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SteelTown
Nov 1, 2007, 2:22 PM
City council agrees to disagree on new vision

Nicole Macintyre
The Hamilton Spectator
(Nov 1, 2007)

Do you think Hamilton could become the greatest city in the world by 2020?

Would you laugh if council made it their vision?

Mayor Fred Eisenberger suspects so. He steered councillors and senior management away from the suggested vision yesterday, arguing for a more realistic target.

"It doesn't ring true to me," he said of the world title. "I can't sell that."

The city is paying Mac professor Chris Bart almost $50,000 to help Hamilton develop a new strategic vision. He spent eight hours yesterday teaching the city's leadership about the power of an effective mission statement and helping them write their own.

After selecting common values and a mission statement, council and management stalled on picking a vision for the city when they couldn't decide how high to strive for excellence. They agreed Hamilton should aim to be the greatest city, but where? In Southwestern Ontario? Ontario? Canada? North America? The world? The universe?

Councillor Brad Clark fought for the world, arguing a vision statement is meant to aim for the stars.

"Why aspire to be mediocre?"

He had the support of the majority of the room, except for a couple of people including Eisenberger. The mayor said the city's vision needs to be more attainable, like "Hamilton will be one of the top five cities in Canada by 2020."

After Bart explained the new vision had to be unanimous among council and staff to ensure they all commit to making it happen, he agreed to suspend the discussion until the group meets again on Dec. 6. At that meeting he also plans to help the team develop the measurements to ensure they put their goals and vision into action.

Bart, a recognized guru in his field, is being paid $49,000 for 14 days work, equalling about $3,500 a day. Eisenberger, who spearheaded the initiative, said the money is well-spent to help the city develop a strategy for the future. Though mission statements have been developed before -- a similar exercise after amalgamation led to similar statements about values and goals -- this is an important step for the new council, he said.

nmacintyre@thespec.com

905-526-3299

Vision decision

Professor Chris Bart asked councillors and senior managers to submit what they believe should be the city's top values. Yesterday he asked the group to whittle down the 48 submissions to seven key values. After several hours of discussion, here's what they picked: 1. Respect 2. Innovation 3. Honesty 4. Accountability 5. Teamwork 6. Excellence 7. Leadership. Bart completed the same exercise for developing a mission statement, breaking the group into small teams to write mission statements before voting on the best one. Here's the city's new mission statement: "At the City of Hamilton, our mission is to provide high quality services in a fiscally responsible, environmentally sustainable and compassionate manner, in order to ensure a healthy, safe and prosperous community. "We engage our citizens and promote a fair, diverse and accepting community. "We are a skilled, knowledgeable, collaborative and respectful organization that thrives on innovation and quality customer service. "We are led by a forward-thinking council. "The team shows leadership in carrying out their responsibilities and is valued and appreciated for their contributions and accomplishments." Council and staff couldn't agree on the city's new vision after a thorough discussion, so Bart has given them a few weeks to ponder the statement, which must be limited to one line.

raisethehammer
Nov 1, 2007, 2:33 PM
you beat me to it...I was going to start a thread on this too.

Fred sounds a bit goofy here. perhaps 'greatest city in the world' is a bit insane (paris, new york, london etc....all claim that title) but I think I'd like them to set their eyes on the greatest city in Canada.
Why not??

Size shouldn't matter in a small country like ours.
Portland is constantly being ranked number 1 in a whole host of areas and their tiny for a US city.

What do people think?? "5th best city in south-central-western Ontario with a harbour, escarpment and factories"?? or "best city in Canada"?

or anything in between.

SteelTown
Nov 1, 2007, 2:39 PM
I would go bold and say the "best city in the world". If you go with "best city in Canada" then you've already went closer to being the best city in the world with Canadians standards (health care, public transit, education, social services, etc).

SteelTown
Nov 1, 2007, 2:50 PM
If you went with "best city in Ontario" than again you've become one or if not the best city in Canada and therefore one of the best city in the world. So they should go with "best city in the world".

