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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Green, Not Greed- A Chat with the City of Hamilton re: Greenbelt Lands

1. In an interview recently published in The Hamiltonian, a citizen by the name of Rick Breznick has expressed concerns that information coming to council and to the Ontario government concerning greenbelt lands has been misrepresented. His concerns are expressed here: http://www.thehamiltonian.net/2016/01/green-not-greed-chat-with-rick-breznick.html. Can you respond to his specific concerns.

As part of the fall public consultation, staff identified a series of different option for lands to be removed from and added to the Greenbelt Plan. As part of this public consultation process, staff received input on other lands that staff had not identified. Staff reviewed and evaluated all the submissions received during the open houses, through online surveys and additional comments received after the open houses.

Public consultation is a process whereby staff receive input on projects, programs, etc. and ask for comments on what has been presented. In many cases, the public identifies different ideas, concepts and recommendations staff may not have considered initially. The proposed removal of the Waterdown area is one such circumstance. This public input is used as part of staff’s evaluations and recommendations to Planning Committee on a particular process.

For the lands in the eastern end of Waterdown, staff recommended these lands be removed, the details of which are contained on page 14 of the staff report that was presented to the Planning Committee on December 3. The lands south of the future by-pass will be cut off from the remaining rural lands to the north making farming difficult; the lands are surrounded by urban uses on the west.

The public also had the opportunity to make comments to the Planning Committee during their special Committee meeting on the Greenbelt and Niagara Escarpment plan boundary review. Committee amended some of the recommendations. City Council approved the recommendations with some further amendments. Council’s recommendations were sent to the Province for consideration in the Coordinated Provincial Plan review. Ultimately the Province will make a determination as to what or if any changes to the Plans will be made.

With respect to the wetland, provincially significant wetlands are protected by the Province under various Plans – the Greenbelt Plan, the Growth Plan and the Provincial Policy statement. The city has wetlands in the urban area, has wetlands and in the rural area not covered by the Greenbelt Plan. Provincially significant wetlands are protected regardless of what Plan they are part of.

2. From conversations Hamiltonian staff, have observed at the consultations sessions hosted by the Ontario Government, and from many of the comments found on media sites, it is clear that hamiltonians are concerned about the loss of Greenbelt lands to development or other purposes. There are some who suggest that there is a bias in favor of the development community , at the expense of the protection of greenbelt lands. Understanding that the ultimate decision does not rest with the city but at the provincial level, what criteria does the city of Hamilton use to determine whether they will recommend the removal of lands from the Greenbelt. Given the irretrievable nature that such decisions will have on such lands, what possible justification does the city find as compelling enough to recommend their removal.

Please see Appendix C of the December 3 Planning Committee report. The Dillon Consulting report identifies various options and considerations that provide justification.

3. Focussing on the Winona area and the E.D. Smith lands, what is the recommendation the city is making with respect to these greenbelt designated lands, and what is the justification for the recommendation?

Same response as per above. See Dillon Consulting report (Appendix C of December 3 Planning Committee report).

4. Can you respond to the belief of some that PICS and other public engagement sessions mean very little in terms of the impact they have on decisions. Some suggest that decisions are pre-determined prior to consultation.

Several hundred attendees participated in the PICs and other public engagement sessions offering varying opinions and options that staff took back for consideration and Council approval.

5. A longer strategic vision for the treatment of greenbelt protected lands might suggest that the ability to grow our own food locally, or otherwise continue to protect these lands for agricultural or other public interest uses, should be given primacy over all other considerations. How do you respond to this suggestion and how aligned are the recommendations made at the city level to this notion?

From a planning perspective, the City of Hamilton must conform to the Growth Plan and the Greenbelt Plan. They work together. There are a number of different planning objectives the City of Hamilton has to satisfy, one of which is supporting agricultural land.

6. Just before the holiday season Minister McMeekin was quoted as saying that “If you want to take tender fruit lands out of the Greenbelt for development you better have a strong case for that”. Is the City of Hamilton heeding the Minster’s advice and if so, what evidence is there that that is the case?

The City of Hamilton, like other municipalities, makes comments to the province on potential changes to the various provincial plans under review. Ultimately, it is up to the province to make a final decision on what lands will be removed or added to the Greenbelt.

Joanne Hickey-Evans
Manager, Policy Planning and Zoning By-Law Reform
City of Hamilton

Saturday, January 30, 2016

At the Movies - Brooklyn

Set in 1952, Brooklyn is the story of a a young Irish woman's immigration to the U.S.A. and more specifically, Brooklyn. She falls in love with an Italian American and quickly finds herself torn between her country of origin and her newly found life and love in America. 

With remarkable casting and highly believable performances, the story captures the viewer. The scenes accomplish a sense of nostalgia and the differing characteristics of the two countries featured. This offering is beautifully filmed. If you are interested in a love story that is set is a different era and speaks to traditional values, Brooklyn is a good choice at the movies or when available on DVD or digital download. The movie offers an escape from the typical violent stories involving guns and crime. Brooklyn will warm your heart. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

LRT Project Plan Timelines for Hamilton

Please click here to have a look at the estimated timelines for the LRT Hamilton project. Special thanks to Andrew Hope of Metrolinx for providing this information.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

7- Candidate Donna Skelly

In our series entitled "7", The Hamiltonian will provide all candidates who are registered to run in the Ward 7 by-election, equal access to The Hamiltonian to get their message out. As per our standing policies, The Hamiltonian will remain nuetral and will allow all an opportunity.

Our series continues with Ward 7 candidate Donna Skelly. Enjoy our Q/A with Donna:

 1. Why are you running for Ward 7 Councillor? What are you hoping to achieve by doing so?


I’m passionate about Hamilton, the great future ahead of this city, and determined to help people – especially those who are frustrated because they feel no one is listening and they need a voice.

