Craig's Current June 2024

Hello, Ward 12! 

Welcome to the June 2024 edition of Craig’s Current. As always, we have a great deal of information to share with you this month. In this issue you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions about the construction on Garner Rd, you can read about recent decisions regarding the new Stormwater Fee Structure that will come into effect in April 2026, and the Vacant Unit Tax which is being implemented in 2025.  You will also find information on Ancaster Heritage Days happening this weekend, and many other community updates. Please share this newsletter with Ward 12 friends and family who want to stay in the loop.

National Indigenous History Month 

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada. An opportunity to learn about the unique cultures, traditions, and experiences of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. It's a time to honour the stories, achievements, and resilience of Indigenous Peoples, who have lived on this land since time immemorial. 

Please join us at City Hall at noon on June 21, 2024, to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day. Learn more at the City’s website. 

Pride Month 

June is also Pride Month. This month gives us all an opportunity to celebrate the unique contributions of 2LGBTQIA+ individuals in our community. During this month, the Ward 12 Office takes time to reflect on the work we do and how we can continue to create safer spaces as allies of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.  For a brief history of Pride in Canada take a look at this website. 

To those celebrating this month, we wish you a Happy Pride. 

Garner Road Construction 


We’ve had many questions and frustrations expressed about the construction happening on Garner Rd. We know that large construction projects can have a substantial impact on residents and business, but that they are also necessary for providing the long-term service that residents expect and deserve. For the benefit of everyone, we have consolidated answers to the most frequent questions we’ve received. The two most frequently asked questions are below and several others have been compiled on our website at this link.

What is the reason for the construction on Garner Rd? 

A trunk water main is being installed from Southcote to Wilson. It is critical infrastructure to support growth plans in Ancaster. It will also benefit existing properties with a more robust drinking water network meaning reduced risk of service interruption, ensuring reliable daily flow of water to homes, businesses, and to fire hydrants. This project falls into the category of hidden infrastructure that we will never see but whose failure would impact us greatly.  

A second project from Kitty Murray to just west of Raymond is for a sanitary sewer required for future development in the area. 

Can construction be paused during rush hour to help alleviate traffic flow? 

Garner Rd is an active construction zone with many sections of the road excavated and completely unsuitable for public access (see photo above). Pausing construction during rush hour would not provide any benefit as large sections of the road have been excavated. Should working hours be reduced during the project, such a decision would only extend the completion date and lengthen the public's inconvenience. 

You can read more at my website at this link. 


Old Dundas / Old Ancaster Road Townhall 

Following up on our 2023 meeting, and in collaboration with our friends in the Ward 13 office and resident road safety advocates, we are hosting a Town Hall meeting on the Old Dundas / Old Ancaster Road at the Dundas Town Hall on Tuesday, June 18th at 6:30pm. Leadership from City Transportation and Roads will be present to share the latest updates on road safety measures for the entire corridor of this roadway from Dundas to Ancaster. To RSVP, please email [email protected].  

Ancaster Heritage Days is Here! 

It’s that time of year to get together with neighbours and enjoy a day with family and friends on Wilson Street! Saturday, June 15 will mark the 45th year of this special event, and volunteers are needed so please reach out and offer your help. Let’s make this the best Heritage Days yet! Learn about volunteering, road closures, the parade, and see a very cool video of the event from the air on the website. 

Here’s a quick historical excerpt from the website: “In 1979 two incredible women started what has become the premier FREE event of the Ancaster community. Bette Fraser and Ann Sloat brought the community together for a festival, and 45 years later we’re still doing it.” 

The Net, Ancaster Youth Engagement is on the hunt for enthusiastic individuals aged 13 to 18 who are eager to help make Teen Scene at Ancaster Heritage Days a huge success. This is an exciting opportunity for you to give back to the community and earn volunteer hours while having a great time! Learn more and contact The Net at this link. 


Stormwater Funding 

Back in June 2023, Council approved a new framework for funding the City’s stormwater infrastructure and operations. A new framework is required to satisfy Ontario Regulation 588/17 mandating that all municipalities have asset management plans and reliable and sustainable funding sources for core assets like stormwater infrastructure. Currently, funding for stormwater comes primarily from municipal water bills with some additional funding from property taxes. Neither of these current funding sources meets the new requirements.  

Other options for funding include a general levy on your property tax bill, a fixed fee for property type, neither of which satisfy Council’s guiding principles for the new structure.

The staff-recommend option that Council has adopted is based on the amount of impervious service on a property which – although not perfect – is the best option to satisfy the guiding principles.  

Our new dedicated funding source means stormwater charges will be removed from both the municipal water usage fees and your property taxes and instead will appear on water bills as a fixed annual, stormwater fee.  

The transition to the new fee is planned for April 2026, and in addition to satisfying the provincial regulation, it will also more fairly apportion the costs of the stormwater system to those that are generating stormwater runoff. With the current system, properties with large impervious surfaces that use no or relatively small amounts of municipal water pay proportionally very little into the stormwater funding model compared to the large amounts of stormwater runoff they generate.  

