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Councillors clash over social infrastructure vs hard infrastructure

Councillors clash over social infrastructure vs hard infrastructure

Hamilton Council’s cultural divisions were on display in an exchange at Wednesday’s General Issues Committee meeting. Staff were presenting a list of priorities they recommend council pursue with the Provincial government heading towards the June Election. The list that was presented was predominantly oriented to social issues such as:

  • Supportive Housing;
  • Strong Economic Recovery and Prosperity post-COVID-19;
  • Investing in Child Care and Early Years; 
  • Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation;
  • Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Councillor Lloyd Ferguson had something more specific in mind-namely the congestion that is seen daily on Highway 403 between Highway 6 North and Highway 6 South. Relieving the congestion will require widening the 403—a challenge due to the fact that the highway follows a relatively narrow path up the escarpment and the presence of Cootes Paradise. Ferguson asked that the priority list be amended to add the infrastructure item. Which led to a testy exchange between Councillor Maureen Wilson and Councillor Sam Merulla.

Merulla was referring to a decision earlier this week by Public Works to ban trucks through downtown streets and instead have them use Burlington Street easterly to connect with either the QEW or the Red Hill Expressway. There have been discussions about widening the Red Hill-Linc by a lane to relieve congestion, but Ferguson pointed out that such expansion won’t work unless the 403 congestion is addressed. The pinch points on the Linc-Red Hill are where the system connects with the 403 in the West and the QEW in the east.

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