Craig's Current - May 2024

Hello, Ward 12! 

Welcome to May and those couple of weeks when Spring is blooming all around us! I’ve noticed that the Magnolia trees at City Hall, and around the City have been particularly beautiful. We have another newsletter full of information for you with updates on Green Building Standards, Accessory Dwelling Units, and the latest on the LRT. We also have some information on community cleanups happening in May, construction updates on Garner Rd, an exhibit at Fieldcote Museum, info about the Red Dress exhibit at Central Library...and much more.  

Our first article is about the ongoing saga with the development proposal at the site of the Marr-Philipo house. Enjoy! 

Wilson Street / Lorne Avenue Condominium Update 

The site of the Marr-Philipo house is back in the news. It’s a little complicated, so please bear with me. You may have heard that the development applicant, Wilson Street Ancaster Inc., appealed its site plan application for 392-412 Wilson Street East and 15 Lorne Avenue to the Ontario Land Tribunal in October 2023. Their appeal occurred shortly after the Provincial government introduced Bill 150. That bill reversed the forced urban boundary expansion and the changes that nullified the Ancaster Wilson St secondary plan and allowed six-story structures as-of-right in areas likes downtown Ancaster. The appeal was heard by the Tribunal in January 2024, and on April 3 the Tribunal released their decision to dismiss the applicant’s appeal and side with the City’s position that the proposed project does not conform to the City’s Official Plan (OP). To be clear, they are referring to the OP that was restored by Bill 150; the one that existed prior to the Province’s intervention in November 2022. See, it’s complicated but I hope you are still with me. Now on the latest news. 

On April 17, 2024, the applicants appealed the Tribunal’s decision (yes, you read that right: another appeal) to the Divisional Court. This means that once again, the eight-story condominium decision is in the hands of a Provincial body, and out of Hamilton’s control. You can read the full update and Tribunal documents on my website at You can also read the Hamilton Spectator article.   

Garner Road Construction 

In addition to work already being undertaken further west, the City of Hamilton will begin a second construction project at the east end of Garner Road. The City will be completing a sanitary sewer installation to enable future projects in the area and is required to complete this work in 2024. Construction is scheduled to commence on May 6, 2024, and be substantially completed by the end of November 2024, weather permitting. The area impacted is from Kitty Murray Lane to a few hundred meters east of Springbrook Rd. The work will be done via microtunneling and horizontal directional drilling and will include some minor road restorations. Please see the notice that has been sent to area residents at my website under the heading Garner Road Trunk Watermain Construction.  If you have questions about this project, please reach out to the following contacts: 

City of Hamilton Construction Section: [email protected] 365-324-8417 

Project Manager, Tania Di Campli:  [email protected] 

Thank you for your patience during this disruption. 

Additional Dwelling units 

Did you know that Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs) have been legal in Hamilton since 2021? You may also hear them referred to as Secondary Dwelling Units (SDUs) or granny suites. ADUs are separate, self-contained buildings located on the property of an existing residence to provide additional living space. They are an excellent way to add gentle density to a neighbourhood and as our neighbourhoods evolve, ADUs are a way to make more homes available in areas where services and amenities already exist. As such, they are an essential part of maintaining a frozen urban boundary and all the benefits therein. An ADU may be created within, added to, or detached from the primary dwelling. If you are interested in learning more and perhaps adding an ADU to your property, please visit the City’s ADU webpage. A dedicated phone extension (905-546-2424 ext. 5117) and email address, [email protected], have also been created so that customers can inquire directly with the ADU Team. 

Green Building Standards 

Hamilton is moving ahead with Green Building Standards (GBS)! To meet the City’s climate change and sustainability objectives, including a target of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, city-wide Green Building Standards are being developed. GBS are used across Canada as a guide for professionals and include directions on meeting high standards in sustainability for new buildings in the City’s Urban Area. Did you know Toronto has had GBS since 2010? That city is already on version four of their standards, so we have a lot of catching up to do here in Hamilton! You can learn more, watch the recording of the recent public meeting, and read and comment on the draft plan at the Engage Hamilton website. The public survey closes May 7, 2024. 

