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

  • We Must Solve the Housing Crisis While Also Protecting the Environment
  • LRT Vote - April 2024
  • Dundurn Play Ground Update
  • Cybersecurity Update
  • Becket Dr Lighting Work (Queen St Hill) Scheduled For This Month
  • Main St W(Ainslie Wood) Cycling Infrastructure Implementation & Upgrades
  • HSR 150!
  • Vacant Unit Tax Passed
  • Greener Ward 1
  • KNA Annual Compost Sale - Saturday, May 11th
  • Events

House with greenbelt images imbedded

We Must Solve the Housing Crisis While Also Protecting the Environment

It seems everyone is talking about housing these days, and rightfully so.

Ontario's housing crisis is on full display in big cities and small towns. But why a column about housing to mark Earth Day on Monday? Ontario's fate and fortune depend on how we meet our housing needs without causing further harm to our wetlands, rivers, and forests, which are natural "infrastructures" vital to our individual and collective health and well-being.

Housing in Ontario is a crisis in motion, with housing stresses climbing up the income ladder beyond lower-income groups to include nurses, students, teachers, paramedics and trades.

Read Maureen's full letter to the editor here. Hamilton Spectator. April 20, 2024

LRT Vote - April 2024

The Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada are funding a 14-kilometre Hamilton Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project. Metrolinx is the provincial agency overseeing the project. Metrolinx indicated that they were open to input from the City of Hamilton regarding the role the City wanted to play in the LRT's operations. The final decision, however, rests with Metrolinx. Regardless, in all cases, Hamilton LRT will remain publicly owned.

City of Hamilton staff put forward several operating models for Council's consideration. I supported the staff recommendation, which called for the private operation of Hamilton LRT for a limited time. The purpose of this letter is to share why I took this position and to be accountable to Ward 1 residents for my vote.

Read Maureen's full letter to Ward 1 residents.

Dundurn Play Ground Update

In the Fall of 2022, the City opened a "Play Your Way" survey to engage residents of Strathcona in choosing the type of play pieces they would like to see in Dundurn Park. Participants chose both the traditional and the saucer swing, but only one would fit in a primary/junior playground.

The Dundurn Park project aimed to provide a more inclusive play area within the existing footprint. Going beyond the existing footprint would have triggered extensive archaeology and costs. The playground was funded entirely through the Ward 1 area rating fund, and no other additional financing was available as the park was not on the City's corporate capital renewal plan, even though it had reached the end of its life cycle. The playground designer looked to maximize the space, with the overall goal of creating an inclusive playground that considers physical, intellectual, and sensory disabilities.

An accessible swing was in keeping with the goal. However, the limited play area meant the most universal swing type was chosen, a saucer swing. A saucer swing is designed to provide multiple options. The wide saucer shape allows a single child or up to five children to swing together. Children unable to sit upright can lie across the centre section to enjoy back-and-forth motion alone or with friends or a parent.

The City's parks master plan seeks to prioritize multi-use, inclusive, and accessible park designs to service diverse needs and act according to the principle of equity.

Hamilton has four classes of parks—'City Wide', 'Community', 'Neighbourhood', and 'Parkette'—collectively referred to as 'Municipal Parkland'. The City's ongoing goal is to connect parks to offer residents choice and access to different kinds of park amenities.

Currently, the City commits to providing Neighbourhood Parks within 800 m of all residents. Strathcona has three parks and two neighbouring parks within this radius. The longer-term goal of the City's master plan is to aim for a 500 m radius as part of a commitment to ensuring that residents with limited mobility have access to these building blocks of the park system.

The Dundurn Park play area, weather dependent, is set to re-open at the end of May. 

Becket Dr Lighting Work (Queen St Hill) Scheduled For This Month

Transportation Operations is planning a single-lane closure on Beckett Drive to troubleshoot and repair the street lighting in the area. The lighting standards are in the upbound lane, south of the Bruce Trail crossing. This will be a flagged operation, and two-way traffic will always be accommodated. The planned closure dates are the week of May 13th-17th and May 21 – May 24, although work may conclude earlier. Work will occur between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM, and no work will occur over the Victoria Day weekend.

 

Main St W(Ainslie Wood) Cycling Infrastructure Implementation & Upgrades

This project proposes enhancing the existing painted bicycle lanes on Main St between Filman Rd and Ofield Rd. Additionally, an on-street shared connection is proposed to guide users to the Rail Trail via Ofield Rd and Ewen Rd. Users can then continue on the Rail Trail to the newly installed Emerson St Cycle Track (2023), connecting northerly to McMaster University. This infrastructure also connects to the existing Wilson St (buffered/separated) bicycle lanes for those wishing to continue southbound to Ancaster. See Resident Notice with Maps

The enhanced bicycle lanes on Main St will increase convenience, comfort and safety for cyclists, including youth cycling to parks, schools and community centres in the area.

The City's Transportation Master Plan (2018) and Cycling Master Plan (2018) identify the need for on-street cycling facilities to provide an efficient and safe network to encourage cycling. The promotion of walking and cycling fosters a healthier community through reduced reliance on automobiles (less congestion and reduced vehicle emissions) and increased physical activity levels for residents. The design should also encourage cyclists to ride on the street, not on the sidewalk, making the sidewalk more comfortable for pedestrians.

This cycling connection is proposed to be completed in the Spring/Summer of 2024. The City of Hamilton is currently conducting community consultation for this project so that the design can be finalized.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Sustainable Mobility staff ([email protected] or 905.546.2424 x 7537) by Friday, May 17, 2024.

Cybersecurity Update

The City of Hamilton's new online job applications portal is now active, and resumes are being accepted for various opportunities.

