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Saturday, December 31, 2016

STATEMENT FROM MAYOR EISENBERGER ON THE PASSING OF COLIN MILLAR

December 31st, 2016, Hamilton, ON – I am saddened to learn of the passing of former Hamilton Police Chief Colin Millar at the age of 83.

Colin's commitment and dedication to serving the City of Hamilton ‎is evident with his decorated career and commitment to community service. But more importantly, he was gracious, kind and funny.

On behalf of the City of Hamilton, our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues. We are sorry for your loss.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016

With Selwyn Pieters: On Clr. Green's Allegation of Carding

1     As our readers are aware, Clr. Matthew Green is pursuing an allegation of carding relative to being stopped and questioned by the Hamilton Police Service. Clr. Green has retained a well known and respected lawyer in the Toronto Human Rights community, Selwyn Pieters. We have confirmed with the city of Hamilton that to date,  Clr. Green has made no requests for assistance with legal fees related to retaining Mr. Pieters. Arguably, the Clr. could have made a case that his moving forward is in the public interest and possibly joined the expenses related to this  matter accordingly to his role as city councillor. To date, to our knowledge and as verified by the City Manager, no request for financial assistance has been made. It appears as though the Clr. is handling the fees autonomously or otherwise. 

The Hamiltonian hopes that the outcome of this case is one that serves society well and makes no assumptions regarding the allegations.

The following is our chat with Selwyn Pieters:

Can you describe where this matter is in the process.

Constable Andrew Pfeifer faces one count of discreditable conduct under section 2 (i)(a)(xi) of the Code of Conduct, as set out in O. Reg. 268/10 of the Police Services Act. This matter has been brought to hearing following an investigation conducted by Independent Police Review Director (the "OIPRD").

A hearing officer Deputy Chief Terence Kelly, York Regional Police (Retired), will preside.

Brian Duxbury and T. David Marshall are the Prosecutors appointed by the Chief of Police.

Bernard Cummins and Ben Jeffries will be representing the Police Constable

I am representing Councillor Matthew Green.

The first appearance was on December 15, 2016. A hearing by telephone conference is scheduled for January 31, 2016 to permit counsel for the complainant and police officer to review disclosure and be in a position to set a date for trial.


Have the facts been established or is part of your role to draw out the facts?

There were facts established during the investigation that brought the matter to a hearing. However, any facts that are acceptable by the hearing officer can be established by the parties agreeing as to the facts or alternatively a full blown hearing in which examination in chief, cross-examinations and re-examinations take place. At this point no facts have been established for the purpose of the hearing as we only made a first appearance.

What would an appropriate outcome look like. In other words, what result is being sought by going through the hearing process?

The prosecutor would be seeking to establish misconduct on the part of the officer.

Mr. Green is a complainant and a witness in the proceeding with standing he is there to ensure that his version of the evidence is found to be credible. As well, on a broader level since this is an officer misconduct complaint that raises racial profiling as an issue, Mr. Green has an interest in ensuring the Hearing Officer adjudicate this case in a manner that recognizes its subtle, pervasive and unconscious nature of racism and that his decision is consistent with human rights principles set out in numerous Court of Appeal decisions.

In your estimation, how clear is this case? Is this unquestionably a case of police carding based on race? What challenges, if any, do you anticipate?

This is a case based on the circumstantial evidence.

We will make the case that this was an unjustified and arbitrary street check and that it based in part on the race of Matthew Green.

Is there anything else you would like Hamiltonians to know about this matter or the issue of carding in general?

Racial profiling is a serious issue of great concern to the public particularly racialized residents of Ontario, including residents of Hamilton. Regulations come into force in January 2017 that prohibits such action. Hamilton Police Service enacted a policy in December 15, 2016. Statistics shows Blacks are four times as likely to be arbitrarily stop by police in Hamilton.

In a case where racial profiling is alleged:

a. There is no need to prove intention or motivation to racially profile;

b. Racial profiling can rarely be proved by direct evidence;

c. Racial profiling will usually be the product of subtle, unconscious beliefs, biases and prejudices;

d. Race need only be a factor in the adverse treatment to constitute racial discrimination;

e. Racial profiling is a systemic practice;

f. Racial profiling is not limited to initial stops;

g. African Canadians may, because of their background and experience, feel especially unable to disregard police directions, and feel that assertion of their right to walk away will itself be taken as being evasive;

h. A person may experience racial profiling based on several overlapping and intersecting aspects of their identity; and

i. The use of abusive language by an individual who has experienced racial profiling at the hands of police cannot justify further differential treatment

See, Peart v. Peel Regional Police Services, 2006 CanLII 37566 (ON CA), <http://canlii.ca/t/1pz1n>; Phipps v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2009 HRTO 1604 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/2608k>; Nassiah v. Peel (Regional Municipality) Services Board, 2007 HRTO 14 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/1rgcm> and Peel Law Association v. Pieters, 2013 ONCA 396 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/fz590>


6. Other issues

It appears that a larger room and venue would be necessary for this hearing. It is a public hearing and I am concerned with the comments reported in the Hamilton Spectator and CBC that HPS Union Boss Client Twolan called the case a "circus" and claimed that Councillor Green is making a spectacle “to further his own political agenda.”

I have already written to all concerned stating “I would suggest a venue that is not a police building. Comments like this can poison the atmosphere.”

Obviously, I will have to obtain instructions from the client on motions to be brought including for additional disclosure, change of venue etc.


Thanks Mr. Pieters for sharing your perspective in The Hamiltonian. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Is HSR LRT's Achilles Heel?

Recently, our friends at The Hamilton Spectator published a piece on the challenges facing HSR on the ridership front. See it by clicking here. 

With uptake in public transit and ridership as key components of a successful LRT deployment, the trends described in the Spec article are worrisome, to say the least- possibly prompting some to wonder whether HSR  and its ridership will end up being LRT's Achilles Heel. 

The following is our Q/A with Debbie Dalle Vedove, Director of Transit:

1. In a Hamilton Spectator front page story,  the decline in HSR ridership and the challenges associated with growing ridership where described. What is your understanding of the relationship between ridership and the business case for Light Rail Transit? To the extent that there is a linkage between LRT’s success and HSR’s performance, what efforts are being made between these two transit strategies/offerings?

2. Is there a “tipping point” understanding in place that would signal at what point HSR ridership stats will either bolster the potential success of LRT, have no effect, hinder its success or undermine it. Can you speak to us about that analysis and what those numbers or thinking looks like?

3. Is there anything else you would like Hamiltonians to know about the status of HSR and plans going forward?


We received the following response from Ms. Dalle Vedove:

HSR has been working very closely with the LRT team to ensure seamless integration. The City is implementing both the 10-year Local Transit Strategy and LRT project simultaneously over the next 8 years to build and improve Hamilton’s overall transit network. We are working on growing ridership on the system as a whole. As we provide more transit options the ridership will grow.

