and inspection fees. The short-term rental can be within a secondary dwelling units.

Conversion of an income property into a short-term rental will be prohibited.

There were over a dozen delegates on this issue, nearly all operate Airbnbs for income.

Many stated they do not want regular tenants because they do not want to deal with the backlogged Landlord Tenant Board.

The Board is a disaster for both tenants and renters – with massive delays that allow bad tenants and bad renters able to abuse the system.

The City will hire 2.25FTE by-law enforcement staff.

If the 10 votes in favour do not change their position, the new bylaw will be ratified this coming Wednesday.

A letter writing campaign is underway by Airbnb hosts asking Council to not impose any local regulations. Submissions to Council are accepted until 12 noon Tuesday, by email clerk@hamilton.ca.

University of Toronto Master of Science in Planning student Emily Power provided an excellent presentation of her research into short-term rentals in Hamilton. Watch starting here YouTube Link.

Encampment Response
Council’s Wednesday GIC meeting heard from delegations opposed to the City’s encampment enforcement protocol.

However, due to time constrains (the meeting adjourned at 8:38pm, having begun at 9:30 am), Council’s debate and decision is deferred until the February 1st GIC meeting.

Council will vote on a mix of enforcement measures and outreach options to respond to encampments. They include making permanent the CIty’s encampment response group at a cost of $1.3-million annually.

This includes hiring a 5.5 outreach staff, adding two police officers to the Hamilton Police to “support the co-ordination of encampment response efforts across the community, two by-law officers, and adding $200,000 to the City’s waste collection budget.

During the discussions this week, the idea of a “hands-off” approach to encampments which are not generating complaints was talked about.

Council voted that any further delegations on this report will be written.

Can Hamilton Declare a State of Emergency re: Opioid Deaths / Overdoses
During Council’s emergency operations training, Ward 9’s Brad Clark asked if the City can declare a State of Emergency to access provincial and federal funding to respond to the crisis of opioid deaths and overdoses.

“I’m trying to understand what would the thresholds be for us to declare an emergency for overdose, we’ve seen an unprecedented number of overdoses in the city. And sadly, and an unprecedented number of overdose deaths. And so I’m trying to understand what is the thresholds that we would use in order for the city to call an essence of state of emergency due to overdoses?”

“If I understand provincial legislation, if we declare a state of emergency, it opens up some funding opportunities. So when I’m looking at this issue with regards to substance abuse, or hitting some really high numbers. And I’m wondering if if the declaration of a state of emergency over substance abuse and overdoses, specifically, whether or not it would open up the funding for us to help more people, because it’s not just the downtown Hamilton issue. It’s citywide, and oh, these are happening everywhere.”

Council voted unanimously to have staff research options.

Cold Alerts and Cold Weather Response

Council discussed the City’s public health Cold Weather Alert system and then separately the Community Service cold weather measures for emergency shelters.

Hamilton’s senior-most staff decided on Christmas Eve to declare -12C with -23 windchill to be warm enough to cancel a Cold Alert and close the City’s only warming centre which is run by a charity, the HUB.

The Hamilton Community Benefits Network stepped in to fund the HUB for Christmas Eve, with crowdfunding keeping it open for two more nights before a public outcry forced City Hall to commit to funding warming centres until March 31st.

At Board of Health, Council voted to review the Public Health Cold Alert threshold.

Ward 15’s Ted McMeekin suggested “zero [degrees] may be a good start and maybe the number of warming centres increase as the temperature drops.” .

At Thursday’s Emergency and Community Services meeting councillors voted to add $300,000 to the warming centres budget to ensure between now and March 31st, that warming centres are always available.

A review of the City’s non-Public Health Winter Response Strategy will be completed and presented to Council in a few months.

Bicyclists on the Cannon Cycle Track after an Arkells concert on June 23, 2018Moving Forward on Active Transportation Infrastructure
Council wrapped up the 2023 capital budget debate Friday with one final motion – staff are to report back on the cost of additional staffing to accelerate the City’s active transportation infrastructure.

The motion followed a debate on adding $500,000 to the 2023 budget to hire more engineers, staff, and other resources to accelerate the planning and implementation of bike lanes, tracks, and mixed-use trails across the region.

“I support, so thoroughly, the cycling network that needs to come and so many people ride bikes in rural areas, and they are a danger,” stated Ward 11’s Mark Tadeson.