As the local union representative (President, Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union, Local 1100), I was a strong voice for fellow CHCH-TV employees -- both in 2009 when I led the grassroots effort to save the station, and more recently with what we all saw happen last year and the months leading up to it.

I’m also proud to have championed the cause of Hamilton’s parents of adult children with developmental disabilities and to have achieved results for them.

This is the kind of advocate for the people of Ward 7 that I hope to be as your Councillor. Ward 7 is a

Monday, January 25, 2016

Hamilton Police Services Board budget presentation

Click here to see the Hamilton Police Services Board budget presentation

Media Release: Ward 7 Candidate Greg Lenko Withdraws From By-Election Race – Endorses John-Paul Danko

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Ward 7 Candidate Greg Lenko Withdraws From By-Election Race – Endorses John-Paul Danko

Hamilton, Ontario –January 25th,2016 – Greg Lenko, Hamilton business owner, Founder and Executive Director of the Escarpment Project has withdrawn his name from the Ward 7 by-election race scheduled for March 21st, throwing his support behind candidate John-Paul Danko to take over from Scott Duvall on City Council.

“I would like to thank my family, friends, volunteers and supporters across Ward 7 for their encouragement. I have decided that the best way for me to serve my community at this time is to continue focusing on the growth and success of the Escarpment Project - Hamilton’s largest volunteer environmental clean-up, and my other business commitments.”

“It has, become increasingly clear that the Ward 7 by-election is mired in party politics with many candidates who seem more interested in their political ambitions than representing the residents of Ward 7.”

“I’m endorsing John-Paul Danko as the independent candidate for Ward 7.”

“Ward 7 needs a city councillor that represents everyone, not just Conservative, Liberal, or NDP supporters.”

“I believe that John-Paul Danko is the most qualified candidate to serve the residents of Ward 7 as he has experience as a small business owner and a structural engineer with hands on experience building roads and bridges.”

“John-Paul and I share many common goals for Ward 7 including a focus on the wise investment of tax dollars, transportation, infrastructure, open and transparent communication and a commitment to a clean and healthy environment.”

John-Paul and his campaign team are happy to have earned Greg’s support and are looking forward to working with him for a stronger Ward 7.

“It is very encouraging for our grassroots campaign to gain support as the leading alternative to party-affiliated politicians and their party campaign machinery. As an independent candidate, I know that I have a lot more work ahead to earn the support of Ward 7 voters, but I have never been afraid of hard work.”

Friday, January 22, 2016

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak-Riding along with “Sharp My Knife”

Sharp My Knife - Checking the blade
Riding along with “Sharp My Knife”

Iron Chef Morimoto is quoted as having said “A kitchen without a knife is not a kitchen.” With due deference, I’d add one word to that: “A kitchen without a SHARP knife is not a kitchen.”

Knives are one of the leading causes of injuries in the home, with dull blades counter-intuitively more dangerous than well-honed steel. A dull knife requires greater pressure to slice through meat or vegetables and the chances of the blade slipping, and slicing your finger instead of your celery, are far higher.

As someone that uses his knives a lot, over the years I’ve filled drawers with complex, time-consuming or largely-useless knife sharpening gadgets, before finally settling on a Chef’s Choice electric sharpener, consistently a “Cook’s Illustrated” best choice. I’ve been pretty satisfied with it, but it’s an expensive solution for most people.

Many readers will have heeded the siren bell, handing over their lawnmower blades and garden


Thursday, January 21, 2016

2016 Budget Presentation for the City Manager’s Office

Click here to see the 2016 budget presentation for the City Manager’s Office that will be presented at tomorrow’s (January 22, 2016) General Issues Committee Budget meeting, as Item 4.1

Click here to see the Corporate Services Department 2016 Budget presentation that will be provided at tomorrow’s (Jan. 22nd) GIC Budget meeting. It is listed on the agenda as Item 4.2.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Media Release: Hamilton City Council Approves 2016 Capital Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hamilton City Council Approves 2016 Capital Budget

HAMILTON, ON – January 20, 2016 – On January 20, Hamilton City Council approved the 2016 Capital Budget.

Council approved the 2016 Capital Budget which will support $218.6 million gross in capital infrastructure projects. The increase in capital funding from property taxes equates to an increase in the operating budget of 0.5 per cent or $3.9 million. This represents an increase of $16 per year on an average household.

As part of Council’s direction, the Capital Budget will be focused on roads, social housing and long-term care facilities. In addition, investments will be made towards strategic growth capital projects, which include the West Harbour, downtown revitalization and parkland acquisition.

"Infrastructure renewal is the cornerstone of our capital budget as we look to allocate funds for responsible city building," said Mayor Eisenberger. "This budget also reflects my intention to emphasize affordable housing as a focal point of development this year."

Some of the 2016 Capital project highlights include:

$91.8 million towards Roads;
$18.2 million towards Transit;
$16.3 million towards Open Space Development/Parks and Cemeteries;
$14.7 million towards Recreation Facilities;
$7.5 million towards West Harbour Development;
$6.7 million towards Fire and Paramedic Services;
$2.3 million towards CityHousing Hamilton;
$1.9 million towards Housing Services;
$2.1 million towards Long-Term Care Facilities.

For more detailed information, please visit the 2016 Budget page.


Motions in Motion


The following is a motion respecting a Comprehensive Plan to Improve Road Safety, which Councillor Green put forward as a Notice of Motion at yesterday’s (January 19) GIC meeting. It will be added as Item 6.1 to the GIC agenda on Friday, January 22, 2016.

CITY OF HAMILTON MOTION

General Issues Committee (Budget) Date: January 22, 2016
MOVED BY COUNCILLOR M. GREEN............................................
SECONDED BY MAYOR / COUNCILLOR ........................................