For a quick explanation, have a listen to my recent five-minute radio interview discussing GBS with CHML’s Rick Zamperin. 

Community Clean-ups 

Come join your neighbours for a “Garlic and Garbage” clean up in Golf Links Park! Garlic mustard is one of Ontario’s most aggressive urban and forest invaders. It threatens biodiversity by choking out the native plants like Trilliums (Ontario’s Provincial flower!) that would normally be found in those spaces. Garlic mustard grows in a wide range of habitats and spreads quickly along roadsides, trails, and fence lines. Sadly, it is often found in “wildflower” seed packets sold here in Ontario and many people plant it not knowing how damaging it is. Lucky for us, it’s easy (and super satisfying) to pull it up and large areas can be cleared quickly. Many hands make light work so please join us! Community members have organized these events but if you want to connect with them, please reach out to us at [email protected].

Two cleanups are scheduled: 

Sunday, May 5 at 10:30 am at the playground near 226 Seymour Street 

Saturday, May 18 at 9:30 am at the Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre 

Closed-toe shoes, long pants, and long socks for tick protection are recommended. Gloves and bags will be provided. 

LRT Update 

In April, Council supported a Staff recommendation that Metrolinx engage a third-party contractor to run the Hamilton LRT while the City of Hamilton would maintain responsibilities for all customer-interface activities. Before going any further, it's worth the reminder that Metrolinx owns the project, will be paying all of the capital costs, and will maintain ownership once the LRT is in operation. The recommendation from City Council is just one of the considerations for Metrolinx’s choice of an operator. Metrolinx will also be considering previous experience in operating an LRT system, the prospective operator’s ability to run such a system with the least amount of risk, and their ability to integrate operations into local and provincial transit systems. 

During the last few weeks, Council heard from many delegates advocating to 'keep transit public'. In fact, the LRT will be completely integrated with the HSR bus system, will have the same fare schedule, and its operations will be subject to a detailed contract holding the operator to a high standard. It will remain public. Many delegates’ definition of “public” was that LRT be City of Hamilton employees and members of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 107 - just like HSR (Hamilton Street Railway buses). Ultimately, I agree that this is how we should operate, but building and operating higher-level transit is a very complex endeavour with long-term implications for the prosperity of our City. Hamilton does not have experience operating an LRT system and there would be a great deal of risk for us to take on operations at the outset. 

After much debate, Council ultimately agreed with the Staff recommendation that a third party should operate the LRT. Their analysis considered customer experience, risk, liability, and cost as well as the complexity between the various facets of LRT operation and maintenance. 

Staff's work and recommendation were supported by Mike Murray (former Chief Administrative Officer for the Region of Waterloo) who was responsible for the Waterloo Region LRT project, and peer review services by Dennis Fletcher & Associates. Their involvement provided confidence in the rigour of the work and wisdom of the recommendation. Additionally, Council supported the Mayor's motion that the City take over the operations at the 10-year mark, rather than leave the work with the contractor indefinitely.  

I supported the staff recommendation and the Mayor's amendment as I believe they were both prudent steps in the best interests of the entire City of Hamilton, and as Governors, it is our duty to make decisions with that lens. 

Finally, as a quick aside, if you are interested in what privatizing City assets actually looks like, I will direct you to a very entertaining video about how, in 2008, Chicago sold all their on-street parking to Morgan Stanley via a 75-year lease. Spoiler alert: it did not go well. 

Grow Me Instead 

The Ontario Native Plant Council is your one-stop shop for what to grow and what not to grow if you want to help pollinators thrive. They have published a handy Grow Me Instead guide for Southern Ontario, full of common invasives and look-alike native plants that can be used instead. You can also check out Butterflyway Hamilton on Facebook and Instagram for much more information. Their first native plant sale is on Sunday, June 23, 1- 4pm at 32 Empress Ave. And if you’d like 12 minutes of Ted Talk to inspire you about why to plant a native garden, this video is your answer! 

