Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hamilton the not good anymore

Hamilton used to be quite a welcoming city even to the more marginal elements of society.   Not any more if last night's City Hall council meeting is any indication.   Led by former DJ and now mayor Bob Bratina, the city unanimously voted to spend $10,000 of our money to fight a local half-way house and treatment centre, the local branch of St. Leonard's Society.  At issue are four variances (exemptions from by-laws) that need to be cleared so that the facility can have renovations.

What's truly amazing is that city staff recommended that the variances be granted since the residents have generally posed no problems to the downtown neighbourhood.    However, the council caved into NIMBYism and said that we have too many half-way houses already.  Here's the kicker -- the councillor for the ward, Bernie Morelli, says he's never even visited the facility to see what they have now or what they propose although he has given them a phone call.   Man, who's giving him his marching orders anyway -- Steven Harper?  Or the guy running Fox News North?

This is incredible.   If you asked the neighbours they probably didn't even know there was a half-way house there in the first place.   There have been notorious problems with violent criminals who should have been kept behind bars before their sentences were out, but these have been at rather less secure facilities such as the downtown Sally Ann (although the half-wayers are on a different floor than shelter residents).   But Lenny's is actually a major success story, one that should be emulated.   And now City Hall wants to shut them down.

And in so doing, actually aid and abet the increase of crime rather than lowering it.   I'll confess to being a numb-nuts but the men and women on council are the dictionary definition of numb-nuts a hundred times over.

That $10k could be used to fix pot holes, really important this time of year.   Instead of hiring an outside "consultant" to fight an application the city has absolutely no hope of winning at the municipal board.

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Anonymous said...

I fail to see what Harper has to do with this.

Why not blame McGuinty?

Remember he caved into NIMBYism on a Natural Gas generator being built in a Lib riding as well as off shore wind turbines in another riding.

BlastFurnace said...

Yeah, no kidding. There's too much blame to go around ... Harper is the first name that came to mind but McGuinty has to answer for giving cities too many unfunded mandates which are resulting in stupid decisions like this.