Comprehensive Plan to Improve Road Safety

That the Director of Transportation Services be directed, in consultation with other City Departments, as appropriate, to report to the Public Works Committee in coordination with the Transportation Master Plan, with a comprehensive plan to improve road safety to include, but not be limited to, the following:

(i) A review of best practice from comparable jurisdictions including Vision Zero;
(ii) A review of existing City policies, strategies and guidelines that respecting road safety;
(iii) An enhanced analysis of city-wide traffic collision data;
(iv) Specific recommendations to improve road safety, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists, over the short term, medium and long terms;
(v) An implementation plan and funding strategy, as appropriate;
(vi) A regular reporting mechanism and track progress;
(vii) Continued consultation with the Hamilton Cycling Committee, Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board, Public Health, Hamilton Police Services, Cycle Hamilton and the Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities; and,
(viii) The creation of a Road Safety Task Force to be led by the Transportation Services Division.

7- Candidate Bob Charters


In our series entitled "7", The Hamiltonian will provide all candidates who are registered to run in the Ward 7 by-election, equal access to The Hamiltonian to get their message out. As per our standing policies, The Hamiltonian will remain nuetral and will allow all an opportunity. Our series continues with Ward 7 candidate Bob Charters Enjoy our Q/A with Bob:

Why are you running for Ward 7 Councillor. What are you hoping to achieve by doing so?

I am passionate about the City of Hamilton our wonderful natural assets the escarpment, the parks the wooded areas, recreational trails, our waterfront and our prime location in the Golden Horshoe. I have worked to make it a better place. I have been involved in the Mountain community for (over 50 years) most of my life not just a portion of it. I now have chosen to run for Ward 7 Councillor because I like the job. I was a Councillor for Ward 6 from 1991 to 2000. I ask the voters of Ward 7 to put me to work for them. I enjoy helping people and have demonstrated a determination to make Hamilton better. I know what the job of Councillor involves, and I can be effective at working on the issues ahead of us. I have demonstrated that I am a forward thinng individual who can lead and work with others to get things done.

I would like to see our taxes kept under control, and not get higher. This can be done by additional assessment that come as a result of improved transit, increased housing in the downtown, and improved recreational facilities.

What do you think are the most pressing issues facing the Ward and facing the city as a whole. How would your contributions help to resolve these issues?

The City of Hamilton has an extremely bright future one that requires listening to people, making wise choices, and leading on issues that will help Hamilton to reach its vision and goals. The pressure on the City's budget as a result of infastructure maintenance, social housing, and transportation is enormous. This coupled with an global economy that is very unstable effects our economy almost daily.

GO - LRT - Bus - Taxi - Cars - Bikes and Pedestriaqns all will be addressed this term and residents of Ward 7 should be consulted and represented at discussions by an experienced spokesperson who has a good understanding of the issue so that their transportation needs are met.

Roads are in need of improvements as noticed as you travel around the area.

My plan for encouraging employment growth is to work with Economic staff in identifying opportunities to expand local businesses. Hamilton Mountain has special features tree lined streets, scenic vistas from the escarpment, trails and parks The most pressing issues facing the Ward are 1. road, sidewalk and sewer maintenance Improved Transit.

Better customer service for residents by the City. In the City as a whole we need good financial leadership, increased and improved social housing, and Waterfront development.

What is your current assessment of this installation of City council? Are you satisfied with their performance. What, if anything, might you add to council that would be unique or new?

I think Council is working well together and I believe each to be wanting the very best for Hamilton. I do believe there are issues making what they want happen.

How can people reach you to ask you about your position on matters or to otherwise engage with you?

I can be reached through my website. www.bobcharters.ca or 905-973-3810 or email bob@bobcharters.ca or my campaign office at 662 Fennell Avenue East.

Tell us a little about yourself, on a personal note. Your hobbies, likes, dislikes, background etc. Anything that would have people get to know who you are on a more personal basis.

I truly enjoy seeing places and how they do things in other parts of the world. I am volunteer with Living Rock which works with street youth and Hamilton Waterfront Trust where I am Chairman of these 2 volunteer local organizations. I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I love the local restaurant movement in Hamilton and would like to see more like Jonny Blonde, State and Main, and Papa Leo’s in Ward 7.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Green Not Greed- a Chat with Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ted McMeekin

As a continuation of our series Green not Greed, we reached out to Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ted McMeekin. Enjoy our chat with the Minister. 

Minister, you were quoted in the Hamilton Spectator as saying “if you want to take tender fruit lands out of the Greenbelt for development you better have a strong case for that,”. We suspect that many people who continue to be concerned about the protection of the greenbelt lands, will be reassured by your words. Can you explain what measures are in place to resist those who may wish to have these lands removed for development purposes. Particularly in light of the fact that some , including sometimes perhaps municipalities, may be very creative in terms of how they may seek to have lands removed. What is being done to ensure that the Ontario Government remains tough on its protection of the greenbelt?

The Greenbelt protects nearly two million acres of environmentally sensitive land and farmland from urban development. The Greenbelt Act does not allow for the total area of the Greenbelt Plan to be reduced.

Our government is committed to growing the Greenbelt. Our initial view is that beyond growing the Greenbelt, there is little need to change the boundaries. However, we strongly encouraged everyone to participate in the review, which included identifying any specific matters. The government will be consulting on any potential amendments to the plans in early 2016.


Can you speak to the impact that the protection of the greenbelt may have strategically in the short, medium and long term.

Protecting prime agricultural land and important natural heritage systems is crucial for a healthy sustainable Ontario.

The Greenbelt Plan identifies where major urban development growth cannot take place. Together with the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt Plan sets out a framework for managing growth and revitalizing existing urban communities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region.

