PBW2 2014 Media Release

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For Release on Friday July 18:

Hamilton, Ontario – Friday July 18, 2014

Downtown Hamilton’s Budget Vote Supports St. Mark’s Roof

For the second year in a row Downtown Hamilton residents responded to the call: “$1Million Dollars – Your Ideas – You Decide” by turning ideas for neighbourhood projects into action. The online voting and paper ballots for this year’s Participatory Budgeting – Ward 2 that took place between June 23 and 29 have been tabulated.

The facilitator of this year’s Ward 2 Participatory Budgeting (PBW2) today released the list of winning projects. Residents’ support for one project in particular was resounding, and you can see the detailed results on the PBW2 website (www.pbward2.ca).

1) Restoration of the Roof of St Mark’s Church – $100,000 (Durand)
2) Rail Trail Reconstruction – $86,000 (Corktown/Stinson)
3) Water Fountain for Drinking – $25,000 (Central/Beasley)
4) Wheelchair Swings – $2,200 (Ward-wide)
5) Durand Traffic Calming Reserve – $60,000 (Durand)
6) Bike Rack Sculptures – $55,000 (Downtown)
7) Pedestrian Safety Initiative: Wentworth and Charlton – $150,000 (Stinson)
8) Install FOUR Additional Public Garbage Bins – $4,000 (Ward-wide)
9) Duke & Bold Street 2-way Conversions – $300,000 (Durand)
10) Semi-Circular Park Bench Sets (6) – $18,000 (Ward-wide parks)
11) Neighbourhood Signage – $180,000 (Ward-wide)
12) Outdoor Games Tables – $17,000 (Waterfront/North End)

Councillor Farr is a true believer in the manifold benefits of the PB process.

“As a direct result of community engagement and democratic decision-making, some exciting new capital projects will be coming soon to Ward 2. While we continue to learn how to better deliver Participatory Budgeting, the short timeline from start to finish proved to be most challenging, I commend those who took the time to participate over the last three months and will continue to encourage greater public engagement in the future.”

This year’s project Facilitator agrees heartily. “Participatory Budgeting is an amazing way for our community to come together, set priorities, have our voices heard, and to make real changes in our neighbourhoods with real money,” according to this year’s Participatory Budgeting process facilitator, Karen Burson. “It is a democratic process in which community members decide how to spend part of a public budget. It enables residents to work with government to make the budget decisions that affect their lives.”

Typically Participatory Budgeting is a four-stage process:

1) Ideas are generated within defined communities
2) The best of those ideas are turned into detailed, well-researched proposals which are then assessed for feasibility and cost
3) The remaining projects are voted on by the community
4) The projects are implemented by a municipality or ward (or another sponsoring entity — usually depending on its source of funding — such as community housing authorities, schools, universities, charities, etc.)

In Ward 2 this year over 60 participants at five community gatherings called “Idea Generation Assemblies” came up with 100 ideas for improvements to neighbourhood infrastructure. The most feasible and impactful ideas were taken up by a group of 17 Budget Delegates. Budget Delegates are volunteers from the community who shape ideas into the proposals that were submitted to City of Hamilton Staff for vetting: staff provided high-level assessments and cost estimates. Their feedback helped PBW2 staff create the list of proposals and the descriptions that appeared on this year’s ballot.

“There were changes needed in some cases, to ensure that the community’s vision would be realistic in terms of how the projects proposals could be implemented in 2015… everyone worked hard to reflect those desires in the final form of each item on the ballot” said Facilitator Karen Burson.

As a result of the ward-wide vote an impressive list of community projects will be funded and the implementation process will commence in 2015, pending approval of each project by City Council. The funding for PBW2 comes from the Ward 2 Area Rating Capital Reserve, a fund made available by the City of Hamilton to address the infrastructure deficits experienced by Wards 1 through 8.

For more details on the original project proposals, voting results, the PB process in Ward 2 and an assessment of the process provided by the Centre for Community Study, please visit the website: www.pbward2.ca as well as Councillor Farr’s website: www.jasonfarr.com.

You can sign up to receive PBW2 updates on the PBW2 website and you can get PBW2 updates on Facebook and Twitter.

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For more information please contact:

Karen Burson – PBW2 Facilitator
Participatory Budgeting Ward 2 – 2014

Mobile phone: 289-700-5646

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pbward2_2014
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pbward2.2014
Website: www.pbward2.ca

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