With the new fee structure in 2026, the average homeowner can expect to see an 11.7% reduction in their municipal water charges as costs are distributed more fairly. Homeowners that currently use a larger than average amount of municipal water (and pay a greater amount of stormwater charges) would see an even larger reduction in their bill. 

Financial incentives for reducing stormwater runoff were recently approved at the General Issues Committee meeting and will be on the agenda for ratification at Council on June 12, 2024. Homeowners will be able to apply for rebates of up to $1,500 for rain gardens, rain barrels and other green infrastructure, or up to $5,000 for the installation of permeable pavements.  

In December 2023, I put forward a motion to Council directing staff to report back with an incentive program that acknowledged the uniqueness of rural agricultural properties and the need to have a fair incentive program available for them. My motion was supported and on June 5, 2024, the General Issues Committee approved the much-improved recommendations. See page 15 in this presentation. One of the items approved was an up to 97% green space credit that will be automatically applied to agricultural properties acknowledging that they absorb most of the rainwater that falls on them, meaning they have much less impact on the stormwater system than would a large, impervious parking lot, for instance. 

Some in the rural and agricultural community have advocated for a complete exemption from the stormwater fee for all rural properties in Hamilton. I did not support an exemption for two reasons. First of all, despite the fact that farmers are exemplary stewards of the environment and their lands do absorb a great deal of water, stormwater runoff still exists in rural Hamilton (e.g. from roads and driveways) and each year the City spends $2.6 million directly on the rural stormwater system such as roadside ditches, culverts, and catch basins. Draining water from rural roads is essential for the quality of life and safety of rural residents and for enabling our agricultural sector to get goods to market.  

There is also the rural portion of funding for Conservation Authorities and stormwater projects that benefit both urban and rural areas that can add up to several million more dollars.  

Secondly, any exemptions for one user will need to be subsidized by other users, which would contravene some of the guiding principles of this process like ensuring the new fee structure is fair, equitable, and justifiable. As a Councillor for both suburban and rural areas, I need to consider the needs and impacts to each of these groups.  

So, when it comes to incentives available to farmers, I believe where we have landed is fair as it does not ask farmers – or rural residents - to contribute any more than their fair share, an important consideration I heard repeatedly. It is worth noting that the new by-law will be drafted to include provisions allowing review or appeal of proposed stormwater assessments. 

In summary, there will be much more information shared on the stormwater fee structure in 2025. Once Council ratifies the incentive program City Staff will be able to start working on the implementation of a new funding program that is fair, reliable and financially sustainable and will set Hamilton up for a reliable stormwater system that will be critical to deal with the greater demands put on it as our climate changes.  

Learn more and watch a helpful video at this link. 

Vacant Unit Tax 

During June, property owners will receive information on the Vacant Unit Tax included with property tax bills.  The Vacant Unit Tax is one of the multiple measures that Council has approved to address the City’s housing crisis. By discouraging property owners from leaving units vacant, the City aims to increase housing availability at a time when housing is greatly needed. Beginning in 2025, all residential property owners must submit a mandatory annual occupancy declaration for each property owned. This declaration will determine if their property is subject to the tax. A principal residence will not be subject to the Vacant Unit Tax but it is still required to submit an occupancy declaration annually. If an occupancy declaration is not submitted by the March 31, 2025, deadline, the property will be considered vacant and the VUT will be charged.  Properties that have been vacant for more than 183 days (6 months) in a year will be subject to a tax of one percent of the assessed value of the property. Net revenues resulting from this tax will be reinvested in housing initiatives. Learn more on the City’s website 


Airport Employment Growth District Secondary Plan update meeting

An update to the AEGD Secondary Plan is needed to ensure that the Secondary Plan policies and maps reflect the approved AEGD Transportation Master Plan (road network). As well, a review of updates needed for the area's Natural Heritage System mapping will also occur as part of the project. Please plan to attend the public meetings either in person or vitually. Meeting dates are:

In person Tuesday, June 25 or virtual Wednesday June 26. Register at Engage Hamilton at this link.

Free native Tree and Shrub Giveaway

Pre-reserve your choice online today! Hamilton's annual Free Tree Giveaway is back with one remaining date this spring at Bayfront Park. This year folks will walk to pick up their trees and shrubs with ample parking provided nearby. Lots of native trees and shrubs are available but you must reserve your choice ahead of time at the City's Free Tree Giveaway webpage 

When and where: Bayfront Park, Saturday, June 15 from 9am - 2pm 

Community Tree-Planting Applications Are Open! 

Do you and your friends want to team up for a tree-planting event? The City can help by providing all the supplies, trees, and even a location if needed! 

Growing the urban forest is a Council and City priority. Trees improve air and water quality, help control flooding, beautify neighbourhoods, reduce energy use, provide habitat for wildlife, and provide recreational opportunities. We want our community to have a say in where trees are planted and remove barriers to make it happen. Gather some friends and spend a couple of hours helping grow Hamilton’s urban forest canopy. Learn more and apply at this link. 

