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Hamilton city hall forecourt security upgrades remain under consideration

A proposal to install removable metal poles around the city hall forecourt will undergo further study.
A proposal to install removable metal poles around the city hall forecourt will undergo further study. CHML

The proposed installation of metal poles around the forecourt at Hamilton city hall is heading back to committee for further study.

City council has sent the issue back for a closer look, one week after members of the public works committee rejected the security measure in a tie vote (5-5).

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Some members of city council are balking at the $800,000 estimated cost of the removable bollards, while Ward 6 Coun. Tom Jackson’s opposition is to turning the seat of local government into “a fortress.”

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger counters that the bollards would prevent the driver of a vehicle from “coming onto the forecourt and causing mayhem,” during a public protest, celebration or other event.

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Ward 2 Coun. Jason Farr adds that “this is about public safety, and public safety is our number one issue.”

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The city has installed large concrete planters in the forecourt as a temporary protection measure while council considers added security features.

Hamilton City Hall forecourt security has been under increased scrutiny since the summer of 2019, when a bus carrying anti-immigration slogans mounted the sidewalk.

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Ward 3 Coun. Nrinder Nann has described it as an effort by the driver to “intimidate” those participating in an anti-hate rally.

Jackson acknowledges that “we had a summer of discontent, as I have dubbed it,” but insists that the overwhelming majority of events and celebrations are fantastic and the forecourt is “the public place.”

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