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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Waterfront Trust?

Click here to hear Loren Lieberman's views on the Hamilton Waterfront Trust issues, and the way in which  Gary Santucci was received at GIC. The topic begins at 16:40. 

With thanks to our friends at Cable 14. 

The Casino Question?

While some are using robocalls as a method of getting a quick read on whether Hamiltonians support the prospect of casino gambling in the core, Mayor Bratina's  latest blog post (see it here), cautions against simplying the question.

As the Mayor points out, distilling the issue into a question makes the phrasing of that question particularly important. Further, he seems to suggest that capturing the various options of gambling venues, may not be achievable through the phrasing of a question. 

He writes " There are a number of views held by citizens regarding casino gambling in Hamilton:

Eliminate gambling altogether.
Keep the current operation at Flamborough
Keep the Flamborough operation only if it helps sustain horse racing.
Allow casino proposals for any location.
Allow casino proposals for any location except downtown.

This creates a problem in phrasing a question to use in the public input process required by the Province. The question, “do you approve of a casino in Hamilton” doesn’t encompass the five somewhat different positions identified above."

The mayor further states that making the downtown a "no casino" zone, would likely not withstand a legal challenge, in that a Downtown Secondary Plan approved by council in 2005, allows for a casino as a potential possibility.  The Mayor suggests that simply saying No to a casino, would be irresponsible. He invites citizens to provide input by emailing him at  mayor@hamilton.ca and putting CASINO BLOG in the subject line.

The Hamiltonian encourages citizens to provide the mayor with your input  as well as your local councillor. Please also feel free to express your views here. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pic of the Moment

Graham Crawford, founder and owner of Hamilton HIStory + HERitage, and the 138th Chairperson of The Hamilton Club.

We are always pleased to feature engaged Hamiltonians concerned about the well being of our city. If you are one, feel free to send us your photo for consideration. Send to admin@thehamiltonian.info 

Unsolved Mysteries- An Accident Waiting to Happen?

This is a follow up to this article (click here), concerning a biking accident at the waterfront that involved a $127,000.00 settlement.

The city was named as co-defendants in the claim, as the Hamilton Waterfront Trust did not have liability insurance to handle the claim.  It was learned that the cost to taxpayers was above the $127,000.00 settlement amount, as the city also incurred the costs of outside legal representation, over a number of years. Presumably there were also costs associated with staff time spent on the issue.

The Hamiltonian thus asked the Executive Director of the Hamilton Waterfront Trust (HWT),  Werner Plessl,  and copied Ward 6 Councillor Tom, Jackson (who sits on the HWT's board) and Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr (who also sits on the HWT board) the following: ,  Can you advise as to whether the Hamilton Waterfront Trust has since purchased adequate insurance,and if so, when the insurance protection took effect? Can you also assure Hamiltonians that there are measures in place to ensure that any service operating out of the HWT, is properly insured, whether the Trust provides the service directly, or allows the service to be provided.

The nexus of this question to the public interest is apparent. Hamiltonians ought to know that appropriate provisions are in place to ensure that any future claims are handled in the most efficient and cost effective way, so as to avoid undue financial burden on the taxpaying public. They also ought to know whether there are provisions in place to ensure that the HWT and/or the City cannot be named in a claim against any other business or service operating via authorization or allowance of the HWT.

The following is the city's Accountability and Transparency Policy (click here), which is in response to amendments to the Municipal Act, 2001 Respecting: Accountability and Transparency Policy (CL07010 / LS07025) (City Wide)


To date, we have not received a reply from Mr. Plessl. We have not received a reply from Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr. Ward 6 Councillor Tom Jackson has sent us a reply, but he did not answer the question. Mr. Plessl and Clrs Farr and Jackson continue to be welcome to address this question.

Until Hamiltonians are advised accordingly, the questions surrounding HWT's insurance provisions or other mechanisms, remain unsolved mysteries.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shout Out to Transit Toronto

A shout out to our friends at Transit Toronto, who have regularly featured articles from The Hamiltonian, that have to do with light rail. The latest link to us has been on the story entitled Mayor Bratina - On Light Rail Transit

On the Crawl

Anyone who has been following Hamilton, knows that the Hamilton Art Crawl has become an unmitigated success among Hamiltonians and visitors to our great city. Click here and here to see some fantastic shots of the Art Crawl. 

