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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Hamilton Stadium- No Yards Penalty?

There is an old adage in the world of managing projects - "You can have it fast, you can have it cheap or you can have it done right- pick two of the three".  The adage speaks to the challenges behind managing projects to  finish on time, stay within budget and deliver a quality result. 

Upon learning that the construction of the new stadium continues to be delayed, resulting in missed games and potentially more missed games. Infrastructure Ontario vice president John McKendrick is quoted in today's Hamilton Spectator (see it here or purchase today's print copy), as saying he will "press and push" the contractor daily. Built in contractual language allows the Hamilton Tiger Cats to claim 1 million dollars for every lost game, due to the delays. The claim is against the city who will attempt recovery from Infrastructure Ontario. 89 million in payments are being withheld, pending the issues being resolved. 

With all the tensions in place to prod the project to completion, the question of whether the pressure is healthy and will achieve a quality result faster, looms against whether the pressure may affect a quality result.

What are your thoughts? Have far should we push?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Op Ed by M Adrian Brassington

This past week saw a too-familiar situation pushed to the forefront. It had to do with the presence of Hamiltonians of a particular set of Life circumstances and their behaviour in the downtown core. The issue was covered in The Spec http://www.thespec.com/news-story/4631730-city-says-more-police-not-needed-in-the-core/>here. It’s a controversial situation. Harsh observations were made. These were countered by poverty advocates as being discriminatory. And it went downhill from there.

As someone who is old enough to have frequented the downtown core going back to the 60s –the pre-Jackson Square period– up to today, I feel I have a pretty good perspective on it all. I’ve lived there. I’ve worked there, and in the most relevant industry in this conversation, retail. I’ve spent tons of leisure time there over the course of almost five decades. Most importantly, I’ve seen it thrive during at least two interludes.

However, rather than focus on the contentious issue of ‘those people and their loitering’ (hereafter referred to as ‘them’), I want to look at things  from the other end of the conversation. Because I think we need to acknowledge certain truths. Truths that are rarely wheeled out for discussion. Instead, cries of stereotyping, discrimination and the inequities of low-income existences hold sway, relegating all else off the agenda.!


Friday, July 11, 2014

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak - Chef vs Chef (vs Chef vs Chef)

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak

Chef vs Chef (vs Chef vs Chef) 

The last couple of weeks have been busy ones on the culinary scene, with the most populist event having been the 2014 O Canada Ribfest held in Waterdown. It attracted nearly 50,000 participants and according to Rotarian organizers there were people from all over Southern Ontario in attendance. Bravo to the committed volunteers who pulled off such a success. Boss Hog’s repeated their win in the “People’s Choice Category” for both Ribs, and Sauce, and Kentucky Smokehouse took top honours for both in the “Judged” category.


As I’ve said before, there are lots of intersections in our culinary scene, both personal and via the personalities and events involved. So, speaking of judging, I’ve been asked to be one of the judges for the


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Media Release - City of Hamilton unveils preview of new website

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

City of Hamilton unveils preview of new website

HAMILTON, ON – July 9, 2014 – Today, the City of Hamilton unveiled a new website in a preview format as the first phase of a comprehensive web redevelopment project. The beta site – preview.hamilton.ca – showcases citizen-centered, service-based functionality and visual design. The preview site is the beginning of an entirely new website and includes content for five key areas based on top task service items and corporate priorities. They include:

· Animals and pets
· Corporate priority projects
· Council and Committees
· Garbage and recycling
· HSR transit

The full website is expected to launch this fall. Staff will continue to move content over to the preview site throughout the summer during which time the City will be maintaining two websites - the new and the old. The authoritative source for information will continue to be www.hamilton.ca until 100 per cent of content


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Laura Babcock on Hamilton Sign

Enjoy our Q/A with Laura Babcock.

1. Are you surprised at the way things have gone in terms of the effort to get a sign for Hamilton in advance of the Pan Am games?


Yes. I first raised the need for sign on twitter and the response from many in the community was that it was needed. Councillor Merulla requested I formally raise the issue at council and in preparation for my council delegation I learned the city had been working on the gateway issue off and on since 2002 - even completing a public consultation in 2008. When I asked council to simply complete the sign before Pan Am, the 18 month window seemed reasonable and my request had almost unanimous support.

2. Did you envision the cost of putting up the sign, and the considerations that go along with it, to be as challenging as it turns out they are? Do you accept that this is just part of the process, or do you think that the city has made a simple project, a complicated one?

I did not envision a $230,000 cost to the sign but given Stoney Creek's gateway sign was completed years ago at a cost of $290,000 (according to Brad Clark) it wasn't unreasonable. However by the time staff reported the cost to council this spring, it was in an election year and the project was no longer just about having a municipal standard in place to market the city. It became about competing priorities. From a private sector vantage point, the process seems overly complex and politicized however this is not a surprise given Hamilton's history and political culture.

3. What do you think the city’s next steps should be in terms of moving forward with the idea?


The city manager has made recommendations to study specifics and council has allotted money to do so. I would hope council would honour that work and investment and include the gateway signs in next budget cycle. Each day we delay we miss valuable brand impressions.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Media Release- Mayor Bratina on Stadium

“My thanks to all involved in trying to have the stadium ready for July 26th. Anyone who has driven by the work site knows the tremendous effort that is going into the construction of Tim Hortons Field. Although we have fallen short of some early games of the 2014 football schedule, the eventual opening of this wonderful and historic facility will be well worth the wait.”

Bob Bratina
Mayor of Hamilton

Sunday, July 6, 2014

At the Fringe

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Could a Person’s Cognition Ever Reach an Unacceptable Level?

