Posted October 26, 2016
First, the good news: the October 25 General Issues Committee meeting is finally over, and Council did not vote to kill the LRT project or defer it to a ballot question in October 2018. The City Solicitor and the Integrity Commissioner made it totally clear that it would require a "reconsideration motion" and a two-thirds majority to reverse course on the votes Council already made to implement LRT.
As a result, Councillor Sam Merulla's LRT Re-Affirmation motion was withdrawn, since it is not necessary to keep the project moving forward and a vote against it would not actually stop the project.
More good news: despite a last-ditch attempt by a small anti-LRT group to dominate the meeting, the full gallery of 150 residents was mostly composed of LRT supporters - many sporting t-shirts and buttons - and 19 out of the 26 citizen delegations spoke in favour of LRT.
The difference in tone between the pro-LRT and anti-LRT delegations was stark. LRT supporters were for the most part optimistic, hopeful, and eager to see positive change, whereas LRT opponents were for the most part fearful, angry, and resistant to change.
One anti-LRT activist was going to present a petition with around 400 signatures, which were gathered over several months. However, the activist declined to make a delegation when it came out that a pro-LRT petition received 1,300 signatures in a matter of days.
Now for the bad news: despite the clear evidence that citywide support for LRT is broad, several councillors are still doing what they can to try and confuse, obstruct and undermine progress, even if they can't outright kill the project.
(You can read a more detailed report on Raise the Hammer.)
This is a time when we should all be working together to ensure that LRT is as successful as possible. Instead, a few councillors keep dredging up tired and debunked objections instead of focusing on the big picture, maintaining a strategic view, navigating through challenges and bringing Hamiltonians together around a common vision.
Thank you all for everything you have been doing to advocate, share, promote and support this project. It is painfully clear that Council needs to keep hearing the message that Hamilton expects its leaders to follow through on their commitments.
The struggle to see this project through to a successful completion is not over, but thanks to your support and advocacy, we have collectively managed to navigate through this latest crisis.
As always, please send a personal message of LRT support to Council if you have not already, and please share our website with your friends and colleagues.