Robo Clrs?

"I’m not an automated robocall kind of guy,” 

That was Clr. McHattie's quote to The Hamilton Spectator (see it here or buy the print copy), in response to methods of public consultation to gauge Hamiltonians' interest in a casino. The comment seems to be contrasted against Clrs. Farr and Whitehead's efforts to use "robo calls" as they have come to be known, as one tool for gathering public input.

Do you think "robocalls" if used properly, are a good tool to gauge public response to issues?

Insurance Assurance

Through a series of questions asked by Gary Santucci and Brian Bonham of finance chief Roberto Rossini, subsequent to their delegation at GIC, it became clear that a biking accident at the waterfront, involved more than a $127,000.00 settlement. 

It was learned that the city was named as co-defendants in the claim, and that the Hamilton Waterfront Trust did not have sufficient liability insurance to handle the claim. It remains unclear if the Hamilton Waterfront Trust had any liability insurance at all. 

It also became clear that the costs to the taxpayer of this lawsuit settlement did not only include the settlement amount itself, but also included several years of fees for legal representation from an outside law firm that the city hired to represent them and presumably the Hamilton Waterfront Trust. The legal fee costs have not yet been released, which raises an issue onto itself, as the Hamilton taxpapers footed the bill. As one of our reader's pointed out, the taxpayer should be entitled to know how much was paid.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mayor Bratina- On Light Rail Transit

We asked the Mayor a few questions about LRT, and funding. Here is our Q/A with Mayor Bratina:

1. Do you believe the city is at a point where it sufficiently understands the costs of a Light Rail Implementation? By sufficient, we mean sufficiently enough to pursue additional funding sources? 

No I don't believe there is sufficient understanding. Even at this point in the project most of us were surprised that $9.1 million had already been spent, $5 million of which came from the City, the rest from the Province. We initially approved $200,000 a year for three years to run the LRT program, but have no recollection of further approvals that would amount to $5 million.

2. What is council’s understanding of the funding sources for Light Rail. Do we have an idea how much the municipal contribution will need to be, and are there any plans afoot to lobby the Federal government or other sources, to contribute funds? 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Hamilton Waterfront Trust- Back "On the Table" ?

It seems that Clr. Merulla's now infamous words where he attempted to dismiss each concern raised by Gary Santucci and Brian Bonhams' delegation  about the Hamilton Waterfront Trust,by deeming the issues as being "off the table", have triggered an opposite reaction by Mr. Santucci and Bonham.

Santucci advised The Hamiltonian that he and Mr. Bonham plan to put each issue "on the table" via a further examination of each issue, from their perspective. 

The first topic they have chosen relates to the Hamilton Waterfront Trust and its insurance provisions.

In addition to the write up that has been submitted to The Hamiltonian, as presented below, the following materials will be interesting points of reference.

Click here to witness first hand the delegation meeting and what was said before and after Mr. Santucci's presentation- which would also include Mr. Plessel's presentation. 
Click here for a copy of Mr. Santucci and Mr. Bonham's presentation material used at the delegation.


WATERFRONT TRUST ISSUES “BACK ON THE TABLE”

It is our intention over the following weeks to revisit point by point our presentation on the Waterfront Trust, made to the General Issues Committee on September 6, 2012 with the objective of putting all of the issues

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak- Sips and Bites

Sips and Bites

I’ve recently returned from an extraordinary couple of weeks of eating fine food and tasting top-flight wine in BC, as well as cooking with friends more locally (Thanks for the pix Ross). This has not done anything positive for my waistline. It has, however helped me develop my palate a bit more, and afforded me the time to reflect on what is on our own doorstep.

While we might not have the variety and abundance of extraordinary ultra-fresh seafood available to left coasters, we have nothing to be shy about in the local wine and food department, nor any lack of culinary talent to transform it. For instance I had the opportunity to cook earlier this week under the watchful eye of Anthony Greco. He’s the talented new Chef de Cuisine at Zest Restaurant in Fonthill.