The new platform replaces the previous job posting website, which has been offline since February due to the cybersecurity incident. Thoroughly vetted for security, privacy, and reliability, the new platform provides a safe environment for the City to resume hiring activities. Priority will be given to filling essential front-line positions and critical roles alongside opportunities for student positions.

Please continue to visit the cybersecurity incident response page for more information on the job application process and updates on other impacted services.

HSR 150!

Beginning this month, the City of Hamilton celebrates 150 years of the Hamilton Street Rail (HSR), making it one of the longest-running transit agencies in Canada. Some of the ways HSR is celebrating are $1.50 fare days, Customer Appreciation Week May 19 - 25, and limited edition Presto cards.

Tourism Hamilton is celebrating with its latest exhibit, Take a Ride with HSR: Celebrating 150 Years of Connections, at the Visitor Experience Centre. This free exhibit honours HSR's long-standing service to the community and will run from May 21 to December 21, 2024, and is open daily from 10 AM to 4 PM.

As part of the 150th anniversary celebrations, HSR wants to hear from you! Share your stories, memories, and photos at Engage Hamilton. Submissions will be collected throughout the year, but if you share your HSR story or photo by May 31, 2024, it may be included in the visual history book being made to commemorate HSR 150. 

Vacant Unit Tax Passed

The City of Hamilton has introduced a new residential Vacant Unit Tax (VUT) by-law to address the housing crisis by encouraging property owners to keep their units occupied. Starting in 2025, non-exempt vacant residential properties will be charged one per cent of their assessed value. Revenue from the tax will be reinvested into affordable housing initiatives. Property owners must submit a declaration annually regarding their property's occupancy status, with exemptions for principal residences, non-profit housing units, renovations, and other specific circumstances. The declaration period will be from January to March 31 each year, and properties may be audited for compliance. Non-compliance may result in penalties. The by-law updates a previous version considered by Council in 2023, and ongoing communications will be provided to the community regarding the process.

Details about the VUT are available through the City's website hamilton.ca/vacantunittax

Greener Ward 1

Spring has definitely sprung, and many of you are undoubtedly planning your garden projects for the season, if not digging in already. There is an increasing awareness of the impact our gardening practices can have on pollinator populations, stormwater runoff, and the health of nearby natural areas. This is especially relevant in Ward 1, where we have the privilege of living in close proximity to the rare and fragile ecosystems of the Niagara Escarpment and Cootes Paradise.

In recognition of this and awareness of the critical role that the biodiversity of our natural areas, urban forests, and gardens plays in climate resiliency, the Ward 1 Office launched the Greener Ward 1 website in 2021, in concert with Hamilton botanist and native plant landscape designer Paul O'Hara of Blue Oak Native Landscapes. If you've ever wondered how to get started with native plant gardening, eliminate invasive species, or protect our urban forests and natural areas, you will find extensive resources, gardening tips, neighbourhood tree walks, and even a selection of landscape plans and plant lists on the website. We hope it will inform and enhance your spring gardening!\

KNA Annual Compost Sale - Saturday, May 11

It must be spring. Right on the heels of another successful food drive, the Kirkendall Neighbourhood Association is running its annual compost sale.

The garden plants have suddenly grown in size—it's time to order some compost for them at the Annual KNA Compost Sale next week!

Saturday, May 11, 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM. Location: 115 Stanley Ave

Compost is sold by the bag (one cubic foot, about the size of a milk crate), and the cost is $4.50 per bag, or you can save by taking advantage or our Green Thumb Deals: 5 bags for $21/10 bags for $41

Events

  • "Missing" Red Dress Exhibit Marking Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People. May 1-15, 2024. Location: Hamilton Public Library, Central Branch, 

    Missing” provides a space for community to gather in solidarity and bring awareness to the ongoing National crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and LGBTQ2S+. The exhibit displays red dresses to honour MMIWG, and provides an opportunity for education and community conversation. The exhibit reflects our commitment to bringing awareness to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Final Report (231 Calls for Justice), the Urban Indigenous Strategys Final Report and Implementation Plan, and is a step forward in the City’s journey of truth and reconciliation.

  • 2024 Bay Area Climate Forum. May 7, 2024, 4:30–7:30 PM.  ONLINE.

Join the Bay Area Climate Change Council for an inspiring call to action with keynote speaker Jennifer Keesmaat. Explore how cities and local communities can collaborate to build thriving, resilient and climate-friendly cities. The Forum will be an opportunity to hear from local leaders on the scale of change required, the efforts already underway, and the pathways forward. Whether you're a policymaker, changemaker, business leader, or concerned resident, this event promises to inspire, inform, and empower you to be part of the solution. Register here to watch the live stream.

  • DVSA Artist Talk: Kyle Joedicki. May 9, 2024, 7:00 PM: Location: Dundas Valley School of Art, 21 Ogilvie Street, Dundas.Registration required.

    Kyle Joedicke is a Cayuga Woodland artist whose work reflects the stories of his Haudenosaunee cultural heritage. His work is breathtaking and magical. Last year, Kyle painted the incredible mural on the north side of the Churchill Clubhouse. Read more about Kyle and secure free tickets for the talk in advance. Registration required.
  • Newcomer Day. May 24, 2024, 12:00-6:00 PM. Location: City Hall Forecourt, 71 Main St W. 

    Newcomer Day is an annual event held by the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council in May that welcomes newcomers to Hamilton, helps them understand and access a wide range of services, and celebrates their contributions to Hamilton

Resources

Infrastrucure Updates

Multiple projects are taking place across the Ward. We have tried to encapsulate the information on a single web page. Projects in every neighbourhood include park renewal and water chamber replacement. 

Development in Ward 1

List of large development projects in the ward with appropriate contact information

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.