Every day is Earth Day

As a dedicated Hamilton Conservation Authority Board member, I take my role as a watershed steward very seriously. As the Province continues to erode the Conservation Authorities’ ability to protect our water and natural areas, I’ve heard from any of you that we cannot accept these decisions quietly. In that spirit, I am happy to share this excellent video that Hamilton 350 Climate Committee released on Earth Day.  

Red Dress Day

May 5 is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit People (MMIWG2S). It is also simply called "Red Dress Day" and was inspired by Métis artist Jaime Black’s REDress Project installation, in which she hung empty, red dresses to represent the missing and murdered women. As a result of her installation, Red dresses have become symbolic of the crisis.  

To recognize this, the Hamilton Public Library is hosting a two-week-long exhibit from May 1-15 to help bring awareness to the subject. I attended the opening on May 1 and hope you can visit to learn more and read twelve stories of the Missing. More details at the Hamilton Public Library webpage “Missing: Red Dress Exhibit” 

Fieldcote Museum Tapestry Exhibit 

I encourage everyone to check out the beautiful exhibition currently on display at Ancaster's Fieldcote Museum: "Poetry in Stitches" featuring original fibre art by four York region artists. Curated by the group Georgina Fibre Arts, each piece is inspired by and paired with a poem. Children can also try their hand at creating their own designs at the kids’ tactile table. Finish off your visit by purchasing a delightful one-of-a-kind greeting card, handmade by Fieldcote volunteers. If you're the creative type, and want to join the volunteers, pop into the museum for more information. Fieldcote Museum and Forest is located at 64 Sulphur Springs Road, Ancaster. There is plenty of free parking and the hours are 12-4 pm every day except Monday when it is closed. Remember that entrance to Civic Museums is free with a Hamilton Public Library card. 

It's Pool Season 

Did you know that there is a City bylaw that defines how to properly drain your pool? The water from pools is filled with chemicals such as Chlorine, Bromine, Salt, Copper-based algaecides, Nonylphenols, and Nonylphenol ethoxylates. These are harmful to the fish and organisms that live in the creeks and rivers across Hamilton and Lake Ontario. Emptying thousands of residential pools into storm sewer drains via hoses down Hamilton driveways can have a significant negative impact on the environment as that water drains into the storm sewer. 

How to empty your pool: 

Do not add chemicals to your pool, hot tub or spa for two weeks before emptying it. Both chlorine and saltwater pools can be emptied onto your property, as long as the water absorbs into the ground. Consider the slope and surface of your property and the rate at which the water is discharged. Water should not run toward your home or your neighbour’s property. 

Here are some tips for emptying water from chlorine and saltwater pools: 

Chlorine pools - Dechlorinate water before you discharge it into the storm sewer system and do not empty the pool on a rainy day. 

Saltwater pools - Carefully discharge salt water to the sanitary system located on your property (through a laundry tub, sink, or bathtub). Do not drain your saltwater pool into the storm sewer which will direct it to our creeks and the Harbour. You may also hire a Ministry-of-the-Environment-approved water hauler to remove it. Learn more at the City’s pool and hot tub webpage. 

Donate Your Solar Eclipse Glasses 

The eclipse has come and gone, but those glasses can have a second life. Please donate your solar glasses to any branch of the Hamilton Public Library or Bookmobile and they will be redistributed to other parts of the globe where eclipses will be seen in the future. Let’s keep them out of the landfill! 

City and Council Updates 

Ever wonder why Norma next door always seems to know what’s going on at City Hall? How does she keep up with all the debates, votes, and policy decisions? How does she know more than Constance? Why, she subscribes to a variety of notices, alerts, and newsletters from the City of Hamilton, of course! Don’t be a clued-out Constance. Be a know-it-all Norma! 

Stay informed on a variety of City news, programs, events, and services by subscribing to free updates and notifications at the City’s news and council updates webpage. 

Even better, get out the popcorn and watch live or recorded committee and Council meetings on the City of Hamilton YouTube Channel. 

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.