'Completely out of touch': Dundas brings its public laneway fight to city hall

Red Hill Valley Parkway congestion, enforcement around student housing and saving money on energy bills are also on the agenda. We'll tweet live from Hamilton city council.

Follow today's council debates live here: Red Hill congestion, cracking down on student housing also on agenda

"People are not giving up," says David Jones in August of the community effort to keep a Dundas laneway public. City council will get its first taste of the issue Wednesday. (David Jones, publiclaneway.ca)

It's percolated for weeks among Dundas residents. Now the issue of whether an alley should be sold or stay open to the public has made it to city council.

Hamilton councillors will receive a letter Wednesday from Robert James. He's among at least 200 Dundas residents who want the laneway between Victoria and Alma streets to stay public.

It's been a public unassumed alley for more than 100 years. Now developer Len Medeiros is negotiating with the city to buy a parcel alongside his property, which would effectively block the route.

The alley should stay public, James said. And it runs between a school and a daycare centre.

"It has been used on a regular basis by pedestrians, cyclists, mothers with strollers … dog walkers and so on," James wrote.

Many from those groups were upset this summer when they say a fence appeared across the laneway overnight, and the portion along Medeiros's property was paved.

Just as quickly, the fence disappeared, and Coun. Arlene VanderBeek said Medeiros appeared ready to withdraw his offer.

But in an email to residents Monday, VanderBeek said the offer stands. The process around selling unassumed alleys needs to be modernized, she added.

Resident David Jones wrote back saying laneway fans don't care about the details.

"You seem to be completely out of touch with the concerns and growing outrage in your ward," he said.

Eventually, city council would have to approve closing and selling a portion of the alley. 

Here's what else is on the agenda:

  • Ratifying a decision to spend $525,000 on the Everyone Rides pilot project. That would mean seven new SoBi bike share stations in lower income neighbourhoods. That includes Barton and Kenilworth, and $75,000 will come from that area's urban renewal fund.
  • Asking Hamilton Bike Share Inc. for its audited financial statements.
  • Looking into doing a detailed traffic study to see how many vehicles use the Red Hill Valley and Lincoln Alexander parkways.
  • Asking the province to look into traffic congestion at the Red Hill Valley Parkway and QEW.
  • Amending the city's official plan to establish a new "transit oriented corridor" — a zoning category meant to make the most of LRT.
  • Looking into more bylaw enforcement in Westdale and Ainslie Wood. This would deal with "ongoing noise pollution and hygiene problems associated with bad student housing."
  • Establishing an affordable housing site selection sub-committee. This group will look at possible city-owned lots to offer up to affordable housing developers.
  • Coun. Matthew Green's motion to look at setting up a loan program for people who want to make their homes energy efficient. It's called HERO — the Home Energy Retrofit Opportunity.

CBC Hamilton reporter Samantha Craggs will live blog from the meeting. Follow her tweets in the window above, or at @SamCraggsCBC.


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