Hamilton city councillor reports 99.9 per cent negative response to urban boundary expansion

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Published August 5, 2021 at 1:51 am

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The City of Hamilton got ratioed in its urban boundary survey, at least in the e-mailed responses one city councillor was privy to seeing.

In June, the city mailed out the survey to every household, while also allowing responses by e-mail to address linked with its ongoing municipal comprehensive review (MCR). The question revolved around whether development should be allowed on 1,300 hectares (3,300 acres) of arable farmland. Option 1, entitled Ambitious Density, would allow for development. Option 2 was to leave as is, and Option 3 asked for alternatives.

On Wednesday, Ward 9 City Councillor Brad Clark shared the tally from e-mail responses received by the July 23 deadline, where he was copied and the sender included a valid Hamilton address and/or postal code. Clark said 8,258 of 8,265 responses picked Option 2 (“No”). That is 99.92 per cent.

Only four respondents that Clark saw affirmed support for Option 1 (Ambitious Density). The other three picked Option 3. 

Clark also wrote recently on his Twitter account that his office had an “unprecedented response” to the survey.

A city councillor would not necessarily be copied (or CC’d) on every email response. About 11,000 printed surveys were also returned by mail.

At Wednesday’s general issues committee meeting, Mayor Fred Eisenberger remarked that the process “is a survey, not a (binding) referendum.” 

That same committee, which is entirely composed of the mayor and councillors, is expected to vote on the urban boundary question on Oct. 25.

The MCR is the result of a provincially imposed deadline. In 2020, Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing declared that cities must make a plan for how they plan to accommodate provincial growth forecasts over the next 30 years, until 2051. In Hamilton’s case, it has to plan for an anticipated net increase of 236,000 residents and 122,000 jobs.

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