Our menu included locally-produced foods, with tasty elements such as fall berries, the first (oh so flavourful)


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mayor Bratina- On HECFI etc.

We asked Mayor Bratina the following question about HECFI. 

Upon reflection as to the process used to find the most suitable proponents to run the HECFI facilities, do you believe this process will have a transformative effect on the profitability and sustainability of HECFI facilities?

The Mayor responded as follows:

In my "State of the City" address in Flamborough last year I stated that "HECFI had problems that are not dissimilar to other agencies like the Waterfront Trust and the Conservation Authority. As a Council we have to confront that." The problems include in various degrees depending on the organization, openness and transparency, human and financial resources, and fiscal competence. City Council had received discomforting news on different occasions from both HECFI and the Waterfront Trust of sudden, unexpected and large operating deficits, with no simple clear answers as to their causes. During my time as a HECFI board member I openly expressed my disagreement with many Board policies such as their expressed willingness to "take on more risk" related to concert bookings, and my question in response was "risking who's money? Yours or the public's?" This reached its nadir with the "lingerie football" episode that saw us provide $90,000 dollars up front, with a subsequent total loss of over $100,000. It is thanks to Bulldogs owner Michael Andlauer that tax-payers have been relieved of the costs of another bad HECFI decision which was to cover all the expenses of the hockey team, about $2 million dollars, in exchange for the right to sell the tickets and advertising. After years of losses it was Mr. Andlauer who suggested that the team revert to its original agreement with HECFI thus eliminating hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses to the taxpayer. For these and many other reasons we had to initiate the process that hopefully will lead to a much better outcome for taxpayers in the operation of the HECFI facilities.

Bob Bratina,
MAYOR
City of Hamilton

Hertel on HECFI

Now that it appears as though the HECFI bid to continue to run HECFI facilioties, may not suceed, we checked in with John Hertel and asked the following:

It looks as though HECFI management's bid to continue to run HECFI facilities, will not prevail. In light of this:

1. Do you believe the process worked and was HECFI present staff given a fair shake?

2. What would you say to those HECFI staff who will likely be out of work , if the staff recommendations get accepted by council?

John replied:


The process over the past year has been very thorough, and staff's recommendation responds directly to Council's directive to explore alternatives that reduce the level of Municipal contribution. The report speaks favourably to the proposal that our team submitted but we were not the lowest cost option.

Although our team is obviously disappointed that we were not the recommended solution, as professionals we will do everything we can to support Council's decision, help in any way we can with the transition details, and in the meantime continue to provide great experiences to our guests in all venues, every day.

Regards,
John



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Perspectives Virtual Panel- On Two Way Conversion/Reversion

We asked our Perspectives Virtual Panel the following question with respect to one way vs. two way reversions/conversions. 

The notion of converting or reverting one way streets to two way streets, particularly in and around the core, has been a hot topic as of late. Proponents argue that conversions (reversions) will invigorate the downtown and serve as a boost to businesses. 

Pros and cons for conversions(reversions) have been bantered about and it appears as though consensus is hard to come by.

Are you in favour of conversions (reversions)? To what extent and are there areas that make more sense to do them in? If so, where are those> areas? How significant of an impact do you believe such> conversions(reversions) will make? Should conversions (reversions), be
a city wide focus? Are they worth the costs or are there other ways of achieving similar results?

(Please note: Many of our panelists wrote lengthy replies. We would suggest you read through each reply, as they are all worthy of consideration). 

There is more than one issue at play. The first issue is the design of Hamilton`s downtown expressway system which effectively puts highways through the core because of topography. The escarpment creates a

Eisenberger- Responds to Questions regarding the Hamilton Waterfront Trust

We asked former Mayor Fred Eisenberger the following questions:

Mr. Eisenberger:

During your mayoralty, at a point in time, you asked for the financials for The Hamilton Waterfront Trust. It is our understanding that during the previous term, at which point you were not the mayor, these financials were not submitted.

Can you explain to Hamiltonians what prompted you to request the financials of the Hamilton Waterfront Trust during your term as Mayor?

Was there anything in particular that caused you to ask for the financials or was it merely due to they not being submitted?

During your mayoral term, were you satisfied with the operations and the financial management/reporting of the Hamilton Waterfront Trust?


