Elections, light rail, housing and more: the events and issues that will shape Hamilton in 2022


While it’s hard to predict even a month or two in advance these days, 2022 will bring possibilities, including the Red Hill Valley Parkway investigation, the long-awaited start of light rail construction, and two elections. – one guaranteed to bring new members of the board. .

There may also be a Supercrawl, the Music Towns Forum And one Iron Maiden Concert – but we now know that such luxuries are at the mercy of COVID-19, which just as likely could continue to dominate the agenda.

Aside from the pandemic, here are seven issues and events that are expected to shape this city this year:

Construction of LRTs and investment in public transit

Construction of the 14-kilometer light rail line between McMaster University and Eastgate Square is expected to begin “sometime in 2022,” starting with relocating utility lines, a Metrolinx spokesperson said. , Matt Llewellyn.

The call for qualification of bidders for the main contract will begin in the spring. Metrolinx is coordinating the project with the City of Hamilton.

Metrolinx said it also plans to continue buying properties to pave the way for LRT this year. Llewellyn said in December that demolitions along the corridor will continue through the winter.

With the project finally imminent, the Council. Nrinder Nann (Ward 3) says 2022 will also be the time to finalize the community benefits Hamilton would like to see in relation to the construction project. She would like zoning changes along the LRT route to require that a certain percentage of new units in a building be designated affordable housing. She says the board has the ability to define what “affordable” will mean in this case.

“It has the ability to have a profound impact instead of gentrification taking over the LRT line,” she said. “It would be a huge shame to have billions of dollars invested in public transit and basically say that only people who can afford to live there can access it.”

This year, the Hamilton Street Railway will also work to bring passengers back to the bus, after losing $ 24 million in expected revenue due to reduced ridership in 2020 alone.

Housing or lack of housing

Many people who spoke to CBC Hamilton for this story said housing affordability will continue to dominate the agenda this year.

“One of the most pressing issues our city will continue to face is the need for safe, affordable and reliable housing for all Hamiltonians,” said Denise Christopherson, CEO of YWCA Hamilton.

“[In 2021], Hamilton was named the third least affordable housing market in North America, and the waiting list for affordable housing currently numbers more than 6,000 families.

The YWCA has announced plans to move more families to its new Putman Family YWCA on Ottawa Street North in the New Year. As of mid-December, 23 of the 50 units were occupied in the affordable housing building specifically for women and women-headed families. The organization will also begin raising funds in the spring to complete the common areas and finishing touches to the building.

I don’t want to spend time in 2022 enforcing the camps. I am talking about solving homelessness.– Councilor Nrinder Nann

There is also the question of how to respond to the encampments that continue to exist around the city. Nann plans to present a motion to the Emergency and Community Services Committee in January to find a quick but permanent solution to housing the roughly 80 to 140 people who were living in the camps in December.

“We are at a critical moment of intervention,” she said. “I don’t want to spend time in 2022 enforcing encampments. I’m talking about resolving homelessness.”

Provincial election and urban boundary

The Ontario provincial election will be held on June 2 and will likely be a referendum on the province’s response to COVID-19. But in Hamilton, where thousands of people have participated in the debate on whether to go against provincial councils and firmly maintain urban boundaries, this issue will also be of concern to some voters.

The province has said municipalities need to expand to allow construction on the urban outskirts, and it will enforce such a measure if municipalities don’t do it themselves by July 2022.

NDP MP Sandy Shaw, who represents Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, told CBC Hamilton earlier this year that there should be enough time for a provincial policy change by July if voters in the Ontario choose a new government in early June.

Municipal elections and mayoral race

The October 24 municipal elections are expected to bring some changes to the council, and possibly a new mayor. It is not known if Fred Eisenberger is certain to represent himself, nor who could be his successor hopes.

Eisenberger’s office would not say in mid-December whether he was planning another run, although in a ‘fireside chat’ video posted by the city on December 26, when asked if it would take place in 2022, he said he was “definitely up for it” but it is “still an open question”.

What is clear is that some engaged voters are trying to get new faces on the board. The iElect Hamilton group has been campaigning for change in recent months, and the Ward 14 for Progress group seems eager to topple Coun. Terry Whitehead.

There will also likely be a new Councilor in Ward 5, which is currently occupied by former Councilor Russ Powers on an interim basis, following the election of longtime Rep. Chad Collins as MP. Sam Merulla of Ward 4 has also announced his intention to step down from the council.

it’s going to be hotter

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said the Earth is on track to warm to between 1.5 and 2 ° C during this century, likely signifying new heat records in 2022. It also means a higher likelihood of extreme weather events, such as more severe downpours. and more severe storms.

In Hamilton, this is notable because the city does not have an accurate stormwater model or know where the water will go if the area experiences a flood.

A report to the council’s public works committee on December 6 included a presentation that said “the city has insufficient visibility …” There is also a risk that major storm drainage routes may not exist in parts of the city. the city, leaving streets and neighborhoods vulnerable to flooding. “

City staff are expected to choose a modeling tool and start implementing it in 2022.

Adeola Egbeyemi spoke at a climate rally outside Hamilton City Hall during the 2021 federal election campaign. (Eva Salinas / CBC)

Local environmental activist Grant Linney says he hopes the city will move from words – like declaring a climate emergency in 2019 – to action to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Adeola Egbeyemi – a coordinator at MacDivest, a group pushing McMaster University to divest from fossil fuels – will seek a “fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty“which Nann is expected to present to the board next year.

“If city council passed this motion, it would be the third city in Canada and the 16th in the world to do so, transforming the way Hamilton produces energy, invests and undertakes infrastructure and development projects, and supports workers dependent on fossil fuels. “Egbeyemi said.” In 2022 Hamilton has a chance to step onto the world stage and take action on the climate. “

New tool to report racism

There was a lot of tension between racialized communities of people and city institutions in 2021, making 2022 a year to watch for possible solutions, resolutions, or heightened tensions, depending on actions to come.

Last year, police arrested members of the black community in November after clearing an encampment at JC Beemer Park; and protesters rallied outside the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board after Councilor Becky Buck was named vice-chair after being named in a racism probe last year.

Earlier this year, protesters shot down John A. Macdonald’s Park Gore statue in reaction to his role in the residential school system. This year, the Hamiltonians could find out whether he will be resurrected or sent to the pasture in a less prominent place.

Another expectation for 2022? The launch of a new tool for reporting racist incidents in Hamilton, the development of which is led by the Hamilton Center for Civic Inclusion.

“In 2019, Hamilton had the highest number of hate crimes per capita in Canada,” says HCCI website.

“Other figures have shown that the black community, the 2SLGBTQ + community and the religious communities have been the most affected. Many of these communities also distrust the police system; thus, many hate crimes go unreported. As such, is it important to create an independent community-friendly online hate reporting platform that enables Hamilton residents to create a safe community and to provide an informed and enhanced picture of the climate of hate in Hamilton? . “

Red Hill Valley Drive Investigation

Finally, the investigation into the buried report of low friction in parts of the Red Hill Valley Parkway is expected to take place in 2022, after a series of delays linked to the pandemic. The city said in 2018 that the report was only found in a locked IT file after a new technical director was hired.

The city said in December that the investigation had already generated costs of $ 11 million, which are expected to skyrocket when it proceeds to the hearing stage this year. The investigation will examine questions including who saw the report, why the board was not informed and whether the drivers were put at risk.

Between 2005 and 2015, there were 201 collisions on the highway. The deaths of Jordyn Hastings and Olivia Smosarki in 2015 were the first of several on the highway.


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