By Kevin Werner, News Staff
The dozen concrete planters that appeared in front of Hamilton City Hall before the summer will remain, despite Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark calling them “ugly” and an impediment to attracting public gatherings.
“They are ugly boxes that barricade the street,” said Clark“They are used to barricaded protesters. It’s supposed to be an open courtyard. I don’t like them at all.”
Other members of the planning committee, though, embraced the planters, which contain various tree and flower species, as adding to the city’s visual appeal.
“This was a sea of concrete,” said Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson at the Aug.13 meeting. “It adds a lot of character to City Hall.”
Flamborough councillor Judi Partridge couldn’t imagine removing the planters now. She said they enhance the visual appeal of city hall.
“How wonderful the forecourt looks,” she said.
It cost about $15,000 to place the planters in the forecourt.
Forestry staff plans to remove the trees each year and plant them throughout the city as part of its street tree planting program.
The heritage staff told members of the July 17 heritage committee meeting the planters were installed on the forecourt without getting a required heritage permit. City Hall’s reasons for heritage designation included keeping the forecourt open for public gatherings.
While the heritage permit sub-committee recommended denying the heritage permit and removing the planters, heritage staff had urged the committee to approve the planters, under the condition the planters be relocated west, out from the main forecourt in front of City Hall’s entrance.
Partridge, who disagreed withClark’s description of the planters, said she was “completely dumbfounded” by the recommendation to move the planters off the forecourt.
Instead, the heritage committee approved leaving the planters where they are located.
Ferguson, who is also a member of the heritage committee, proposed a motion to keep the planters where they are.
The heritage committee is an advisory committee to the planning committee and its recommendations are not binding on councillors.
“They improve the visibility and green space at city hall,” said Stoney Creek councillor Maria Pearson, who is also on the heritage committee.
Politicians will vote on the committee’s recommendation at their Aug. 16 council meeting.