Mr. Eisenberger responded as follows: 

Thanks for the question. I recall requesting them on behalf of council. I personally had no cause for concerns on their operations and governance and have faith in the leadership of the board and staff. The request for the financials were required to be submitted pursuant to their charter on an annual basis and had not been for some years. To be fully open and transparent they needed to fulfill the requirement each year to provide the financials and hence the request.

Cheers Fred

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

DiIanni- Responds to Questions re: The Hamilton Waterfront Trust

We asked former Mayor, Larry DiIanni the following questions concerning The Hamilton Waterfromt Trust:

In a recent article published by Mahesh P. Butani (found here http://metrohamilton.ning.com/profiles/blogs/hamilton-waterfront-trust-the-missing-years ), Mr. Butani states that during your mayoral term, and specifically in the years 04, 05 and 06, the Hamilton Waterfront Trust failed to provide at least three financial statements that ought to have been submitted and discussed at committee and council. In light of this Mr. Butani wonders if you had made any documented request for these financials during your term. Butani further submits that Mayor Eisenberger received the 2002-2007 financials from the Hamilton Waterfront Trust, nearly two years following your mayoral term.

Butani goes on to write “Hence in all probability mayor DiIanni would never have been even aware of HWT’s finances - in spite of the fact that the largest percentage of HWT total expenses in its eleven years appear to have been incurred during DiIanni's mayoral term. This implies that for the entire duration of DiIanni's mayoral term 2004/05/06, there would have been no mayoral or council oversight/scrutiny of HWT's finances or purchasing / procurement.”

We would suggest that you read Mr. Butani’s article in full, which is found here http://metrohamilton.ning.com/profiles/blogs/hamilton-waterfront-trust-the-missing-years

Our questions are:

1. How do you respond to Mr. Butani’s suggestion that during your mayoral term, there appears to have been insufficient attention to the financials of The Hamilton Waterfront Trust and their failure to report?

2. Did you make any requests for these financials and if so, what was the result of that? If not, why not?

3. Did you find it acceptable that these financials were not submitted during your term. If not, what actions did you take to address this?


Mr. DiIanni responded as follows:

Are you serious in asking me to recall reports which may or may not have been presented 5, 6 or 7 years ago?

As a general principle let me tell you that I was aware that the Waterfront Trust was flush with cash during my tenure, having received over $5M, I believe, from the Feds. I knew that we had several members of council on the Trust who along with citizen members were entrusted with direct oversight of the body and its programs; and because I visited the waterfront weekly (at least) and talked to the principals I knew the work that was being done at Williams, the trails and the boat. I supported this work and still do. I don't recall any protocol to have the Trust report to Council during Mayor Wade's term or mine. The Conservation Authority with an independent Board doesn't report to Council either and it receives money directly from the city. Perhaps the Trust should have reported, but it didn't and no one brought it up, to my recollection. I do recall that Councillor Ferguson took an interest in the Trust's work and asked some questions of its members and again to my knowledge that's where it stopped.

I would argue that any critic of the operations of the Trust take it up with Council and if they do ask questions, this time, they might stay to listen to the answers. Or, perhaps they might attend the meetings of the Board of the Trust. I am sure they would be welcome to do so.


Buying it?


Is it a tactic that will prove see through, or did the city change the designation of Charlton-Lynwood Hall from a residential care facility to a comprehensive institution, after having gained a better understanding of its program offerings?

As highlighted in The Spec's coverage (see it here or purchase the print copy), some speculate that the change in approach is predicated on a belief that the city will lose an upcoming OMB hearing if they stuck to a radial separation by-law, as a rationale for not allowing the move to Augusta St..

City staff say that upon closer examination, they concluded the new designation to be more appropriate.

But Clr. Clark's not buying it and had raised concerns over this late in coming switch in rationale. See the full story here.

Do you think the city is being too crafty with the anticipation that a radial separation rationale will be weak, or do you accept that the new designation was made after considering further detail related to Lynwood's offerings. Are you buying it?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Huh?

