Should Hamilton council switch to morning meetings? Some say it cuts off the public

The city wants public input on whether it should move its council meetings from evenings to mornings. But it’s a move some councillors say would make it harder for people to attend.

Right now, Hamilton city council meetings start at 5 p.m., two Wednesdays a month. Some councillors want the meetings in every month but July, August and December to start at 9:30 a.m. instead. Now, the city wants to know what residents think.

Lloyd Ferguson, Ancaster councillor, moved the idea at a February meeting. It came from a late-night meeting about a buried Red Hill Valley Parkway report when councillors were there until about 3 a.m.

“I just don’t think you make good decisions after 10 or 11 o’clock,” Ferguson said.

Tom Jackson, Ward 6 (east Mountain) councillor, said that only happens “once in a blue moon.” Evening meetings mean Cogeco Cable 14 airs the meetings for its subscribers. People can also watch a live stream online, but Jackson said many seniors don’t do that.

Maria Pearson, Ward 10 (lower Stoney Creek) councillor said there are no delegations at council meetings, so the time doesn’t matter.

Maureen Wilson (Ward 1, west end), however, said morning meetings do make it harder for people to listen in and come to them.

The proposed change “asks the wrong question,” she said.

“I think the government is not here for our convenience. I think it is here in service.”

People can give their input on the proposed change here.