Hamilton councillor moves town hall online after ‘serious’ safety concerns

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Published September 13, 2023 at 3:38 pm

COURTESY OF DURAND NEIGHBOURHOOD ASSOCIATION
COURTESY OF DURAND NEIGHBOURHOOD ASSOCIATION

A town hall in Hamilton’s Durand downtown neighbourhood will be moving online from an in-person meeting tomorrow because of “serious concerns for public safety.”

Ward 2 Councillor Cameron Kroetsch announced today (Sept. 13) on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the City of Hamilton’s corporate security and the city manager shared their concerns with him about Thursday’s meeting scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m.

Their professional advice is based on an assessment of both online commentary and on statements overheard and actions taken by some at the meeting in the North End on Monday night, which is unfortunate,” Kroetsch wrote. 

Kroetsch told inthehammer.com the town hall is not about the controversial tiny shelters plan for the homeless, which was cancelled Monday over safety concerns. The City said it had pulled the plug on the North End meeting because some attendees “engaged in physically and verbally aggressive behaviour toward security officials.”

As for the online Durand town hall Thursday (Sept. 14),  Kroetsch said it’s part of a series of six town halls for 2023 in each of the Ward 2 neighbourhoods.

“They are meant to address neighbourhood issues in Ward 2 and provide information … with a question and answer period for residents to ask questions,” he said in an email to inthehammer.com.

Kroetsch said town halls are scheduled for the North End in November and the other for Stinson in December.

“I will post more about them both soon and, as promised, will keep everyone informed of next steps regarding the HATS (Hamilton Alliance for Tiny Shelters) pilot as soon as I know more,” he wrote on X.

He noted an increased level of engagement with large numbers of Hamiltonians showing up at the recent Greenbelt meeting, the town halls on the encampment protocol, and this week on the HATS tiny shelters pilot in the North End in Ward 2.

“Given this increased level of engagement and the changing climate around public events, it’s clear we need to be better prepared to meet the needs of everyone in attendance and to keep people safe.”

Even with the threats to safety, Kroetsch said he doesn’t plan on changing his approach to engage with residents and hold meetings. “I don’t plan on changing that, but I recognize neither I nor the City were prepared for such an increased attendance at community meetings,” he wrote on X. “I remain hopeful we can all meet online to have a meaningful, respectful and productive exchange of information and ideas with and from Durand residents during this Town Hall.”

Kroetsch added that he plans to post the link to tomorrow’s virtual meeting as a separate post soon.

Meanwhile, the Durand Neighbourhood Association’s Annual General Meeting will still take place in person, from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Central Presbyterian Church. 

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