Hamilton Council Promises Additional Actions To Oppose It
News from Hamilton, Ontario-based ‘Citizens At City Hall,” known by many in Hamilton area simply as CATCH
Posted January 9th, 2023 on Niagara At Large
(Hamilton, Ontario City) Councillors appear fully united in their anger at the provincial Progressive Conservative government’s Bill 23.
An initial response (decrying the financial impacts of the legislation was approved unanimously. It was accompanied by vows that council will also tackle the environmental, social and democratic implications.
The initial missive demands that the Ford government repeal changes that will shift costs from developers to local taxpayers. These include the imposition of “mandatory discounts” on development charges, cuts to other DCs, and to required fees for new parks. The motion was drafted by staff and moved by ward 5 councillor Matt Francis, and seconded by Ward 10 rep Jeff Beattie.
In response, other councillors gave notice they want much more action on what downtown councillor Cameron Kroetsch called “an unprecedented situation” that demands an “absolutely unprecedented response”.
Kroetsch noted the provincial law will “degrade and destroy our natural infrastructure”.
Nrinder Nann emphasized the social impacts such as the expected disallowing of an anti-renoviction bylaw being drafted by city staff. She pointed to the limits on the city’s requirements for affordable housing.
“We’re already losing record numbers of affordable housing units to the market,” the ward 3 councillor declared. “Rental housing units that used to be $900 a month just a couple of years ago are now going for $1400 under the guise of renovation.”
Ted McMeekin, the newly selected representative of ward 15 (Waterdown area) to other “draconian” aspects of the recent PC actions including “abuse of our wetlands”.
He argued council should reaffirm its decision to freeze the urban boundary which was “the result of the most significant set of citizen comments since amalgamation” and which the province has simply overruled.
“It’s far more than a financial issue,” McMeekin declared“This is about what we strive to teach our kids, that they can be involved in building strong healthy caring communities, that they don’t have to kowtow, that maybe they shouldn’t mind getting arrested for breaking an unjust law.”
That was echoed by Ancaster’s new councillor Craig Cassar who said “this is about taking away municipalities’ decision-making power to plan and do what’s best for their municipality”. He reminded his colleagues that the overturned boundary freeze had been intended “to build a better Hamilton by infill development, building walkable communities, and better transit.”
Veteran Brad Clark focused on the cost of the province’s forced reductions in development charges that the PCs allege will solve the housing crisis.
“I don’t see any requirement in Bill 23 that forces the developers to lower the cost of their housing,” noted Clark.
The city treasurer confirmed this observation: “It is confusing to staff as to how these reductions will help purchasers,”
Labelling the PC claims as “specious”, Clark concluded that that “the developers are getting a huge break, a huge Christmas gift while taxpayers in Hamilton and other municipalities are seeing the Grinch.”
Council also agreed to ask local PC MPPs Donna Skelly and Neil Lumsden to attend a future meeting to explain their government’s actions. It was put forward by John-Paul Danko and approved 14-1.
For more on Citizens At City Hall – Hamilton (CATCH), visit its website by clicking on – https://hamiltoncatch.org/
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