Craig's Current - February 2024

Hello, Ward 12 residents.

We are now two months into 2024 and it’s already been an eventful year. There are two high-profile items that you have likely read about in the news. First of all, on February 15, City Council approved the 2024 operating and capital budget with an average residential increase of 5.8%. Only 1.64% of that is related to City operations. 2.55% is due to Provincial downloading of development charges to municipalities, and another 1.6% is an investment in housing and homelessness (a provincial responsibility) due to decreasing Provincial funding even as the crisis in this area worsens. You will be able to read much more about this topic in a forthcoming newsletter.

City services impacted

Earlier this week, you likely read about a cybersecurity event impacting the City of Hamilton. It has impacted many City services, including phone lines and internet access in City buildings. My office is currently unable to make or receive phone calls, but we can communicate by email and will be working remotely for the time being. Given the extraordinary circumstances and capacity issues related to the cybersecurity incident, this week’s committee meetings were cancelled and Wednesday, February 28th’s Council meeting was postponed to a future date. Critical services such as transit, water and wastewater treatment, and emergency services are operational. Further, the Customer Contact Centre remains open and able to take phone calls from residents at 905-546-2489 (CITY). As their team is on a reduced capacity, we ask for the public’s patience while the team triages phone calls.

Volunteers Urgently Needed!

The Cassar kids volunteering for the Ancaster Food Drive many years ago

The Ancaster Food Drive on Saturday, March 2 (this weekend!) still needs more volunteers to go door-to-door to pick up food from 9am to noon. Please consider signing up via one of the three methods below. My family has proudly volunteered with the Food Drive since our kids were very little and will be out there again this year. We hope you can join us!

Sign up from a computer HERE

Food routes still available are HERE

To learn more or request a route via email contact: [email protected]

Garner Road closure

Garner Road, from Wilson St. W. to Southcote Rd., will be receiving infrastructure upgrades over the next two years and is scheduled for trunk watermain installation, road restoration, and associated works.  The water main work will ensure the City’s high standard of water quality is maintained and will increase water pressure for both your residence and the Fire Department. The first phase of this project (to be completed by December 2024) will be along Garner Road from Wilson Street West to Fiddlers Green. Phase two, from Fiddlers Green to Southcote Road, is scheduled for 2025.

During the construction, all eastbound lanes will be closed and westbound will be limited to one lane only. A detour route will be in place, with more details to follow. Notifications have been sent to residents and we are already receiving emails about potential speeding and traffic volume on neighbouring streets if motorists try to navigate around the construction by cutting through neighbourhoods.

Rest assured that our office has already flagged this concern and is working with City Staff to mitigate potential issues. Local and emergency access will be maintained throughout the construction. If you have any special requirements for wheelchair access or a medical condition that may require special needs at some point during construction, please notify our office by emailing as [email protected] as soon as possible and we will assist in notifying the construction team on your behalf. We appreciate your understanding, patience, and cooperation throughout this project. 

Demmans House

The Ward 12 office has seen comments about the Demmans property at 342 Wilson Street E (beside the Purple Pony) on social media with concerns that it is about to be demolished. We have reached out to City staff to determine the status of any current applications for this property and can confirm that there is a development application in progress which would see the demolition of Demman House. 

Currently, this home is “registered” on the Municipal Heritage Registry acknowledging that more evaluation was required to determine if the property should be designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. Ultimately it was deemed that the property would not be designated, however, the owners are required to give formal notice of intention to demolish. To date, the City has not received an official request to demolish.

It should be noted that currently the house is in poor condition and was not included in the motion put forward by Councillor Ferguson in 2020 which considered the designation of 40 properties along Wilson Street East. City of Hamilton Heritage staff do not currently recommend full heritage designation of the Demmans House because they believe that there is little existing heritage value in the current building mainly because of its current state of disrepair and renovations that have been made over time.

We will continue to work with Heritage and Planning staff and Ancaster Village Heritage Community executive members to keep everyone informed on the status of this property

Ward 12 Heritage

Ward 12 is full of incredible, rich history and it is important that both natural and built history is preserved to the greatest extent possible. Heritage staff have been working hard to designate more properties throughout Ward 12 so that they are protected in the future. Provincial Bill 23 has made this all the more pressing as deadlines fast approach.

Recently, City of Hamilton Heritage staff recommended that ‘Birch Lawn’ at 176 Wilson Street East be designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. The home was built circa 1881 and is an excellent example of the craftsmanship of its time and marks one of the entrances to the Ancaster Village core and is one of the key buildings supporting the character of the community. Thank you to the current homeowners for their years of dedicated efforts in restoring the home. Their hard work has led to this designation.

If you think there is a historic property in your neighbourhood and would like to explore designation for the property, please reach out to us at [email protected] and we will connect you with the appropriate teams to determine if the property qualifies.

