Councillors call for a bridge to the beach
y Eric McGuinness
The plan is to create a dramatic statement to distract Toronto-bound drivers from bayfront smokestacks and slag piles.
It would safely connect local residents to the lakefront and link with the Beach Recreational Trail and the Bruce Trail through the Red Hill Valley.
To do it, the majority of council's public works committee recommends spending $7.5 million for a curving, "signature gateway" project rather than a simple steel span costing half as much.
Committee members voted 6-2 yesterday to spend $500,000 for a detailed design of the fancier bridge, hoping some of the money will come from upper levels of government, the city's Future Fund, the Lake Ontario Waterfront Regeneration Trust or other sources.
Chris Murray, overseeing construction of the Red Hill Valley Parkway, said a decision is needed now so the Ontario Ministry of Transportation can build the centre support pier on the QEW median this year as part of the parkway interchange project.
Downtown Councillor Bob Bratina said it won't be a gateway to east Hamilton, "because the gateway is where the Stoney Creek sign is" (farther east on the QEW).
Bratina wants the public to decide whether they want an expensive bridge, his fountain proposal in the harbour or some other landmark project.
"Before you commit the dollars, you've got to get the public involved. A lot of east-enders would say spend the money on something else."
Ward 5 Councillor Chad Collins argues the creative design would help counter images of Hamilton's industrial skyline and "everything that's on Eastport Drive."