Comment 101139

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted May 08, 2014 at 09:24:38

In August 2010 the City set up exactly the sort of citizen's advisory committee Eisenberger is suggesting, with very broad representation from stakeholders and residents throughout the city.

In fact, it was called the Rapid Transit Citizen's Advisory Committee! I was a member, and the only member representing a group officially advocating LRT (Hamilton Light Rail). The other members were owners of property near the line, BIA representatives, various institutional stakeholders, and regular residents from all over the City.

The group met from September 2010 until late 2011 when the Rapid Transit Team was disbanded. The group provided advice to City Staff, raised many concerns about details of the plan and attended numerous public forums so residents could talk directly to a fellow resident, instead of to a staff member.

The City hosted a huge number of public meetings, in all parts of the city, had a big advertising campaign to get the word out, and in the end produced the broadest and most successful public consultation process in the city's history. And the result is that thousands of residents made their concerns and opinions known, and the vast majority (over 80%) strongly supported the B-line LRT plan.

Here is the agenda of the RTCAC committee, which gives an idea of the amount of work and consultation involved (over 32 meetings and public forums) :

Why doesn't Eisenberger (and the rest of Council) remember this massive public consultation, complete with citizen's advisory committee, that occurred only three years ago!

Not only is it waste of money and time to re-do this whole consultation process, forming another "citizen's advisory committee", it is completely irresponsible to suggest this can be done in less than five months without the assistance of City Staff (remember the Rapid Transit Team no longer exists).

It is also an insult to those residents who volunteered dozens of hours of their time and many evenings and weekends to help the city out with the consultation process the last time. Why were they just ignored?

Most importantly, the massive public consultation with citizen's advisory committee made absolutely no difference to Council's feelings about the plan: many councillors continued to believe it was "controversial" or "unpopular" despite the results of the consultation. Why would another such exercise be any more effective unless it tells councillors what they want to hear (i.e. that they can safely jettison a controversial, complicated and expensive infrastructure project)?

Here is the list of the members:

Alaric Woodrow Glanbrook, general public

Alissa Golden Hamilton, general public

Brian Detlor Hamilton, McMaster representative

Chani Shrive Dundas, general public

Chris Blackwood Hamilton, Mohawk College representative

Daniel Rodrigues Hamilton, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce representative

Frank Scremin Hamilton, Hamilton Airport representative

Ian Dunlop Flamborough, general public

Jan Lukas Ancaster, general public

Kathy Drewitt Hamilton, BIA – Downtown representative

Kelly Stewart Hamilton, property owner along corridor

Liz Duval Hamilton, property owner along corridor

Michael Korkut Hamilton, property owner along corridor

Michael Slusarenko Hamilton, property owner along corridor

Nicholas Kevlahan Hamilton, Hamilton Light Rail representative

Paul Facia Hamilton, property owner along corridor

Peter Hill Hamilton, general public

Robert Barlow Stoney Creek, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board Trustee

Ron Smithson Stoney Creek, Chair of Seniors Advisory Committee

Simon Gautrey Hamilton, general public

Susan Braithwaite Hamilton, BIA – International Village representative

Terri Wallis Hamilton, Advisory Committee for Peoples with Disabilities (ACPD) representative

Thomas Shields Hamilton, property owner along corridor

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-05-08 09:53:36

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