After rounds of questions left unanswered by Clrs. Jackson and Farr (members of The Hamilton Waterfront Trust's board of directors), and left unanswered by Werner Plessel, Executive Director of the HWT, we find this quote made my Mr. Plessel, to the Stoney Creek News

" Everything we do is open and transparent. It’s a little frustrating. All you have to do is ask us for the information.”

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Link of the Moment

Despite the sentiment from General Issues Committee members that issues related to The Hamilton Waterfront Trust are "off the table", others are exploring the issues further. Click here for Mahesh P. Butani's take. 

Meet June and Ivor Lynch

Ivor and June Lynch
1. A home based art gallery, a cake business and an interest and passion for fundraising. It sounds like you and your husband have a lot on the go. Can you tell us more about these endeavors and how and why you have made it a point to give back to the community?

We came to Canada from England in 1996. In England we had been hoteliers and upon moving here had absolutely no idea of what we were going to do to earn a living. We purchased our home in Dundas and decided to open a home based art gallery and school. We were both watercolourists and Ivor also paints in oils. We had both

Friday, September 14, 2012

M.I.A.- Missing In Auchmar

According to a report in The Spec., councilors could not make quorum at a special general issues committee that was to discuss the future of  the Auchmar Estate/Mansion. Only 8 councilors were there when the meeting began, prompting The Spec's headline " Auchmar: Where Was Everyone?". 

To read more about the important issues facing Auchmar, click here or buy today's Spec. To read more about the paucity of councilor presence at the special meeting, click here or purchase today's Spec. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Unsolved Mysteries- The Case of the Canal Washroom

You may recall that a suggestion from the Bay Observer, that Hamilton taxpayers may have paid upwards of $600.00.00 for a washroom built by the Hamilton Waterfront Trust, caused both angst and interest. Since then, through communications with The Hamiltonian, with other sources and through the recent GIC meeting, finance chief Roberto Rossini clarified that the washroom did not cost upwards of $600,000.00. Rossini explained that the cost of the washroom was billed alongside costs for other things (for example, management fees, rest areas etc), and thus the invoice cost was not solely for the washroom construction. Rossini added that the price of the washroom was approximately $200,000.00

The Hamiltonian subsequently reached out to Clr. Jackson, Clr. Farr and Roberto Rossini and asked what the initial estimated cost for the canal washroom was, what was the actual cost that it came to, and if there was a cost overrun, to explain the reason for it. Some of our readers believed that the cost of the washroom (being roughly $200,000.00 according to Mr. Rossini), sounded on the high side. We thought a comparison of the initial estimate to the actual costs, was an interesting question that Hamilton taxpayers are entitled to know the answer to.

While we received replies from Clrs. Farr and Jackson, their replies did not get us any further to getting

The Bay Observer- The Hamilton Waterfront Trust- What's Next?

The Bay Observer released a new article on The Hamilton Waterfront Trust. You can find it by clicking here. 

For Clarity

Update:  The Hamiltonian has asked Clrs. Farr and Jackson for clarity around how much the canal washroom was initially estimated at, and if there is, in fact, a cost overrun, what accounted for that overrun. Stay tuned. We will post the answer verbatim, when we receive it.

Those that have been following the controversy around the Hamilton Waterfront Trust and concerns that some have expressed around its financial and operational management, will know that the cost of building  a canal washroom was one component of the questions that were, and perhaps still are percolating. 

At a recent GIC meeting, finance chief Roberto Rossini provided some clarification.  Rossini explained that the cost of the washroom was captured in an invoice that also included other costs such as management fees,  rest areas etc. and thus the overall cost attached to that invoice ($681,000.00), cannot be assumed to be that of the washroom being built.

Rossini's comments at GIC were consistent with those he provided The Hamiltonian in the past. (See 1:17 on the video). 

For clarity, Mr. Rossini has confirmed in the past, and has restated today to The Hamiltonian, that the cost of the washroom was approximately $200,000.00.

Changing the Channel on Raw Sewage

What appears to be a sophsticated system of managing and channeling raw sewage , so that it averts flooding basements and averts dumping raw sewage into the harbour, is on the verge of being implemented in Hamilton in October of this year. 