With respect to LRT we are confident in our ridership projections. Metrolinx has a planning capacity of 130 passengers per vehicle during the peak hour in the peak direction at any given point along the route. With a six-minute headway (10 vehicles per hour) this means that the capacity for on-board passengers will be about 1,300 passenger in the peak hour. In the 2031 forecasts, for the weekday AM westbound peak direction, this level will be exceeded from Scott Park through to Mary Street, with the maximum being about 1,500. This means that by 2031 it will be necessary to either relax this standard (standard planning capacity is about 1,600) or add service.

In the 2041 forecasts, the maximum passengers on board exceeds the Metrolinx planning capacity from Queenston Circle to James Street, with the maximum at 2,350 passengers. Under these conditions, the B-Line will be well over the Metrolinx Planning Capacity and Standard Planning Capacity for a single Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) and coupled LRVs will need to be operated.

In addition, Council has approved an application to the province for approximately $36.5 M in Federal ‎Public Transit Infrastructure Funding. This provides a needed funding source to support the Ten Year Local Transit Strategy. ‎In addition to the design stages for a new maintenance and storage facility and new buses, the funding application includes a set of projects such as improved customer service technology and infrastructure that is intended to improve the customer experience. To this end, we have recruited and hired a social media coordinator and will be launching @hsr on Twitter before year end.

Your thoughts. Do you have confidence that the city has this under control, or are you concerned?


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Media Release:Hamilton City Council Approves 2017 Rate Budget

HAMILTON, ON – November 24, 2016 - At its meeting on November 23, 2016, Council approved the City of Hamilton 2017 Water, Wastewater / Storm Rate Budget with a combined residential rate increase of 4.85% effective January 1, 2017. The average resident’s bill in 2017 will be $660.95 for a household consuming 200 cubic metres of water annually representing an increase of $30.60 annually.

Hamilton has one of the oldest and most complex water and wastewater systems in Ontario and this rate increase supports Hamilton’s ongoing efforts to address the infrastructure deficit and attain a sustainable level of funding for this critical system. This rate increase reflects a prudent investment for present and future generations while balancing residents’ ability to pay. Hamilton’s rates continue to remain among the lowest in Ontario.

For more detailed information, please visit www.hamilton.ca/Budget2017

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cats and Dogs

Enjoy our chat with city staff concerning rules and direction for cats and dog licensing. 

Recently, the city has been looking at the prospect of licensing for cats. Has the city conducted research on how other municipalities have handled this issue? Of so, what have you found? If not, why not?

As part of our research, we surveyed various municipalities in Ontario and across Canada to discuss their animal licensing programs. Programs were measured not only by the amount of licenses issued, but how the money was being used.

Municipalities with successful programs have the capability to help the community with controlling the cat population problem through affordable and accessible spay/neuter programs, responsible pet ownership education programs and adoption programs. Successful programs have a combination of education and enforcement. Owners need to know what the benefit is of a licence and how the fee is being used effectively.

Through cat licensing, the City of Hamilton would be able to become involved in helping cat owners with the responsibilities of being a pet owner and addressing the city’s cat population problems without affecting the City’s tax base.


Why are there different rules for cats verses dogs and are there plans to harmonize these issues.

The City of Hamilton has a “Responsible Animal Ownership” by-law that applies to all owned or kept animals. Currently, the by-law requires that only dogs and pot-bellied pigs be licenced. Staff are recommending that cats be included in this requirement.

This by-law supports responsible pet ownership in that it prohibits all pets from roaming free when

Media Release: Skelly Calls in City Auditor After Cost of Housing Project Soars

Ward 7 Councillor Donna Skelly will ask Hamilton City Council to approve a motion, asking for Hamilton’s Director of Audit Services, Charles Brown, to investigate why costs of proposed improvements to a CityHousing seniors’ residence have tripled.

In 2015, council approved $350,000 from the ward 7 area rating budget to cover the cost of improving the entrance, and to expand the parking lot at Mohawk Gardens, a CityHousing seniors’ facility. The $350,000 was part of $800,000 to be used on improvements to CityHousing units within the ward. Earlier this month, Skelly was shocked to discover the cost of the project has skyrocketed from $350,000 to more than $1.1 million. Further, almost $115,000 has already been spent in consulting and engineering fees, without a shovel in the ground.

“I find it disturbing that this project has ballooned to more than triple the original estimate. I also want clarification as to whether any of the work was tendered and answers as to why we were not using Hamilton companies for the bulk of the work.” Hamilton Councillor Donna Skelly

Councillor Skelly has met with the CEO of CityHousing Hamilton, Tom Hunter, and City Auditor Charles Brown, to discuss the matter. She has also notified the chair of the board of CityHousing Hamilton about her request for an audit.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Media Release: Statement from Mayor Eisenberger on Recent Committee of Adjustment Member Actions

HAMILTON, ON – November 22, 2016 Yesterday Mayor Eisenberger met with the chair of the Committee of Adjustment, Mark Dudzic and committee Member Dave Serwatuk.

Concern over the inappropriateness of displaying a hat with political connotations at a quasi-judicial committee which he has the pleasure of serving on, on behalf of the City of Hamilton, and speaking publically about the matter afterwards was reiterated to Mr. Serwatuk.

‎Below is his fulsome apology that Mayor Eisenberger committed to share.

Subject to a motion at council to have our staff prepare for approval a code of conduct and training for this committee and others, Mayor Eisenberger has accepted Mr. Serwatuk's apology and considers this matter closed‎.

Apology from David Serwatuk, Committee Member:

“To the Great City of Hamilton

Regardless of my or anyone’s personal, political, religious or social belief. I fully acknowledge and understand that any display of such belief should never be shown or displayed at a Judicial or Quasi-Judicial public meeting. I truly apologize for what transpired at the Committee of Adjustments meeting last week, November 17 2016. it will never happen again. I intend to discuss this with committee at the next hearing both to apologize and suggest ways to make it not happen in the future.”

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak - Season’s Eatings: Comings and Goings Edition

Season’s Eatings: Comings and Goings Edition 

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I enjoyed 24 hours of food and drink unlike anything we’ve experienced in recent memory. Several of the experiences were private at the homes of friends, but there are two publicly-accessible highlights I particularly want to share.

Get yourselves down to Bolete in St Catharines. You’ll be glad you did, and glad you were still able to easily book a table and experience a creative menu that changes every week. The opening of this stunning new restaurant, helmed by Chef Andrew Macleod, has been one of the most anticipated in the region in years.

