Light Rail

Downtown BIA Light Rail Transit Letter and Mayor's Response

By RTH Staff
Published August 08, 2011

On July 21, The Downtown Hamilton Business Improvement Area (BIA) sent a letter, signed by BIA chairman Gerard P. Murphy, to Mayor Bob Bratina and Council to express the BIA's support for light rail transit (LRT).

Mayor Bob Bratina and Members of City Council
City of Hamilton
71 Main St. W.
Hamilton, Ontario

Mr. Mayor and Members of Council

As you may know the Downtown Hamilton Business Improvement Area (B.I.A.) has been very supportive of the process undertaken to date with respect to the planning and implementation of LRT (Light Rail Transit). The BIA has sent a representative to sit on the RTCAC for the past two years, has circulated LRT information materials to BIA member property owners and businesses and met one on one and in public information meetings with city staff and business owners along the route. We have put a lot of time, energy and expertise into the process thus far.

The BIA has been supportive of the concept of LRT as part of the City and the BIA's vision for city building. We believe that the commercial industry in Hamilton needs an efficient, modern and exciting transit system. The BIA Board of Management is very disappointed with the City's recent decision to lower the priority for LRT planning in favour of a higher priority for all-day Go Service. We believe that All-Day Go Service is also important and that it will come to Hamilton within the next few years. We also believe that LRT needs to continue to be a priority for the City as it will take 5 to 10 years more to plan and build it.

History is repeating itself. It took 35 years to plan and build the Red Hill Expressway and now it looks like we have, as a city, not learned from our past. Vancouver was awarded rail transit several years ago and has now built a second line of higher order transit because of its' progressive thinking. Waterloo has also approved the building of an LRT line. When are we going to be a progressive city like others in Canada.

We encourage Council to continue to push for LRT funding from the Province especially during this critical pre-election period.

Sincerely,

Gerard P. Murphy
Chairman

Following is the response from Mayor Bob Bratina, sent the same day:

Dear Gerry,

It is not our job to "push for LRT funding". It is our job to provide the Province a benefits case that will encourage them to make the investment in Hamilton. That will only come with solid data around capital costs, operating costs, and new revenues derived from the project. If the numbers work, including tax implications for Hamilton residents and businesses, approval will follow. The media suggestion that there is some sort of debate going on is frankly false. Right now Council has nothing upon which to make further decisions, which will now occur thanks to the direction of the City Manager. Otherwise nothing might have happened as late as spring 2012 in terms of Council deliberation.

Sincerely,

Bob Bratina.

58 Comments

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2011 at 12:49:05

Maybe I'm confused.

Every time people ask the mayor about this, he falls back to a variant on this statement:

That will only come with solid data around capital costs, operating costs, and new revenues derived from the project. If the numbers work, including tax implications for Hamilton residents and businesses, approval will follow.

Isn't that exactly what the LRT team was working on? Isn't the development of that information what Chris Murray torpedoed in his abrupt reassignment of the LRT team?

I mean, I absolutely understand what the Mayor's point is when he describes the information we need to put together on this - how it's not enough to simply "push" the province for LRT. But that doesn't really relate to the question at hand - why doesn't the city have more people working on that anymore?

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By JM (registered) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 13:04:22 in reply to Comment 67641

don't you know? this is Hamilton! the "solid data" will just fall from the sky one day....

oh no wait, actually i believe its set to arrive on the first train to pull into the new GO station at James North haha

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 13:18:34

The fact that data supports something isn't enough. It is absolutely necessary for those of influence to "push" it through.

You need to stay on these things and make sure that they don't get caught up some bureaucratic snarl. You need to ask questions about what further information is needed. They require constant attention.

To not provide this push is to essentially give up on it.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 14:16:55 in reply to Comment 67643

I agree 100%, a positive cost-benefit analysis is not enough - unless the Municipality "clamours" to the province that it needs and wants this, nothing will be done.

Why do you think we have lobbyists? It's not because they look pretty, that's for sure.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 13:31:50

With all due deference to our elected officials and the complex business of city-minding, I'm used to hearing Mayor Bratina play his standard "It would be improper to speak on behalf of my council colleagues" card, or seeing him defer to council consensus, as on the AEGD issue (Spec, Aug 4: "Mayor Bob Bratina isn’t as enthusiastic about the plan, but said he respects council’s decision.").

Two files that appear to elicit a different response, both in content and tone, are the Pan Am Stadium and rapid transit. In both instances, professional entanglements suggest a reason why he is playing the hand the way he is, but in both cases emotion seems to be much more of a factor than matters such as "solid data around capital costs, operating costs, and new revenues derived from the project" (that's certainly true of the stadium fracas). Am I alone in finding this to be the case?

