Connaught

Province: City Could Have Submitted Affordable Housing Projects Separately

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.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted September 29, 2009 at 15:48:04

That's some good advising.

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By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted September 29, 2009 at 15:52:45

I've said it before, but if people are really concerned to discover what was discussed in that in camera session, I would recommend requesting an investigation under the Municipal Act to determine if council actually had a proper basis to close the debate.

Unfortunately, courts have shown an inclination to side with council whenever they claim that "legal matters" are being discussed. That being so, anything which puts more pressure on council to act in good faith is a benefit to the city.

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By zookeeper (registered) | Posted September 29, 2009 at 16:08:45

"That's some good advising."

You mean on top of, Oops, we forgot to mention these guys are 3 years and half a million bucks in tax arrears and, Oops, we also forgot to mention that one of these guys is suing us? Just what drummer is staff marching to?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 29, 2009 at 19:49:13

Fckety, fck, fck. I should be surprised, but 11 years in the Hammer has filled me with too much ennui/resignation/nihilism to work up the energy. F*CK.

*hat tip to Trey.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 30, 2009 at 00:06:25

Don't just love how we get info piece by piece. Maybe a grassroots group could make a speech at one of the committees/council?

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