Hamilton moves forward with judicial inquiry into buried RHVP report

Hamilton city council has decided to go forward with a judicial investigation into the shocking 2013 report on the poor friction conditions on the Red Hill Valley Parkway (RHVP).

Despite the advice of a lawyer who recommended council not have a judicial inquiry but instead seek an auditor general or ombudsman investigation, councillors voted 14 to 2 in favour of the judicial investigation.

The inquiry could take three years and cost as much as $11 million whereas the other options would be roughly $300,000.

A report by lawyer Eli Ledermen was delivered to councillors Wednesday in a meeting that was supposed to be behind closed doors but council unanimously voted to have the doors be open to the public in an effort to make the process more transparent.

In the report, the lawyer cites time and money as the main reasons why council should not go ahead with a judicial review.

Ledermen says the cost of having the auditor general or ombudsman will depend on who is selected to act as the delegate, and he estimates it would be about a four-months long investigation.

The recommendation was met with a lot of questions from many councillors who seemed to favour a judicial inquiry because it is the most transparent option.

Councillor Brad Clark moved a motion to pursue a judicial inquiry which was seconded by councillor Sam Merulla. Councillor Whitehead went as far as to say ‘shame on you’, to any councillor who doesn’t vote in favour. Mayor Fred Eisenberger responded to his comment saying, “Really? Shame on that comment.”

The 2013 report was never brought to the attention of the public or council and was only discovered in late 2018. It stated friction levels along the busy parkway were below expected standards and even well below in some areas.

After learning of the report, council voted to change the speed limit on the parkway to 80 kilometres an hour from the current 90 limit between Greenhill Ave. and the QEW. They are also expediting the resurfacing of the RHVP in spring 2019.