Dej-vu all over again in Millgrove

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Those in attendance at last week's town hall meeting in Millgrove must have experienced a strong sense of dej-vu.

Organized by the Committee to Free Flamborough (CFF), the focus of the meeting was to vote on three proposals for deamalgamation from the city of Hamilton.

After the ballots were counted, the preferred option (which garnered some 150 votes) was a three-way split that would see Flamborough parceled off to join with neighbouring municipalities (North Dumfries and the region of Waterloo in the northwest, Brant County in the southwest and Burlington in the east). Option two, which would see Flamborough operate as a stand-alone municipality, tallied 115 votes. The third proposal, for Flamborough to continue as a part of the city of Hamilton, turned out not to be an option at all, as no one voted for it.

The impetus behind the meeting and the vote, said CFF stalwart Dennis Noonan, was a request by provincial representatives for the group to come back to the table with a plan for unscrambling the supercity egg.

And while a cynical view may be that the same people arrived at Millgrove Community Centre to sing all the same old songs, at least one new set of ears seems to be listening.

Enter Ward 2 Councillor Bob Bratina, of CHML radio fame, the only member of city council other than Ward 14's Dave Braden and Ward 15's Margaret McCarthy to accept the invitation to attend. His comments at the meeting - that Hamilton is living outside its boundaries and beyond its means, and that the city should author an amalgamation report card - were the refrain of a familiar song to Flamborough residents, but caused backlash on several fronts. Mayor Larry Di Ianni, for one, accused the rookie councillor, in the Hamilton media, of playing dangerous politics.

While Bratina admits that a mayoralty bid may indeed be part of his future, he maintains that his comments at the CFF meeting were not an early cast for suburban votes. In his open letter (see page A9), he points to the bigger picture, the unmanageability of the amalgamated city on all fronts: culturally, fiscally, and in terms of service. In short, he offered a glimmer of hope to the crowd, that not all of the downtown representatives are ready to write off the deamalgamation movement as suburban angst.

Next, enter Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, in town last week for a Liberal Party fundraiser at Hamilton's LIUNA Station. Asked again about his government's stance on deamalgamation, his answer left little room for doubt. He's not in the business of deamalgamating cities, he said. Make amalgamation work, he advised.

But if, after almost six years, there is no feeling of community across the city, one might surmise that there never will be. And if a meeting to discuss secession from Hamilton can still draw 250 participants on a chilly November evening, it gets harder to write off Flamborough's dissatisfaction as distant cries from the wilderness.

And finally, if the deamalgamation movement has finally blipped on the radar of a downtown councillor (who seems to recognize that if the supercity fails in the suburbs, it fails on all fronts), there may be a faint glimmer of hope for some form of city restructuring.

Even if council does decide to report on amalgamation, that restructuring may be a far cry from achieving the independence local representatives envision.

But at least, if such a restructuring were to occur, Flamborough would have a say in its own future - which is what the CFF has been after all along.

Dej-vu all over again in Millgrove

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Those in attendance at last week's town hall meeting in Millgrove must have experienced a strong sense of dej-vu.

Organized by the Committee to Free Flamborough (CFF), the focus of the meeting was to vote on three proposals for deamalgamation from the city of Hamilton.

After the ballots were counted, the preferred option (which garnered some 150 votes) was a three-way split that would see Flamborough parceled off to join with neighbouring municipalities (North Dumfries and the region of Waterloo in the northwest, Brant County in the southwest and Burlington in the east). Option two, which would see Flamborough operate as a stand-alone municipality, tallied 115 votes. The third proposal, for Flamborough to continue as a part of the city of Hamilton, turned out not to be an option at all, as no one voted for it.

The impetus behind the meeting and the vote, said CFF stalwart Dennis Noonan, was a request by provincial representatives for the group to come back to the table with a plan for unscrambling the supercity egg.

And while a cynical view may be that the same people arrived at Millgrove Community Centre to sing all the same old songs, at least one new set of ears seems to be listening.

Enter Ward 2 Councillor Bob Bratina, of CHML radio fame, the only member of city council other than Ward 14's Dave Braden and Ward 15's Margaret McCarthy to accept the invitation to attend. His comments at the meeting - that Hamilton is living outside its boundaries and beyond its means, and that the city should author an amalgamation report card - were the refrain of a familiar song to Flamborough residents, but caused backlash on several fronts. Mayor Larry Di Ianni, for one, accused the rookie councillor, in the Hamilton media, of playing dangerous politics.

