An article in today's Spectator about the participatory budgeting vote planned for Ward 2 included a bizarre line.
So far, 150 residents from eight neighbourhood groups have combined to pitch 56 possible projects, visible at pbhamont.ca, with a shortlist to be voted on Aug. 24 and 25.
Suggestions range from improvements that rank low on the city's global to-do list, such as new crosswalks, to eyebrow-raisers like an outdoor brick oven in Beasley Park or community-use pianos.
The article refers to the proposed Beasley Park outdoor pizza ovens as an "eyebrow-raiser".
Really? Heck, you only have to drive an hour down the QEW to Toronto to find a public park that has had two outdoor ovens for almost 20 years.
Here's what the Dufferin Park coordinators have to say about their outdoor ovens:
When we first put out feelers in 1995 to see if anything would stop us from building a communal wood-fired oven, we found to our amazement that there was nothing to stop us.
The building inspector said the oven was too small to come under his jurisdiction. (He also looked at the oven plan diagrams and told us he had once been a bricklayer, and that he thought, personally, that our plans looked good.)
The park supervisor said he didn't see anything wrong with our oven plans, and then he went away on holidays. The fire department said they had no problem with an enclosed fire set some distance away from any other building.
A government agency that had given us a small "child nutrition grant" said that fresh bread from an oven sounded nutritious to them, so we could use some of the grant to pay for the oven materials.
A friendly and capable contractor in the neighbourhood looked at our plans and said, sure, he was busy in the week but he could get our oven built in a couple of weekends. So with nothing to stop the oven, we went ahead and built it.
What's eyebrow-raising is that in 2013, ideas that were already in operation decades ago in other cities can still be considered eyebrow-raising in Hamilton.
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