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Ward 1 Councillor's Newsletter - 2024-03-05

This edition of the Ward 1 newsletter includes:

  • Cybersecurity Incident
  • Affordable Housing Stalled - Explaining 5 and 13 Lake Avenue South, Hamilton
  • City of Hamilton 2024 Budget
  • ICYMI - recent Ward 1 meeting videos
  • 2024/25 Recycling and Waste Information Guide
  • Strathcona and Kirkendall Neighbourhoods Complete Streets Safety Report
  • Stories of Migration and Belonging Digital Exhibit
  • Celebrate International Women's Day with HSR
  • Hamilton Water Protective Plumbing Program
  • Solar Eclipse Glasses
  • Events

Cybersecurity Incident

By now, you've likely heard the City of Hamilton has been experiencing a cybersecurity incident that began Sunday, February 25 and has disabled some of our IT systems. Systems across the City's network continue to be impacted. The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been activated. A team of experts has been working 24/7 to investigate and protect systems and minimise any risk to the community. As this is an ongoing matter, the City is limited regarding the information that can be shared.

City Manager Marnie Cluckie confirmed on Monday that the incident resulted from a ransomware attack. Her team is doing everything possible to protect residents and their personal information. It's not believed any personal data or information has been stolen, and the team is doing everything they can to keep it that way.

More information and the list of affected services are available here. The City will also proactively provide updates as they become available wherever possible.

The Customer Contact Centre remains operational and able to take phone calls at 905-546-CITY. We are very grateful for your patience and understanding during this time. 

People over Parking

You may have read or heard that half of Hamilton's City Councillors are blocking the City's efforts to allow for affordable housing on city-owned parking lots in downtown Stoney Creek, Hamilton (Ward 5). These lots offer free parking, have been declared surplus for many years, and have been zoned for multi-residential use for 30 years. The situation is disheartening.

To borrow from Edmund Burke, elected representatives, more than anything else, owe the public their judgement and not just their obedience to public opinion.  Citizens’ trust in government is frustrated when actions don’t match words.  

Any decision on housing affects everyone across the City.  Hamilton City Council unanimously declared a housing crisis in April 2023, followed by unanimous support for an action plan to bring focus and urgency to this crisis.  All of Council committed to action, not just words.

The action plan is called the Housing Sustainability and Investment Roadmap (HSIR)It is intended to be a "whole community" response, with the City of Hamilton partnering with community organisations to build affordable housing.

The sale or lease of surplus City-owned parking lots for a nominal price to not-for-profit housing corporations for affordable housing development is a tool available to municipalities and an identified action in the HSIR. The City and community partners can then use this land asset to leverage federal and provincial housing investments. 

The City also created the Housing Secretariat to work with community partners to implement the HSIR. The Secretariat ensures all oars row in the same direction and reduces barriers to achieving the Roadmap's housing goals. The Secretariat is to end the politicization of affordable housing site selection, which has obstructed an 'all of city' approach to this crisis for too many years.

5 and 13 Lake Avenue South, Stoney Creek, Hamilton

The Lake Street properties are set out below. The City of Hamilton owns the properties outlined in both red and yellow and makes up the parking lots on Lake Avenue South and Mountain Avenue South. The yellow properties are the two lots recommended for affordable housing. The red property would remain a city-owned parking lot.

The proposal for the Lake Street lots would use 57 parking spots to construct 67 affordable housing units with 105 parking spaces remaining. City staff have reported that the lot could be reconfigured with affordable housing developments to maximize the number of remaining spaces.


The phrase "but what about" is used in debate to deflect attention away from the actual argument with a response that seeks to change the subject with a counter that usually starts with "but what about X?"

 "The rest of the City should do its part. There are vacant lots elsewhere."

Yes.  I radically agree.    The Housing Secretariat also identified a total of six City-owned lots that are either vacant or being used as surface parking lots: 

  • 171 Main Street East (Ward 2) - parking lot; already zoned residential (currently undergoing a feasibility study)
  • 9 Clarence Street (Ward 2) - empty land; needs to be rezoned residential
  • 70 Hope Avenue (Ward 4) - parking lot; needs to be rezoned residential
  • 5 Lake Avenue South (Ward 5) - parking lot; already zoned residential
  • 13 Lake Avenue South (Ward 5) - parking lot; already zoned residential
  • 1126 Garth Street (Ward 14) - empty land; needs to be rezoned residential

There has been no political opposition by Council to using these sites for affordable housing.