Trillium Garden Awards 

Do you know of a beautiful garden that you believe deserves recognition? Nominate them (or your own garden) for a Trillium Award! New for 2024: Biodiversity has been added to the award criteria recognizing: 

  • gardens that include native species to Ontario, supporting pollinators 

  • water features that practice wise water use and support visiting pollinators 

  • pesticide and invasive-species-free gardens 

  • innovative gardens with biodiversity, such as installed birdhouses, seed libraries or bird feeders 

Find out more at the City’s Trillium Award webpage. 

If the garden you are nominating is in Ward 12, please note that the Ancaster Horticultural Society operates a Ward 12-specific program, and you can nominate the garden directly to them at this link.  

Monarch Awards 

Is your garden a haven for pollinators? Do you manage stormwater runoff on your property rather than sending it into the sewer? Do you minimize turf so you can maximize the number of native species on your property? The efforts of Hamilton residents who have embraced sustainable gardening to create beautiful, biodiverse and resilient landscapes are recognized through the Monarch Awards.

Launched in 2016 by the Crown Point Garden Club, Hamilton Naturalists’ Club, Environment Hamilton and Royal Botanical Gardens, this program highlights the urgent need to support biodiversity and climate change adaptation and resilience in residential landscapes across the city.  Awards also recognize the work undertaken in tiny gardens or new initiatives for gardeners just starting their sustainability journey. Application deadline is midnight on June 20, 2024. Visit the Awards website to apply and learn more. 

2024 School Backpack Drive! 

Help Ancaster Community Services send Ancaster children and teenagers back to school in September with the supplies they need for a successful school year. With the rise in the number of families accessing the Ancaster Food Bank, ACS wants to provide some extra support and alleviate some of the costs associated with going back to school.  

When: Donate from June 1st – August 9th at 300 Wilson St. E., Ancaster.  

Where: There is a special bin in the lower-level lobby of the Municipal Service Centre. Enter at the back of the building, close to the parking lot, at 300 Wilson Street E.  

NEW items only, please! Learn more at the ACS website. 

Reuse Sheds 

Did you know that all Community Recycling Centres (CRCs) now have reuse sheds for Household Hazardous Waste materials? The sheds have the same hours as the CRCs and are open to residents who can take up to 4 items/cans of paint/varnish/stain per day (regardless of size). All items are free and subject to availability. Please speak to the Depot attendant to drop off or pick up Household Hazardous products at the reuse shed. Other items are not accepted at the reuse sheds and should be dropped off at the main depot. Learn more at the city’s website at this link. 

Babysitting Course 

Registration for the 2024 Babysitting Course is now OPEN! 🍼 This fun and interactive course teaches students all about important topics such as fire safety, basic first aid and more! Cost: $75 

Register for ONE of two sessions: 

Week 1: July 8-12 at Marshall Memorial United Church (20 Gilbert Ave, Ancaster, ON) 

Week 2: July 22-26 at the Ancaster Rotary Centre (385 Jerseyville Rd W, Ancaster, ON) 

Spaces are limited, so please register as soon as possible to ensure a spot. To register, fill out the online registration form available on the Ancaster Community Services website. ️Once you have registered for the program, please pay for the course by e-transfer, over the phone with a credit card, or stop by the office at 300 Wilson Street East, on ground floor of the Ancaster Library. 

Glancaster Road  

There are plans to redisign and widen Glancaster Road between Garner Road and Dickenson Road, and your input is needed. Please look over the proposed changes and submit your feedback to the team HERE. The next public meeting date will be in the fall of 2024. 

Engage Hamilton 

Don’t forget to keep up to date and have your say with all the opportunities for citizen feedback through various city initiatives offered on the Engage Hamilton website. Check it out and provide your comments at this link. 

2024 City Rural and Urban Grass Cutting schedules 

Rural Roadsides Mowing along all rural roads from the edge of the pavement to the top of the back slope of the ditch and at intersections will occur on the following schedule: 

  • First cut commences in June

  • Second cut commences in August  

Urban Roadsides  Mowing on designated areas along urban roads from mid-April to mid-October will occur on the following schedule: 

  • 12 mowing cycles every two weeks of urban boulevards; 

  • Five mowing cycles of hard surface islands; and 

  • Three mowing cycles of steep slopes.   

 General inquiries about grass cutting call (905) 546-CITY (2489) 


Highway 6 Widening 

Only ONE DAY LEFT to submit comments! (If you are a day or two late, send ‘em anyway). The Province is seeking feedback until June 12 on their plan to move ahead with the widening of a nine-kilometer length of Highway 6 between the 403 ramp and Upper James from two lanes to a width equivalent to six lanes. While the highway would initially be twinned to four lanes, there will be a center median included that would accommodate an additional two lanes in the future. A tripling in the width of this road will have far-reaching environmental impacts: 

  • The headwater of Ancaster creek and part of the Garner marsh are within the construction zone. 

  • Four hectares of unevaluated wetlands will be destroyed. 

  • 66 hectares of Greenbelt would be paved. 

  • No meaningful commitment to incorporating wildlife crossing. 

You can read more and send comments to the Province via the Save our Streams Hamilton website. 

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.