Friday, January 10, 2014

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday, January 10, 2014

Bratina brings amalgamation debate back

Mayor Bob Bratina says he’s resurrecting a three-year-old election vow to review Hamilton’s contentious 2001 merger to “heal the rifts that divide us” — but he won’t rule out the prospect of deamalgamation.

Bratina, who hasn’t said if he’ll run for office again this fall, startled the audience at his state of the city address Wednesday by arguing it is “reasonable and perhaps critical” to look back at the 13-year-old amalgamation after years of silence on the issue.

He followed up with an afternoon promise to independently ask the province to review a new Western University study on amalgamation.

Bratina repeatedly refused to rule out deamalgamation but added it would be unlikely anytime soon.

“There may also be some way of relieving the costs that were brought on the amalgamation process by further, in-depth review by the province,” he suggested.

The announcement, made at a hastily arranged study presentation at the Sheraton, infuriated several councillors who called the move electioneering.
“He’s not registered to run yet (as a candidate) but he’s using his office to campaign,” said Councillor Sam Merulla.

He noted that the mayor’s office paid for equipment for the state of the city address as well as the cost of a Sheraton room for the study presentation. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)