By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Over 12 years after the idea was first examined by city officials, Hamilton politicians want staff to finally complete the construction of the proposed gateway project and install city signs at five community locations.
Prompted by a campaign byHamiltonresident and business owner Laura Babcock, politicians want a plan to execute the recommendations contained in a 2007-2008 gateway design study that has been ignored for the last five years.
“We came up with the triple ‘H’ logo, coat of arms, a motto,” saidDundascouncillor Russ Powers who participated in those discussions following the emotional amalgamation debate. “Let’s make it happen.”
The city conducted a 2001 study to install gateway signs at various entrances to Hamilton, but nothing was done at the time. Following council’s decision to create anew cityin the wake of the amalgamation upheaval, councillors decided to develop all new community icons, including welcome signs.
In 2007 and 2008, with $100,000 in hand, city staff conducted discussions with the Ministry of Transportation, and held public meetings to gauge residents’ support. Four designs were proposed: a High Level Bridge display; adopting the Hamilton logo; using the city name with Cor-Ten Steel as a background, and incorporating the city name with a local natural landscape. No preferred option by staff was ever presented to councillors.
The locations selected were Highway 403 and Highway 6; Highway 6 and Freelton; Highway 403 at Alberton Road; Queen Elizabeth and Fifty Road; and the QEW and Burlington and Red Hill Parkway.
The plan was to build the new signs in 2009. No cost was identified at the time of construction.
There is a Stoney Creek gateway sign welcoming people travelling from Niagara on the QEW at Fruitland Road.
Other municipalities with signs include St. Catharines, Burlington, Guelph and Cobourg.
The city did install new blue Hamilton signs at various rural entrance ways, including Highway 20 that includes the slogan “The city of many communities.”
Ward 5 councillor Chad Collins said the construction of the pedestrian bridge across the QEW near Burlington Street had been expected to become a gateway icon to people
traveling over the Skyway Bridge through Hamilton for a contrast to the steel mills in Hamilton Harbour.
“The new pedestrian bridge was a gateway entrance,” said Ward 5 councillor Chad Collins, who fought to get the structure built.
“I forgot about the gateway project,” said Ward 8 councillor Terry Whitehead. “What happened to the process?”
City Manager Chris Murray couldn’t identify how or why the project fell off the table.
But he agreed that Hamilton should have some gateway sign to “welcome people to this great city.”