The goal of the Greenbelt Plan is to protect the agricultural land base and support agriculture, to give permanent protection to natural heritage and water resource systems, and to provide for a diverse range of economic and social activities associated with rural communities, agriculture, tourism, recreation and resource uses.

We have received the Crombie Panel report and recommendations from the coordinated review, and want to thank the Panel members for their hard work. The recommendations we received will be considered in the review of the plans.

Thank-you Minister McMeekin for engaging with Hamiltonians on The Hamiltonian. 


7- Candidate Uzma Qureshi

In our series entitled "7", The Hamiltonian will provide all candidates who are registered to run in the Ward 7 by-election, equal access to The Hamiltonian to get their message out. As per our standing policies, The Hamiltonian will remain nuetral and will allow all an opportunity. Our series continues with Ward 7 candidate Uzma Qureshi Enjoy our Q/A with Uzma:

Why are you running for Ward 7 Councillor. What are you hoping to achieve by doing so?

I am running for Ward 7 Councillor because I live in the Ward, I know our neighbourhoods, and I know I can make a difference at City Hall.

I have run projects alongside elected officials and would like to build on the good work I see being done in our neighbourhoods to help grow Ward 7 together with its residents.

My experience is in bringing people together –  my work with small business, in the non-profit sector, as well as on community boards and committees – has proven my ability to listen to diverse opinions and find a solution that moves us forward.

I believe in  relationship-building - and as a result even as a non-partisan, I can count on support from across party lines -- I have endorsements from prominent New Democrats (Monique Taylor and David Christopherson) and Liberals (Javid Mirza) -- we understand the value of working together to get results.

Ward 7 would benefit by working with neighbourhood committees on safety initiatives for our residential streets. We can promote an economic renewal and commercial revitalization in our Ward that will leave local small business owners feeling empowered.

Bringing together a diversity of voices is the job of a municipal leader.  It creates safer neighbourhoods, increases municipal revenue, and makes our community stronger.

What do you think are the most pressing issues facing the Ward and facing the city as a whole. How would your contributions help to resolve these issues?

I am determined to build on the great work that Scott Duvall has done to address the issues that are important to our Ward.  Scott always ensured that seniors, affordability and social housing were a top priority for Hamilton.  It is vital that we have a representative that will continue to fight alongside pensioners and US Steel retirees to ensure their voice is heard, since we have so many of them in Ward 7.

Regardless of who is elected as our Ward 7 representative this by-election presents a great opportunity to talk about the Central Mountain, its residents and our needs.

As my campaign progresses I will talk about a more inclusive transportation, taxation, democratic reform, and perceived inequities on the Mountain and the ways to make it better.

It’s a perfect time to talk about the investments The City has made in the great improvements to Concession Street. We need to capitalize on that to make sure it is a thriving commercial centre with the best view in the city.

Having said that, I feel strongly that engaging the diverse voices and opinions in our community is necessary to identifying all opportunities. I look forward to listening to residents and local business to help move this community – and City – forward.

What is your current assessment of this installation of City council? Are you satisfied with their performance. What, if anything, might you add to council that would be unique or new?

Ward 7 is stronger if we bring a diversity of voices together and work collaboratively, that goes double for City Hall.

I have worked on projects alongside some of our councillors. and I know how hard working they all are.

That said, City Hall can at times get bogged down by battle lines that only make it less effective.

It’s been almost 15 years since amalgamation, and Council still has not conducted any meaningful Ward Boundary Review -- Ward 7 has almost three times the population of other Wards. Our debates about transit and traffic are more often about destruction than construction.

We can change those conversations by changing how we converse.I bring support from different political stripes because I focus on working together to get results.  I do not have an adversarial approach to politics, I’m collaborative and that’s exactly what Ward 7 needs to move us forward and get results.

How can people reach you to ask you about your position on matters or to otherwise engage with you?

The one thing I have learned through my community work is the value of open and participatory conversations.  Even though, as the campaign progresses, I will talk about how and what we can do to make Ward 7 better, I always want to hear ideas (even contrasting ones) from other people.

Social media is a great way of having those conversations.
Email:  info@uzma.ca
Website: www.uzma.ca
Twitter: @uzmaqk
And, as always, I am available by phone at 1.905.923.3190

Tell us a little about yourself, on a personal note. Your hobbies, likes, dislikes, background etc. Anything that would have people get to know who you are on a more personal basis.

I was born in Hamilton and raised on Hamilton Mountain.  I live in Ward 7 with my husband and four children.

Prior to running for city council, I managed Hamilton’s “Newcomer Family Centre” at the Settlement Integration Services Organization and I am a trusted public relations advisor to a number of progressive organizations across the City.  I currently serve as the Coordinator of Marketing & Communications for the YWCA Hamilton. In 2012, I was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal, presented by former Hamilton Mountain MP Chris Charlton

I believe deeply in the values of community organizing, focusing on positive change through citizen participation.

My real passion is building better communities –  especially here on Hamilton Mountain – by working collaboratively with local residents.  I have long believed that public service is a shared responsibility. I have sat on many community and city committees dealing with topics such 
as education, refugees, and the status of women.  Some of my strongest connections with public officials come from my work on these projects.

I attended Hill Park Secondary School, and at the age of 16 I began managing a local discount store.  After high school I went to Mohawk College where I graduated from the Small Business Management Program.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Our community on the Central Mountain is diverse and we have seen great results from our public officials.  This by-election is an opportunity to build on those great results.  It allows Ward 7 to talk publicly and collaboratively about what we would like to see going forward.

The next few months Ward 7 will be on centre stage, and I hope we get to hear from as many voices as possible.  I hope that I get to your doorstep and have a conversation personally.  Otherwise, I encourage residents to email or call me with their ideas or questions.

