City Sketch: Council finalizes climate emergency declaration

A number of local residents were in the crowd on Wednesday night as city council declared a climate "emergency.".
A number of local residents were in the crowd on Wednesday night as city council declared a climate "emergency.". Ken Mann

At a meeting on Wednesday evening, Hamilton City Council ratified a number of initiatives that were given initial approval by various committees over the past two weeks.

Climate Change Emergency

Hamilton is officially the latest city to declare climate change an “emergency.”

City Council unanimously approved the declaration on Wednesday night, and in a bid to ensure the initiative is more than symbolic, a task force will be created to coordinate ongoing municipal efforts ranging from energy reduction to water conservation.

According to figures presented to council, city facilities use 28 per cent less energy than they did in 2005, and various energy initiatives reduced the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 52 million tonnes between 2011 and 2017.

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The overarching goal of Hamilton’s climate change emergency declaration is to achieve zero carbon emissions before 2050.

Opioid Crisis

Hamilton is stepping up its battle against the Opioid crisis.

Council has finalized its request to the province for full funding to operate a consumption and treatment services facility for those battling drug addiction.

Stoney Creek Councillor Brad Clark says such facilities are needed to remove the stigma and provide some real protection as they attack a “city-wide issue.”

The city surpassed 100 overdose deaths in 2018 and during the first two months of this year, on average, more than three people per day called 911 for a suspected Opioid overdose.

Tenant Defence Fund

Hamilton politicians have given final approval to a pilot program that aims to protect tenants.

A “tenant defence fund” will be established to help cover legal costs for eligible tenant groups as they prepare and present a defence against above-guideline rent increases.

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Ward 3 Councillor Nrinder Nann has championed the initiative which she says aims to “level” the playing field when applications go before the Landlord and Tenant Board.

The fund is being established with a balance of $50,000 and tenant’s groups are eligible for grants of up to $1,000 to defray their legal costs.

West Harbour Film Studio?

City Council has formally voted to add “production studio” to the list of permitted uses on the Barton-Tiffany lands, near Bayfront Park.

Mayor Eisenberger has been promoting a film studio at that location since before last fall’s municipal election and Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr has said he works forward to cleaning up a “barren and obnoxious toxic hot spot.”

Two neighbourhood groups have written to council voicing worries about the suitability of such a project and Farr says he’ll meet with them to try to address those concerns.

The 16 acre property has sat vacant for eight years, after it was purchased by the city as a potential stadium location.

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Council also ratified the disposal of some real estate in the Barton-Tiffany area during Wednesday night’s meeting, but that happened in private session and the details remain under wraps.

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