Now to do that start making this city pedestrian friendly. Some of the greatest cities in the world are pedestrian friendly.

matt602
Nov 1, 2007, 6:44 PM
I think Best City in Ontario aside from Toronto is very achievable... but not in Canada or the world. That's just insane. Hamilton is never going to be a city on the same table as New York, Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles, etc.

flar
Nov 1, 2007, 6:58 PM
I'm with the mayor on this one. Best city in the world is stupid. Hamilton's not New York or London. We're setting ourselves up to fail if we aspire to be the greatest city in the world. Vision statements need to motivate, people will laugh and not take this vision seriously, and nothing will get done. Aspirations should be high but also realistic. Besides, if they were serious, they would say definitively today that we are going with light rail and get the wheels in motion. All great cities have higher order transit.

flar
Nov 1, 2007, 7:06 PM
After several hours of discussion, here's what they picked: 1. Respect 2. Innovation 3. Honesty 4. Accountability 5. Teamwork 6. Excellence 7. Leadership.


"At the City of Hamilton, our mission is to provide high quality services in a fiscally responsible, environmentally sustainable and compassionate manner, in order to ensure a healthy, safe and prosperous community."

"We engage our citizens and promote a fair, diverse and accepting community.

"We are a skilled, knowledgeable, collaborative and respectful organization that thrives on innovation and quality customer service. "

"We are led by a forward-thinking council. "

"The team shows leadership in carrying out their responsibilities and is valued and appreciated for their contributions and accomplishments."

Why do they waste their time debating over these sentences? After translation from corporatespeak, each of them means the same thing: absolutely nothing.

Looks like the city just wasted $49,000.

Jon Dalton
Nov 1, 2007, 7:45 PM
Don't we want other cities to be good too?

matt602
Nov 1, 2007, 7:52 PM
I think the vision should be more specific. Something like greenest city in Canada, or most transit friendly city. We should also be better promoting the things which Hamilton is already: Canada's busiest shipping port, a city of many waterfalls and communities, city with beautiful intact architecture downtown, etc.

raisethehammer
Nov 1, 2007, 7:59 PM
Greenest city I would go for defnitely.
We CAN be much better than TO by the way.
Portland kicks the crap out of nearby glitzy Seattle.
TO is fine, but nothing too great.

matt602
Nov 1, 2007, 8:21 PM
I think Hamilton would have to go through a miraculous rebound and Toronto through a devastating depression for Hamilton to come close to it again. I think we lost that closeness after WW2.

DC83
Nov 1, 2007, 9:33 PM
I also like "Greenest City"!!
With the Harbour cleanup, the abundance of Nature Trails, Trees, Parks, Waterfalls etc... and if the city would see that using farmlands for FARMING (perhaps corn for Biofuels??) rather than housing developments, than maybe we can attain such a name/goal for the city.

As for "Greatest City in the World", no. I agree... it'll just make ppl laugh and say "forget this BS!" Ppl laugh when Toronto calls itself "the greatest city in the world", even!

SteelTown
Nov 1, 2007, 10:15 PM
I remember last year one author mentioned Hamilton as one of the greenest cities in the world.

HAMRetrofit
Nov 2, 2007, 2:07 AM
I think city with the 'most reclaimed urban green space in the world' is attainable for Hamilton by 2020.

or city with 'the most improved rapid transit services in the world' is also attainable.

or city with 'the best 21st century public spaces and streetscapes in the world' is also attainble.

these are tangible things the city could invest in to create.

The best city in the world is absolutely idiotic. Create a slogan that actually gives direction.

raisethehammer
Nov 2, 2007, 2:35 AM
how about "the city that jumped from the 1950's to the 2020's quicker than any other city (except about 60 years too late)".

realcity
Nov 2, 2007, 3:50 PM
the problem is most of them don't know what makes a real city in the first place. They have to understand what 'that' is before they try to become the best anything. If they tried to bake the 'best cake in the world' they'd make a Twinkie.

SteelTown
Nov 2, 2007, 3:52 PM
Opps wrong thread.

realcity
Nov 2, 2007, 3:52 PM
how about "the city that jumped from the 1950's to the 2020's quicker than any other city (except about 60 years too late)".

that's funny. or the city that fell asleep for 60 years and woke up to find it had a long white beard.

http://ripvanwinklemotel.com/images/ripVanWinkle.jpg

SteelTown
Dec 7, 2007, 3:09 AM
Council has its new vision statement.

