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