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 13:33:22

It is not our job to "push for LRT funding".

Fuck you, that is exactly part of your job.

That will only come with solid data around capital costs, operating costs, and new revenues derived from the project. If the numbers work, including tax implications for Hamilton residents and businesses, approval will follow.

You mean the kind of information that the LRT group was working on? Fuck you.

The media suggestion that there is some sort of debate going on is frankly false.

So there's no debate? Does that mean we're getting LRT, or we're not getting LRT? We don't know yet? Then there's still debate, fuck you.

Right now Council has nothing upon which to make further decisions, which will now occur thanks to the direction of the City Manager. Otherwise nothing might have happened as late as spring 2012 in terms of Council deliberation.

Now you're thanking the city manager for cutting back the LRT team, because this has reminded the city that LRT is there? If he didn't do anything, everyone would've fotgotten until Spring 2012? Fuck you.

Christ, I thought Di Ianni was bad...

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By Akbar (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 21:07:20 in reply to Comment 67645

insult spam deleted

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-08-08 22:04:08

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 22:16:56 in reply to Comment 67694

Aww man, I missed my first insult spam.

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By Lumpy Slob (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 21:10:11 in reply to Comment 67694

insult spam deleted

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-08-08 22:02:38

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2011 at 14:37:09 in reply to Comment 67645

I do use the voting function in cases like this. "Fund You" would have been more appropriate and no venom would have been lost in the fanged attack.

IT is for this reason, if I were the mayor, that I would not stick my neck out on Raise the Hammer. With remarks like these, I cannot see RTH as a legitimate venue for serious constituent dialogue.

I am too ashamed to swing my hammer on this thread.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2011 at 15:01:12 in reply to Comment 67655

With remarks like these, I cannot see RTH as a legitimate venue for serious constituent dialogue.

Whoa...

'Can open, worms all over.'

First off, 'as opposed to where, exactly...?'

Secondly, I appreciated the anger. (And I don't agree that using 'Fund You' -thanks, CeeLo- would have seen nothing lost in the fanged attack. At all.)

Thirdly, why on earth would you think that Mayor Bratina would be remotely interested in 'sticking his neck out' on RTH? If I were him, I wouldn't. Not for a kajillion bucks. Why? Let's start with the voting. And then move on to the general disinclination to actually want discourse. (I'm not saying 'everyone'. But come on; there's often more vitriol and 'no listening, just waiting to speak again' than salient aspects of a topic's discussion.)

This site has many things to be lauded for. But it's hardly perfect, and it's certainly not somewhere that I'd expect to see anyone of note. Too much mud-slinging, the decorum is lacking in many instances...and to paraphrase a Wise Man of Hamilton, "...a dearth of cogent observation and a surfeit of missionary zeal."

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-08 15:02:10

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2011 at 19:30:07 in reply to Comment 67659

First off, as opposed to where, exactly...?

Nowhere else mystoneycreek and you already know that. There ain't anyplace like RTH for folks to seriously chat.

Secondly, to paraphrase a Wise Man of Hamilton?

No Wise Man of Hamilton ever said that exactly, at least not here. Although a few congenial gents used some of those words in the past. See if you recognize them at a glance:

...even if what may dominate the discussion at first is sadness and frustration and anger and invective, eventually some cogent observations and some creative suggestions move things along...mystoneycreek

The site regularly features great articles, with cogent observations about the city's travails, as well as offering up suggestions as to how to improve things. Some of these are common-sense, some are innovative, some are provocative. schmadrian

But then that (solution) would require planning, not missionary zeal. mystoneycreek

...unsettling openness and a surfeit of places for people to lurk...Ryan McGreal

...strip malls, greenfield development and sprawl on the outskirts, decaying infrastructure and a surfeit of parking lots downtown. Adrian Duyzer

Can open, worms all over -- Adrian, schmadrian, Ryan and mystoneycreek: Which one is the wiser and which are just plain geeks?

Comment edited by WRCU2 on 2011-08-08 19:43:41

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2011 at 19:53:21 in reply to Comment 67687

No Wise Man of Hamilton ever said that exactly, at least not here.

That's why I said it was a 'paraphrase'.

: )

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2011 at 14:01:12 in reply to Comment 67645

I don't use the voting function here (don't get me started), but I think you're actually my nominee so far for August for Ryan's Cogency Awards. (OK, maybe in the 'Spittin' Nails Angry' sub-category.)

I couldn't help but think of Dudley Moore and Peter Cook's legendary routine using another famous expletive...

Well done.

