Former Thistle Site Minutes of Settlement / City Cycling Budget at Risk – Call to Action

Status of the Minutes of Settlement between the DNA, LATCO Developments and the City of Hamilton concerning the Formal Thistle Site (currently the New Horizon Homes Site)

On behalf of the Duranders who wanted clarification regarding the DNA – Minutes of Settlement January 1996 –  Ontario Municipal Board File No. Z9400416,  the Durand Neighbourhood Association asked the following questions of the Edward John, Senior Planner, City of Hamilton  Those minutes outlined specifically what the developer could construct on these lands.  It was the DNA`s understanding that hey were to be binding on any other developer as well.

Question – How are you taking the Minutes of Settlement into account ?
Question – If you are not, why not?
Question-  Is this contract not legal and binding?
Question – If not, why not? and what has happened to this contract?

Edward John referred these questions to the City`s legal department and here is the confirmation he received from the legal department:

They note that it would be prudent to inform Council through the planning report of the history of the site and outcome as contained within the minutes of settlement; however, it was also confirmed that the contents of which, are not legally binding for the City or for the current owner. It is noted that the settlement was nearly 20 years ago and since that time the policy environment has changed, and further, that there was no formal language restricting consideration of alternative proposals in the future.

Notwithstanding this, please be advised that the planning report to council will fully detail and explore this issue.

Cycling Budget at Risk

Please read this important note from the Yes We Cannon group and take action** This is time sensitive **

Last week at General Issues Committee, a motion was supported that called for several budgetary reductions.  One of the areas that is being reduced is the dedicated budget for cycling infrastructure – a $300,000 pot of money that is dedicated each year to cycling-specific infrastructure.

A motion from Ward 5 Councillor Chad Collins to reduce that budget by 33% – down to $200,000 a year, was supported by the majority at GIC – but it can still be overturned at council on Wednesday, December 11.

This budget represents only 0.6% of the toal roads budget of $48 Million, yet it is of vital importance to cycling in Hamilton.  Councillor Collins expressed concern that the full $300,000 is not being spent each year, and so he feels that it should be reduced.  What Councillor Collins failed to acknowledge is that the capital budget often goes unspent because of Councillor vetoes – where a bike lane project is fully designed and ready to be implemented, but is then stopped by the ward councillor at the last minute, and delays caused by understaffing in the active transportation portfolio.

This year is a perfect example of how that understaffing can impact the spending of the cycling budget – the cycling coordinator was tasked with designing and implementing the bus lane project, and as a result the major capital project for 2013 – the Hunter Street bike lanes – we not constructed, instead being deffered until early next year.

In a year when Council was presented with information that shows that Cyclists in Hamilton are 81% more likely to be injured on the roads than the provincial average, and when they approved a $1.6 Million bike share project designed to make cycling an effective, accessible form of transportation to Hamiltonians, Council is now considering REDUCING the amount of money available to city staff to build safe cycling infrastructure, all to save $100,000 out of a $48 Million roads budget.

So please, copy the list of Councillors’ emails below, paste them into the “to” field and take the time to write them an email explaining that the right answer is not to reduce the amount of money available to capital projects for cycling, but to create an environment where that money can easily be spent, and to provide more staff support to ensure that these types of budget carry-overs don’t happen anymore.

Make your voices heard, and make sure that we don’t lose our ability to continue building an effective network of cycling infrastructure!

Councillor emails:

brian.mchattie@hamilton.ca,
Bob.Bratina@hamilton.ca,
Jason.Farr@hamilton.ca,
Bernie.Morelli@hamilton.ca,
Sam.Merulla@hamilton.ca,
Chad.Collins@hamilton.ca,
Tom.Jackson@hamilton.ca,
Scott.Duvall@hamilton.ca,
Terry.Whitehead@hamilton.ca,
Brad.Clark@hamilton.ca,
Maria.Pearson@hamilton.ca,
Brenda.Johnson@hamilton.ca,
Lloyd.Ferguson@hamilton.ca,
Russ.Powers@hamilton.ca,
Robert.Pasuta@hamilton.ca,
Judi.Partridge@hamilton.ca,

All the best;

The Yes We Cannon Organizing Committee

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