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Aberdeen street calming issue lays bare deepening ideological rift on council

Aberdeen street calming issue lays bare deepening ideological rift on council

The Public Works Committee meeting today turned at times nasty as once again the animosity between long-serving members of council and a trio of first term councillors blew into the open. The issue was  that of traffic calming measures being promoted by Ward One Councillor Maureen Wilson. Council has already approved the plan to allow parking on both sides of Aberdeen between Queen and Dundurn, effectively reducing the road to two lanes from four. But that was before a Kirkendall South group of residents got together and organized themselves into a group called Keep Aberdeen Moving. Today the group, led by former Hamilton Spectator editor Alex Beer presented the committee with a 700-signature petition opposing the lane closures. Beer told the committee that the signatories mostly live in the streets and neighbourhoods that run off Aberdeen and their fear is that the “road diet” will force cars onto side streets and increase danger there.

In addition to Mr. Beer’s presentation there were several other citizen delegations appearing in favour of the lane restrictions, and some of them received some aggressive questions and comments from councillors who have been critical of the Aberdeen proposal in past. In her later comments Councillor Wilson deplored what she terms the “disgraceful” treatment of delegations, vowing that she will always be courteous to delegates whether she agrees with them or not.

Councillor Terry Whitehead took traffic manager Ed Soldo through an aggressive line of questioning, suggesting he had said one thing about the Aberdeen issue in a private conversation and something different in public. Committee Chair John Paul Dank at that point “ejected” Whitehead from the meeting by cutting off his video and audio feed. Earlier he had tried to cut Whitehead off when he was questioning delegations but he was overruled by the committee.

What is apparent is that there is a growing battle shaping up between the progressive wing of council—Wilson, Nann and Danko, and at times the Mayor, depending on the issue; and long serving councillors such as Whitehead, Merulla and Collins.

Here’s a sampling of today’s exchange:

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  • A petition of 700 equals around 9 to 10 percent of the total population of Kirkendall neighborhood. Does the neighborhood association have that many members?

    One small group against another small group, that battle lines are drawn in the sand.

    Just like the line between council members!

    Insanity rules

  • remember when all this dysfunction on Council was all Mayor Bratina’s fault? Those were simpler times friend…..now a gaggle of socialists are referenced as “progressive” while experience is defined as “old”
    Term limits? It’ll be “1 and done” for at least 2 of Hamilton’s rookie Councilors next election……and there will be no one to blame but themselves.
    I bid them adieu.

  • Well given the recent actions or media blunders a gaggle of them “old” councillors have engaged in, how can one exclusively point gnarly fingers at the newbies?

    Merulla having a hissy fit because a material item hasn’t arrived at his home and then uses his business email not his private email. Now in having his hissy fit, he exposes himself on live TV hurling expletives.

    Whitehead who decides to engage in a social media attack against a doctor who is part of a team because he does not like the tent cities that now show the public the homelessness crisis .

    I question Farr’s historionics on CHML about he encampments . It is my perspective he was fearmongering, he did not present documented evidence, only his words.

    These three are well past their due date!!

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