Readers will perhaps remember Macleod from past columns where I wrote about his talents as the chef at Spencer’s on the Waterfront, or perhaps winner of the Chef Street Fight at Centro Market a couple of years ago. Macleod won this year’s prestigious Garland Canada International Chef Challenge in PEI, and has been working hard to get


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Statecraft- On Decision Making Sanitation

In a recent article in The Hamilton Spectator on the topic of ranked balloting (see it by clicking here or purchasing today's print copy) and the General issues Committee 9-5 vote against it, perhaps the most profound and important statement was made by Matt Jelly who said " Yet another governance issue that shouldn't be in the hands of council incumbents."

And while Mayor Eisenberger and councillors such as Green, Merulla, Farr and Skelly proved that, in this instance, they could elevate themselves, it remains true that council sometimes wanders into matters that include an ingrained conflict of interest. 

Another example is the idea of an Integrity Commissioner, and the form it takes in Hamilton. This position reports to council and, in the past, through queries by The Hamiltonian to this office, it has been made clear that the position considers itself as reporting to council. In essence, we have created a position that is charged with ensuring councillors abide by the code of conduct, under threat of repercussions (no matter how limited these are), but the position remains essentially beholden to council.  Some may suggest this would explain some questionable decisions coming from that office. 

The Ward boundary discussion is another example where council has involved itself and attempted to shape the discussion and decision. Some suggest it is doubtful that they would have even engaged at all, preferring to preserve the safety of the status quo. In fact, the matter has been deferred before, and gained urgency only on the heels of citizens who threatened to take the matter to the OMB.

And it is pretty safe to assume that the notion of term limits for city councillors will never find expression, save for a critical mass demanding it across the province, or , at least, as a pilot in a city. 

Good governance involves making all efforts to serve the public in the best way possible, uncontaminated by personal conflicting interests. If Hamilton is to graduate to the next level of governance capacity, it must find a way of referring decisions that pose a conflict,  to the very people whom they are beholden to; the citizens of Hamilton. 

The Hamiltonian

Monday, November 14, 2016

Media Release: City of Hamilton Seeks Volunteer Snow Angels

HAMILTON – The City of Hamilton is looking for volunteers to help eligible seniors and people with disabilities with snow removal for this upcoming winter season (November 2016 - March 2017) and be recognized as a Snow Angel.

Snow Angel volunteers must be 14 years of age or older, reliable, and physically able to participate in snow removal. Becoming a Snow Angel is a great way for families and friends to spend time together and for high school students to obtain their community volunteer hours.

Snow Angel volunteers will receive the following items as a thank you:

· Winter hat, winter gloves and warm socks donated by Mark’s Work Warehouse;
· Thank you lunch for all volunteers;
· For high school students: a confirmation letter to earn volunteer hours for graduation.

To register as a Snow Angel volunteer contact the Snow Angels’ Hotline 905-523-1910 or email NAS@hamilton.ca
For more information about the Snow Angels program visitwww.hamilton.ca/snowangels

Friday, November 11, 2016

Working 9 till ?

Workin' 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin'
Barely gettin' by
It's all takin' and no givin'

These are lyrics to the classic Dolly Parton hit, but with overtime costs climbing for the City of Hamilton (see Spec write up here or purchase today's print copy), these lyrics may not be tumbling out of staff's lips anytime soon.

We touched base with Mike Zegarac, city Finance Director and asked him to provide some current and past charts of what the overtime actuals vs. projections were/are. Please click here to view the historical expenditures. Mike will also be providing a departmental breakdown in the near future and we will make it available when received. 

Your thoughts? 

Friday, November 4, 2016

From the Green Room- Media Release from Ward 3 Councillor Mathew Green

“On Monday, October 31st , I was informed that the OIPRD process was completed, and a decision rendered. I was made aware that that a Police Services Act hearing will proceed December 15th regarding my OIPRD complaint involving my April 26th arbitrary street check.”

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Media Release: Eastmount School Fashion Incubator Motion Carried at General Issues Committee

Eastmount School Fashion Incubator Motion Carried at General Issues Committee

Hamilton City Councillors have voted to direct staff to investigate the feasibility of a fashion incubator at the Eastmount Park Elementary School site.

The motion was moved by Ward 7 Councillor Donna Skelly during Wednesday’s General Issues Committee meeting. “I am looking to create a home for Hamilton’s fashion industry on the mountain, without relying on tax payers” Councillor Skelly said, “My intention is to have the private sector partner with the City, to offset the operating costs of the project.” The ward 7 Councillor was pleased her motion was seconded by Councillor Merulla, who represents Ottawa Street, one of the best textile districts in the province.

“Hamilton is a creative and innovative city, with a growing fashion industry. A fashion incubator would create space and opportunities for local talent to connect, work, and build their trade,” said Councillor Skelly.

“The Concession BIA is very happy to see initiatives that are drawing eyes up to the mountain,” said Cristina Geissler, Executive Director of the Concession Street BIA. “As the oldest shopping district on Hamilton mountain, anything that promotes local talent – and gives the arts and entrepreneurs opportunities for exposure is a good thing for the economic development and growth of our city.”

Eastmount Park Elementary School was built in the 1960s, and closed in June 2015, because of declining enrollment. The 29,138 square-foot school building sits on just under 0.7 hectares of property fronting onto East 26th street, and is surrounded by Eastmount Park. The City of Hamilton acquired Eastmount Park Elementary School in August 2016 from the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. The $1,025,000.00 sale was made possible by a contribution from the Ward 7 area rating fund.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mayor Doubles Down on LRT

On the heels of what we are sure was a difficult meeting for all involved, including the mayor, Mayor Eisenberger provided the following response to our question re: LRT

Mr. Mayor:

We acknowledge your frustration when councillors by pass the office of the mayor and write directly to other levels of government and note that it has been done by different councillors in the past on different topics. Recently, Clr. Whitehead appeared to frustrate you by writing directly to the provincial government asking if the 1 Billion is unmoveably wired to LRT as we presently know it, or if there is room to repurpose the money for alternative transit strategies in Hamilton- should that be or become the will of the people. You had stated that the Clr. knows the answer to this but simply does not like it.

Putting aside the appropriateness or inappropriateness of councillors writing to other levels of government, and given some of the angst that continues to haunt the LRT file, would you agree that Clr. Whitehead's question, while perhaps mis-channeled, could be a talking point between yourself and the province. Or are you of the view that the issue is carved in stone and there is no room whatsoever for further discussion. If the latter, is there not a risk that we may be becoming tone death to those who still have concerns over LRT?


Mayor Eisenberger's reply:

The one billion dollar investment from the province of Ontario is very clearly directed solely to the LRT project. Specifically, it is to fund the building of the east-west line, plus a north-south spur connecting to the newly opened GO station in James St North. We should now be focused on the specifics of the implementation plan, including Impacts to businesses during construction, connectivity with existing infrastructure and communicating consistently with the citizens of Hamilton on progress reporting.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Picture of the Moment

As seen in Stoney Creek

Sunday, October 23, 2016

From The Green Room

The following is a message and attachment shared with the local media from Ward 3 Councillor Mathew Green:

Please accept this submission (please click here to see what the Clr. is referring to) as correspondence to our LRT GIC regarding the fate that the City of Brampton now faces having their Council reject LRT funding.

