On February 8th, the North End Neighbours held a Community Roundtable Discussion on updating the NEN organizational structure as guided by the Fall of 2016 AGM. The event was attended by active community members as well as some representatives of our non-resident neighbours such as the NHCHC, Macassa Bay Yacht Club, HMCS Lion/Cougar (Sea Cadets), Hamilton Bay Sailing Club, Leander Rowing Club, and Hamilton Waterfront Trust. We also received a number of well reasoned emails to provide us guidance in reorganizing and creating the NEN’s new Constitution.
The consensus of the group and the written submissions have given us a roadmap to follow, and are currently developing a proposal to present to the NEN Membership in early April. Some of the key points are summarized below.
1. Bennetto Community Centre is the geographic and social centre of the North End and should generally be where NEN meetings are held.
- Focus should be on communication and advocacy of issues within and affecting the community.
3. NEN should be the “Nucleus of community conversation and make sure that all voices are heard”
- Individual residents and organizations in the neighbourhood will be considered members.
- Meetings should be a roundtable format where everyone can hear and be heard, with the NEN Board moderating the discussion. It was specifically discussed that meetings will NOT be a PIC session type meeting like we have had at the City led presentations at the Storefront on James St.N.
6. NEN Board should be a partner with sub-committees and be the liason with Councillor and others.
7. NEN Board should be a concensus builder – “A voice is more important than a vote”.
Thanks to everyone that attended and communicated with us. We look forward to your comments leading up to the next meeting and will inform members and participants of times for more detailed discussions on the constitution and the structure of the organization.
The City is moving ahead with Pier 8 development and by now has released its RFQ which prequalifies developers interested in building on Pier 8. The City committed to 5% of those units being designated as “affordable” but a larger question will be what size of units (1 bedroom vs. 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom) will be built? This affects the type of resident that will live on Pier 8 and is crucial to the long term survival of our schools, especially given the planned changes to social housing on James and McNab streets. Rob Fielder (NEN Past President) has an excellent article in Raise The Hammer (see RaiseTheHammer.org) entitled “Asking the Right Questions About Hamilton’s 2016 Census Data” which provides background and raises the question of the makeup and availability of family sized units in high density urban housing. NEN is working to encourage the City and developers to build a reasonable mix of units to ensure the longterm stability of the North End for families with children.