Municipal taxes by Ward

Example of net financial impact by building type - Urban3

Ward 12 often receives queries from residents wondering how various parts of the city contribute to municipal taxes. Relative contributions to overall tax revenue are determined by three factors: assessment value of the property, density of residences per acre, and tax rate. Although assessment values may generally be higher in Ancaster and other suburbs because of the larger homes, lower city of Hamilton taxpayers generally have an outsized contribution to the city’s coffers because of greater density. Higher density means more homes are generating more tax revenue to pay for every metre of road maintenance, water main and all other services. This is referred to as tax productivity per acre. Finally, homes within the pre-amalgamation boundaries of old Hamilton have a higher tax rate. Here are the 2023 tax rates:

  • Ancaster’s total residential tax rate (urban with full-time fire) 1.216%

  • Hamilton total residential tax rate (urban with full-time fire) 1.327%

In summary, low-density neighbourhoods are generally a drain on municipal coffers while mid to high density neighbourhoods add to the city’s bottom line.This engaging video helps explain why. Please read the following article to learn more about how Hamilton will start to shift this imbalance and we’ll continue to explore this topic in future newsletters.

Reimagining Neighbourhoods

Residential zoning is changing across the City, including in Ward 12. The types of housing that can be located throughout a neighbourhood are expanding to allow growth more responsibly and equitably. The City’s Residential Zones Project is looking at how different types of housing can be built within and along the edges of neighbourhoods. Watch a short explanatory video at this link

We were successful in saving the Greenbelt and in preventing forced urban expansion onto thousands of acres of Hamilton farmland and wetlands. Now the important work of adding gentle densification through all neighbourhoods in the city is continuing. The aim is to provide more housing choices and more affordable housing options for the residents of Hamilton. We are currently in Phase 2 of the process and on February 23, Planning Committee approved new low-density residential zoning across the city. You can read the staff presentation here.

Follow the process and add your voice through the Engage Hamilton website

Climate Change and flooding

We are all vulnerable to the effects of climate change including more frequent heat and flooding events. Intense rainfall events combined with ageing municipal infrastructure, increased urbanization and a lack of flood protection measures at the household level have resulted in losses in billions of dollars for Canada’s insurance companies, governments, homeowners, landlords and tenants over the past decade. The Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation and the University of Waterloo have developed a list of top actions Canadians can take around their home to reduce the effects of climate change. Find the flood protection infographic at this link.

Yield to Green

Our office has requested additional "Yield to Flashing Green Light" road signs be installed in rural areas of the ward in addition to the three already in place. 

These signs advise all drivers that a vehicle with a flashing green light is a Volunteer Firefighter responding either to their station or directly to an emergency. It asks drivers to yield to them as a courtesy. It does not grant these Volunteer Firefighters any special traffic exemptions under the Highway Traffic Act. You will soon be seeing these important reminder signs at the following new locations.


SAWMILL RD. (south side) – west of BUTTER RD.

SAWMILL RD (north side) between ONONDAGA & SHAVER RD.

HWY #52 northbound at JERSEYVILLE RD roundabout 

HWY #8 westbound just east of ORKNEY RD.

Calling all Nature Enthusiasts!

Nature@McMaster and the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System are throwing a not-to-be-missed "Eco-Connect: Trivia, Talks & Toasts" bash - and you're invited to this free event! 

Get ready to mingle with fellow land lovers, dive deep into local ecology with our trivia night, and get inspired by our mystery guest speaker. Plus, there's going to be plenty of delicious (complimentary) nibbles and craft beer to go around.

Why come? Apart from the fun, it's a golden opportunity to learn more about how you can play a part in conserving our beautiful eco-corridor, all while connecting with like-minded folks.

When: Friday, March 1, 2024 from 6 PM to 9 PM
Where: Shawn & Ed Brewing Co., 65 Hatt Street, Hamilton

6 PM: Kick things off with our Meet and Greet! Explore tables from the Hamilton Conservation Authority, Nature at McMaster, and more!

7 PM: Get inspired by our partners' presentations on eco-corridor projects.

7:30 PM: Exciting speakers.

8 PM: Trivia time! How well do you know your local ecology? Prizes await!

Free tickets available at this link

Sinfonia Ancaster - Half the Sky

On Friday, March 8th, 7pm at the Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre, in honour of International Women’s Day, this concert celebrates the musical achievements of women composers and performers. Pulitzer prize winner Caroline Shaw’s work Entr’acte for String Orchestra, a wistful piece with a touch of the absurd, opens the concert. Concertmaster Megan Jones and viola coach Elspeth Thomson are dual soloists in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, a glorious musical conversation filled with virtuosity and joy. The concert concludes with the turbulent 3rd symphony of Louise Farrenc, the only female professor at the Paris Conservatoire in the 19th century, who fought for and was eventually given pay equal to her male counterparts. This Third Symphony is her masterpiece. Get tickets here

Measles in Hamilton

Hamilton Public Health Services is investigating exposures in Hamilton related to a confirmed case of measles from another jurisdiction. HHS is reaching out to all known contacts who may have been exposed to the measles virus. The public may have been exposed to the measles virus at McMaster Children’s Hospital emergency department – Hamilton Health Sciences 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton on February 24, 2024, from approximately 6:51 am to 2:09 pm. Individuals who believe they have been in contact with a person with measles should contact Public Health Services at 905-546-6170 as soon as possible to speak with a Public Health Nurse who can assess your risk of developing measles. Monitor for signs and symptoms of measles for 21 days after the date of exposure.

Learn more at this link

Thank you

Thank you for reading this month’s newsletter and please share it with Ward 12 neighbours and friends. If you have questions feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] and subscribe to the Ward 12 newsletter at follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.