After months of legal negotiations that were trickier than expected, Hamilton is about to launch its first test site in a plan to put epinephrine auto injectors in every food court and restaurant in the city.

By the end of August, public health officials hope to hold an official launch at Jackson Square, where they will test a plan to arm security guards with auto injectors, often referred to by the brand name EpiPen.

The initial target date was June. But negotiating with food courts, and hammering out legal agreements, proved more complex than city staff had originally expected, said Brent Browett, director of community health planning and integration.

'Nobody remembers who the second person was to fly an airplane.' - Coun. Lloyd Ferguson

“It has been more complicated…to do this well and to make sure everybody’s interest are protected,” Browett said.

The issue first came to the board of health last year after the Rotary Club of Ancaster AM approached Coun. Lloyd Ferguson. The group's concerns stemmed from the death of a 12-year-old girl in a Burlington food court last year.

Councillors voted to spend $82,000 on the pilot project, which runs for one year. Part of that will go to Anaphylaxis Canada to train security personnel. The rest is going to McMaster University, which will use the pilot as part of a study to test factors such as usage and consumer confidence.

The pilot was also supposed to involve Eastgate Square mall, but management there is waiting to see the results of the Jackson Square agreement, Browett said.

Lime Ridge Mall is waiting to see the Jackson Square agreement, too, he said.

Other delays included discussions with McMaster over liability, Browett said. There were also questions about who would provide signage around the mall and how the auto injectors would be replenished.

It was decided that Jackson Square guards will wear the injectors on their belts, he said.

Ferguson wasn't happy with the two-month delay. But considering the trial involves at least two levels of bureaucracy — the city and McMaster — it wasn't surprising, he said.

Hamilton is the first municipality to launch a widespread project of this kind. The trial has attracted international interest.

"It's exciting to be first," Ferguson said. "Nobody remembers who the second person was to fly an airplane."