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-08 14:01:29

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 15:44:11 in reply to Comment 67647

Wonderful! I didn't even know there were awards!

When do I get my prize?

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2011 at 13:51:18

It is not our job to "push for LRT funding". It is our job to provide the Province a benefits case that will encourage them to make the investment in Hamilton. That will only come with solid data around capital costs, operating costs, and new revenues derived from the project. If the numbers work, including tax implications for Hamilton residents and businesses, approval will follow. The media suggestion that there is some sort of debate going on is frankly false. Right now Council has nothing upon which to make further decisions, which will now occur thanks to the direction of the City Manager. Otherwise nothing might have happened as late as spring 2012 in terms of Council deliberation.

It is not our job to "push for LRT funding". I mean, seriously; wouldn't that require leadership skills, inspiring people, having a sense of vision and regularly infusing the citizens of this fine city with such energies? I don't remember that being part of my job description. Because really, getting the province to invest in Hamilton will only come with solid data around capital costs, operating costs, and new revenues derived from the project. What are you suggesting, that we find ways to build a groundswell of support in Hamilton? By what I was just yammering on about, that leadership and vision stuff? (Hmm... Let me talk to Peggy and Bill Kelly...) If the numbers work, including tax implications for Hamilton residents and businesses, approval will follow. I mean, you're not suggesting that I get out there and work the streets, get involved in focusing the residents towards a future-looking goal, do you? (Would this include town hall meetings? Just the thought of being put on the spot like that makes me- Never mind.) The media suggestion that there is some sort of debate going on is frankly false. Debates are only possible with two or more sides, and from where I'm sitting (Actually, this is Chris's seat, but he's away...) there is only one side. (Gawd, it's actually nice to be Mayor. Especially when you're only talking to Bill and the gang...and they've promised not to quote me for a while.) Right now Council has nothing upon which to make further decisions, which will now occur thanks to the direction of the City Manager. (Did I mention how nice it is to be Mayor?) Otherwise nothing might have happened as late as spring 2012 in terms of Council deliberation. (Not that I can see anything of any note happening in that time-frame, anyway. Did I mention that this exchange is confidential? Because you don't work for CHML on the side, right...?)

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-08 14:02:10

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 14:06:58

if 'pushing for LRT funding' isn't their job, then can we please fire everyone and have a bunch of citizens run the city on a volunteer basis? So much for pounding Fred because he wasn't 'pushing hard enough for LRT' during the election. At least he was doing SOMETHING other than 40 minutes of radio 3 times a week.

Comment edited by jason on 2011-08-08 14:08:51

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 14:26:15

I think this is the most ridiculous response we've received yet from Bobbra.

It's not his job to push for funding? Squeaky wheel gets the grease, that's the first rule in politics. It is entirely the City's job to push for funding, not only for LRT, but for anything we need, and we do it all the time (social services, stadium, water treatment facility, etc.). It's not just about cost-benefits as far as the province is concerned. They regularly fund things that from a "dollars and cents" perspective don't make sense because enough people demand it.

What exactly is the city doing for all-day GO may I ask? I'd really like to know considering they have a half dozen staff (or such is my understanding). Are they going to have any open houses with citizens or do they not like the way citizens were engaged on LRT ("unprecedented" level of public engagement in Hamilton accoridng to Metrolinx).

I honestly want to know what the "All day GO-train" staff are doing. What is their first step? Maybe a cost-benefits analysis comparing all day GO train service to Hamilton versus the service we currently have? What happens if the cost-benefit analysis says there's no benefit? Or is the mayor going to ask staff to be creative and find a benefit to justify his desire for all-day GO train service?

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2011 at 14:47:17 in reply to Comment 67653

What happens if the cost-benefit analysis says there's no benefit? Or is the mayor going to ask staff to be creative and find a benefit to justify his desire for all-day GO train service?

LMAO

Nice one.

I do have to say...as a reminder to myself, if for no other reason...that bus service is not 'seen' as the same as rail. (Unless you're in Britain, and we're talking buses vs LRT...because it's a whole different world there.)

Especially when you're looking at trying increase your catchment area to something outside 'anyone who's got to use public transit anyway'.

For die-hard transit boosters, this might be snobbism...but buses suck.

Seriously.

I've travelled on them all my life. Locally. To NYC and around the US and Canada. In the UK. And aside from the British double-deckers...especially on the south coast from Brighton to Cuckmere...there's no comparison psychologically-wise.

So I do indeed get the importance of having all-day train service to Hamilton and Stoney Creek (Centennial Parkway). Even if I can't quite see how this is the magic bullet that Mayor Bratina and others seem attached to believing it is.