"To be the best city in Canada to raise a child, promote innovation, engage citizens and provide diverse economic opportunities."

theman23
Dec 7, 2007, 3:22 AM
I applaud Eisenberger for having some common sense. This is a title already held by Mississauga, and it doesn't look like it is going to give it up anytime soon. Better Hamilton aim to be the next Windsor or St. Catherines.

raisethehammer
Dec 7, 2007, 3:31 AM
geez....they've got their work cut out for them.
best place to raise a child?? we're sucking in that area. One minor area - I chatted with my councilor about last week...we've got 11 kids living in the 5 houses on our half block. cars roar off york like it's a highway...people speeding, shortcutting. all the while these kids try to play out front.
cross the road to go to the park?? not on their life, unless one of us is with them.

diverse economic opportunities?? yea, a $9.00 an hour job at Zellers or an $8.00 an hour job at Walmart. Bring your tent...you'll need it.

SteelTown
Dec 7, 2007, 12:45 PM
Councillors agree on vision statement for city

The Hamilton Spectator
(Dec 7, 2007)

City council has its new vision for Hamilton.

Senior staff and councillors collaborated yesterday to draft the guiding statement: "To be the best city in Canada to raise a child, promote innovation, engage citizens and provide diverse economic opportunities."

The vision exercise was part of an ongoing strategy workshop with McMaster professor Chris Bart. The city is paying Bart, who specializes in developing effective mission statements, almost $50,000 for 14 days work.

At a previous session, councillors and staff struggled to agree on a vision, debating whether it was realistic to say Hamilton could be the best city in Canada or the world. Yesterday they focused on the phrase "the best place to raise a child," the same as Hamilton's poverty roundtable.

The group is now working on setting targets to measure the city's success achieving its new vision, mission and values.

raisethehammer
Dec 7, 2007, 3:13 PM
forgive my pessimism, but it's based in reality.
This is a complete waste of time. just like Vision 2020 was a complete waste of time and GRIDS was a complete waste of time....our plans always sound amazing on paper and get people all excited, but they never go into the policy stage....policy is still about one thing, and one thing only - subsidizing sprawl.
It hasn't worked for the past 30 years, but we'll keep doing it for the next 30 because that's what the builders want.

the dude
Dec 7, 2007, 5:11 PM
ya, builders do what they do because the city caters to them so readily. it's not that it's natural for builders to engage in creating major urban sprawl. if there was no sprawl then builders would make their money downtown. the city could transition to this end but i wouldn't count on it. too many councillors have buddies with land in the boonies.

markbarbera
Dec 7, 2007, 9:37 PM
This may oversimplify the Hamilton urban sprawl issue, but how about the following condition on all future subdivision developments: Approval of a new subdivision development is conditional upon the developer presenting a concurrent infill development of equal or greater value. Future developments will not be approved until the concurrent developments have entered their construction phase.

Cambridgite
Dec 7, 2007, 10:20 PM
ya, builders do what they do because the city caters to them so readily. it's not that it's natural for builders to engage in creating major urban sprawl. if there was no sprawl then builders would make their money downtown. the city could transition to this end but i wouldn't count on it. too many councillors have buddies with land in the boonies.

Uhhh, do you really think sprawl is just a Hamilton thing? It seems lots of cities are able to keep sprawling out, but still manage to remain economic success stories. It's totally natural for builders to "create major urban sprawl". And no, stopping sprawl won't force force builders to build high densities downtown. Why? Market dynamics. There are some people (okay, lots of people) who want to have their McMansion, their 2-car garage, and their patch of manufactured nature out in front.