I know that there has been some confusion about that time lines and prospects for future funding of alternstives that City of Brampton staff have clearly outlined in terms of process, timing and priority.

I wanted to share it with you all well in advance of our meeting for your reading and consideration as Brampton has already set themselves back about a decade.

Let's not flirt with further purgatory...
Let's stay on track.

Your friend and neighbour,

Matthew Green
Ward 3 Hamilton City Councillor
905-546-2702
www.MatthewGreen.ca
@MGreenWard3

FB-MatthewGreenWard3

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Media Release: City of Hamilton Disappointed in Decision on Canada Post Mailbox Installations

City of Hamilton Disappointed in Decision on Canada Post Mailbox Installations

HAMILTON, ON – October 19, 2016 – The City of Hamilton is disappointed with the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal regarding the municipal authority to regulate installations in and on the City’s roads in the public interest. The City was successful on all grounds of appeal considered by the Court of Appeal except for the ground of constitutional paramountcy. The Court of Appeal confirmed the validity of the by-law as protecting against harm to property and persons using municipal roadways. The decision will be reviewed and Council will consider its options moving forward.

At the time this legal proceeding began, Canada Post was replacing door-to-door mail delivery to over 460,000 addresses across Canada with community mailboxes. The City of Hamilton’s objective, shared by many other municipalities, was to have Canada Post meaningfully consult and cooperate with municipalities so that community mailbox locations could meet the needs of their communities, including aligning with existing infrastructure and municipal plans related to traffic, accessibility, snow clearing, proper lighting and the like. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) sought and obtained intervenor status on the matter because of its impact on municipalities across Canada.

Canada Post has since suspended the replacement of door-to-door mail delivery with community mailboxes. The Federal Government is reviewing Canada Post’s business model, with a commitment to address concerns raised by various stakeholders, including municipalities. The City of Hamilton is hopeful that this review will result in recognition of a very important role that municipalities play in reasonably regulating road allowances to the benefit of all users.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Big Question

If Hamilton decides to proceed with holding a referendum on LRT, how do you think the referendum question should read? 

The question must require a Yes or No answer and must be stated using neutral language.



Want to take a crack at the wording? Post your take on it. 

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak -Treading the True Brew Path

Treading the True Brew Path

Craft Beer is exploding in Ontario. New breweries are bubbling up all over. Brew pubs and taverns are thriving, and beer festivals abound. Yes the Craft Beer industry is going gangbusters: according to the factsheet available on the Ontario Craft Brewers website the industry is growing market share and generating so many jobs that it has an annual economic impact of at least $600 million in our province.

In an interview I conducted for Grand Magazine earlier this year with Minto Schneider, the CEO of the Waterloo Region Tourism Marketing Corporation, I asked her how she'd capitalize on the explosion of craft brewing in an area almost defined by its Octoberfest, the largest Bavarian festival in North America.

She indicated “Craft brewing is a tough one. I was at a presentation to an American tour operator: most of the regions of the province were represented and everyone talked about craft beer. So we have to talk about it not as a destination, but as a part of destination.”

Adrienne Carter, Cultural & Partnership Manager, for the Hamilton, Halton, Brant Regional Tourism Association (aka the “Heart of Ontario”) is doing just that with a new promotion called the True Brew Path. (Full disclosure, Carter is my sister-in-law and I wrote previously about her in a piece related to the War e 1812 and a dinner she helped put together with General Isaac Brock.)

Carter says she’s implementing the brainchild of her Executive Director, Maria Fortunato, who saw craft breweries were a growing trend and wanted to offer something in the region on that theme. Carter worked to find “market ready” breweries, those open to the public for sales, with regular hours, tastings and tours, to include in the “Path”.


The six featured breweries are Cameron’s Brewing of Oakville (a long-time partner in the Taste of Burlington), Milton’s Orange Snail Brewers, Collective Arts Brewing in Hamilton, Nickel Brook Brewing Company in Burlington, the Bell City Brewing Company in Brantford and a new entry on the scene, the Shawn and Ed Brewing Company headquartered in the old curling and skating rink building in Dundas. (For a quick overview of all six breweries click here.)

Visit all of them, getting the back of your True Brew guidebook stamped, and you’ll receive the handsome limited edition glass featured in the cover photo of this column as a souvenir. Judging by reaction on social media the promotion is already a hit, with one dedicated enthusiast, @DrunkPolkaroo completing his mission just days after its launch.

Better yet, aficionados over 19 years of age can enter an online contest to win a $1,650 chauffeured tour for four to three of the breweries as well as accommodation and meals. But get your entries in by October 31st when the contest closes.

The True Brew booklet contains information on area restaurants, hiking, shopping, live music and other attractions. In tourism jargon the True Brew promotion is a trip motivator, designed to get people to come to the region, one whose growing culinary scene is attracting national attention, including from outgoing Globe and Mail restaurant critic Chris Nuttall Smith. Smith wrote in his final column “I’d wager that the restaurant scenes in more affordable places such as Burlington and Hamilton, Dundas, Vaughan, Ajax and Pickering will grow and improve in coming years, largely at Toronto’s expense.”

“We’re really trying to build a brand and a destination. The breweries are the catalyst for the trip” said Carter. Acknowledging that there is no particular differentiation from breweries in other areas she says the difference in what Heart of Ontario is doing is “putting them together in an easy consumable way for people to go and see the breweries in this area.”

Great as this promotion is, there seems to be some disconnect among the various institutional players involved. For instance, NOSH, Hamilton’s Culinary Week, beginning on the 17th of October does not even mention the True Brew Path. That disconnect is a legacy of the somewhat laissez-faire way the Province let the Regional Tourism Organizations (RTOs) develop their mandates when they were created in 2009.

During the interview mentioned at the outset of this piece, Minto Schneider – who heads a Destination Marketing Organization - told me “The Province gave very little direction as far as their responsibilities and objectives were (and) each RTO went their own way and created their own by-laws, brand and objectives. That was a challenging time for a lot of DMOs like us in the (Waterloo) Region that were working under the RTOs. The Province essentially brought the RTOs in so that they could gather the DMOs within regions under the RTO and have a better communication from the provincial marketing organisation through the RTOs to the DMOs.”


That’s clearly still a work in progress, one that needs close collaboration if all in the Region – however it is defined - want to tread the same path and truly capitalize on the burgeoning foodie scene. 

To see all past columns please see (and “like”) the Food for Thought Archives
Alex (Alex can be reached on twitter @AlexBielak)

A special shout out to Alex, congratulating him on this, his 100th Food for Thought article! We are very fortunate to have such a talented writer and expert chef and"foodie". 


