Last Friday, after almost 12 hours of debate, Hamilton Council – meeting as the shareholders of Horizon Utilities – decided by a vote of 10-4 to approve a merger that will see the creation of a new electrical utility comprised of Horizon Utilities, Enersource and PowerStream and at the same time jointly acquiring Hydro One Brampton. Hamilton currently owns about 80 percent of the shares of Horizon Utilities with St. Catharines owning the balance as a result of a 2005 merger. Under the merger proposal, Hamilton would own less than 20 percent of the shares and have two representatives on the 13-person Board of Directors.
Horizon projects the merger will result in annual savings of about $40 per household and raise the annual dividend to Hamilton from about $13 million to $16.8 million a year over the next 25 years as compared to the status quo. The proposed merger will create a single new company serving over 950,000 customers in Hamilton, St. Catharines, Peel Region, York Region and Simcoe County.
But some members of Council were concerned that the merger projections weren’t guaranteed and would result in loss of majority control and local jobs. Horizon representatives assured Council the merger includes a ‘guarantee’ the current service facility would remain in down-town Hamilton for at least 10 years.
Prior to the debate, Flamborough Chamber of Commerce (FCC) Executive Director Arend Kersten – who attended much of Friday’s meeting – met with Neil Freeman of Horizon to become more familiar with the proposal and determine the impact on Flamborough businesses. As a result of that conversation – and after extensive discussions with members of the FCC Board of Directors (BOD) – a letter detailing the FCC’s position was forwarded to all members of Council.
CBC Hamilton characterized the contents of the FCC’s letter this way:
The Flamborough Chamber of Commerce supports it (the merger), but its support is “tepid at best.” The bigger-is-cheaper argument, it says, sounds suspiciously like the old arguments in favour of the amalgamation of Hamilton. “We can only hope that today’s ‘projections’ do indeed become tomorrow’s reality,” the chamber said in a letter to council.
So what does the merger mean for Flamborough?
Currently, Horizon Utilities services primarily the Waterdown area. But many parts of the ‘new’ Hamilton are serviced by Hydro One and have been plagued by power outages and service issues. Councillors Judi Partridge (East Flamborough) and Brenda Johnson (Glanbrook) confirmed with Horizon that it is a ‘priority’ for the new utility to try and purchase Hydro One assets all across the new city. But Council was reminded that “it takes a willing buyer (the new utility) and a willing seller (Hydro One)” to make that happen.
Local Councillors Judi Partridge (East Flamborough) and Robert Pasuta (West Flamborough) along with Mayor Fred Eisenberger all voted in favour of the merger.
To read the FCC letter to Council, please click HERE.
And to read the media release from Horizon after the merger was approved, click HERE.
LADIES NIGHT OUT AT WEEKS HOME HARDWARE
This coming Wednesday evening (November 4th) from 7-9 p.m., Weeks Home Hardware will again host its annual ‘Ladies Night Out’ in support of Drummond House (a Flamborough-based facility that supports women and their children who are going through a difficult period of challenge and transition).
Ladies Night Out is an event offering fabulous holiday gift and decorations ideas, Colio Estates Wine and Slushie sampling, loads of shopping specials, raffles, a $500 Home Hardware Gift Card draw and so much more. All proceeds will be donated to Drummond House.
The first 200 guests will receive a FREE gift basket compliments of Weeks Home Hardware. Bring in a non-perishable food item for the Flamborough Food Bank and receive an extra ballot for the $500 Home Hardware Gift Card draw.
See you there!!
BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE HOSTS MP SWEET/ ENBRIDGE PIPELINES
Last week the FCC hosted a Business Roundtable at the Harry Howell Arena.
During the discussion, Flamborough-Glanbrook MP-Elect David Sweet reflected the recent federal election while Enbridge Pipelines detailed their plans to replace Line 10 from Westover to the Binbrook area.
An article by the Flamborough Review about the Line 10 project can be found by clicking HERE.
An article by the Flamborough Review regarding Sweet’s reflections can be found by clicking HERE.
For some pictures taken at the Business Roundtable(courtesy of Wilf Arndt), please click HERE.