If Hamilton doesn't provide it, Burlington will, as will Grimsby and Brantford. Developers will build downtown if there's money to be made. Perception is the problem in downtown Hamilton, not just urban sprawl. Urban sprawl doesn't stop builders from going downtown if there's a market for downtown living and a city that supports downtown development, so let's stop using it as an excuse for every little thing.

the dude
Dec 9, 2007, 6:36 PM
ummmm ya, i think sprawl is exclusive to the hammer. i live in a bubble and i've never left my home...

suburban developers have proven to be somewhat adaptable in other cities and there's no reason why it couldn't happen here. they want to build, period. if land on the outskirts isn't made available to them anymore then they'll move downtown, or they'll move on somewhere else. either way it's better than the status quo we currently enjoy in this town.

raisethehammer
Dec 9, 2007, 6:43 PM
Portland drew a line around the city and said 'no land will be opened up outside of this line until the area inside the circle reaches a certain density'.
Now they have visitors from all over the world trying to learn how they developed such a vibrant city.
It's called leadership.
City council runs the city. not land-owners or developers who were trying to speculate.
Those same builders have made a TON of money with their urban projects and now more land has been opened up and they're making money on greenfield projects...and many of them are now voluntarily making their greenfield projects similar to Hamilton's Westdale. They've seen the light THANKS to the leadership at city hall.
That will NEVER happen in Hamilton. I promise you.
NEVER.

DC83
Dec 9, 2007, 6:54 PM
Check it out, Two Portland suburbs that make sense:

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=138578&highlight=Portland
(be sure to read the little captions on some pictures... they're pretty informative)

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=125601

both by MitchE from this site.

raisethehammer
Jan 4, 2008, 3:36 AM
not sure if this is the right place for this article, but I was glad to read it.
I'm part of the 'downtown committee' of the Coalition. Nice to see them get some press:


Meet Hamilton’s secret weapons

By Nicole MacIntyre
The Hamilton Spectator
For nearly four years a powerhouse of influential Hamiltonians has been
quietly conspiring with a simple goal: to make this city better.
You’ve likely never heard of the Hamilton Civic Coalition — that’s by design — but undoubtedly you know some of its nearly 60 members.
It’s a who’s who of community
leaders, from Mac president Peter George and hospital boss Murray
Martin to arts maven Louise
Dompierre and poverty advocate Paul Johnson. There’s also the heads of the school boards, harbour, airport, chamber of commerce, newspaper, immigration centre, and more than a few CEOs. It is, in the words of the coalition’s chair Mark Chamberlain, a “special group of folks.”
Collectively, they operate on the
basic premise that it takes a
community to change a community.
“No group by itself can solve (Hamilton’s) problems,” said Chamberlain, former Wescam president. “We all have a role to play because we all have a piece of the puzzle.”
For the first time the coalition is stepping from the shadows to play a public role in shaping Hamilton’s
future. A selection of its members has been chosen for a new mayor’s
advisory committee to guide the city’s revamped economic development
department.
It’s a major responsibility for the coalition that has so far preferred to keep its meetings and mission quiet.
The group began in 2003 as the brainchild of McMaster professor Roy Adams. He was inspired by the Toronto City Summit Alliance that made waves with its report Enough Talk.
Hamilton, he realized, was facing many of the same challenges identified by the mega-city’s civic coalition and could benefit from its own group. Adams hit the phones inviting dozens of community leaders to the table.
“Almost everyone I called agreed it was a good idea.”
The group, funded by the members’ employers, began to meet every few months to carve out its mission and values. Much of the first few years were spent simply learning from each other and building trust, explained Chamberlain, noting it was the first time such a diverse group ever sat down.
“It was an opportunity to share thoughts and concerns,” he said, adding the coalition is “really a way to network a whole lot of networks across the city.”
Eventually an agenda emerged. Everyone around the table agreed the coalition should focus on issues from urban renewal to immigration to civic finance. But finding consensus on how to tackle the city’s challenges has been far from easy.
Take economic development. While many on the coalition were eager to push ahead with an industrial park around the airport, other members weren’t so keen. It’s an issue the group still struggles with, but all sides agree the experience has been an education.
“You see a whole host of different perspectives around the table,” said coalition member and local environmentalist Lynda Lukasik, noting her own thinking has evolved.
“And I’m hoping that me being there is having an impact on how other members are thinking as well.”
The coalition’s membership, which is invitation only, has grown over the years as the group aims to represent as many voices as possible, particularly on subcommittees.
Its relationship with city council has also developed. In the beginning, Adams said one invitee declined to join because he felt the group would be seen as a threat by local government.
“Actually they were right,” said Adams, recalling the coalition’s early reception at city hall.
“Initially there was an uneasy relationship between the coalition and the mayor’s office.”
Then mayor Larry Di Ianni recalls the issue came down to the feeling that the coalition wanted to operate independently of city hall. In his opinion, if you want to effect change it’s critical to involve the government body.
The relationship improved with communication and co-operation. When Di Ianni publicly asked the province to help Hamilton pay for its social services cost, the coalition
privately used its forces to bolster his request. A letter signed by nearly every institution leader in Hamilton made its way to Queen’s Park to strengthen the lobby.
The money flowed, a first for Hamilton. The coalition garnered barely a passing mention in media reports,
exactly what the group hoped.
From the outset the coalition wanted to be modest, said Adams, who
served as its executive director until last summer. Former Burlington city manager Tim Dobbie has taken over the job.
“The coalition didn’t want to be way out in front,” said Adams.
“It wanted to get things done
quietly.”
Any credit, he explained, was directed toward the city’s politicians because they needed it for survival, while the coalition didn’t. The strategy was double-edged. While the low profile helped gain the support of council, Adams said it also limited the group’s impact because its high-level membership are largely
anonymous.
Still, the group has also seen some early success, such as an immigrant training program in local banks. Coalition member David May, the district vice-president for TD Canada Trust, started the initiative as part of the coalition’s focus on immigrant
integration.
The coalition is now turning its
attention to jobs, said Chamberlain. But rather than approach employment as just a question of economics, the coalition is counting on its many members to explore the issue from every angle.
The strategy meshes well with the city’s new investment in economic development. Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger has called on the coalition to help decide where the city should focus its energy. It’s an advisory role
Di Ianni is pleased to see develop. He felt the coalition was being
underutilized, especially considering its powerful membership.
“I don’t think they want to be a group of talkers. I think they want to be a group of doers.”

