By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday August 22, 2014
McHattie finally drives the Red Hill
(By Andrew Dreschel) Mayoral hopeful Brian McHattie has reversed his controversial stance on not driving on the Red Hill Valley Parkway.
The west-end councillor, who opposed the $225-million project for environmental and financial reasons, has refused to drive on the eight-kilometre highway since it opened more than six years ago.
But in the face of community blowback, the would-be mayor says he realizes he needs to be open to other viewpoints.
McHattie, 54, quietly ended his personal boycott last month. As part of his 100 day neighbourhood tour of the city he drove south on the Red Hill to the Valley Park neighbourhood on the Mountain.
Asked if he intends to drive the road again, McHattie said, “I think so. For sure.”
Since launching his mayoral campaign he’s heard loud and clear most Hamiltonians firmly embrace the expressway.
“It became clear to me that as mayor of the city, it’s a whole different ball game. You’re no longer the ward councillor, you’re representing the whole city and you have to understand all those different perspectives, which are the majority based on the feedback I was getting.”
According to McHattie, his refusal to drive the Red Hill, revealed by The Spectator in January, came up frequently while canvassing. Residents pointed out the road’s benefits, including economic development at business parks, better local traffic flow in the east-end, and simple convenience.
He says some accused him of being stubborn, which stung because that’s not how he sees himself. (Continued: Hamilton Spectator)