By-law enforcement is complaint-based. We need to break the cycle of willful negligence and emergency demolition in this city by reporting reporting property standards by-law infractions to the city when we see them.
By Matt Jelly
Published January 20, 2010
On Saturday, February 6, 2010 Hamilton will see its first By-Law Crawl, at 1:00 PM beside the remains of the Century Theatre.
Please be advised that the date and time of this event have been changed from the original time and date (Friday, Feb 5 at 7 PM).
Many people in our community are saddened to see another heritage building destroyed - demolition crews are dismantling the 97-year-old Century Theatre as I write this.
Multiple parties are to blame for this prime example of demolition by neglect, including the owners for not living up to their responsibilities as a property owner, and the City for not holding the owners to those responsibilities.
The public also has a role in this. By-law enforcement is complaint-based. We need to break the cycle of willful negligence and emergency demolition in this city. The only way for us to do that is by reporting property standards by-law infractions to the city when we see them.
It's the only way we can stop the next building(s) from being torn down.
We don't need any new by-laws passed to prevent this from happening. The city simply needs to enforce the by-laws we already have as they're written. The public needs to ensure that enforcement happens.
We will be printing up copies of the Property Standards By-Law for distribution at the event, and we will scour the core for the worst offenders. We will forward these findings to the city's by-law enforcement, and ensure that these complaints are processed and acted upon.
I will be in contact with senior by-law staff to explore ways in which we can work together to fix this problem once and for all.
Let me be clear - I haven't organized this event to crack down unfairly on property owners who are doing their part. There are many building owners in Hamilton who do the right thing. They maintain their buildings and keep them vibrant and active.
I want to focus on the worst offenders - property owners who have shown little respect to their neighbours, by allowing buildings to fall into disrepair and become a public danger.
I want to focus on by-law infractions proven to be the most detrimental to the safety and lifespan of buildings and properties. I don't want to attack those who keep business alive in the downtown core.
The point of this event is to crack down on absentee property speculators who do nothing but keep business out.
I urge you to join us on Saturday, February 6 at 1:00 PM, beside the remains of the Century Theatre. Let's work together to solve this long-standing problem, and prevent the wrecking ball from claiming any more of our last remaining heritage buildings.
For more information and updates, I encourage you to join the Facebook fanpage.
Editor's note: Matt Jelly has sent this as a press release to local Hamilton media.