John Helka, who is coordinating the project, was quoted in The Spec as saying  the $4-million real-time control system will use water-level sensors, underground gates and a new tunnel “off-ramp” to redirect sewage normally destined for the Wellington outfall to other parts of the sewer system, or into nearby holding tanks without endangering homes and businesses in the low-lying northeast end.

For further details, see Spec write up here or purchase today's print version. There is some very good information in the article, and it sounds like this could be a very good control measure in Hamilton. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

One Way or Another

Seems like Mayor Bratina is getting the hang of blogging.  Complete with a catchy title for a new thread that appears on his blog, the Mayor shares some thoughts on one way vs. two way streets, . Check it out here. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Audio of Santucci on The Bill Kelly Show & Video of GIC

CHML's Billy Kelly
Click here to hear Gary Santucci on the Bill Kelly show as he discusses the delegation on  The Hamilton Waterfront Trust.

To see the delegation for yourself, as well as Mr. Plessel's presentation;  the video is here.  We strongly encourage our readers to watch the video as well as to listen to Mr. Santucci's interview on CHML. 

Note: The Hamiltonian will not post comments that are disrespectful, that include name calling or that are otherwise unprofessional. If your comment does not appear, please consider resubmitting it in another form. 

The Canadian Academy of Osteopathy

Can you tell us about your organization and its goals. 

The Canadian Academy of Osteopathy offers education and training in the art and science of manipulative osteopathy. The CAO was established in 2003 as a independent private college and attracts students and professors from around the world . Our hope is to provide affordable education that leads to employment and clinical excellence, we are proud Hamiltonians and will continue to operate the CAO from this great city

In laymans terms, can you explain what osteopathy is and who might benefit from it?

Osteopathy is a complete system of manual medicine treating not only sore muscles and joints but has usefulness in a wide variety of chronic medical conditions

How can Hamiltonians access the service and is there a web page they can go to to learn more? 

Please visit us at www.canadianosteopathy.ca or check out our Facebook page

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about your organization or service? 

The college is deeply committed to community involvement, we offer a free student clinic and outreach services for sports teams or special populations.
Please contact the office for more details 905 312 9898 

Thanks to  Director and Principal of the CAO, Rob Johnston and to Paulina W. Kalisz for contacting The Hamiltonian . 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Off the Table?"


Gary Santucci did a masterful job of presenting his delegation's concerns at GIC today, with respect  to the Hamilton Waterfront Trust (HWT). Gary tried  to keep the focus on the broader issues of governance and oversight.

The soft spoken Santucci remained calm and focused as he fielded questions that sometimes sounded like challenges. Clr. Clark asked Santucci what his background in accounting was and queried the delegation's request for a forensic accounting. Gary seemed to handle these questions with ease.

Clr. Whitehead asked whether Santucci had a grasp of the mandate of the HWT, suggesting that the HWT was not focused on making profit, as per their non profit mandate. Santucci again handled the question aptly.

Clr. Ferguson conceded that he never received a clear answer to questions he had with respect to HWT's GST remittance issues, but said that he conversed with Roberto Rossini who had staff assess the situation. As the Clr. was told that there is nothing that can be done at this point about the matter, he was prepared to move beyond it. 

Perhaps the most interesting exchange was between Clr. Merulla and Santucci. The Clr. attempted to systematically address, challenge or dismiss the delegation's stated concerns (which were detailed in a slide deck). Merulla often called on the help of city staff to answer related questions.  As Merulla spoke to most components of the expressed concerns, he concluded by stating "So, that's off the table" 

However, it is not clear that all or any of Merulla's responses were satisfactory. For example when speaking about a number of years that financials were not submitted, Merulla noted that the missing years of financials were eventually remitted and thus the matter, according to Merulla, was "off the table". Merulla's position however seemed to gloss over the years of financials not being submitted in a timely manner, and the significance of that. In the context of Santucci's focus on oversight and accountability, Merulla's argument seemed to miss the mark.

Clr. Farr almost sounded as though he was in cross examination mode, when he asked Santucci whether he thought there was any fraud in play at the HWT. Santucci was surprised by the question, as nowhere in his submission did any such allegation appear. Nonetheless, Clr. Farr pressed for an answer to which Santucci answered, regardless of its seeming  inappropriateness to the delegation- which Santucci signalled. 