While Bratina admits that a mayoralty bid may indeed be part of his future, he maintains that his comments at the CFF meeting were not an early cast for suburban votes. In his open letter (see page A9), he points to the bigger picture, the unmanageability of the amalgamated city on all fronts: culturally, fiscally, and in terms of service. In short, he offered a glimmer of hope to the crowd, that not all of the downtown representatives are ready to write off the deamalgamation movement as suburban angst.

Next, enter Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, in town last week for a Liberal Party fundraiser at Hamilton's LIUNA Station. Asked again about his government's stance on deamalgamation, his answer left little room for doubt. He's not in the business of deamalgamating cities, he said. Make amalgamation work, he advised.

But if, after almost six years, there is no feeling of community across the city, one might surmise that there never will be. And if a meeting to discuss secession from Hamilton can still draw 250 participants on a chilly November evening, it gets harder to write off Flamborough's dissatisfaction as distant cries from the wilderness.

And finally, if the deamalgamation movement has finally blipped on the radar of a downtown councillor (who seems to recognize that if the supercity fails in the suburbs, it fails on all fronts), there may be a faint glimmer of hope for some form of city restructuring.

Even if council does decide to report on amalgamation, that restructuring may be a far cry from achieving the independence local representatives envision.

But at least, if such a restructuring were to occur, Flamborough would have a say in its own future - which is what the CFF has been after all along.

Dej-vu all over again in Millgrove

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Those in attendance at last week's town hall meeting in Millgrove must have experienced a strong sense of dej-vu.

Organized by the Committee to Free Flamborough (CFF), the focus of the meeting was to vote on three proposals for deamalgamation from the city of Hamilton.

After the ballots were counted, the preferred option (which garnered some 150 votes) was a three-way split that would see Flamborough parceled off to join with neighbouring municipalities (North Dumfries and the region of Waterloo in the northwest, Brant County in the southwest and Burlington in the east). Option two, which would see Flamborough operate as a stand-alone municipality, tallied 115 votes. The third proposal, for Flamborough to continue as a part of the city of Hamilton, turned out not to be an option at all, as no one voted for it.

The impetus behind the meeting and the vote, said CFF stalwart Dennis Noonan, was a request by provincial representatives for the group to come back to the table with a plan for unscrambling the supercity egg.

And while a cynical view may be that the same people arrived at Millgrove Community Centre to sing all the same old songs, at least one new set of ears seems to be listening.

Enter Ward 2 Councillor Bob Bratina, of CHML radio fame, the only member of city council other than Ward 14's Dave Braden and Ward 15's Margaret McCarthy to accept the invitation to attend. His comments at the meeting - that Hamilton is living outside its boundaries and beyond its means, and that the city should author an amalgamation report card - were the refrain of a familiar song to Flamborough residents, but caused backlash on several fronts. Mayor Larry Di Ianni, for one, accused the rookie councillor, in the Hamilton media, of playing dangerous politics.

While Bratina admits that a mayoralty bid may indeed be part of his future, he maintains that his comments at the CFF meeting were not an early cast for suburban votes. In his open letter (see page A9), he points to the bigger picture, the unmanageability of the amalgamated city on all fronts: culturally, fiscally, and in terms of service. In short, he offered a glimmer of hope to the crowd, that not all of the downtown representatives are ready to write off the deamalgamation movement as suburban angst.

Next, enter Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, in town last week for a Liberal Party fundraiser at Hamilton's LIUNA Station. Asked again about his government's stance on deamalgamation, his answer left little room for doubt. He's not in the business of deamalgamating cities, he said. Make amalgamation work, he advised.

But if, after almost six years, there is no feeling of community across the city, one might surmise that there never will be. And if a meeting to discuss secession from Hamilton can still draw 250 participants on a chilly November evening, it gets harder to write off Flamborough's dissatisfaction as distant cries from the wilderness.

And finally, if the deamalgamation movement has finally blipped on the radar of a downtown councillor (who seems to recognize that if the supercity fails in the suburbs, it fails on all fronts), there may be a faint glimmer of hope for some form of city restructuring.

Even if council does decide to report on amalgamation, that restructuring may be a far cry from achieving the independence local representatives envision.

But at least, if such a restructuring were to occur, Flamborough would have a say in its own future - which is what the CFF has been after all along.