I want to bring a diversity of voices to City Hall and I hope that will include yours.

Sincerely;
Uzma Qureshi.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Media Release-235 Rebecca Street

For Immediate Release

The Hamilton Community Legal Clinic has become aware that tenants of 235 Rebecca Street are receiving notices to vacate their apartments by January 20, 2016.

These notices DO NOT comply with notice requirements spelled out in the Residential Tenancies Act.

This means that tenants do not have to vacate their units as they have been told in a notice from Medallion Corporation. The notice is entitled “URGENT FLOOD REPAIR UPDATE FOR FLOORS 1-6, 235 REBECCA STREET.”

The clinic recommends that any tenant from 235 Rebecca Street speak with our clinic before signing any paperwork with the landlord.

Tenants are encouraged to attend a Public Legal Information Session scheduled for Tuesday January 19th. The Know Your Rights session will be held at the Beasley Community Centre located at 145 Wilson (Corner of Ferguson) starting at 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

At the Movies- Creed

For those of you who are long time Sylvester Stallone fans and in particular, of the Rocky series, you will likely enjoy Creed.

Creed tells the story of Apollo Creed's son who tries to make it on his own in the boxing ring while enlisting Rocky (Stallone), to be his trainer.  

The movie is well filmed and acted and is worth seeing particularily  if you are a fan of this genre. Despite some minor twists, the structure of the film is true to the Rocky formula of plots. 

A worthwhile movie to see but highly predictable. Expect more of the same in terms of the Rocky type of story.

The Hamiltonian

Friday, January 15, 2016

7- Candidate Damin Starr

In our series entitled "7", The Hamiltonian will provide all candidates who are registered to run in the Ward 7 by-election, equal access to The Hamiltonian to get their message out. As per our standing policies, The Hamiltonian will remain nuetral and will allow all an opportunity. Our series continues with Ward 7 candidate Damin Starr. Enjoy our Q/A with Damin: 

 Why are you running for Ward 7 Councillor. What are you hoping to achieve by doing so?

My Hamilton civic engagement dates back to the early 1990’s (Citizen's Expressway Committee) where my primary role was to assist in educating residents and the public at large on the processes and impacts during the construction phases of the Red Hill Valley Parkway (RHVP). As many of us may remember this was a tireless effort that was stalled many times by conflicting political mandates, until it opened in 2007.

Since then my municipal and provincial engagement has been in the areas of social advocacy (inclusiveness & accessibility for the disabled), electoral reform (municipal, provincial, and federal), multi-modality (mobility options & integration), and community development, all of which, I have provided delegation and facilitated discussion on. My decision to put my name forward is representative of my capacity to contribute in a meaningful way for the betterment of others and our surroundings.

I am an active participant in many community liaison committees and can often be found providing input, listening to, observing, and engaging in progressive discussion on key issues. I am motivated by a desire for all residents to achieve their full potential through opportunity and participation, building on unique strengths and collectively moving forward.

While applying a ‘healthy community approach’ to overcoming traditional issues surrounding the development and delivery of quality ‘municipal services’, I commit to continuing efforts in facing citywide challenges such as ‘affordability’, ‘tax-base imbalance’, ‘a rising infrastructure deficit’, and ‘inadequate mobility options’.

Reflecting on my commitment to citizen engagement and 20+ years experience in business, operating a parts manufacturing firm in Lincoln, Ontario … providing raw component parts for locomotive and mass transit --- including manufacturing for environmental controls associated with the steel, oil, water, and gas industries. I confidently offer my abilities to effectively represent the residents of Ward 7, delivering a balanced approach to social and fiscal responsibilities as an elected councillor at City Hall.

What do you think are the most pressing issues facing the Ward and facing the city as a whole. How would your contributions help to resolve these issues?
Realistically, traditional issues surrounding the development and delivery of quality ‘municipal services’ have been a major point of discussion. Residents will always want to know their councillor is grounded enough to provide good liaison with departments and timely resolve. City wide challenges such as ‘affordability’, ‘tax-base imbalance’, ‘a rising infrastructure deficit’, and ‘inadequate mobility options’ are key issues that cross ward boundaries. As a councillor representing Central Mountain these areas could benefit from both my practical experience in business and compassion for real world circumstances. I will encourage and support progressive well-reasoned solutions with an expectation of measurability.

What is your current assessment of this installation of City council? Are you satisfied with their performance. What, if anything, might you add to council that would be unique or new?
I know there is always room for improvement, but I can make no assumption about how difficult their jobs are. I respect their positions and cannot in good conscience banter in hypothesis.

How can people reach you to ask you about your position on matters or to otherwise engage with you?

I welcome and look forward to furthering discussion on any of the following media platforms and I also look forward to opportunities to meet in person.

Twitter: @daminstarr
Facebook: www.facebook.com/daminstarr
email: damin@daminstarr.ca
website: www.daminstarr.ca

 Tell us a little about yourself, on a personal note. Your hobbies, likes, dislikes, background etc. Anything that would have people get to know who you are on a more personal basis.

-an avid cyclist
-taking my children to city events and enjoy reading books to them.
-love music
-trained with the late Lyn Harry (Canadian Orpheus Male Choir) at the Hamilton Academy of Music as a teen
-trained with Canadian rock hero and fellow Hamiltonian Ray Lyell who re-inspired my love for performance…
-Recorded “The Music that Surrounds You” collection of Broadway and classic songs in 2004 followed by two years of live performances. Great experience.
Proud husband and father … The 6 Starr Kids are my inspiration.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

With my wife, Debra, we proudly raise our 6 children (including 2 children with developmental disabilities) in East Hamilton.

