By Bethany Stroh-Gingrich, on behalf of Friends of Maplewood Hall/Camp Artaban
In this article, Chris Firth-England, CAO of Hamilton Conservation Authority, states there have been open houses, and the public consultation process offered plenty of chances to comment, including at an open house, an advisory board meeting dedicated to the proposal and through the authority’s website.
From my experience, this forum was not well publicized to the community, and I only heard about it through a resident who lives close to Maplewood. I do not feel that the entire community — Dundas, Ancaster, Hamilton, Stoney Creek —was consulted.
Moreover, when I attended this forum, there was no organized discussion or debate around the options for this historical community gathering place. There were options presented and surveys handed out, but no discussion.
The petition that was organized was one last effort to try to spread the word to engage all community members in the discussion. Authority chair and Ward 1 city councillor Brian McHattie’s statement that, “I’m not a big fan of petitions,” is a moot point.
The fact is there were a number of Hamilton area residents who expressed a concern regarding the fate of this building. One of councillor McHattie’s primary roles as city councillor is to convey and support Hamilton citizens’ discontent.
It should be noted that although there has been a long debate on the future of this hall, over a span of just one week 75 signatures were collected, many from people who had not known about the demolition plans.
Imagine how many other voices could have been heard if the advisory board had taken a dedicated effort to elicit and hear the opinion of all those affected by the decision.
We recognize the importance of the environment and truly believe everyone in the community should have access to it through a public gathering place. We feel there are ways to continue to preserve the environment around Maplewood Hall without destroying an historical building.
We encourage members of the public who continue to be concerned about this demolition plan to voice their opinion and urge the HCA advisory board to reconsider its decision.
The article stated that there were no contact details for organizers. Our Facebook page is www.facebook.com/savemaplewoodhall