There was a proposal in 2019 to build 44 social housing units for seniors and expand the Riverdale neighbourhood's recreational centre in Ward 5. But the plan had to be quietly shelved because it was not financially feasible and lacked Government of Ontario Ministerial approval to introduce residential with institutional use.  Conversely, the Lake Street parking lots are appropriately zoned, development-ready, and make financial sense. There is immediate value in developing the surface lots on Lake Avenue for affordable housing while work on the Riverdale site continues.

This is not an either/or debate. It's about AND.  All parts of the City must be part of the solution. History teaches us that affordable/supportive housing is overwhelmingly in older city wards. NIMBYism has allowed newer/suburban communities to avoid doing their share. In a crisis, we need all hands and all wards on deck.

"The loss of parking will hurt local business."

With his private sector professional commerce background, Ancaster Councillor Craig Cassar carefully identified 727 available parking within 400 metres of the Lake Street properties - 331 public and 396 private spots, all of which are free. These lots exclude residential buildings, auto service and businesses.

We know local businesses do well when more people live near commercial areas. If parking were a prerequisite for retail health, then suburban malls across North America would not be failing.

A parking stall can only be used by one car at a time.  Free parking does not stimulate turnover and invites vehicles to stay in a stall all day, effectively eliminating available spots for people wanting to neighbourhood shop and support small businesses. 

This is about Affordable Housing

Let's be clear. The decision before Hamilton City Council is whether to move ahead with affordable housing on free, publicly subsidized surface parking lots at a location long determined as surplus.  

A litany of excuses has been put forward to justify opposition, yet the same opponents have failed to bring solutions to the table that could easily address concerns. 

For example, they could propose changes that would affect site design and reconfigure the lots to create more parking stalls and address concerns regarding accessibility and seniors’ parking access to the adjacent medical building with its own parking lot of 64 spaces.  They could allow for a site design which enhances safe and accessible walkways, landscaping, parkette investment, and a shift of density from one proposed building to another to free up parking spots. They could assess the availability of on-street parking and remove restrictions where appropriate. They could do the work.


At the General Issues Standing Committee on February 21, the decision to move forward on the Lake Street properties lost on an 8-8 tie vote. This decision must be ratified at the next Hamilton City Council meeting.

To be sure, this decision prioritized parking over people and Council’s duty to address Hamilton’s housing crisis. It has undermined our intergovernmental efforts to secure critical affordable housing investments as it sends a clear signal that the municipality is not serious about doing its part to address the housing crisis. 

I hope my council colleagues will do the right thing and change their minds and votes when we meet again as a Council to ratify this decision. Housing and climate change are the most critical issues facing our entire City. Not surface parking.

City of Hamilton 2024 Budget

Hamilton City Council passed its 2024 operating budget on February 15 with a tax increase of 1.64% for essential city services and 1.6% for housing/homelessness services.

An additional tax impact of 2.55% comes from the Government of Ontario's shift of infrastructure costs from land use developers to existing local property taxpayers. Premier Ford has promised to "make municipalities whole" and permanently alleviate the impact of this provincial policy decision, but this has yet to occur. 

The local and provincial impacts meant an increase of 5.79% overall.

The budget leverages the City's strong financial position to manage affordability while responding to the rapid legislative changes and insufficient funding to pay for the impacts of Provincial policy.

Unfunded Mandates

The coloured wheel sets out the distribution of your local property tax dollars. 

Of note is that 42% of the property tax collected goes to boards and agencies like the Hamilton Police Service, Conservation Authorities, education, and provincially mandated programs such as public health, long-term care, housing, Ontario Works, and children's services. These services meet the definition of unfunded mandates because the municipality is required to collect taxes to fund the programs without any authority over program cost and design.

Hamiltonians are legally required to fund Provincial social and health programs even when the Province cuts its contribution. Since 2019, the City's forced contribution has doubled, from $123M to $245M, while Provincial funding has flatlined.