Ward 10’s Jeff Beattie said the City needs to do better than a “piecemeal approach to some of the implementation of active transportation across the city.”

Ward 1’s Maureen Wilson says implementing good active infrastructure and transit will help decrease the cost of living by enabling families to move around the city without having to purchase a second vehicle.

The vote was unanimous.

The report will come to Council after the close of the 2023 budget. Funding to hire staff and create plans will come out of reserves or other sources, with projects being brought forth to the 2024 capital budget process.


Jamesville Appeal Closed Session

Council went into closed session for a briefing on Canada National’s Ontario Land Tribunal appeal against the redevelopment of the Jamesville Site.

[TPR story on appeal here: CN’s Jamesville Appeal Very Similar to Port Appeals of Pier 8 Plan]

Council will release a statement after this Wednesday’s Council ratification meeting.

CN’s appeal letter indicates they believe the City failed to meet the planning and environmental requirements to ensure compatibility with CN’s operations.

“Sensitive uses should not be permitted within 300 metres of rail yards, as rail yards have an area of influence of 1,000 metres where negative impacts can occur on the proposed use,” writes CN’s legal counsel Katarzyna Silwa of Dentons Canada LLP.

“CN’s reasons for the appeal are centred on concerns of safety, odour, vibration, noise and whether the proposed sensitive land uses are appropriate for the Lands. CN was not opposed to the approval of OPA 249 and ZBLA 22-220 provided that the impact of the adjacent rail operations were accounted for and mitigated, as required.”

I detail in the TPR story how the City settled with Bunge Canada and Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd regarding Pier 8 – the industries stated similar concerns in their appeals.

Postscript: Journalist and North End Resident Kathy Renwald is covering the story as well. Renwald’s work is always insightful.  Follow her on Twitter @KathyRenwald.

1% Residential Vacant Property Tax Moves Ahead

The City is moving forward with implementing a vacant property tax. The 1% levy will be charged upon “eligible property that has been vacant for more than 183 days in the previous calendar year”

City staff estimate there are “City has approximately 1,135 unoccupied residential properties” that will pay the tax with revenue expected to be $4.3-million in the first year.

The City will hire 12 staff to enforce the bylaw. Any surpluses will go into an affordable housing reserve fund.

Climate Change Advisory Committee Approved

Council approved the 15 to 20 member committee with a mix of academics, agricultural, community, Indigenous peoples, business/industry, health care professionals, and youth.

Additionally, the committee will strive to have 50% gender diversity and 30% representation from equity seeking groups.

Stormwater Rate Review

Council is moving forward towards implementing a user-pay stormwater rate. Presently, property owners pay a stormwater rate based upon the amount of water they use, not the amount of water which they send into Hamilton’s overtaxed sewer and stormwater systems.

This means parking lots pay next to nothing while a family home subsidizes the system.

City staff are to provide an implementation plan this spring, with the fee coming into effect no later than January 2025.

Mayor’s Task Force on Transparency, Access, and Accountability

The Mayor’s election promise is being fulfilled with Council approving a “diverse Mayor’s Task Force on Transparency, Access and Accountability to be tasked with undertaking a comprehensive review of public concerns regarding access, transparency, and accountability at City Hall.”

The Task Force will have co-chairs.

In so regards, it shares similarities with Shape Burlington from a decade ago. The result of a complete loss of trust by the local government.

The Task Force members will be chosen by the Mayor. The group is expected to meet regularly and report often during its one year mandate.

In The Next Newsletter

A look at this Council cycle’s audit reports, a land deal, a staff change, and school commute safety.

CITY HALL NOTEPAD 

Edward Soldo Departs: Hamilton’s Chief Roads Officer Edward Soldo is leaving to become the General Manager of Infrastructure and Engineering for the municipality of Chatham-Kent.
A big loss for Hamilton.

Soldo is best known to the public for his professionalism in light of defamatory and false remarks by former City Councillor Terry Whitehead.

He, on his own and without the support of City Hall brass, filed the Integrity complains which forced Council to final address Whitehead’s behaviour.  TPR Brief

Slow Progress on Transparency: Mayor Andrea Horwath is announcing the external consultants attending Council closed meetings. This is a step in the direction of transparency.

The City Manager’s Office argued during COVID that Ontario’s Municipal Act does not require municipalities to share if councillors are present in a meeting.