Over time, I would hope the 'outsider' label I am presently carrying may translate into a willingness for us to step outside of our comfort zones and grow into opportunities for refreshing dialog. My experience has taught me that we are not just 'Wards' made up of constituents divided by invisible lines, but integrated communities of people connected by a desire for livability.

I live with a belief that ‘City Building’ is a responsibility we all share. It is ‘simply’ not enough to cast a ballot every 4 years, because ‘the truth is’ developing desirable communities requires both interest and engagement from all residents, regardless of affluence. I am excited about Hamilton’s future, but always mindful of the importance of living in a fair and equitable society. My hope is that YOU feel the same.

Throughout this campaign I will strive to earn the support of Ward 7 residents and would be honoured to serve as their Central Mountain councillor … working diligently beyond March 21, 2016.

Humbly,
Damin Starr
​Ward 7 (Central Mountain) Candidate

Thursday, January 14, 2016

City Manager Advises of Retirement of Gerry Davis

The following email was sent by City Manager Chris Murray:

Dear Mayor Eisenberger and Members of Council,

It is with mixed emotion that I announce the retirement decision of Gerry Davis effective December 31, 2016, after leading our Public Works Department for over seven years and a career in municipal government which spanned over 30 years.

Gerry’s vast experience and leadership roles at various levels of the organization at the City has included the role of Manager of Asset Management and Senior Director of Capital Planning & Implementation at Public Works. Other positions within the City of Hamilton included Manager of Finance & Administration for the Environment Department and Manager of Financial Planning and Policy for Corporate Finance.

Under Gerry’s leadership, the department has achieved a number of important milestones and projects, including:

· Initiating and developing Hamilton’s Asset Management program which is now recognized internationally

· Oversight of the Pan Am Games in Hamilton
· Hamilton Harbour clean-up
· Woodward Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades
· Randle Reef

Gerry's steady hand throughout major infrastructure renewal projects, including the renovations at City Hall, the Lister Block and Tim Horton’s Field construction has earned him respect among his peers‎ and colleagues which led him to be named “Top Public Works Leader of the Year” in 2013 by the Ontario Public Works Association (OPWA).

As a General Manager and close advisor to me, Gerry was professional, thoughtful, a strategic thinker and demonstrated a commitment to the City and its residents. I will personally miss Gerry's strong personal ethics, sense of humour and support.

Well respected and trusted by staff, I have no doubt that his decision to retire was a difficult one as Gerry is devoted to Public Works and ensuring its continued success.

Gerry will stay on as General Manager for Public Works through to the end of the 2016 budget process. After that time, I have asked John Mater to be the Acting General Manager until the recruitment for Gerry’s position has been completed.

Once the budget process is finished, Gerry will be assisting me through to the end of the year with the update of our strategic plan, other corporate initiatives and completion of the Public Works Review.

Please join me in thanking and congratulating Gerry for all that he has done for our community.


Chris Murray
City Manager

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Employees Code of Conduct

Did you know that the City of Hamilton has an employees code of conduct? To read it, click here.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Light Rail Transit Sub-Committee Report

Please click here to see the Light Rail Transit Sub-Committee Report 15-002, which will be added to the January 13th GIC as Item 8.13.

Green- Not Greed- A Chat with Rick Breznick

The City of Hamilton is on the cusps of making recommendations and adopting decisions that will have an irreversible impact on the use of lands that are presently protected by Greenbelt legislation. The issue is what lands , if any, are to be removed from or included in the Greenbelt. Once agricultural lands or lands presently protected under the Greenbelt get removed from the Greenbelt and are available for development or other purposes, the chances of recalling such lands for agricultural or other natural purposes are remote.

Stewardship of such lands is thus of utmost importance and requires a short, medium and long term strategic view of how lands are utilized. Hamilton is blessed with having land resources that are invaluable to food growth and other important uses. As an example, the micro climate found in Winona is unique through North America and had provided fertile lands for tender fruit growth and other farming needs. Likewise, the need to protect strategic land assets across all of Hamilton and its amalgamated areas is likely the most important strategic decision that will be made in term of our future.

The Hamilton is thus kicking off a series entitled Green Not Greed, that seeks to bring to light issues that ought to be considered related to Greenbelt protected lands.

We begin our series with a chat with Rick Breznik, a Hamiltonian from the Watertown area who has been very vocal on this issue. Enjoy our chat with Rick:

1. From a series of emails you have sent to the media and to city councillors and other officials, it is clear that you have concerns around the treatment of greenbelt lands. Can you describe what your concerns are?

The City of Hamilton's staff report and recommendations is advising the City Councillors, the public and the Ontario Ministry that their recommendations are based on public input. This is false. The recommendation to remove the specific lands in Waterdown, east of Centre Road and south of the Waterdown Bypass, were not one of the recommendations they sought public input on through all 4 of their open houses. The specific recommendation was made by them after public consultation was completed. Therefore they are giving everyone the false impression this particular recommendation was reviewed by the public.

2. You are alleging that city staff have mislead council on the recommendations for changes to the greenbelt. How exactly are you alleging that this occurred? What form did it take and what impact do you believe it has?

As stated above, it is because this specific recommendation was never reviewed by the public (like the other specific additions and removals were) but the report gives the impression the public reviewed and commented on the specific recommendation. When you read their detailed report, they advise that this specific recommendations came out after they reviewed public comment. However, there is no specific recommendation from the public recorded in any of their reports to remove this specific area. In addition, this specific area would not have been re-reviewed by the Stakeholders, which includes the Hamilton Conservation and Halton Conservation Authorities. There is nothing stated in their report that they re-contacted the Stakeholders and specifically the two conservation authorities, for their comments on this recommendation.

3. You have asked for specific contact people in the Ontario Government who could address your concerns, if the city is unprepared to do so to your satisfaction. Has your request been responded to and have you received any response from the city on the issues you have presented? If so, what was the response?

