5 top political stories in Hamilton in 2023
Published December 28, 2023 at 12:00 pm
Politics will always play a big part in the lives of Hamiltonians and 2023 was no different, with plenty of major news stories coming from City Hall or from the hallowed halls of Parliament or Queen’s Park.
Here are the top five political stories in Hamilton this year.
1. Transit strike over
The City of Hamilton and the transit union reached a tentative agreement overnight, ending the seven-day strike that had made travel difficult for Grey Cup festivities and stranded thousands of passengers since November 9 when all bus services were suspended.
The deal between the City and 880 Hamilton Street Railway workers, represented by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 107. was reached in time for the Grey Cup. The deal was ratified by Council ten days later.
2. Sewergate 2.0 – Sewage leaks into Hamilton Harbour
The City of Hamilton has estimated that around 59 million litres of sanitary sewage discharged into the Hamilton Harbour over the past 26 years before an incorrect connection was found and subsequently fixed.
That’s about 24 Olympic-sized swimming pools and one-sixth the size of the Burlington Street spill (337 million litres) that was discovered last fall. Hamilton Water has launched a “risk-based inspection pilot program” to look for other instances of where sewage from homes and businesses might have been flowing into storm sewers and out into the harbour — rather than to a wastewater treatment plant.
3. Homeless registry called “cruel and unjust”
Hamilton Council voted to establish a voluntary registry for residents, advocates and councillors willing to host homeless individuals.
The directive calls for staff to assess the feasibility, financial implications, and liability associated with creating a registry to facilitate housing homeless individuals by residents, council members, and advocates.
While the motion gained support from a majority of councillors, there were concerns raised about the potential challenges this registry could introduce to an already complex situation, with some calling it “cruel and unjust.”
4. Tiny shelter project cancelled
A controversial pilot project to provide tiny shelters for people struggling with homelessness won’t go ahead as planned in Hamilton. Hamilton Alliance for Tiny Shelters (HATS) and the City made a joint announcement in early October that the project would not happen in 2023.
The pilot project would have provided 25 insulated structures in Strachan Linear Park but some area residents said they weren’t properly consulted. A September 11 open house about the project got out of hand, forcing organizers to call in the police.
5. “People Power,” mayor, activists proclaim after Ford reverses Greenbelt land grab
Both Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath and local activists are praising the power of the people after Ontario Premier Doug Ford reversed his controversial Greenbelt expansion nearly a year after the proclamation.
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