Friday , 24 March 2023
Home News Deft Choreography to approve Barton injection site

Deft Choreography to approve Barton injection site

Hamilton’s Board of Health has endorsed the placement of a safe injection site at 746 Barton Street East near Lottridge. That came as no particular surprise, as the project was favored by the Ward Councillor Nrinder Nann– and one thing that hasn’t changed with the banishment of the “old guard” is the practice of deferring to the ward councillor on purely ward issues regardless of the merits of the issue.

What was unusual was the manner in which the item came before council. Even though a glance at the agenda showed nothing to suggest a motion approving the Barton Street location was going to be presented to members, a number of delegations showed up to support the injection site, among them Tim McClemont of the Hamilton Aids Network, the organization seeking to place the site in the Barton Street location. In all there were seven delegates speaking in favour of the site,. Whether they were tipped off there was going to be a walk-on motion approving the site is not clear, but they were there in force and received a cordial welcome by councillors. A less cordial welcome was accorded to Walter Furlan, a Barton Street Resident and business owner who ran an unsuccessful campaign against Nann in the October election on the issue of the site. Furlan who had a 1,200-signature petition opposing the site said he only heard about the meeting by accident.

It began to dawn on those councillors who didn’t already know, that more than information items were on the agenda prompting Ward Seven Councillor Esther Pauls to ask what was going on? The question seemed to fluster Mayor Andrea Horwath.

But later in the meeting it turned out it was apparently the Mayor herself who had agreed to present the motion.

A couple of councillors appeared to be  a little uncomfortable with the  turn of events but the vote to approve the Barton site was unanimous. With Hamilton’s endorsement of the site location, the matter now moves to the provincial and federal governments who have to signoff and fund the project. The matter has the potential to become a campaign issue in the upcoming byelection in Hamilton Centre which contains Ward 3.


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