Attached is their response to my earlier emails.( Please click here and here to see the emails ) They did not provide me with any contacts in the Ontario Government as requested. Attached is my latest email response back to them.

4. Why should people care about the issues you have raised? What would you recommend they do to get involved?

The specific area also contains a PSW (Provincially Significant Wetland). This is not mentioned anywhere in the detailed Dillon consultants report that tries to justify the removal of this area. Therefore even the consultants and City staff report recommendation are missing key information that unless known by the decision makers, unfairly tries to justify their recommendation to remove the specific area from the greenbelt.

5. Is there anything else you’d like the public and/or city/government officials to know about this issue?

I have dealt with city staff before. The average single person's input means nothing and we are usually tagged with the term NIMBY if we live anywhere near items we comment on. There are always many issues to a recommendation, but unless they are fairly provided and commented on, poor decisions will continue to be made.

My email asked for public consultation on this recommendation. The City Council ended up requesting staff to sent a letter to those affected by this recommendation. What we received was a letter re-stating their recommendations to council. Any input we give now to that letter is not going to be added to the report or brought back in front of council for review. Therefore as it sits right now, their falsely stated recommendations to Council, the public and the Ontario Ministry will remain as is.


Please note: some email addresses that would not be ordinarily available to the public have been blanked so as to not unduly reveal email addresses. The rest of the email content has been left untouched. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

BayBridge Senior Living- A True Community Engagement Based Development

The Hamiltonian Publisher Teresa DiFalco (far left) 
with staff from BayBridge and MP Bob Bratina
Stoney Creek seniors packed an information luncheon this past Friday at the Stoney Creek Legion, hosted by BayBridge Senior Living. The gathering was to promote the new Senior Living complex in the heart of Stoney Creek, where the infamous Stoney Creek Dairy once stood. Respecting the site’s rich history, the complex will feature its own dairy bar.

An informative and fun presentation was delivered by Alison Keller, Site Development Ambassador who is charged with promoting the new complex and engaging its stakeholders to ensure the complex fits,  and is embraced by the community.

This five story seniors living complex, will be tailor-designed to meet the needs of seniors, to enable them to live independently, stay connected to the community, and have an array of choices and services at their fingertips. The complex offers three neighborhood lifestyle options to choose from:

1. Independent Living (enabling seniors to enjoy an active life free of household chores knowing support is available if needed)
2. Assisted Living (enabling seniors to live in a cozy neighborhood where activities and dining are right down the hall with a dedicated wellness team providing supports 24/7)
3. Memory Care (baling seniors living with dementia or memory loss to be safe and comfortable with caring experts to help them make the most of each day)

The care team has established a wellness program designed on seven dimensions of wellness: physical - social - emotional - spiritual - intellectual - vocational - and environmental.

The Executive Team includes: Jennifer Sarkis as Executive Director, and Cory Stirett and Jennifer Turgeon as the Community Relations Directors. They will run the new complex, which is expected to open its doors in November of this year.

Guest speakers included MP Bob Bratina, MPP Paul Miller, and City Councillor Doug Conley. I was joined by my dear friends Josie Kozun, Pat Wilk, Dorothy Desroches, and Heather Slattery. I shared a table with Soni Chachad, Community Leader for First Ontario Credit Union, Audie McCarthy, Mohawk College Enterprise (and Past President of the Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce), Marie Robins (past candidate for Ward 9), and two lovely seniors from Mount Hope.

Peele Winery was on hand to provide free samples of their wines during the service of a delicious meal, which , of course included desert of peaches and ice-cream.

This community engagement based project will strive to make each resident feel like family and an integral part of the community. Each resident will receive a personalized support plan designed to their specific needs and wants. Interested seniors are being encouraged to contact the Presentation Centre for more information at 905-664-8444 or visit their website at stoneycreekseniorliving.ca for more information and to request a personal one on one interview.


To see more pictures, click here

Teresa DiFalco
Publisher, The Hamiltonian

Saturday, January 9, 2016

7- Candidate Timothy Gordon

In our series entitled "7", The Hamiltonian will provide all candidates who are registered to run in the Ward 7 by-election, equal access to The Hamiltonian to get their message out. As per our standing policies, The Hamiltonian will remain nuetral and will allow all an opportunity. Our series continues with Ward 7 candidate Timothy Gordon. Enjoy our Q/A with Timothy:

Why are you running for Ward 7 Councillor? What are you hoping to achieve by doing so?

City council is a great opportunity to affect change in the city I love. We need outspoken advocates who are unafraid to make bold moves with social policy and advocacy. This is a great city with a lot of vulnerable people who desperately need a city council that will engage the people of this city to do great things. I believe our city has an incredible amount of potential that is hugely overlooked. I hope to be elected and to advocate for changes that are brave.

2. What do you think are the most pressing issues facing the Ward and facing the city as a whole? How would your contributions help to resolve these issues?

I live in Ward 7 and am well aware of the issues in our Ward from talking to neighbours, friends, and canvassing. We desperately need help with infrastructure, from low water pressure to maintaining our roadways. Ward 7 also has immense potential to develop commercially. I will secure commercial capital growth in Ward 7 through urban revitalization fostering business growth on Concession St.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Making Headlines - 2016 Predictions from our Perspectives Virtual Panel

Each year The Hamiltonian asks our Perspectives Virtual Panel do do a little crystal ball gazing and make their predictions as to what might happen in Hamilton in this new year. 

Due to the popularity of the format we used last year, we once again asked them to capture their predictions in the form of a headline that might appear in a newspaper. We also invited them to create an optional one paragraph description under the headline to further explain it. 

