It was a busy week at City Hall last week with both Planning and General Issues Committee meetings. From those meetings, here are two highlights from the week.
Positive Highlight of the Week Goes to Ferguson
A lengthy (and frustrating) Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday, during which Councillors spent hours debate sidewalk expansions on Main Street West between Dundurn and Queen Street that will take away one of the five lanes of one-way traffic, bring us the surprise highlight of the week – Council will review the setback requirements along Main Street for new developments.
At present, no building can be added along the south side of Main Street in the Downtown Core without a five meter setback for future expansion of the five lane one-way highway. This killed the Hotel Hamilton project.
The positive highlight of the week comes from Councillor Lloyd Ferguson’s surprise question of why City staff require the setback while at the same time looking to remove a lane from the highway on the west side of downtown. Ferguson’s goal was not to get the setback removed but to keep the fifth lane elsewhere.
Worst Moment of the Week Goes to Bratina
Wednesday’s General Issues Committee brought the feel-good project of the year into Council Chambers for it’s annual report. The Neighbourhood Development Project brought Seattle’s Jim Diers to speak to Council. During the feel-good presentation, Mayor Bratina tried to score a political point bring us the low-point of a week in which there were many low points.
Both Tuesday and Wednesday witnessed Councillors campaigning and taking low-blows against each other. Hours were wasted on immature antics and manuevering of motions to embarass each other. To think, we have another 12 months before the election to get used to this decrease in already low decorum.
Nonetheless, Mayor Bratina’s partisanship during a non-partisan presentation is the clear “winner” of the week. The Mayor’s first question on neighbourhood development to Jim Diers was why Seattle’s Mayor is looking to hire 15 more police officers. Bratina was trying to to score political points in the ongoing Hamilton Police Service budget debate.
“What’s the impetus for behind his 15 more officers?”
Jim Diers, who is not a civil servant and didn’t know what Bratina was trying to do replied immediately:
“He’s running for election!”
The Council Chamber erupted into laughter at Bratina’s partisan move backfiring. Watch the replay and notice Clark, Duvall, and Jackson smirking at the Mayor after the laughter ends.