The conduct of Councilor Terry Whitehead in reacting to Hamilton Health Science’s move from the Chedoke property to the Stelco Tower was wrong on so many levels.
Whitehead’s characterization of the move as ‘ ripping and raping’ jobs from his ward was insulting and inappropriate.
We can and we should demand a more respectful and intelligent level of debate from our elected officials.
But his reaction also displayed the kind of petty and wrong-headed politics that hinders Hamilton’s future prosperity.
This ‘ us versus them’ attitude, whether it’s Mountain versus Downtown or suburbs versus the inner city is small-minded and counterproductive.
The HHS proposal that Whitehead vilified is a case in point ; moving staff from a tired, outdated facility on the West Mountain to the downtown core makes all kinds of sense.
A forward thinking Council would see this as a win-win; populating the downtown core and, at the same time, providing an opportunity to explore ways to re-develop those Chedoke lands.
To be fair, Whitehead isn’t the only Councilor who seems to take a myopic view of City building.
We’ve seen too many examples of Councilors balking at innovative ideas because they don’t see any immediate benefit to the neighbourhoods they represent.
We need vision and leadership at City Hall, not petty, short-sighted politics.