Hamilton's first "Youth Town Hall" was held on Sat. Apr 13, 2024. Credit: Joey Coleman

Hamilton’s youth came to City Hall on April 13 to tell the City Council that more needs to be done to address the housing crisis, ensure access to mental health supports, and improve bus services to enable them to succeed in Hamilton.

Saturday was the City of Hamilton’s first “Youth Town Hall,” designed to give youth an opportunity to meet with council members, with each other, and to provide feedback to the city government.

The event was co-organized by the city’s engagement office, the City’s youth engagement strategy, and Model City Hall.

Over 100 young people attended the town hall.

They were joined by members of city council: Maureen Wilson (Ward 1), Cameron Kroetsch (Ward 2), Nrinder Nann (Ward 3), Tammy Hwang (Ward 4), Mark Tadeson (Ward 11), Alex Wilson (Ward 13), Ted McMeekin (Ward 15), and by video conference Mayor Andrea Horwath.

Following opening remarks in the council chamber, the youth meet in smaller groups to discuss six topics: mental health and addiction supports, employment and training, safe and affordable housing, safety and sense of inclusion, youth engagement and leadership, climate change and impacts.

Hamilton’s first “Youth Town Hall” was held on Sat. Apr 13, 2024. Six councillors sponsored the event, each listening to discussions on a topic each.

They returned to the council chamber to share their suggestions and calls to action.

One of the themes which appeared to catch the attention of councillors were calls for better transit service in Waterdown, Binbrook, and the unreliability of the route 44-Rymal bus.

No HSR managers were present to listen to youth feedback.

A youth, who stated they live in Binbrook, told the councillors that the non-existence of transit to the area is making it hard for them to maintain working at a part-time job while volunteering in the community.

Binbrook’s councillor, Mark Tadeson, hurriedly took notes as the youth shared their story.

“Buses is a very contentious issue, and I am aware of the strain and impact upon youth employment opportunities, I am hearing you,” Tadeson responded.

Due to the City’s area-rating of transit services, taxes in Binbrook would increase by hundreds of dollars per year if HSR is expanded into the community.

Another youth said the HSR needs better early morning bus services because they must leave home at 6:30 a.m. to make it to Westdale Secondary School in time for the 8:00 a.m. bell time.

Council members committed to bringing the concerns they heard to the attention of City staff.

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Published: April 21, 2024
Last edited: April 21, 2024
Author: Joey Coleman
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