It is true, the Act does not explicitly state this. Before  the COVID emergency amendments to allow electronic meetings, the Act required that Council meet in person in public. It was impossible to hide who was, and be extension not, in attendance.

Before COVID, the public knew who entered and exited Council meetings, even in closed sessions.

City Manager on Closed Sessions:  City Council has now voted twice 0-16 against the recommendation of Hamilton’s City Manager to go into closed session for training.

Asked why staff are recommending training in closed session, Smith stated:

“When we put together a training session for members of council because the Municipal Act, as the Chair read, entitles council to go, we automatically put it that.” [YouTube link]

“Because the Municipal Act allows it that’s how we listed on the agenda”

– CM Janette Smith
on recommending closed sessions

GM Healthy and Safe Communities attends LGBTQ Advisory Cmte: GM Angela Burden joined the video meeting of the LGBTQ Advisory Committee this week. This is the first time I am aware of in my dozen years covering Hamilton City Hall that a top-level city staffer has proactively attended LGBTQ. It is also the first time I can recollect a GM proactively at a non-mandatory advisory committee meeting.

Burden gave genuine honest answers to questions from Committee members. Responding to a question about the desire of the LGBTQ for a physical space equity seeking communities hub, Burden noted how the committee can express that desire to Council noting the challenges of city resources and competing priorities. There were a fruitful discussion of options for proposals, such as the City funding dedicated rentals for community events in multiples spaces throughout Hamilton.

[The meeting video is no longer listed on the City’s YouTube page.]

Breaks: City Council will vote Wednesday to cap their meetings at eight hours, unless extended by majority vote. They will also take a 30 minute break if a meeting is longer than five hours.

A Little More Transparency: City Council will release their training materials on the Joint Stewartship Board with the exception of six pages that contain legal advice. This is good transparency.

Parliamentary Language and Council: Mayor Andrea Horwath is working to improve council debate and decorum by ensuring council members act and speak in a Parliamentary manner.

This week, Ward 2’s Cameron Kroetsch asked a question about needed changes to Hamilton’s procedural bylaw, and chose to refer to changes as “various procedural shenanigans that were required to make it happen.”

Mayor Horwath noted, “I prefer language like shenanigans not be used when we talk about procedural process.” [YouTube link]

Craig Cassar’s Weekly Roundup Thread: Ward 12’s Craig Cassar wrapped up the week with a summary thread on Twitter noting his highlights for the week.

Some topics included: an audit of Hamilton’s Municipal election practices, Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice Foundation’s possible expansion, draft TOR of the Climate Change Advisory Committee, tree planting initiatives, and a Public Art Masterplan.” Cassar’s 11 tweet thread begins.

Hamilton City Hall News Briefs

Mayor Horwath’s Interview with Hamilton City Magazine

Mayor Andrea Horwath is interviewed by Hamilton City Magazine. The mayor discusses the transition into the mayor’s job, her priorities for 2023 (housing, jobs, environment), infrastructure, tax affordability and value, and being a lifestyle magazine – how the mayor relaxes, where she likes to eat, etc.

Part 1 here, Part 2 here.

Hamilton Posts Bid Documents for New HSR Bus Barn

The bid documents state the City wants the facility to house 200 natural gas-fueled buses, a bus wash facility, offices for HSR dispatch and administration, a five-storey parking garage for employees, 30 repair bays, and amenities for employees, including a fitness facility.

Details on TPR, with interesting discussion in the comments: Hamilton Posts Bid Documents for New HSR Bus Barn

Illegal Demolition at 188 Cannon Street East

The owner of 188 Cannon Street East began an illegal demolition last week. The City has issued a Order to Comply to stop the demo.

Meanwhile, as the neighbour documents on Twitter (see response photos), the partially demolished building is now a hazard.

It will be interesting to see if City Hall issues any meaningful fines.

CBC Interview with Ward 11 Councillor Mark Tadeson

A well-written informative interview article about newly elected Ward 11 Councillor Mark Tadeson. It is a worth a read.

Neil Lumsden and Donna Skelly Decline Invite to Be Chastised by Council

File under no surprise. Council voted in December to “invite” (more demand) Hamilton’s Progressive Conservative Members of Provincial Parliament to “to appear at a future General Issues Committee meeting to discuss the impacts of Bill 23 on the City of Hamilton.”

In a letter from their boss, on behalf of Lumsden and Skelly, Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark says the government “will not waver” on Bill 23 among the ten paragraphs of political talking points.