We suggested that headlines can be based on predictions that may come to be, and/or may be formed in a light hearted comedic way. The only thing we asked is that the submissions not be mean spirited or otherwise violate our site policy.

Enjoy these predictive headlines submitted by our Perspectives Virtual Panel:

Presented in alphabetical order by surname:



Headlines by Graham Crawford

2 PROBABLES
City of Hamilton Pushes Ahead With Flawed Plan for Piers 7 & 8
Despite concerns expressed by a number of residents, the City of Hamilton is moving ahead with a plan to sell most of the land we own at Piers 7 & 8 to the private sector. Some members of the community voiced concerns about there being too little land allocated for public use other than a perimeter path along the edge of Pier 8. The City was criticized for putting money (sale price and new residential/commercial taxes) over bold designs for public space in the last remaining piece of publicly owned waterfront land next to widely admired and used Bayfront Park and Pier 4.

Council Votes to Support Innovative Plans to Address CityHousing Issues
The Board of CityHousing has announced an innovative approach to making a big difference to the lives of many people currently in, and currently waiting for, affordable housing. Through a combination of repurposing of assets, multi-level government partnerships, and innovative agreements with local developers, existing housing units will be repaired and new ones added in an ambitious 5-year plan. The plan required some true out-of-the-box thinking by Board members and Council. Although not a full solution to the complex challenges related to affordable housing, the plan has been hailed as being the most progressive and ambitious in decades.

2 IMPROBABLES
City Manager Releases Results of Dennison Benchmark Culture Survey

Saturday, January 2, 2016

7- Candidate Hans Zuriel

In our series entitled "7", The Hamiltonian will provide all candidates who are registered to run in the Ward 7 by-election, equal access to The Hamiltonian to get their message out. As per our standing policies, The Hamiltonian will remain nuetral and will allow all an opportunity. Our series continues with Ward 7 candidate Hans Zuriel. Enjoy our Q/A with Hans:

1. Why are you running for Ward 7 Councilor? What are you hoping to achieve by doing so?

Public service has always been my passion and I believe that I have the fresh ideas, knowledge, optimism, energy and work ethic to represent Ward 7 as a City Councilor and to bring the necessary changes to reinvent and reinvigorate our beloved city, Hamilton.

I have watched as City Councilors have lost touch with hard working Hamiltonians. I have decided to run for City Council to be a voice for all those Hamiltonians who are not being heard. It is time Hamilton Councilors work for the people who elect them. I am running to represent those hard working people of Ward 7.

I have realized that Hamilton is a shadow of its former self when I see it lagging behind other cities in Ontario in terms of economic prosperity and modernization. Hamilton needs to bring back high paying jobs through diversifying its economy and there is a lot of work that needs to be done to improve its infrastructure, transportation and public housing. To do this, I will not hesitate to initiate ideas from successful cities across the country and/or around the world to accelerate the urban renewal process in Hamilton. As a Councilor, it will be one of my priorities to ensure that our city regain its former economic position as the main engine of economic growth, renewal and prosperity in Ontario and as the most desirable places to live in.

Finally, Hamilton residents pay one of the highest property tax rates in Ontario while not receiving the premium service which it should entail. Therefore, as Councilor I will fight for low and affordable property taxes while also ensuring that the municipal government delivers service levels that the residents of Ward 7 expect.

2. What do you think are the most pressing issues facing the Ward and facing the city as a whole? How would your contributions help to resolve these issues?

Affordable property taxes are the single largest issue facing the Ward. I have spoken to residents who are struggling to keep their homes under a property tax burden that is one of the highest in the province. Sadly Ward 7 has not even received the platinum level of service for the platinum level of taxes they are paying. As Councilor I will fight for low and affordable property taxes while also ensuring that the municipal government delivers service levels that the residents of Ward 7 expect.

The largest issue facing the city is attracting high paying jobs to the city. The poverty level across Hamilton Mountain is the highest it has ever been. Hamilton is a shadow of its former self when I see it lagging behind other cities in Ontario in terms of economic prosperity and modernization. Hamilton needs to bring back high paying jobs through diversifying its economy and there is a lot of work that needs to be done to improve its infrastructure, transportation and public housing. To do this, I will not hesitate to initiate ideas from successful cities across the country and/or around the world to accelerate the urban renewal process in Hamilton. As a Councilor, it will be one of my priorities to ensure that our city regain its former economic position as the main engine of economic growth in Ontario and as one of the most desirable place to live in.

3. What is your current assessment of this installation of City council? Are you satisfied with their performance? What, if anything, might you add to council that would be unique or new?

I have watched as City Councilors have lost touch with hard working Hamiltonians. I have decided to run for City Council to be a voice for all those Hamiltonians who are not being heard. It is time Hamilton Councilors work for the people who elect them. I am running to represent those hard working people of Ward 7. What I offer that is unique is I am running to be the voice for the residents of Ward 7; I am listening and representing the people of my Ward. I am not prepared to join the Good Old Boys club at City Hall and be part of back room deal making.

4. How can people reach you to ask you about your position on matters or to otherwise engage with you?

You can reach me at zurielward7@gmail.com for any questions and/or queries. My website will be at zurielward7.com and it will be live by the end of January.

5. Tell us a little about yourself, on a personal note. Your hobbies, likes, dislikes, background etc. Anything that would have people get to know who you are on a more personal basis.


I am passionate about Hamilton. I volunteer at local organizations that make a difference in the lives of Hamiltonians

I believe in lifelong learning and am committed to do so. This takes the form of reading, taking courses, and experiential learning

I am a sports enthusiast who enjoys many of the local Hamilton sports teams, as well as being an avid chess player

I am committed to family and family plays an important role in my life

6. Is there anything else you would like to add?

I will work tirelessly for the people of this Ward. What matters to the residents of Ward 7 will always be my top priority.