If we're going to be integrated with Niagara Falls and Toronto...and finally have a genuine 'Golden Horseshoe'...then we need this service.

But I wish we had leadership that was a) more forthright, b) less blasé, and c) can grasp why some things need to be handled in certain ways where the public is concerned. (Is it just me who sometimes sees our mayor as being afflicted with some kind of 'leadership Asberger's'?)

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 17:35:42 in reply to Comment 67657

While I would agree trains are "sexier" I would wonder if it will be worth the extra time (15-20 minutes) in your commute? In my case the answer is no. 30-40 minutes a day really adds up.

Also, even if trains are "sexier" does the capacity coming to/from Hamilton justify the extension of rail service from a cost-benefit point of view? This is where I fear that to give us numbers that will justify rail, they'll get rid of the QEW Express bus service, forcing everyone onto the train.

I have this crazy hunch that the James North GO service won't become a priority until we have an expansion of service all the way to Niagara. On that I would point out that while they've recently completed their Environmental Assessment, there are no plans that I've seen that indicate they're implementing all day GO service to Niagara anytime soon.

Alternatively, maybe we'll see James North before the Pan-Am games...if government decides to throw some money our way for that.

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2011 at 15:28:16 in reply to Comment 67657

I was thinking of "leadership tourette's syndrome."

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2011 at 14:39:45 in reply to Comment 67653

I honestly want to know what the "All day GO-train" staff are doing.

Here's my theory.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 17:28:08 in reply to Comment 67656

That's some great stuff Ryan, a modern cinematic masterpiece right there.

I'll credit you for the concept. :-p

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 17:46:18 in reply to Comment 67672

That's some great stuff Ryan, a modern cinematic masterpiece right there.

I must disagree. It is clearly intended for the stage.

Waiting for Go

(A tragicomedy in 2 acts)

Act I

A desk. A phone.

Afternoon

Estragon, sitting at the desk, is trying to dial the phone. He stabs at it with his finger, panting.

He gives up, exhausted, rests, tries again.

As before.

Enter Vladimir...

Comment edited by highwater on 2011-08-08 17:49:49

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2011 at 23:07:44 in reply to Comment 67677

http://www.hamiltonfringe.ca/shows/waiti...

Waiting for GO was a Fringe play this year based on Waiting for Godot. :)

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 23:37:15 in reply to Comment 67703

No way! I had no idea, honest. We were away when be fringe was on. Next time I attempt lame humour I'll google first to make sure my ideas aren't as unoriginal as they are lame. ;)

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 15:37:52

Trying really, really hard to understand the mayor.

Is he saying that the $3m funding from the province to study B-Line LRT has been spent, and that we now need to collate, analyse and debate the results of the study, and then, and only then, will we, the city of Hamilton, know with certainty that a B-line LRT is worth going after?

Is this what's going on here?

Are some here over reacting to the mayor, or am I missing something?

Don't get me wrong, I'm pro LRT and all, and wish the mayor was openly pushing for it, but is he just being prudent?

Might he be scared by Waterloo's annual tax increase of $125 for their LRT? Seems to me like he might be even though Waterloo does not fall within the purview of Metrolinx, an organization that has recognized the B-line LRT as a top 15 provincial priority

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 18:36:07 in reply to Comment 67663

That's what he's saying, but try to imagine going to your job tomorrow, sending an email and not doing anything else until someone gets back to you. If there isn't any further work to on the LRT file, I'd love to see a copy of the report they've sent off to Metrolinx.

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2011 at 16:07:14

I think that it is the job of our mayor to advocate and push for the betterment of our city.

I do recall how hard he pushed for the TiCat half stadium. This was in the face of the complete absence of a business plan, total dismissal of the cost of ongoing losses, reversal of years of planning work, loss of the Pan Am Athletics, and finally a hastily drawn up contract that covers nothing. That hard ball pushing for the TiCats was in the name of the city, now I am less sure.

I also don't think it is appropriate to curse, regardless of how fucking angry you are. ;)

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By George (registered) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 16:17:01 in reply to Comment 67666

And who's to say the mayor is not pushing for the betterment of our city if he truly believes that Hamilton's share of the cost of LRT is too high? As I've said, trying really, really hard to understand him on this issue, but I think that's where he might be coming from and hopefully the numbers will add up for the city to PUSH for funding or LRT.

As far as the stadium goes, I was pro WH, but the fact is there was not enough money to build a new one ANYWHERE other than revamping IWS.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2011 at 17:48:11 in reply to Comment 67669

Bob Bratina says that there can be no debate, or discussion, of LRT because the costs are not known, along with a whole bunch of other details. If this is true, then how can he be worried that the costs of LRT will be too high? He can't have it both ways, or can he?

