Hello, Breezes Readers.  Good to get back in touch with North Enders through this wonderful monthly newspaper that I have heard received a nomination for a Maggie Award in independent journalism.  Much deserved.

For this addition, I would like to sum up just what occurred respecting the John Street North two way conversion alternative, but first I’d like to focus on Eastwood Arena and how I am seeking your thoughts on the future for this iconic ice-skating barn.

Eastwood Park Update

A few months ago, I successfully moved a motion that asked for City staff to support us at a future North End meeting to discuss one possibility of reviving and sustaining Eastwood Arena.

While some of the points that supported the motion (known as “whereas”) may no longer be valid, here is the crux of the motion:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That appropriate staff from Planning and Economic Development be requested to engage with the Ward 2 Councillor and North End Community on what potential may exist that would provide for needed upgrades at Eastwood Arena by contemplating a development partnership that may include the creation of new housing opportunities and a public parkette (should read parkade) on the north-westerly portion of Eastwood Park and Arena.

The Federal Government has implemented a regulation that states by the year 2020, we must conform to a new standard to replace or decommission its current refrigeration mechanism.  It is estimated that the cost to do this at Eastwood would be in the neighbourhood of 2 million, minimum and 6 million when we include a full restoration.

I have yet to meet a North Ender who wants to see Eastwood Arena be decommissioned.  At a community engagement session several years ago, some North Enders came up with ideas to

reinvent the space (if ice skating and hockey participation continued to decline), but most wanted to see usage at the rink grow from what was then 12%.  Skate the Dream was born from these community talks and usage went up dramatically with what is now a four nights a week occurrence for our learn to skate and play hockey subsidized program.  However, you don’t need to be in the face-off circle to see that Eastwood is aged.  We need a face-lift with that face-off.

One option may be developing (a building) at the corner portion of the North West lands of Eastwood Park (approximately 2 acres) whereby profits may accommodate restoration of Eastwood arena.

To be very clear, this is NOT our only possible option. NOT a done deal.  NOT anything other than a conversation. This is simply an opportunity to get your thoughts on one possibility that may serve to address this pending issue of restoration.

If we hear loud and clear that developing a building on the currently underutilized t-ball diamonds to the north west of the park is not an option, that’s ok.  We will move on and come up with further options.  Let us be absolutely clear on this.

If you are thinking right now that Councillor Farr is off his @#%$ rocker for even thinking about developing on a portion of parkland, then this would be a good time to mention that while we will be discussing a possible opportunity related to 2 acres of park, we can also talk about the world class North End waterfront park coming next year.  That new park is approximately 3.5 acres and starts right there across the road from the t-ball diamonds.

Let also be absolutely clear on this as well; keeping our historic Eastwood Arena right where it is and continuing to bring it back to life is a priority for us all.

So, please join me on November 15, at Bennetto Recreation Centre, 7:00pm and let’s get your input on this possibility.  We could have met at the rink, but it is in use.  Fortunately.

Thank you Breezes readers.

Councillor Jay

John Street Two Way Conversion

So, what happened to the John Street two way conversion?  I believe the best way to explain the realigned safe street priority is to share verbatim this email response to one of a handful of North Enders who have asked me the same.  The residents name has been omitted

“Hello, _____ and thanks for getting in touch.  The change in approach was suggested at a John Street residents meeting.  The meeting was the direct result of resident requests. This came from the folks who live on John between the conversion area.  

The result, after hearing unanimously from these residents and receiving a petition from them, was a postponement indefinitely.  There were also concerns expressed directly from the NHMC and indirectly from the schools”.  

 Two letters went to every door between John and Strachan. The most recent (in draft) went out yesterday: 

John Street Conversion on hold indefinitely

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Hello John Street resident,

On Monday August 21st, 2017 many residents who would have been directly impacted by a two-way conversion of John Street North between Strachan Street and Burlington Street held a meeting at Bennetto Recreation Centre.  An official petition was presented that shared opposition to this conversion.  The petition included approximately 35 residences and 75 names.

The meeting was very productive and everyone agreed that we all want the same thing on John Street North; a safer street for our children.  Everyone also agreed that a two-way conversion was not necessary, but offered great suggestions on other ways we could make John North safer while maintaining the one-way flow.  


A stop sign at MacAulay and John Streets

Bringing John Street back to one lane traffic

Exploring the possibility of a two- way protected / contra-flow bike lane along the west side of John

Implementing other calming measures (like chokers/speed humps) along John (some of which were already part of the now indefinitely postponed two-way initiative)

The City of Hamilton Public Work’s department had staff in attendance and all relevant staff has been advised of this overwhelming decision(s) made by residents of John Street.  

I am very supportive of resident’s wishes and look forward to implementing the safety measures suggested while maintaining John Street North as a one-way street between Strachan Street and Burlington Street.

If you have any questions/comments, please contact my office at any time.

Councillor Jason Farr (Ward 2)

This letter (draft) went out a few weeks ago after I corresponded with some of the residents leading the petition and others who had issues.

Dear John Street residents,

On Monday, August 21st at the 6:30 pm, we will be holding an hour- long meeting at Bennetto Recreation Centre respecting the coming two-way conversion and pedestrian safety measures that the City of Hamilton Public Work’s department will be implementing on your street.

We will be reviewing the North End Traffic Management Plan (NETMP), now in final implementation phase.  We will provide a reminder as to why the NETMP was enacted and review the public engagement to date; specifically focusing on how the John Street two-way conversion (and the traffic calming safe street design elements that come with it) was always contemplated in the NETMP. 

 I would like to take this time to thank the many residents who have communicated with our ward 2 office and City staff in the past seven years and more recently.  Your long-time neighbour, _____ recently shared his petition featuring 21 residences with 45 names.  He and I have been collaborating in recent weeks and it has become very clear that all of us want the same thing; slower traffic, less traffic and safer intersections that ultimately provide for a safe and healthy complete street for children, families and seniors.

Two-way conversion (along with other safety features) has proven to be very successful in transforming residential streets to much safer environments in Ward 2. Like all other streets that have received two-way conversions over the past seven years, we are confident that John Street North will be transformed for the better.  Please see the reverse for examples of our latest conversions of Duke Street and Bold Street and note the remarkable before and after results. 

Finally, in addition to the complete and safe street design in our current plan, through John Street resident engagement another very good suggestion has surfaced; a partial closure of John Street at Burlington Street that restricts cars from accessing John to head south.  I support this and can confirm that this request has been made to our NETMP Public Works staff and to council (if needed).

Let’s discuss.  Hope to see you at Bennetto on Monday, August 21st at 6:30p.m.

Councillor Jason Farr

Ward 2

As you can see Breezes readers, while I do very much support two-way conversion (they are a proven traffic calming measure), I did hear loud and clear from the voices of North Enders on John that there was an overwhelming preference to calm John by other means.   With a hardy petition and health conversation, I believe we will do that.  Thanks to continued engagement.

Until next time Breezes readers.
Councillor Farr