Following the delegation, the HWT made a presentation as to what they have achieved.  Santucci noted that noone  has suggested that the HWT did not make progress or that the changes at the waterfront are not adding value. The questions is, and seems to remain, one of oversight and accountability . 

The Hamiltonian strongly suggests that our readers view the GIC session first hand, so as to make their own judgment as how this delegation was handled by council members of GIC.   It should appear on this page : click here 

The September Delegation- HWT

Since John Best's article first appeared on The Bay Observer, in which he suggested there are irregularities and expressed concerns around how the Hamilton Waterfront Trust has been operating, a firestorm of activity has occurred.

In the quest for answers and clarity, The Hamiltonian pursued a number of questions with the executives at the Hamilton Waterfront Trust, as well as Clrs. Jackson and Farr (who are present board members), Clr. Collins (who is a former board member), and Clr. Merulla.

Responses ranged from helpful to unhelpful. Tempers flared at times,while the questions asked remain largely unanswered. See them here. 

The suggestion that The Hamiltonian form a delegation to ask these questions, is not something that we believe is appropriate, given our role. In our view, we ought not to report news and be part of it at the same time.

Citizens have taken up the cause, and Gary Santucci and Brian Bonham, amongst others, will be participating in a delegation that will go forward on September 6. The text of their submissions reads as follows:

"In response to the advice of Councillors Merulla and Partridge as posted on the Hamiltonian.net, I am filing a GIC Delegation request on behalf of a number of concerned citizens with regards to questions raised by the Bay Observer and subsequently the Hamiltonian pertaining to alleged operational and financial issues of The Waterfront Trust as outlined by both sources. Our intention is to make a formal presentation to the GIC committee and to call for an external forensic audit as the means to restore confidence in the publicly funded Waterfront Trust."

Are you hopeful that the answers being sought by this citizen lead delegation, will be provided?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

No Two Ways About it?

Under pressure from various stakeholders, including business owners, the city is struggling with questions as to the benefits and perils of one way streets. While one way streets provide for effieciencies in  travel time, the highway-like conditions they often times create, not only is said to pose a danger to people, but is also a deterrent to business. The latter argument being that if people weren't able to travel quickly by businesses, they might take time to notice them or frequent them. Add to that, the sound , rumble and pollution of large trucks rumbling down these roads, as another point of concern.  

Clr. McHattie is expected to introduce a motion that will see consultation occur with stakeholders to talk about the possible conversion of one way to two way streets in the core.  (see Spec coverage here or purchase the print version)

The city is also considering a one way to two way conversion implementation team. 

Do you believable that one way streets are dated and ought to be converted to two way streets- if so, where? Or do you think there should be no two ways about it? 

Media Release

BOYS OF FALL TOUR OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED

CHAD BROWNLEE AND DALLAS SMITH CO-HEADLINING CANADIAN TOUR

Tickets On Sale September 7, 2012

Hamilton, ON; September 4, 2012 – Country music stars Chad Brownlee and Dallas Smith are joining

Pic of the Moment

The Downchild Blues Band at Rib Fest last night. 

From the lens of Ange Noto Campanella. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak All Things Delicious

It’s funny the way these food connections work and snowball. A few months back I hosted an event at the recently-refurbished Sheraton Hotel in Hamilton. I had the pleasure of dealing with a couple of lovely Italian ladies who provided me with great advice for the food.

Recently, I caught up with one of them: Andreana Hudson, is now enjoying a new gig at HECFI, and she had an interesting idea for Food for Thought. She then put me in touch with Paula Perri, her colleague and Convention Centre Entertainment Programmer who is running what sounds like a great series of events over the coming months.

To get to the point, “All Things Delicious” is a three-part event billed as a “Celebration of Culture, Community and Cuisine”. When I got the promotional materials from Paula, my eyes were drawn to the list of sponsors that include the Hamilton Farmer’s Market (celebrating its Dodransbicentennial this year – that is its 175th anniversary to you and me) and Peter Mielzynski Agencies, Canada’s leading Wine & Spirits Agency.

PMA represents some of my favourite tipples, including many fabulous varieties of Appleton Estate Jamaica