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Speaking Truth to Power - with Tom Adams


Tom Adams
Tom Adams is an independent energy consultant who was recently featured on the Bill Kelly show at our friends at CHML. We touched base with Tom to help us better understand what is driving up hydro costs so dramatically and what can be done about it. Enjoy our chat with Tom. 

1. In a recent interview with our friends at CHML, and on the Bill Kelly show in particular, you stated that Hydro One has hired a new VP of customer service to deal with the fall out of high hydro bills. Part of what is planned is a redesign of the hydro bill, presumably to better explain it. However, you also stated that a significant part of the high hydro costs that we are seeing, and that will again increase in November, is due to the high labour costs associated with distribution and the associated output. The sense being, that we are not necessarily getting good value for our dollar in terms of its relationship to the money spent on labour. If that is true, does it not follow that Hydro One might be better served hiring someone who can performance manage the labour effort, consistent with comparative benchmarks as to what the value for the labour dollar ought to be? If so, why do you think this does not seem to be the emphasis.

The increase coming in November will be on the commodity portion of all household bills across the province, whether you are served by Hydro One or another distribution utility (like Horizon). Hydro One's first priority should be cost control. Bill presentation ought to be a minor concern.

2. What play, if any, does a labour relations environment have on the ability, will, capacity, to address value for money where the cost of labour is concerned?

Hydro One faces a very tough labour relations environment. It has inherited labour agreements that date back to the old Ontario Hydro with massive compensation levels, benefits and post-employment costs. Added to that, the government bought off the unions with H1 shares, which in my view creates a more conflicted situation for labour relations and further locks in existing excessive payroll costs.

3. People continue to make best efforts to conserve and yet we seem to be no further ahead. If we understood you correctly, you stated that there is a sum of money that hydro consumption must necessarily produce- likely in large part attributed to the labour costs discussed in the previous question. If that is true, does it not follow that conserving energy does not have an impact on the costs? We are not suggesting conservation is a bad thing, but can you explain why our conservation efforts are not yielding the reduction in hydro costs that we were led to believe?

The government has been selling a lot of snake oil labelled "conservation". Conservation is saving money, but the savings are almost all being captured by utilities in Michigan and New York. They are the ones taking Ontario's surplus power at a huge discount. The basic arithmetic driving rates is that the total amount of money that must be collected from consumers every year -- called the revenue requirement -- is rising while the amount of power sold is going down. The effect of conservation is to reallocate among different consumers responsibility for an increasing portion of the revenue requirement. The government has a costly program -- the Industrial Electricity Incentive -- whose purpose is to increase usage. Meanwhile, the government also has costly programs to decrease usage. The real purpose of conservation programs is that they are the government's marketing program to sell you higher power rates.

4. Despite the fact that everyone will be impacted by the rising costs of hydro, the less fortunate and the poor will likely be unable to sustain these increases. The cost to businesses may also cause businesses to pass on costs to customers, thus driving up products and services. Why does there seem to be such a disconnect between the reality of these impacts. How can anyone resort to redesigning a bill, when it is the amount of the bill that is the issue?

The government bought into the notion that their green initiatives would pay off with jobs and exports of equipment made by folks who once manufactured stuff like cars. Queen's Park lived in that bubble so long that the government was genuinely surprised to discover that rising rates were causing pain. The recent Throne Speech showed that the only solution the government could come up with was to shift costs between ratepayers and taxpayers. When the government realized that nobody was falling for this ploy, only then did they start addressing the real issues, canceling the ongoing procurement program that would have imposed even more useless wind and solar contracts on us. I think the bill redesign initiative arose from the same thinking behind the Throne Speech commitment to transfer costs to the tax base as a solution to the problem.

5. What advice might you have for the Ontario Government and municipalities in terms of dealing with the high cost of hydro?

- Cancel all the generation wind and solar contracts that we can escape from at low cost.

- Cancel the wasteful conservation programs. Rising rates are forcing consumers to conserve.

- Disclose the amount spent paying generators in Ontario to not generate.

6. What other information do you think the average person needs to know about why this is happening and what can be done about it?

If you feel confused by your power bill and what's behind it, some folks at Queen's Park are happy with that.

Thanks Tom for sharing your expertise and insights with our readers. To find out more about Tom and his services, click here. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

On LRT- with Dr. Christopher Higgins

Dr. Higgins
In June of 2016, The Hamiltonian contacted Dr. Christopher Higgins, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics (http://mitl.mcmaster.ca ) and posed several questions to him concerning LRT in Hamilton. At that time Dr. Higgins indicated that he needed additional time as he and his colleagues at MITL were weighing options for consolidating all of their information on the LRT project. Dr. Higgins has made good on his promise to get back to us with answers. The following are the questions we posed. Below these questions is a link to his responses.

1. The Rapid Ready report, amongst other things identified several conditions that have to exist for Hamilton to optimize its potential for a successful implementation of LRT. Can you identify the top areas where Hamilton is in good shape to support a LRT implementation and the top areas which should cause concern? What are we doing well, and what must we absolutely get right in order to succeed with LRT? 


2. What is the relationship between Land Value Uplift (LVU) and LRT. Does LRT bring an immediate benefit in terms of LVU and if so, how can that be quantized/projected? If not, at what stage would LVU materialize and peak, and what indicators would you look for that would set the stage en route on that incline? 

3.Do you think Hamilton’s degree of traffic congestion is sufficiently dire to drive out more transit use? Those who may not have the expertise or understanding of how transit systems work, may be wondering if it would not be less disruptive and more cost efficient and more flexible to work with Bus Rapid Transit rather that LRT. Can you help us understand whether there is any truth to that? 

4.What do you say to those who may argue that LRT is not enough to convince them to leave their vehicles at home. 

5.Is there anything you’d like to add?

To read Dr. Higgins' answers, click here.

Respectful commentary is welcome. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Metrolinx on Unexpected Pressures- LRT

In light of what could be a series of unexpected costs related to LRT implementation, we asked the following of the city, who redirected our question to Metrolinx. Here is our q/a with Metrolinx:

With respect to LRT implemenation plans in Hamilton, can you advise as to how much of the funding has been set aside for any unexpected pressures/surprises that may arise that will require resources and effort? 

Metrolinx's reply:
Apologies for the delay in responding to your request regarding the Hamilton LRT.

Metrolinx does not release detailed budget information prior to the procurement process in order to ensure a competitive bidding process.

Media Release:Statement From Mayor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

STATEMENT FROM MAYOR EISENBERGER ON TODAY’S ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE PROVINCE REGARDING THE RESTRUCTURING OF US STEEL.