Not his job to be pushing key files that pretty much all of us agree are game-changing files, no matter the outcome.

I think Bob "I'm not about being a champion" Bratina and Chris "I have made a decision to suspend.." Murray must have exchanged bodies. Bob uses the statements of a staffer and Murray uses the statements of a mayor. Weird, eh?

Comment edited by H+H on 2011-08-08 17:48:50

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2011 at 16:35:55 in reply to Comment 67669

And who's to say the mayor is not pushing for the betterment of our city if he truly believes that Hamilton's share of the cost of LRT is too high?

I don't think this is the case.

You know, being a 'great leader' doesn't mean you have to tell who it is you're leading everything. But he's seemed to have gone deeper into this condescending attitude of his, and it really rankles me, leading me to believe that-

Well, that when he was handed the file folder with 'Best Operating Strategies for Mayor', the bits dealing with 'Inspiring Hope' and 'Motivating Residents' and 'Benevolent Tending of City's Aspirations' weren't in it.

Why am I reminded of that comic expression 'Bleurgh'?

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-08 16:53:14

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted August 08, 2011 at 18:05:30

The media suggestion that there is some sort of debate going on is frankly false.

Nobody's suggesting there is or was a debate going on. We're upset that decisions have been made without one. When a Mayor's actions raise this much surprise and confusion from councillors, it's pretty clear that no serious discussion on this has taken place.

Bob should just stop responding. He's talking in absolute nonsense and making up facts, and it's only making everybody more frustrated.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2011 at 18:33:03

Canada's GDP is $1.7 Trillion dollars. Canada's dollar is $1.02 US.

Let's make the assumption that LRT is a total waste of money, with zero benefits to society at all.

If the Federal government sells the Bank of Canada $70 Billion in bonds to create LRT systems across Canada, there will be $70 Billion more dollars in money supply, but our GDP will remain at $1.7 trillion.

The result is a dilution of the purchasing power of the Canadian dollar by $70B/$1700B, or approximately 4%. If we factor that into our dollar in US terms, that gives us a dollar worth $0.98US.

So, by wasting money on LRT, the government will have diluted the value of our dollar. That's bad.

However, the upside of having a lower dollar, is that now our exports are cheaper for other countries to buy. The result will be more stuff being built here in Canada and less stuff being bought from China, etc. That means more jobs for Hamilton.

LRT may just be the manure our economy needs, to create the conditions for economic growth.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted August 09, 2011 at 10:15:54

However, the upside of having a lower dollar, is that now our exports are cheaper for other countries to buy. The result will be more stuff being built here in Canada and less stuff being bought from China, etc. That means more jobs for Hamilton.

So once we're able to compete with developing countries it will be good for us?

Jobs, sure maybe... but they'll be minimum wage slave labour jobs or we will simply not compete. The only way for us to compete in the current global economy is to create similar economic benefits for companies in North America as they have in China/India/Asia Pacific countries. The main economic benefit being an excess capacity of low wage workers.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2011 at 15:12:12 in reply to Comment 67721

>> So once we're able to compete with developing countries it will be good for us?

A lower Canadian dollar makes EVERYTHING we sell, cheaper for other nations to buy. That includes steel, electronics, food, tourism, movie production, car/parts, aircraft, automation/robotics, and even consulting.

>> they'll be minimum wage slave labour jobs or we will simply not compete.

How many Ontario manufacturing jobs are minimum wage? I would argue that it is actually the service sector, which tends to be traded domestically, which pays lower wages.

By borrowing for things like LRT and higher welfare, we will help devalue our dollar, thus making it easier for our export sector to sell stuff. The result will be more exports and more export jobs.

In 2000, Ontario exports were 72% of GDP, today they're only 60.4%. In 2000, imports were 61.4% of GDP, today they are 66.1%. In 2000, our dollar was $0.67US, today it is around $1.02US.

Think of a lower Canadian dollar as an import tariff/export subsidy, except that it is perfectly legal to enact. Because the effect takes place through the foreign exchange market, it just looks like poor fiscal management, rather than what it really is, a way to increase the amount of higher paying, export jobs.



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By Synxer (registered) | Posted August 09, 2011 at 10:25:13

Bratina needs to self-reflect, seriously.

Disregarding the collective voices on this issue will solidify his position as just another mayor of Hamilton who can't think more than 1 thought into the future. Talking about LRT like it's a gambler's call is disingenuous at best. His "friends" (a.k.a. developer buddies) that operate within his cognitive dissonance will surely pat him on the back and make him feel like a great leader. And another generation of corporations take their business to a community who will embrace them in 10-20 years.