the dude
Jan 4, 2008, 4:14 PM
a secret cabal...how very intriguing.

matt602
Jan 4, 2008, 10:57 PM
Very awesome. Makes me have a bit more faith in the future.

SteelTown
Jun 11, 2008, 6:49 PM
City sets benchmarks for success

June 11, 2008
Nicole Macintyre
The Hamilton Spectator

City hall wants to walk the talk.

Months after picking a new mission statement -- to be the best place to raise a child, promote innovation, engage citizens and provide diverse economic opportunities -- the city is working on a strategic plan to make its goals a reality.

"I look at this as being a road map," Councillor Maria Pearson said as council passed the plan. "We have a clear direction now with a future."

Council and staff have identified seven areas for improvement, from financial sustainability to the community's health. Staff plan to report back in the fall on ways to help the city achieve its targets.

For example, the city wants to reduce its welfare case load by 2 per cent a year. Staff are already working on a pilot program to hire Ontario Works clients and on job retention strategies.


Tracking progress

Council approved more than 50 performance measures yesterday, such as:

* 90 per cent of the city's job offers are accepted
* Maintain a yearly employee turnover rate of 5 per cent
* Reduce sick days by 10 per cent by 2011
* Create an employee suggestion plan
* Increase non-residential assessment by 3 per cent by 2011
* Hold tax increases to the rate of inflation or less
* Increase provincial and federal grants
* Triple the amount of shovel-ready land by 2011
* Increase brownfield redevelopments by two more a year
* Increase new businesses by 5 per cent a year
* Increase the number of visitors by 2 per cent a year
* Attract three extra conventions or sports events a year
* Decrease office vacancy downtown by 25 per cent
* Fund two major waterfront projects a year
* Reduce the wait list for affordable rental housing by 2 per cent by 2011
* Increase the number of high school graduates by 10 per cent
* Decrease the number of residents living below the poverty line by 15 per cent in three years
* Increase the immigrants employed in their field by 15 per cent by 2011
* Increase the city's tree coverage to meet the goal of 30 per cent
* Decrease the number of days the beaches are closed
* Maintain or increase voter turnout
* Stop the rise in overweight or obese Hamiltonians
* Increase school tours to local museums by 5 per cent a year