Cybersecurity breach in Hamilton leads to deferral of controversial Stoney Creek housing vote

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Published February 28, 2024 at 2:01 pm

The cybersecurity breach that wiped out much of the City of Hamilton’s IT systems has postponed a potentially explosive vote at Wednesday’s Hamilton Council meeting, with the decision on turning two parking lots in Stoney Creek into 67 affordable housing units – which lost by an 8-8 tie vote at committee – deferred until the next meeting.

The only matter discussed at the meeting was an in-camera discussion of the cyber attack, which happened Sunday and has disabled some of the City’s IT systems and left citizens wondering if their personal information was compromised or if important services were affected.

“It is too early to identify what type of information has been accessed,” the City said in a news release, adding that a “dedicated team of experts” has been working to get the system up and running safely and securely.

Critical services such as transit, water and wastewater treatment and emergency services are operational, residents were assured.

The City’s contact centre – (905) 546-2489 – is the only operational City telephone line and City Manager Marnie Cluckie thanked residents for their patience and offered an apology for the inconvenience.

“We will keep you updated regularly through our social media accounts and on our website. I want to assure residents that we are taking this matter very seriously and have engaged with a team of extremely talented cyber experts who are working on this in order to investigate, minimize impact and protect the community.”

All committee meetings were cancelled this week while cyber security experts work on the problem. The breach also handicapped Wednesday’s council meeting, with councillors with no access to a revised agenda, save for verbal updates from the Deputy Clerk.

There were at least 20 items of correspondence on the agenda related to last week’s defeated motion to convert a pair of parking lots in downtown Stoney Creek to affordable housing.

Stoney Creek

Most of the correspondence was about “doing the right thing” (Mary Lou Reiman) and the “unconscionable” decision to prioritize parking over housing (Heather Miller), with Doreen Stermann adding she was “ashamed” that councillors were “choosing cars over people.”

A few took the opposite tack, with Steve Collura asking Council where the “YEARS of construction workers” were going to park. “You only see these two parking lots as ‘freebies’ and ‘quick wins’ and are blatantly refusing to see the long-term implications on our BIA.”

The next scheduled Hamilton Council meeting is March 27.

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