HAMILTON, ON – September 21, 2016 – The Provincial Government announced this morning that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bedrock Industries Group to facilitate the restructuring of U.S. Steel.

This proposal is welcome news to Hamilton as it represents a potential solution for sustaining operations, retaining jobs, pensions and benefits for active and retired USSC employees, which is of the utmost importance to our community‎. We will continue to monitor ongoing operations at the Hamilton facility.

The City of Hamilton has a clear and vested interest in promoting the economic development of our city. Support for the development of industrial lands and ensuring the continued protection of our environment remains a priority. We look forward to continuing to serve as a key stakeholder and informant to this process.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Media Release: Hamiltonians Against High Hydro



















Hydro Horror in Ontario


If you've checked your mail box today and opened up a hydro bill that looked more like a mortgage payment, welcome to the club.

There is an ongoing issue for residents and businesses across the Province of Ontario, and that is the cost of hydro. One would assume that while we generate hydro-electricity from what we like to call our great wonder of the world (Niagara Falls), we wouldn't be left needing a hand up off the floor after we drop from shock each time we open envelopes from our hydro providers..

When did this madness begin?!?!?!

Well, you can thank previous Liberal Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty. In February of 2009, the Ontario Green Energy Act was introduced into the Ontario legislature. The purpose of the act was to create "green" jobs, encourage energy conservation, and create and expand renewable energy.

How has this act stacked up when it comes to creating jobs?

George Smitherman, the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure at the time proclaimed the GEA promised to create around 50,000 jobs. In 2013 the Liberal Party admitted that only 31,0000 had been created. Critics have confirmed that this number is problematic because many of these jobs are "indirect" and in 2011 a report by Ontario's Auditor General Jim McCarter found most of these jobs were short term (less than 3 years) and in construction. Another issue regarding jobs and employment with the GEA was that another report found that for every 1 job created in the renewable energy sector, two to four jobs are being lost in other sectors due to the high costs of electricity prices.

A major study done by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) in 2015 reported that 1 in 20 businesses said they expect to shut down in the next five years due to the continuing skyrocketing costs of hydro prices. Due to high energy costs, businesses have little money left to expand , hire new employees, and make improvements or investments .

Ontario is seeing a steady decline in employment opportunities and abilities for residents to gain work through existing industry or the creation of new small businesses due to the impacts of energy costs.

What are some of the factors driving up the costs?

Global Adjustment fee

After the creation of the GEA a new fee called the Global Adjustment Fee began being charged to Ontarians on their hydro bills. This charge is included in your cost and billed to you and included in with your per kilowatt hour charges for home owners, renters and small businesses. Due to it being included in the cost, it means the amount is hidden. It is said to be 7.9 cents per kilowatt hour or $77 of every $100 billed. This means for every $100 billed the actual used cost of energy is only $23.

For larger business and industry, the fee appears on a separate line on their hydro bills.

Please visit the link for a story on the breakdown of the cost.

Delivery Fees

This is another area where residents and businesses alike are being hammered, even when their consumption is low. One man took to twitter in April to show his bill where he received a $113 Delivery Charge even though there was no hydro usage.

Most families around Hamilton and the GTA that I've spoken to have reported Delivery costs in the amounts of around $185-$200 a bill. Rural areas are seeing much higher fees.

How does this effect businesses?

I recently had the opportunity to see a comparison of a bill from a gentleman who owns a chain of convince stores in Ontario. The delivery fees for one month to his store in Ottawa through energy provider Hydro Ottawa was $708.71 while the cost for delivery to his store in Kemptville with Hydro One had a staggering cost of $1,435.84.

So what does the delivery rate even do?

The Delivery Rate is the cost to move electricity to your home, it is their charge to "deliver it" Part of it is a fixed rate cost and more is added as your hydro consumption increases. Costs are said to go back into the maintenance of lines, up keep of the system , and to help deliver hydro to new customers.

Again , there are other issues with these delivery charges as well. Some stem from when a customer has not used energy, or when they do not have a line or service connected to their property. This is the case for a man just north of Kingston, Ontario who is suing Hydro One after a tree took out the power line to his cottage property and he was continuously charged a delivery fee even though the lines were never re-connected and power not restored to the property.

As you can see, there is clearly a problem here.

So what does the government plan to do to help out home owners and businesses?

After proroguing the legislature last week, Kathleen Wynne announced the government will be removing the 8% provincial portion of the 13% HST from hydro bills . It was also announced there would be more help for large businesses owners and industry, and rural customers.

But how does that add up?

With home owners receiving an estimated $130 "savings" a year, it is not much. That is literally 90 or so coffees from Tim Horton's, or perhaps a week's worth of groceries for two people,, not even enough for a four person family.

Rural residents are said to be getting about $540 in saving a year. Again, depending on the size of their bill in comparison to the 'savings", this may be pennies on the dollar.

According to the Minister of Energy, Glenn Thibeault, the more you use, the more you will save. Unfortunately, this logic just doesn't add up. Ontarians just want to see lower bills made possible by making changes to the failed energy policies, not increases in the provincial debt or monies be removed from one program to subsidize another.

This program is said to start in January of 2017. There is one catch though.. where exactly is the money coming from? You see, the government cannot just remove taxes from goods and services, so they must subsidize this cost to pass the "savings" on to you.

What does that mean?

You are literally taking money from your left pocket just to put it in your right.

Where exactly is the money coming from and for how long will this program be in effect?

No one knows. Finance Minister Sousa could not provide an answer when asked last week where the estimated one billion dollars would be coming from, and Kathleen Wynne had an entirely different story when she explaned where it is coming from.

http://globalnews.ca/video/2938581/liberals-wont-say-how-long-hydro-rebate-will-remain-in-place
So what can we do ?

Well, we've tried to conserve energy and that has only resulted higher prices, and in needing to sell excess hydro off at a cheaper rates to neighbours in other provinces or American states. Some critics have argued that the GEA needs to be scrapped and the 20 year long renewable energy contracts given out under the GEA need to be ripped up.

Aside from the growing rates of hydro prices, Ontario residents and businesses are also preparing for the introduction of "cap and trade" which will see their energy bills rise as well. And just like your Global Adjustment Fee, it will also be hidden in your costs and not openly displayed on a separate line for your viewing.

On top of this as well, last week CUPE announced that they will be suing the Ontario government in regards to the sale of Hydro One to private interests.

While the next election isn't until the spring of 2018, residents of Hamilton have decided that there is something else we can do to try and get a better "deal" on hydro.


Protest.

On Wednesday, September 28 at 5 p.m at City Hall, Hamiltonians will have the opportunity to speak out and share their hydro horror stories with other residents, businesses, local politicians and party affiliates.

I am asking that everyone who is fed up with this ydro boondoggle come down and join us as we rally against high hydro costs, the sale of Hydro One, and the mismanagement and abuse of our energy sector.