I've never been a "my tax dollars!" griper, but if I were, I'd say Bratina is wasting my tax dollars doing a job that the Economic Development Department is already doing (and better, might I add). The mayor's job is to represent the people and civil projects, not corporate ones.

Election time can't come soon enough.

Comment edited by Synxer on 2011-08-09 10:25:59

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 09, 2011 at 11:54:54 in reply to Comment 67722

Election time can't come soon enough.

Here's another thought: how about we use the next 3+ years to actually accomplish something, rather than sitting around whining and holding our breaths until our heads explode?

Besides; are you privy to some kind of insight as to who's on the horizon salvation-by-way-of-Council-wise? Is there a great talent that's going to bestow upon us their vast blessings? Or are you one of those...like Scott Thompson of CHML last election...who believe that 'Vote the bums out!' is the height of any balloting aspirations?

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-09 11:55:31

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By Synxer (registered) | Posted August 09, 2011 at 20:21:30 in reply to Comment 67725

If council isn't listening (mayor/city manager has said as much), what are the citizens of Hamilton to do? Try to prove the mayor wrong on a larger scale, a man who can't take a single ounce of criticism without spiraling into a tantrum?

I used to think DiIanni was immune to common sense, but Bratina won't even allow common sense in his office.

Let me know what you're doing that circumvents council to "actually accomplish something". I'd like to hear your ideas, as I am sure others here would to, in addition to your opinion of my comment.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 10, 2011 at 08:31:21 in reply to Comment 67760

If council isn't listening (mayor/city manager has said as much), what are the citizens of Hamilton to do? Try to prove the mayor wrong on a larger scale, a man who can't take a single ounce of criticism without spiraling into a tantrum?

Here's a start: http://mystoneycreek.blogspot.com/2011/0...

This proposal was sent out to these people:

-Neighbourhood associations -Chambers of Commerce -BIAs -All Councillors and the Mayor -Raise the Hammer -The Hamiltonian -Urbanicity -CATCH -HPD -SkyscraperPage -Hamilton Civic League -Open Hamilton -The Spec -CHML -CHCH

Let me know what you're doing that circumvents council to "actually accomplish something".

First off, when I use that phrase, I'm actually talking about Council...but seeing as I've introduced the above notion, then I'd offer that up in response, too.

Adrian's piece this morning is about our 'Champion'. Well, we need to get more involved ourselves in our local governance, so that when this person/these people pop up, there's a much different dynamic going on. In other words, we need to start effecting change on our end so that Council gets the message that it's not 'Business as Usual' in Hamilton.

As for 'ideas', that's not my focus right now. That's not my area of expertise. We have a lot of people on this site who have far more to offer than I do in this arena...and the first that comes to mind...after Ryan, of course...is Mahesh Butani. The man is a treasure trove of innovation and insight...and ideas to change this city for the better.

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-10 09:10:05

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By Yolk (anonymous) | Posted August 10, 2011 at 20:33:17 in reply to Comment 67778

insult spam deleted

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By Synxer (registered) | Posted August 10, 2011 at 10:51:03 in reply to Comment 67778

+1 - fair response.

Although, I still think the mayor must be a self-reflecting individual in order to even notice change, or to accept that he may be wrong.

Right now, I am hopeless in Bratina. I didn't always feel that way. Previous to his mayoral candidacy, he was mostly progressive for his ward downtown. Even showing high support for a West Harbour location for the stadium.

Today, as I see him reach for a new excuse each time a great point is made in favour of LRT, he reveals to us that he only wants to confuse the topic. You can see this yourself by watching his composure. Aggressive, "flight or flight" demeanor before a word has been spoken. Upset that you even bring the issue up, let alone hear your point of view.

None of the previous mayors I can remember have ever had this sort of dismissive attitude. That's why next election, even if it's uncertain or same, is a better bet historically if we're looking for a mayor who will at least hear the citizens.

Comment edited by Synxer on 2011-08-10 10:58:52

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 11, 2011 at 06:51:32 in reply to Comment 67790

That's why next election, even if it's uncertain or same, is a better bet historically if we're looking for a mayor who will at least hear the citizens.

And in order for this to happen,

a) The citizens have to be saying something, being vocal, taking initiative, and

b) There have to be means for this to happen. And it has to be more than blog comments or emails sent or calls phoned in to Bill Kelly.

http://mystoneycreek.blogspot.com/2011/0...

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By TnT (registered) | Posted August 10, 2011 at 07:03:40 in reply to Comment 67760

http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog/2258/open_letter_to_business_owners_struggling_with_antiquated_by-laws

Here is one way to start.

