By Jason Leach
Published September 29, 2009
The latest info in the Connaught saga comes courtesy of the Bay Observer.
Council voted to approve all six affordable housing projects - including the controversial Connaught project - because staff warned that the city could not submit the projects separately but must submit them all in a batch.
The Observer's Peggy Chapman tells it differently:
But staff's advice is not accurate, according to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
"Although we encourage municipalities to submit as early as they can - that is only for our own purposes to get an idea of how many submissions we might have and how much staff we may need to deal with the files." said Brent Whitty, manager of the ministy's rental and support housing program.
"There is no competitive benefit whatsoever to submitting early. We do not analyse any of the submissions until after the deadline."
He went on to say that the City could have broken up the 6 projects and submitted them each separately on different dates if they liked to.
Many commentators on RTH made this exact point a couple of weeks ago while discussing the issue - the city could have easily sent in the other five projects to the provincial government, and then decided the fate of the Connaught at a later date.
I watched council that night and the only reason they went forward with all six projects is because they were told that holding back the Connaught would jeopardize the other five projects in the eyes of the provincial government.
I remember hearing that statement and thinking to myself, "How the heck will the province know that a sixth project was held back, and why would they care? They'll get hundreds of submissions from around the province like they always do".
Of course the subsequent Council discussion was held in-camera, which basically leaves us in the dark to try and piece together what has really gone on behind the scenes.
Anyone who has been involved in Hamilton politics long enough can take a pretty good guess, but as is usually the case with the important issues in this city, we'll never know for sure.
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