Participatory Budget

Founding Facilitator Hands off Ward 2 Participatory Budget Process

New chair Lee McIlmoyle and the rest of the transition team are only temporary, tasked with arranging elections for more permanent positions in the coming months.

By Saira Peesker
Published September 19, 2013

Norman Kearney, the founding chair of Ward 2's Participatory Budget initiative, has gone off to school and handed the project's reins to a new group of leaders. New chair Lee McIlmoyle and the rest of the transition team are only temporary, tasked with arranging elections for more permanent positions in the coming months, while ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr has yet to confirm whether the process will continue in the same vein next year.

Lee McIlmoyle, new Ward 2 Participatory Budget chair
Lee McIlmoyle, new Ward 2 Participatory Budget chair

Earlier this month, Kearney issued a news release saying he had delegated his authority to an appointed group of people who participated heavily in the budget's first round, which concluded with a ward-wide vote in late August.

Next, each neighbourhood in the ward will elect leaders at their Annual General Meetings and those leaders will, in turn, elect a new Facilitator.

McIlmoyle was elected as chair by his fellow transition team members, who include:

A Stinson Assembly organizer and poll supervisor, McIlmoyle has written in his personal blog that he is a married writer and artist who "share(s) space with two eccentric cats and three eccentric computers." His wife Dawn is also a member of the transition team.

"Our mandate is simple: Get the AGMs and elections taken care of and get a new Facilitator in place," Lee McIlmoyle told RTH in an email. He said that all members of the group were acting on a volunteer basis, and that the assemblies were being held at free locations as not to spend money.

The Corktown gathering was held last week, while the following neighbourhood AGMs are coming up:

Upcoming Neighbourhood Meetings
Neighbourhood Location Address Date Time
North End Bennetto Community Centre 450 Hughson Street North (map) Oct. 2 7:30 PM
Durand South Central Presbyterian Cathedral 165 Charlton Avenue West (map) Oct. 3 7:30 PM
Beasley Beasley Community Centre 27 Elgin Street (map) Oct. 9 7:00 PM

Dates for the Central, Durand North, Stinson and youth assemblies' AGMs have yet to be determined, but will be posted on the initiative's website.

McIlmoyle said no one has thrown a hat into the ring for the Facilitator job just yet, but that he expects to have more information about elections for that position in October.

Next year's format not yet confirmed

Despite the transition team's preparations, Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr says that his office is still conducting a review of this year's initiative and may yet change the format for 2014.

"I am encouraged that there is this interest, but stress there is no guarantee the same procedures will unfold for PB14," said Farr, who say he "absolutely" will support participatory budgeting financially on an ongoing basis.

"At the same time it is good to know there is a potential roster of volunteers that want to engage. In whatever form PB14 takes, everyone will be welcome to participate."

See also:

Saira Peesker is an ace reporter who covers politics, business and current events. Her work has appeared on YourHamiltonBiz, OpenFile and, among others. When not snooping for scoops, she skates in counter-clockwise circles with Toronto Roller Derby's all-star team, CN Power. You can follow her on Twitter @SairaPeesker.


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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted September 19, 2013 at 17:45:23

Beards and scarves FTW!

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By kathy (registered) | Posted September 19, 2013 at 19:34:29

Kudos to councillor Farr, his support of this process is greatly appreciated. Engagement of citizens some who had never voted in civic or Federal elections can only have a positive effect for ward 2 and this city.

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By argo (anonymous) | Posted September 19, 2013 at 21:03:52

I hope the PB model in ward 2 is more like ward 1's next year. Let's keep the financial commitment and reduce the bureaucracy and complexity of the process. No more polling stations and electoral officers, no permanent funded positions, no one but the steering committee wants this to become a new city department.

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By kathy (registered) | Posted September 20, 2013 at 09:59:59 in reply to Comment 92341

Agree. I would like to see a model similar to ward 1. This could be achieved by retaining assemblies with volunteer leaders. We certainly do not want this project to be hi- jacked by self interest groups. keep it as simple as possible.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted September 20, 2013 at 09:05:46

Well, I hope this works out. I was unable to participate this year due to previous commitments, but at least a councilor was willing to try something new and different. I hope this helps to set a trend for the rest of the wards in our city.

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By hammerdude (anonymous) | Posted September 20, 2013 at 15:05:41

I guess my comments are to honest and real and that's why they are removed. Can a site moderator comment on this? Do we not have free speech anymore?

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted September 23, 2013 at 15:00:29 in reply to Comment 92384

Do we not have free speech anymore?

What makes you think RTH is obligated to enable your right to free speech?

From wikipedia:

The Charter guarantees certain political rights to Canadian citizens and civil rights of everyone in Canada from the policies and actions of all areas and levels of government.

Comment edited by AnjoMan on 2013-09-23 15:00:40

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By Stinson resident (anonymous) | Posted September 24, 2013 at 13:55:07

Experienced some kinks in year 1.

Did not receive the options in the mail until the monday after the vote.
The staff made recommendations to just vote for "the compromise"
1000 voters was not the turnout I expected to hear. $50 per voter to market it.

Look forward to seeing progress in year 2. I am sure we will. Good job Councillor Farr.

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By kathy (registered) | Posted September 24, 2013 at 16:45:02

I have a feeling this process will be simplified next year. One can expect glitches in the first year but well done all volunteers. Perhaps councillor Farr will have different approach models for the next PBW2 it can only get better.

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By Mark-AlanWhittle (registered) - website | Posted October 14, 2013 at 20:13:01

The money for this fund comes tacked on to every residents tax bill, yet only a chosen few get to decide how to spend millions. every ward has an infrastructure deficit, which grow worse every year. The policy for spending this money is pretty clear, infrastructure, not salting money away, or hiring staff. The sensible thing to do is speed up infrastructure projects already on the books, like ward seven councillor Scott Duvall does. Sidewalks get fixed, roads get shaved and paved, sewers get re-lined, and traffic lights for safety are installed faster. Each councillor should be chipping away at each wards infrastructure deficit, not spent money on pet projects that do not fit the criteria. The 12.8 million total from wards one to eight, could lower taxes by 2% across the board. Why not lift all boats?

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