Other highlights:

Housing and Homelessness

The 2024 City budget is responding to the housing and homelessness crises with increased funding to support the construction of new affordable housing and shelter spaces and to develop a Winter Response Strategy.   

The City of Hamilton is investing $158 million to increase affordable housing and reduce homelessness and $72.3 million from its reserves to support the City's Housing Sustainability and Investment Roadmap (HSIR) over the next three years. 

The housing investment also provided additional funding to protect tenants through new measures.

Last year, I reported that the City of Hamilton invested 33% more in housing and homelessness services than the Provincial and Federal governments combined. Regrettably, the gap between the City and senior orders of government continues to widen. This crisis requires all levels of government to be at the table.

Food Insecurity

Food bank use in Hamilton is rising, while community food donations have fallen 60-80% since COVID-19. 

A collection of 16 local organisations that operate 23 Hunger-Relief programs (emergency food banks and hot meal programs) throughout the Greater Hamilton Area delegated to Council asking for help. A municipal investment of $625,000 is included in the 2024 city budget to purchase food by Hamilton Food Share. 

Property taxes should not fund social services to people. As the name suggests, property taxes were created to fund "hard" services to your property, such as roads. Housing, social services, and emergency food services should be funded by senior orders of government who have access to elastic revenue sources, such as income taxes and sales tax. Regrettably, more of these human services are being downloaded onto cities and towns.

Asset Management - Back to Basics

Core assets like roads, particularly in the Lower City, are collapsing after years of underfunding. Since 2023 and again in 2024, the City has increased its level of investment in these core assets to address this deficiency. This level of investment must continue over the next decade.

Litter Control

Hamiltonians are not satisfied with the amount of litter across their City. The 2024 budget will increase litter collection, prioritise Hamilton's downtown, expand street sweeping in Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), including Locke and Westdale, broaden litter collection in parks and trails, and provide more significant support for volunteer clean-up programs.  


The 2024 budget will enable Year 8 of the ten-year transit plan to be realised, funding an additional 49,000 hours of transit service and 33 buses to enhance service and increase the time buses are on the road, improving frequency.

Climate Change

The City continues to prepare for our changing climate by investing in the new Climate Change Reserve and various other initiatives, such as greening the City's Fleet, developing an urban forestry strategy, and building Hamilton's bike network.

Recent Ward 1 Meeting Videos

In case you missed it.  There are a few dozen videos located on Maureen's YouTube page. The most recent include a Q&A with the councillor, planning for major transit station areas and the Strathcona and Kirkendall Complete Safe Street Study kick-off. 

2024/25 Recycling and Waste Information Guide

The 2024/2025 Recycling and Waste Information Guide and trash tags will be mailed out beginning Monday, March 4 and continuing over the following two weeks. The current pink trash tags expire on March 30.

Canada Post considers the guides bulk mail and does not deliver to mailboxes with 'no flyer' signs. If you have a 'no flyer' sign on your mailbox or have not received your new guide and trash tags by March 30 for any reason, please call the City at 905-546-CITY to request the guide be mailed to you directly.

Yard waste collection resumed Monday, March 4, and will run until December 6 of this year.

Strathcona & Kirkendall Neighbourhoods Complete Streets Safe Streets Study

The Ward 1 Office has initiated a crucial review of designated neighbourhoods, focusing on implementing Traffic Calming Initiatives at problematic locations. This comprehensive assessment aims to establish guidelines for safety enhancements, considering various factors such as road width, classification, surrounding land use, proximity to schools/playgrounds, access roads from arterials, on-street parking, and other pertinent considerations.

Public Information Centres were held in December, however the online mapping tool remains open for comments on the Engage Hamilton/Complete Streets Safety Report website, along with more information about the project, and video of the presentation for those unable to attend the Public Information Centres.

Stories of Migration and Belonging Digital Exhibit

Hamilton Civic Museums is pleased to announce its newest digital exhibit, Stories of Migration and Belonging. Stories of Migration and Belonging is a three-part documentary series that highlights the immigration stories of Enerals and Pricilla Griffin (Griffin House National Historic Site), James McFarlane (Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology) and the Sisters of Social Service (Auchmar Estate). Developed in partnership with Hamilton Civic Museums, Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council, and community members, the exhibit honours and amplifies the contributions of immigrants to our communities.