Please visit the Facebook event page for more information and contact info.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1577987359177634/

Sarah Warry-Poljanski

  

References :
SaveSave

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ontario- Unplugged?

The following excerpt is fairly typical of the emails we have received on the issue of recent increases in Hydro bills:

" I just opened my hydro bill. I almost fell off of my chair. It went up by over $300. And it's just my daughter and I here. And we do our laundry on weekends, we stay away from peak periods and even run our dishwasher in the middle of the night. I replaced my lights with LEDs. What the hell is going on???? And why do we need this 8% rebate? As if that's going to make up for it. I can see people losing their homes because of this. It's like paying a small mortgage. Can you please cover this? It's outrageous!!!!!"

In that spirit, please share your stories. Did your bill go up? By how much? What do you think of this? Are costs spiraling out of control? Your thoughts? 

Media Advisory: Mayor Eisenberger in Eindhoven, Netherlands for 2016 Global Forum/Shaping the Future Conference

September 19, 2016, Hamilton, ON – As part of the Intelligent Community Forum Canada delegation, Mayor Eisenberger is attending the 25th edition of the Global Forum -Shaping the Future – International think-thank on the digital future, in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

A result of the Mayor’s Intelligent Community Task Force that was established this past March to explore and address how the City of Hamilton builds an Intelligent Community, attending the forum provides an opportunity to gain further information on the digitalization of our city.

“We need to address the digital divide and the need for harnessing the digital world to create jobs, connect our citizens and provide access for all,” said Mayor Eisenberger.

The Global Forum, created in 1992, brings together more than 300 participants from around the world. They provide an arena for dissemination and exchanges of ideas, and opportunity for developing innovative solutions and partnerships in building a more connected city and a more intelligent community.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Media Release: Bus Stop Posters Intended to Provoke Thought

Have you noticed new I AM AFFECTED posters in Hamilton bus tops, libraries and recreational centres across the city?

During the month of September, these posters have appeared in 73 highly visible bus stops across the City Of Hamilton. The posters are part of a campaign intended to educate citizens on the effects of the Canadian Indian Residential School System.

The Our Voice. Our Truth posters were first unveiled earlier this summer in a moving launch at Hamilton City Hall. Nine unique posters and banners have been created.

Lyndon George, the Clinic’s Aboriginal Justice Coordinator, who heads up the YÉN: TENE initiative came up with the idea of the posters.

“The campaign was developed to initiate conversation and provoke thought on the Canadian Indian Residential School system and the intergenerational trauma caused by that system,” states George.

The campaign’s second phase called I AM COMMITTED will be rolled out at a media event later this month. Some of the individuals featured in the posters will be at this event and will share their stories. Details will follow.

George acknowledges help from community partners like the Professional Aboriginal Advocacy Networking Group (PAANG), the YÉN: TENE Advisory Committee and the City of Hamilton. Legal Aid Ontario provided funding for the posters.

YÉN:TENE works to improve access to justice for Aboriginal people in Hamilton and surrounding communities. In 2013 the Clinic embarked on a collaborative journey with Aboriginal agencies and networks to build relationships of respect and trust. The initiative has been named YÉN:TENE, a Mohawk phrase meaning “You and I will go there together.”

Friday, September 16, 2016

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak - Sips and Bites

Sips and Bites: A is for ANNA, B is for BIG HEAD, BLACKTREE & BUNDT, and C is for CHILIFEST 

Here is an exciting grab bag of upcoming and recent events for readers.

A is for ANNA: The wonderful Anna Olson (lately of all those Home Hardware ads on TV and print, and truly an extremely talented chef and baker) will be at Springridge Farm, near Milton, Saturday, September 24 at 2pm. She’s releasing her new book, Bake with Anna Olson, and to participate in a meet and greet with her sign up on the website. While there you can also check out the October 1st event with perennial visitor, and tallest chef in Canada, Michael Smith. A prodigious author, with a great


Monday, September 12, 2016

Let's Put the Brakes On LRT- by NOHAMILTONLRT


Let's Put the Brakes on LRT

When it comes to Hamiltons LRT there are two very different trains of thought. There are a few very vocal groups who seem to think they know what is good for all of us and think they speak for the masses. But there is a silent anger brewing for those who feel their voice has been ignored, who think this is some legacy project that caters to a few thousand, will cost a fortune and will radically change the landscape of city that is just now coming into its own.

No one is against good sensible transportation, but when it serves only a few, one has to ask , is this what Hamilton really needs? More growth is happening on the city's mountain, and yet they have virtually been shut out of this debate.

In a time when technology and ride shares, like Uber and autonamous vehicles have expanded transportation around the world, that will virtually change the way we move around, does it make sense to spend a billion dollars on a system that is already outdated?

In urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver density and population demand high speed track service. 1.8 million riders are moved in Toronto every day. Hamilton simply doesn’t have that ridership to successfully sustain an LRT profitably.

"It will be great for area businesses proponents argue." Nonsense. The proposed route reveals stops don’t even go near existing businesses, eliminating over 34 bus stops from the main bus route , as well as the other buses that travel the route.. And of course we are assuming those businesses will survive the many years long construction. In Toronto, the St Clair track construction lasted 5 years. Many years longer than scheduled, marred by unforeseen infrastructure issues and cost over runs that went 40 million over the initial 60 million dollar budget.

Customers avoiding traffic jams disappeared and hundreds of businesses were shuttered. Today businesses along St Clair track face a repeat of interrupted business as the tracks are torn up again because of mistakes made during that original construction.

Along Eglinton, construction of new subway tracks has been going on for more than 2 years. Traffic is snarled 24 hours a day. Businesses are being decimated. That project is also delayed and nowhere near finished, and already it too is over budget. For 6 months residents put up with the constant drum of jack hammers and the hum of boring machines. Traffic in the area is terrible. Motorists and heavy construction vehicles anxious to avoid it have turned once quiet residential streets into busy thorough fares. Lawn signs warning of children at play are everywhere. This is a reality facing Hamiltonians.

Need more proof of Metrolinx’s failures? The UP express, a link from Union Station to Pearson Airport, a must have built for the Pan American games has been rife with problems. It doesn’t serve anywhere near the 2.5 million people that it was intended to service. Daily ridership is actually less than current daily ridership of the HSR B-line bus which is the reason it costs so much and loses money.Trains sit empty and prices are simply too high. For $ 12.00 one way ,taxis and Uber are the better way to go. Already Ontario tax payers are out of pocket half a billion dollars for the ill thought project. And its now you, the tax payer who are subsidizing it to the tune of 20 million a yr. Requests for the Ombudsman to review what went wrong have been shuttered. An investigation by the Toronto Sun revealed Metrolinx, the government agency responsible for building Hamilton's LRT, revealed through leaked emails that they told the transportation minister a review was “unwelcome”. How does an agency with a spotty record of incompetence since 2006, that has been the subject of several auditors reports showing a record of being late, and running over budget avoid such scrutiny?