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By Rene Gauthier (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2011 at 13:38:27 in reply to Comment 67725

I'll go one further. Just because we do have an election, what makes us think that justice will be done anywhere in addition to the mayoral ballot? And considering last election's turnout has been dismal, what makes us think that we can truly enact real change?

I will make one last observation. It seems that Murray is turning more into the firewall of an autocrat, than a city manager acting prudently. I say keep the heat on Bratina, because that's exactly where it belongs.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 09, 2011 at 14:02:17 in reply to Comment 67732

Just because we do have an election, what makes us think that justice will be done anywhere in addition to the mayoral ballot? And considering last election's turnout has been dismal, what makes us think that we can truly enact real change?

1) Define 'justice'.

2) Why are you conflating voter turnout with 'real change'?

3) What's 'real change'?

(No, I'm not being flippant.)

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By Rene Gauthier (anonymous) | Posted August 10, 2011 at 07:48:40 in reply to Comment 67733

What I am saying here is that even if we have another election, chances are nothing will change. Bob Bratina might be removed as mayor, but what about the other councillors who think the same way he does? So we could talk about change. It is a nice concept, but I haven't seen a lot of buyers lately.

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By Support (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2011 at 17:10:21

I'm beginning to see the pattern behind the Mayor's actions. He is a man without a support structure to help keep him on track and stay focused. The Mayor's job is time consuming and he can't expect to be on top of every file all the time. That's what his staff are for. They need to be plugged into all the major issues so that when he is deciding whether to "push" for an issue or not, he knows all the ins and outs, and the pulse of the community. His comments in the media demonstrate that he is going into situations without a thorough knowledge of the facts and he comes off as ill-informed. This is the responsibility of his staff and they should not be sending him out to do off-the-cuff interviews. He can't rely on the City Manager as Murray's job and role as head of the public service is totally separate from the political role of the Mayor and, sometimes, their interests don't line up. The more he gets attacks from members of the community, the more he is going to develop a siege mentality and be closed to people and ideas. This isn't in his interest, nor is it in anyone's interest who care about the future of the city.

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By Willy Wonk (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2011 at 17:22:50

According to StatsCan, the lions' share of Hamilton workers live in Hamilton (145,480). The next 11 sources for commuters into Hamilton, in declining order, are:

Burlington: 8,000
Haldimand County: 5,845
Grimsby: 3,660
Brantford: 2,495
St. Catharines: 1,935
West Lincoln: 1,595
Oakville: 1,595
Lincoln: 1,575
Mississauga: 1,485
Toronto: 1,220
Brant: 1,125

(Full list can be found at http://goo.gl/uEO71)

Of those, only four cities (with a Hamilton-bound commuter population of 12,300) would be included in the West Lakeshore service between James North and Toronto. Drop Burlington from that sample (it’s close enough to be an easy drive and already has 50+ bus connections daily via Burlington Transit and 20+ more via GO Bus, plus the morning/evening rush hour GO Train connections) and you’ve got 4,300 commuters inbound from points east along the rail line. Round it up to an even 5,000 just for the hell of it.

Now consider the top dozen work destinations for Hamilton commuters (http://goo.gl/RsR78):

Hamilton: 145,480
Burlington: 24,270
Oakville: 7,090
Toronto: 6,925
Mississauga: 6,810
Brantford: 1,925
Milton: 1,860
Cambridge: 1,850
Guelph: 1,105
Haldimand County: 1,070
Brampton: 1,055
Grimsby: 960

Of those, six cities with a Hamilton-bound commuter population of 46,150 would be included in the West Lakeshore service between James North and Toronto. Drop Burlington from that sample (it’s close enough to be an easy drive and already has 50+ bus connections daily via Burlington Transit and 20+ more via GO Bus, plus the four morning and four evening rush hour rail connections) and you’ve got 21,880 commuters outbound to Oakville, Brampton, Mississauga and Toronto. Round that up too. Now top that up with the inbound commuters for around 27,000 commuters heading back and forth between Hamilton and Toronto daily.

Wikipedia puts GO Train seating capacity at 162 people per coach, or 1,620-1,944 per train depending on the locomotive.

Even if you could convince every last one of those commuters to take the GO Train, how many would not be well served by existing service levels into and out of Hunter? Is the remainder the kind of latent ridership crying out for all-day service on the hour?

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 09, 2011 at 21:57:29 in reply to Comment 67740

by the way, those number don't really sound like 'bedroom community' numbers do they???

