CATCH has provided this look ahead for Hamilton council. During the pandemic, city decisions and debates have been limited to special meetings of city council, but starting this week, there is a return to meetings of the standing committees and a somewhat increased opportunity for the public input that has been severely restricted over the past three months. Some items on the agendas this coming week include cycling lanes, transit cutbacks, sewage releases, backyard chickens, Uber fees, more homeless relief and the ongoing public health response to the pandemic.
Citizen participation is limited to written submissions. The meetings will continue to be digital, not in-person, so attendance is not possible, although the live video of the meetings remains available through the city website. For some planning matters, staff are recommending that residents be allowed to submit video presentations on some matters instead of just written comments.
Changes to fees levied on ride-sharing companies like Uber are on the agenda of Tuesday’s planning committee meeting. Staff are recommending a per ride charge that has been introduced in other cities. The meeting will also receive and may or may not debate two citizen requests to allow backyard chickens in Dundas that argue the pandemic lockdown is another reason to get rid of the current city ban.
It’s the turn of the Public Works Committee on Wednesday with a string of controversial issues before it. One is a proposal to once again put off promised improvements to the HSR. Staff are recommending postponement of planned purchases of new buses and expansion of services that were approved in March and originally promised as part of the ten-year transit strategy. If this delay is approved, the strategy will be now take at least twelve years to complete.
Other parts of this “COVID-19 Recovery Phased Mobility Plan” offer to “remove the rush hour restrictions and/or no parking restrictions in order to provide for additional on-street parking capacity and pick-up/delivery capacity to support local businesses”. Adding more parking and “short-term pick-up and delivery zones” to assist businesses are also being proposed.
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