Hamilton, Ontario, June 16, 2014 — This theme is explored in The Trial of Naomi Verne, third in John Bandler’s sci-fi trilogy, sequel to That The Multitude May Live and 59 Minutes in the Maxwell Suite.

In John’s era of altered realities, mind-augmentation, and institutionalized tyranny, perpetual martial law pacifies the American Domain, while internal conflict maintains stability in the theocratic Empire of God.

Held without charge for crime or crimes unspecified, stripped of her cognitive defenses and presidential authority, and at the mercy of the nightmarish Court`s Inquisitor, Naomi Verne, ruler of the American Domain, recalls her secret meeting with Luton Maxwell’s mother Valdis.

Valdis, representative of the Empire of God, accuses Naomi of violating the universal treaty on acceptable levels of human cognition. Key is 5-year-old Tamina Maxwell, Naomi’s daughter—Valdis’ granddaughter—whose isolation has been penetrated by the Empire of God.

Why did Naomi isolate Tamina? Who is The Inquisitor? What forces drive Valdis? What is the hideous—perhaps inevitable—bargain that Naomi strikes as a way out of the global deadlock?

At Hamilton Theatre Inc. 140 MacNab Street North, July 18-27, during the Hamilton Fringe Festival, some issues will be resolved, new ones raised. See www.bandler.com/coalition for news and show times.

Written by McMaster engineering professor emeritus John Bandler and directed by Theatre Ontario’s 2013 Maggie Bassett Award recipient Tom Mackan, this world premiere features Genevieve Jack as Tamina Maxwell, Andrea Adcock as Valdis, and Steve O’Brien as The Inquisitor. Brenna Rae MacNaughton returns as Naomi Verne.

About John Bandler’s That The Multitude May Live: “Brenna Rae MacNaughton, Matt Szpirglas and Steve O’Brien . . . deliver some great lines.” “their combined talents are spellbinding.”—Denyse Terry, Hamilton Fringe Reviews, July 22, 2012.

“There wasn’t a seat left in the house . . .” “The rich story line is blissfully complimented by the flawless execution by its actors and actresses . . . who transfixed the audience from the get go.”—Teresa DiFalco, The Hamiltonian, July 23, 2012.

“reminiscent of Ray Bradbury’s science fiction . . . takes us to the edge of toppling humanity”—Gary Smith, The Hamilton Spectator, July 25, 2012.

Brenna has appeared with Opera Hamilton, the McMaster Summer Drama Festival, the Scaffold Theater Project as well as Fringing up a storm in Hamilton, Ottawa and London.

Genevieve has appeared in television and independent films. At the Hamilton Fringe Festival she appeared in Paul & Marie in 2012 and in Roberto Angelini’s Cold Case in 2013.

Andrea played Jane in Jane’s Thumb at the 2013 Hamilton Fringe Festival. Her credits include The Underpants, The Glass Menagerie, Time and the Conway’s, Animal Farm, and, most recently, in Hemingway And His Women.

Steve’s many credits include A Man for All Seasons. In 2010, the Theatre Ontario Festival awarded him “Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Supporting Role.”

Technical director/stage manager Valerie VanLandschoot spent many years in the Toronto and Hamilton theatre scenes. She stage managed John’s That The Multitude May Live at 2012 Hamilton Fringe Festival.

The production team includes Beth Bandler and McMaster University’s David Harris Smith and Peter Jonasson.



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Retrospective with Clr. Russ Powers

Given Clr. Powers' recent announcement that he will not be running in the upcoming municipal election, and in light of his many years of service to Hamilton, we thought we'd check in with Clr. Powers and do a retrospective with him. Here is our chat with the Clr. 

Many may be wondering what prompted your decision to step away from Hamilton municipal politics. What were the factors leading to the decision and why is it the right decision for you?

Many factors came into play over the past 6 months which I gave the utmost consideration and then, at a moment during that time, I just knew that it was the right time to retire.

What would you say is your greatest achievement, or the one you are most proud of, during your many years of service to Hamilton? Why did you select this example? What was it about it that made you so proud?

My intense involvement in the ‘Anti-Amalgamation Wars’ was amongst my most memorable. And when the decision was made by the province, I have attempted to make the best of what the Harris Government decided.

What would you say was the most difficult issue you were involved in during your service as Hamilton city councillor? Why was it the most challenging, were you satisfied with the result and what did you learn from it?

The ‘Stadium Debate’ was the most recent. Although I still have a preference for the West Harbour location, I came to realize that it wouldn’t be built there and accepted the second-best which is better than nothing at all.

What advice might you have for others who may be venturing into city politics? Can you share some tips or do’s and don’ts?

If you have a growing family, it will be a challenge to balance it with the demands of elected office...everyone needs to be understanding, if not accepting of your desire to offer yourself as a candidate. Just remember, a quiet week for you is 75 hours long!

If you were to write a book about the service you have provided to Hamilton as City Councillor, what would the title of that book be and why did you choose that title? 

I can’t even begin to answer this question!

What is next for Russ Powers?

I’m going to slow down a bit and even try to sleep into 7:30 AM. I have ideas for a couple of local history books and a singular venture into playwriting. I have already been offered other opportunities which I will seriously consider after a reprieve. Slowing down and enjoying a personal life is a priority for me.

What advice might you have for the next council?

Early in the new year, develop and agree to a strategic plan for the 4 year term of Council then measure all proposals and actions against it.

Is there anything else you would like Hamiltonians to know about you, your decision or anything else you would like to convey.

I am honoured to have served at the bequest of the residents of Dundas since 1982. The memories will all be precious to me. Thank you all! 


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