CITY HALL DIGEST
Council declares heavy rain ‘disaster’
Council will declare all rainstorms between April 20 and May 6 “disasters” to give flooded city residents a shot at compassionate grants. The city had already declared an April 20 storm a disaster for the grant program after parts of Hamilton saw a month’s worth of rain in a matter of hours. The program, which offers up to $1,000 for eligible residents, has received 260 applications so far. Council approved a motion from Ward 5 Coun. Chad Collins to allow applications from flooded residents over a two-week period, rather than a specific date. Collins’ low-lying beach strip area has been particularly hard-hit in part because of Lake Ontario levels higher than any seen in decades. The city has spent more than $5 million on compassionate grants for flooding due to heavy rains since 2005.
CityLAB Hamilton partnership with schools nearly ready to roll
The city has hired a top staffer for a new “innovation hub” partnership with local postsecondary institutions that will run out of the former football hall of fame. The city has formally announced the details of the CityLAB Hamilton partnership, first approved in 2016, with McMaster University, Mohawk College and Redeemer University College. McMaster PhD student Patrick Byrne will act as project manager for the pilot project, which will run through 2019 and involve students, municipal staffers and other community groups to work together on city issues. The city will begin renovating the former football hall of fame beside City Hall to serve as home base for the project.
City ponders regulation of pot dispensary sites
Coun. Jason Farr wants the city to regulate the density of pot dispensaries locations if the storefront operations are eventually legalized. The downtown councillor put forward the motion to acknowledge changing federal and provincial rule changes are on the horizon for the sale of medical and recreational marijuana. His motion says if storefront dispensaries — currently illegal — end up allowed under new laws, the city should use a radial separation bylaw to govern how close together they can set up shop.