$175,000 to Study Viability of Harvesting Industrial Waste Heat for District Energy

The City will receive $175,000 from the federal Green Municipal Fund to conduct this study.

InTheHammer’s Top Five City Hall Stories for 2022

News network InSauga’s Hamilton site InTheHammer has really stood out this year for excellent City Hall and civic affairs coverage. They’ve listed their Top 5 City Hall stories by traffic and the top one is interesting – a summary of the City’s implementation of the Provincial secondary dwelling unit program. Here’s the November 11 story.

Annual Provincial Update for Housing Services Household Income Limits

The Province posted the 2023 High Need Households and Household Income Limits for rent-geared-to-income affordable housing in Hamilton.

The rates are provided by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation using its Rental Market Survey.

The High Need Limit for 2023 by unit type [with 2022 rate in brackets] will be:

Bachelor Unit:   20,400     (19,200)
1-Bedroom:       26,400      (24,900) 
2-Bedroom:       31,200     (29,400)
3-Bedroom:       35,700     (34,800)
4-Bedroom or larger:      44,700      (44,700)

The Household Income Limit for RGI will be:
Bachelor Unit:     34,000     (32,000)
1-Bedroom:     44,000     (41,500)
2-Bedroom:     52,000     (49,000)
3-Bedroom:     59,500     (58,000)
4-Bedroom or larger:     74,500     (74,500)

Hamilton News Notes

HWDSB Student Trustee Applications Open
Public school students in grades 7 to 12 are invited to apply to be student trustees for the 2023/24 school year. The HWDSB’s website includes video of a public information session held to explain the role and processes. It’s a great civic engagement opportunity. More on the HWDSB website, applications are due by January 26, 2023 by 4 p.m.

7-Eleven launches its Licensed Dining in Alberta as Licenses Issued in Hamilton
7-Eleven’s plan to serve beer with indoor dining is underway in Alberta. Retail Insider covers the launch with pictures.

Hamilton’s 7-Eleven locations, 622 Upper Wellington Street and 415 Melvin Avenue were issued liquor licenses by order of Ontario’s License Appeal Tribunal following opposition by the City of Hamilton.

Hamilton Mountain News: 2023 Mountain Councillor Priorities
Hamilton Mountain Councillors Tom Jackson, Esther Pauls, John-Paul Danko, and Mike Spadafora discuss the coming year’s road and road safety projects on Hamilton Mountain.

Haldimand-Norfolk Acting MoH Dr. Strauss Leaving April 1
Noting Dr. Matt Strauss’ resignation because Hamilton’s Associate Medical Officers of Health will be on the short-list of candidates that recruiters will seek out for the Haldimand-Norfolk MoH position.

No Government Wants to Bid on the 2030 Winter Olympics
As the costs of hosting international sporting games becomes more and more apparent [see Judith Grant Long’s research to start], and the fact that economic spinoffs are not as advertised, fewer places are willing to bid on hosting games.

Now, it is the Olympics which cannot find any government willing to host the 2030 Winter edition. Blow for IOC as Chamonix claim no interest in joint 2030 Winter Olympics bid, reads the headline from sports industry website insidethegames.biz.

Get Engaged

Sustainable Building Design Panel Discussion
Tuesday, January 24, 6:00 pm. McMaster Downtown Medical Campus, 100 Main Street West.

The City’s Economic Development and Planning Department is back in-person with its regular panel talks.

The Sustainable Building Design Panel Discussion features Tony Cupido, Joanne McCallum, Eladia Smoke, and Olivia Keung.

Ward 4 Townhall with Clr Tammy Hwang
Monday, January 30. 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Rosedale Arena, 100 Greenhill Avenue

Ward 4’s Tammy Hwang is holding her first town hall, with a focus upon land-use development and planning.

“Can’t wait to see you there,” writes Hwang on her social media accounts.

Public Meeting on Upper Sherman / Mohawk Redevelopment
Thursday, February 2, 6:00 pmUkrainian Catholic Church of the Resurrection, 821 Upper Wentworth St.

Metroland’s Hamilton News editor Mike Pearson reports New Horizon Development Group will hold a public forum for their proposed 1,995 residential unit redevelopment of the County Fair Plaza site.

More info on the developers website.

Newsletter top photo: Hamilton City Council meeting in December hearing from the HATS organization.

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