SheMoves - Celebrate International Women's Day with HSR

Join the HSR on International Women's Day, Friday, March 8, between 11 AM to 3 PM for an exciting event at the Hamilton Public Library - Central Library (Hamilton Room). This is an open house event with presentations held at 11 AM and 1 PM. SheMoves is a celebration of women in public transit careers, highlighting the achievements and contributions of women in this dynamic industry, featuring panel discussions and networking opportunities. Connect with industry professionals, mentors, and fellow enthusiasts who share a passion for public transit. Gain valuable insights, learn about career pathways, and explore the diverse range of opportunities available. The event is open to everyone but will focus on women's experiences in the transit industry and at HSR. Please register at this link.

Hamilton Water Protective Plumbing Program

With spring approaching, Hamilton Water is highlighting its Protective Plumbing Program. During heavy rainfall, the sewer system can reach capacity and become overloaded. This can lead to overflows into the environment and an increased risk of basement flooding. Installing a backwater valve in the private plumbing of the home allows wastewater to flow in only one direction - to the city sewer. Disconnecting downspouts reduces the overall amount of stormwater in the sewer system, decreasing the chance of an overflow event and potential basement flooding.

Check out the Protective Plumbing Program page to learn more about the grants and loans available to help with the cost of installing a backwater valve, disconnecting downspouts from city sewers, and completing other eligible works that can help to reduce the risks of basement flooding while lowering demand on our sewer systems.

Solar Eclipse Glasses

As you may know, Hamilton is one of the few cities in Canada that will be experiencing a rare total solar eclipse on April 8. McMaster University wants everyone in Hamilton to be able to view this spectacular celestial event safely. To that end they have purchased 500,000 pairs of solar viewing glasses are partnering with the Hamilton Public Library and local schools to distribute them. They are currently available at the Locke Street and Westdale libraries while supplies last.


  • Spring Tide Bulb Show. March 8 - 17, 9 am - 5 pm. Gage Park Greenhouse

    Hundreds of spring bulbs and a vendor marketplace, café and flower shop will be displayed. It's a great way to spend time with family. Bring the family, participate in a scavenger hunt, and enjoy spring's first sights, sounds, and smells! Free admission and parking. Donations to Hamilton Food Share are appreciated. Canned goods and monetary donations will be accepted. Thanks for supporting Hamilton Food Share and local vendors.

  • Kirkendall Music Concert Fundraiser for Wesley Refugee Resettlement Fund. Saturday, March 9, 7 - 9 pm. Melrose United Church, 86 Homewood Ave.

Join local musicians as they come together to support the Wesley Resettlement Assistance Program. $10 at the door. Doors open at 6:30. Organised by Kirkendall Sound and Music.

Check this link for more details as they become available.

Be sure to check out the many March Break activities offered at our local branches, such as Question-Discover-Create, Imagination Stations, Lego Club, Turtle Crossing (registration required, only 14 spots left!), My Friend Christopher, Craft Cart at Westdale, and Craft Cart at Locke.  

Head of the Lake Society talk by local historian Dennis Hill. Doors open at 7 pm; Presentation at 7:30 pm. Elevator available. Light refreshments. Admission: $5; Head of the Lake Members: Free.

Ward 1 Infrastructure Updates

There are multiple projects taking place across the Ward. We have tried to encapsulate the information on a new web page.

Projects in every neighbourhood include park renewal and water chamber replacement. 

Greener Ward 1

Let's do our part in Ward 1 to create healthy, biodiverse neighbourhoods for all living things. Check out our website!

Signup for the Ward 1 Newsletter email

Follow along for timely Ward 1 Updates via       

The City of Hamilton is situated upon the traditional territories of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas. This land is covered by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, which was an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabek to share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. We further acknowledge that this land is covered by the Between the Lakes Purchase, 1792, between the Crown and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. 

Today, the City of Hamilton is home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island (North America), and we recognise that we must do more to learn about the rich history of this land so that we can better understand our roles as residents, neighbours, partners and caretakers.