THE BREAKFAST CLUB WELCOMES MAYOR BRATINA
Citing a wide array of facts and figures and echoing a growing local and regional ‘buzz,’ Mayor Bob Bratina argued that Hamilton is on the cusp of some exciting times. He made his comments at the most recent meeting of the Flamborough Breakfast Club where he was the featured speaker.
The Flamborough Breakfast Club – representing a unique partnership between the Rotary Club of Flamborough AM and the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce (FCC) – meets from time to time at the Dutch Mill Country Market on Millgrove Side Road.
Mayor Bratina used the unveiling of the new PanAma 2015 stadium on the Ivor Wynne site as the most recent ‘success story.’ He said that Ivor Wynne needs almost $100 million in taxpayer dollars for much-needed maintenance, repairs and upgrades. Instead, Ivor Wynne will be demolished and replaced by the new PanAm stadium with ‘no impact’ on local taxpayers. The federal and provincial governments are contributing about $100 million to the replacement cost while the city is providing close to $50 million. But the city’s contribution will come from the Future Fund and therefore – Bratina argued – there is no direct impact on local taxpayers.
When asked about the potential impact of the end to the province’s ‘slots and trots’ revenue sharing program with Ontario’s horse racing industry, he said he wanted to hear the final verdict from Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale MPP Ted McMeekin – the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in the Dalton McGuinty Cabinet – before taking a position. MPP McMeekin commissioned a 3-person bi-partisan commission to assist him on the controversial matter and a final report with recommendations is imminent.
Bratina also said he needed much more information before making a decision about whether Hamilton should host a casino and where it should be located. FCC Executive Director Arend Kersten reminded Bratina that the death of Ontario’s horse racing industry and moving a gambling facility (OLG Slots) away from Flamboro Downs would have a devastating impact on Flamborough’s economy.
When asked about his musings on amalgamation during the last municipal election campaign, Bratina reiterated that he never promised to de-amalgamate – but only to undertake a comprehensive review now that 10 years have passed since the creation of the ‘new’ Hamilton supercity. He insisted that the current ‘ward boundary review’ is an important first step in that process.
Mayor Bratina – who garnered more Flamborough votes than his 15 opponents combined in the last municipal election – said he always enjoys coming to Flamborough and meeting with its residents.