In a recent radio interview Sam Merulla, a proponent of the LRT, was asked what due diligence the city has taken to avoid a repeat of such mistakes with Metrolinx. His response; “he trusts Kathleen Wynne and Metrolinx to do the job right”.. Really? What an incredulous statement given the failed track records of both. It makes one wonder how Hamilton City council can go ahead with something so expensive without a thorough investigation into previous mistakes that will cost the tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars for years to come.

Last week expropriation notices went out to 45 Hamilton land and business owners who will be told the government is taking their land for track construction. Up to 250 letters will go out in total. Owners should be paid market value for their land, but that is still to be determined. Some will welcome the purchase , others won’t. For them it’s tough luck. As stated by LRT proponents it is “short term pain for long term gain”. Expropriation is almost impossible to fight unless of course you have more money than the government.

My family owns Gilbert's Big and Tall which has been part of Hamilton's landscape for 63 yrs . To date it is uncertain as to what will happen with respect to expropriation but our concern is how will the many years of construction affect our business which is our livelihood? And while some derelict properties wont be missed, there will be historical landmarks that will be demolished that will forever change this city. Are Hamiltonians ok with the wrecking ball taking that kind of History from our city?

Everyone wants good transit. Growing cities need it, Hamilton is no exception. But simple, logical questions must be answered before city streets are dug up and traffic and local business disrupted. Have city officials reviewed Metrolinx projects to assure past mistakes aren’t repeated? Have provisions been put in place guaranteeing tax payers wont be on the hook for late construction. A third party will own and operate the LRT system while Metrolinx will receive the revenue .

Will city officials be sourcing LRT cars from Bombardier which has a terrible track record? They are now 2 years late delivering Toronto 204 street cars, and 50 million over budget. Is this the company Hamilton Council plans to get LRT cars from? Have contracts been written with clauses protecting tax payers if delivery of product is late? As well as project cost overruns?

Have officials factored in traffic impact, not just to main thruways able to deal with construction vehicles and increased traffic, but to small communities along the LRT Route that will be flooded with motorists trying to make up for lost time? Already changes along the arterial routes such as Herkimer, Charlton and Cannon streets have become limited due to bike lanes and parking, what will happen when more traffic is diverted onto them?

But the real question is whether the $ 1 billion should be used for an LRT which is already an antiquated system that will need continuous repair , upkeep and maintenance where costs will fall on the shoulders of all the Hamilton tax payers even though the LRT will service a small portion of the population. Or should we consider implementing newer more progressive technology such as BRT or autonomous vehicles? Can Hamiltonians accept seeing local businesses struggle or shuttered, buildings and landmarks demolished? Does Hamilton really need this, or is this simply a legacy project for a few politicians anxious for a ribbon to cut and a photograph to hang on their wall? Who will ultimately be accountable for this project if it proves to be a mistake?

If you would like to contact the No Hamilton LRT Group, you can do by accessing one or more of the following:

Web Site: www.NOHAMILTONLRT.WIX.COM/MYSITE
Email: NOHAMILTONLRT@OUTLOOK.COM
Facebook: NOHAMILTONLRT

Please note. People who submit comments and solely use the handle "anonymous" will not have their posts appear. To have your post appear, you must abide by the site policies and either use your real name, or choose a handle.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Anonymous?????

While The Hamiltonian continues to encourage our readers to use their real names when they submit their comments, we continue to respect the fact that some people may not be comfortable doing so, for a variety of reasons. Thus, we continue to allow for anonymous comments, providing such comments abide by the The Hamiltonian's policies.

However, many anonymous posters are  using the handle anonymous  to sign their posts. As you can imagine, when many people are using the same signature - anonymous- it becomes impossible to discern which comment belongs to which anonymous poster. This frustrates the reader's ability to follow the thread, and also results in confusion for those trying to get their views across.

The Hamiltonian cannot rely on a technology solution to force people to type in a handle (if they are not prepared to use their real names). This is because the technology platform we use, does not allow for this. As many of you know, from time to time, we plead with our readers to use a unique handle. This results in some short term success, but the trend reverts back. 

At our last team meeting , we discussed some non tech solutions to this problem. One suggestion was that we allow a grace period, but at a point in time, we do not publish any comments that are solely signed anonymous. This will force submissions to include a handle.

  Your thoughts? Any other ideas?

Please note: we are not looking for opinions as to whether to allow anonymous posting, because we have thoroughly considered that topic in the past. We are asking for ideas on how to manage the abundance os posters who use anonymous as their handle.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Link of the Moment

Please click here to see a schedule of upcoming LRT meetings that the city will be hosting.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Media Release:ntario Ministry of Transportation’s (MTO) Transportation Tomorrow Survey launches tomorrow

Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s (MTO) Transportation Tomorrow Survey launches tomorrow in the Greater Toronto and Greater Golden Horseshoe areas

HAMILTON, ON – September 6, 2016 – Staring tomorrow, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) will launch its seventh Transportation TomorrowSurvey in municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Greater Golden Horseshoe areas, including Hamilton.

The survey represents a partnership between the Ontario government, the Toronto Transit Commission, Metrolinx/GO Transit, and 19 municipal/local governments in the Greater Toronto Area and Greater Golden Horseshoe Area. It will collect information from more than 163,500 households on the travel habits of residents and help in the long-term planning of the transportation systems in these regions.

The survey will consist of telephone interviews or online survey of a randomly selected sample of households in the survey area. The survey is voluntary and all information collected will be kept confidential and cannot be traced back to individuals or households.

“We value the input provided by Hamilton citizens on their daily travel patterns. The confidential information gathered through this survey will help shape Hamilton’s transportation plans and investment decisions for our quality of life and health, supporting our economic growth and improving our environment,”said Alan Kirkpatrick, Manager of Transportation Planning for the City of Hamilton.

The Transportation Tomorrow Survey has been conducted every five years since 1986 and the City of Hamilton has participated in all seven surveys. Information gathered from the survey will inform all major City of Hamilton transportation-related planning initiatives, including the city-wide 10-year Transportation Master Plan, Cycling Master Plan, Pedestrian Mobility Plan and other significant planning initiatives.

The survey results will be released in late 2017.

For more information about the survey, contact the Ministry of Transportation at 1-800-268-4686 or visithttp://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/transit/transportation-tomorrow-survey.shtml


Monday, September 5, 2016

From the Lens of Ron Ogulin

Click on pic to enlargen















Ron Ogulin is a talented local photographer, who specilaizes in shooting by Hamilton shorelines.  Enjoy this shot by Ron. 

If you are a photographer who would like to submit a picture for consideration, please send to admin@thehamiltonian.info