Comment 69356

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 10, 2011 at 10:23:12

The seething resentment which still lingers from amalgamation won't vanish because the issue isn't addressed, and it'll only be inflamed if an attempt is made to address "amalgamation" as a whole without giving people a chance to say their piece.

The Amalgamation issue, like so many which have been furiously brought up above, come down to questions of structure. Hamilton is no longer just a city - we're a region. We stretch from Cambridge to Caledonia, with more identifiable communities, inner-city and out, than any of us can count. No one single body can represent this region, presenting numerous conflicts between different types of communities (urban, suburban, etc), as each attempts to seize control of what slim representation exists. If there's a single issue which demands town-hall style attention more than any other, it's amalgamation. However, it also displays some important stumbling blocks - people from Glanbrook aren't likely to be much more interested in a Town Hall meeting in the inner-city than they are in the edicts of City Hall. What we need is a network of such meetings anywhere and everywhere in the region, informal councils and debates which spans the region and enables each community to discuss internal issues and relate coherently with the rest of the city. Ambitious? Certainly. But would any serious attempt at changing the laws of this city by popular pressure entail less get-togethers?

As for other issues, such as nature of expertise, I think it's clear that few, if any, at RTH are "experts". By and large we're slightly informed dabblers, save a few people in a few individual fields. Everyone reading this site should keep that in mind. There's hundreds of groups of people just as clever all over the city - what's remarkable about RTH is how public the discussion has become. All of that being said, I don't see it as a bad thing. An informed society thrives on interdisciplinary learning, and not everybody needs a professional-level education in these subjects to grasp the fundamentals. I'd love to see more input from actual professionals, here and elsewhere of course, but I'll always learn just as much from the intuitive and experiential insights of the "ordinary people". Again, the goal should be to hear the range of input, not simply select the best voice to listen to.

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