Nobody works harder than Joey Coleman to monitor and report everything done at Hamilton City Hall. His opinions demand respect. After October’s change election saw major changes in personnel on Hamilton council, there were high expectations for not just a change in tone at City Hall, but an activist and courageous council. Yet it came into being with perhaps its greatest challenge already determined by the province, when the Ford government declared as the new council was being sworn in that the previous council’s decision not to expand the city’s urban boundary was to be thrown out. That was just the start, as the provincial government has since made sweeping changes that reduce municipal powers over the planning process, and slashed essential city funding sources, leaving a funding deficit at the heart of every city in Ontario.
But how has the new council responded to these challenges? Who is doing well? Who is disappointing? And how are the novice councillors and old hands handling their most … erm … delicate relationship – the one every councillor in Ontario has with City Hall staff?
Because one thing appears to be clear: while there have been some big changes on council, the institution of Hamilton City Hall has begun the new era much as it ended the old one. With a host of baffling decisions and proposals that seem designed to highlight an institution with deep and systemic problems.
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