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COVID-19 response efforts, climate change and Vision Zero highlighted in Public Works’ 2021 operating budget presentation

HAMILTON, ON - Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamilton’s Public Works department continued delivering the frontline public services that are central to the lives of residents in Hamilton.

In his annual presentation earlier today, Public Works General Manager, Dan McKinnon, outlined how the department contributed to the City’s COVID-19 response efforts, and provided key highlights on the delivery of the frontline services that bring Hamilton to life – including corporate facility management, infrastructure rehabilitation, right-of-way road operations, water and wastewater services, parks and green space maintenance, transit, and waste management, which are essential to the lives of residents and visitors to the city. The presentation included a summary of 2020 accomplishments, measures of success, and a look ahead at major initiatives in 2021.

The preliminary 2021 operating budget request showed an increase of 3.1 per cent or $8 million.

Public Works supported the organization’s COVID-19 emergency response efforts in several ways, including:

  • Supporting the set up of the supply distribution warehouse, drive-through testing centre and FirstOntario overflow shelter
  • Managing significant impacts to the transit system
  • Overseeing closures and signage/barriers at facilities, escarpment stairs, play structures etc.

Through the pandemic, Public Works has focused on evolving operations with a strong focus on health and safety measures, enhanced personal protective equipment for safer operations, a reliance on its Quality Management System, continued modifications to municipal facilities to meet health and safety guidelines and collaborating on remote work across its divisions.

Highlights of major initiatives in Public Works in 2021, pending Council approval, will include:

  • Building climate change resiliency, particularly in the areas of water quality, flood mitigation, greenhouse gas reduction, the Corporate Energy Policy, a focus on green fleet and equipment and invasive species.
  • Vision Zero initiatives including the Neighbourhood Speed Reduction Program and Automated Speed Enforcement. The Vision Zero road safety program has led to a 24 per cent reduction in injury collisions over the past five years.
  • Major right-of-way rehabilitation projects on Rymal Road, Regional Road 56 and neighbourhood resurfacing projects in Ancaster Heights (Lime Kiln North), Central, McQuesten West, Battlefield, Greenford, Vincent, Bonnington, and Southam
  • Major construction projects at 500 MacNab St N (Passive House), Valley Park Recreation Centre, and a solar thermal pilot project at Westmount Recreation Centre  
  • New waste collection service contract
  • Year nine of the Emerald Ash Borer program (approved as part of the 2021 Capital Budget process)
  • The implementation of Year 5 of the 10-Year Transit Strategy was paused in 2020 due to COVID-19 and challenges related to sourcing new vehicles, the ability to hire and train new staff, and other pandemic uncertainties. Year 5 enhancements are scheduled to be implemented in September 2021.

 

Quick facts about Public Works in 2020:

  • Completed $76.3 million in right-of-way road infrastructure projects (a 4.2 per cent increase since 2019), including major projects on the Claremont Access, Rymal Road, Highway 8, Queen St S and more.
  • Delivered $55.5 million in capital facility projects, including office space in the Lister Annex and at 100 King St W, the Police Investigative Services Division facility and ongoing work at the Ancaster Arts Centre and Valley Park Recreation Centre
  • Reduced annual electricity costs for street lighting by 35 per cent since 2014 by using LED technology
  • Achieved 39.8 per cent residential waste diversion – a 0.2 per cent decrease since 2019
  • Beautified 325 floral traffic islands, 133 perennial medians, 79 civic buildings, 691 hanging baskets, and grew more than 260,000 plants

Council is expected to consider approval for the final operating budget in March.

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