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By Willy Wonk (anonymous) | Posted August 10, 2011 at 09:54:56 in reply to Comment 67763

Commuters to Brampton/Mississauga/Toronto

From Oakville: 35,645
From Burlington: 18,255
From Hamilton: 14,790
http://goo.gl/OxH7Y

Commuters to Oakville from Brampton/Mississauga/Toronto: 15,345
http://goo.gl/kFJJ4

Commuters to Burlington from Brampton/Mississauga/Toronto: 4,435
http://goo.gl/eMgfY

Commuters to Hamilton from Brampton/Mississauga/Toronto: 3,080
http://goo.gl/8KvrE

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 09, 2011 at 21:56:51 in reply to Comment 67740

Lol. Love the numbers and the writing style. One final point - a good portion of the 145,000 Hamilton-bound 'commuters' would benefit from LRT, both the B-Line, and then A-Line. This notion that we have a crush of people heading to Toronto and our city will shrivel up if we don't give them more trains is bogus. They have ample train/bus service already. The 145,000 who actually work here have crowded, slow, out-of-the-way HSR buses as their only other option. LRT would help this city economy far more than GO, and I'm a big supporter of both. My point is this- our city wide transit network lags FAR behind our TO-bound transit network. Let's fix it.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted August 09, 2011 at 18:41:29 in reply to Comment 67740

Willy Wonk,

I love you.

mrjanitor

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By Tom West (anonymous) | Posted August 10, 2011 at 09:30:51

"It is not our job to 'push for LRT funding'"
Yes it is.

The province won't just fund it because the benefits case is good. There are plenty of schemes with great benefit cases that are sitting unfunded.

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By littleLRTmouse (anonymous) | Posted August 10, 2011 at 10:28:51

I do not know Mr. Bratina and all likelyhood I will never vote for him or against him (I am sitting in T.O.). I feel sorry for him,though. I see "things" somewhat differently. There are about 25 transport enterprises in USA.,that call themselves LRT,whether that is true designation or not. Then there are about 140 of those all over the world. How many of these enterprises have been visited/analyzed by Mayor's staff? Probably very few. Same argument can be made against or for BIA. How much do you know about METROLINK (Manchester/UK)? For example - Salt Lake City (UT/USA) has large in-place transfer zone and no-payment zone. These zones encourage citizens to use their LRT. How many such zones exist and what is their impact? - I have had an oppotunity to see recently real pictures from Wroclaw,den Hague,Utrecht,Vienna plus videos from Zurich and Liberec - one can see incredible diversity of mass-street-traffic and it is therefore not surprising that Mr. Bratina endlessly contradicts himself. Through all those enterprises,however,some common principles apply and Mayor's staff should concentrate on them rather than only on BIA point of view.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted August 10, 2011 at 13:40:18

It's truely disheartening to read the mayor and council can fund projects like a stadium and a medical facility with very little idea related to ROI. Dare I say that the mayor has no problem "championing" such initiatives, but somehow the LRT is so much different that he must downplay, negate, and disparage those that speak in favour of it... what gives?

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By littleLRTmouse (anonymous) | Posted August 10, 2011 at 14:42:52

The biggest problem in the discussion of LRT (or a street-rail-traffic) project in Hamilton (or elsewvere in GTHA) are the LRT advocates themselves. They would go on endless hyperbole about benefits of an LRT,but have never ventured to Buffalo,save for a hockey game. I suggest to you to go to your Facebook and look for "LRT Toronto". One fellow throws almost a temper tantrum, mixing in his tirade execution (that is,ROW,ramps,bridges and such) and machines without realizing it. - The fact is,that LRT will give a benefit to downtown Hamilton only if (1) it will have extended ROW on its route (2) possibly a pedestrian-LRT mall not longer than about 1.5km. (3) a fixed link to GO. A vision,that entire route,which will be about 14km long,may be somehow transformed into lengthy pedestrian zone,is most probably incorrect.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 10, 2011 at 15:40:11 in reply to Comment 67812

That's simply not true. I can't speak for LRT advocates in Toronto, but LRT advocates in Hamilton have addressed the Buffalo issue many times. See, for example, here and here.

If you want to comment on the LRT plan for Hamilton, you should probably familiarize yourself with it first.

  • The B-Line will have ROW on its route. It will run on dedicated lanes with signal priority (meaning the light will turn green for the LRT vehicle as it approaches the intersection).
  • One option is for a short (2 blocks) downtown section of King Street to be closed to automobile traffic, but that has not been decided yet (the IV BIA has some concerns).
  • It will run 2 blocks away from the Hunter Street GO station and will run right past the GO stop at King and Dundurn.
  • When the A-Line is built, it will run right past the proposed James North GO station and the Hunter Street GO station.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-08-10 15:43:22

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