Municipal Election 2010

Ward 3 Candidates Respond To Pearl Company Situation

All of the candidates running against Bernie Morelli in Ward 3 who responded to Raise the Hammer say they would actively work to keep the Pearl Company open.

By Adrian Duyzer
Published September 23, 2010

When news broke that the Pearl Company is closing due to ongoing struggles with City of Hamilton bylaws, the Hamilton Spectator quoted Bernie Morelli, Ward 3 Councillor, as saying that "there is a process that you have to go through" that "works in most cases".

I wrote Councillor Morelli not long after hearing the news, and asked him, "how are you going to fix this problem, and how quickly are you going to get it done?"

Morelli has not replied. At the same time, however, I also wrote every candidate running in Ward 3 and asked them three questions:

  1. What's your response to Mr. Morelli's position on the issue?
  2. What specific actions would you take to fix the problems with bylaw and zoning that the Pearl Company has faced?
  3. If elected, how quickly would you resolve this issue?

I received responses from Paul Tetley, Mark DiMillo, and Bob Black.

Paul Tetley

Tetley agrees that losing the Pearl Company would be "a travesty to not only Ward 3, but the entire City of Hamilton" and says that "The Pearl Company and other entrepreneurs who are working to remediate and re-use our numerous vacant buildings and properties will be one of my priorities" and that he'll put this priority on the "fast track".

Tetley criticizes what he perceives as a lack of leadership by Morelli:

He has not provided the leadership in promoting to city staff and council the programs and zoning changes necessary to attract and sustain new businesses in Ward 3. From his quote in the September 21st Spectator he clearly prefers to rely on the same old process that has failed us in the past, fails us today, and will continue to fail us in the future. In 2010 that is not acceptable.

It is well established that council can make exemptions and amendments when it comes to zoning. An example close to The Pearl Company was the support council provided in April of this year, for a zoning exemption to Northbrook Development Group. Northbrook's proposed plan is to establish a sports hub in the former Studebaker plant on Victoria Street. As part of that exemption Councillor Lloyd Ferguson was also able to gain council support for an amendment to allow gymnastic clubs to legally be built in the Ancaster Business Park.

Tetley believes that the Pearl Company is "only one instance of a much larger issue", namely that Hamilton, and particularly Ward 3, has "one of the greatest opportunities for industrial heritage building re-use in Canada [but] under the current bylaw, zoning policies and leadership the adaptive re-use of our heritage industrial buildings isn't only difficult, it is actively discouraged."

My vision includes, creating and implementing a Community Improvement Plan for Ward 3. This Plan is designed to allow the building of sustainable communities through the planning and financing of use, adaptive re-use, the restoration of lands, buildings, and the infrastructure supporting them.

We are faced with an ever increasing number of vacant heritage and industrial buildings in Hamilton and restrictive zoning and fees for redevelopment no longer make sense, and need to be changed. We need 21st Century plans and leadership to address the 21st Century issue that many of our old and vacant factories will never again be used for heavy industry. We need change to happen quickly in order to create an open and inviting system for investors and entrepreneurs to renew these building, preserve our industrial heritage and improve our industrial and commercial tax revenues.

Mark DiMillo

DiMillo believes that "we do have to enforce, and support the by-laws". "[If] I had to make an educated guess, as a recognized activist, [Gary Santucci, one of the Pearl Company's owners] probably went ahead and opened up without going through the rezoning process." In spite of this, he says he supports Gary and the Pearl Company.

Truthfully, Gary got caught in a timing issue. The City of Hamilton has already revamped the zoning by-laws which have been approved by Council, and are awaiting Provincial approvals (any day now). These new zoning by-laws were created to provide opportunities to investors to reinvest in the lower city, without the red tape, and without the expensive re-zoning. Infact, Stage 1 which is the only one approved right now covers 80% of our ward. Planning department tells me that the concept is: if somebody has a good idea for a building, but it doesn't conform to the zoning or otherwise, the new by-laws will allow for it, providing it makes sense for the neighbourhood.

In reality, Gary should hang on to the building, and very very shortly the opportunities to do what he wants to do will be supported by the newly adopted zoning by-laws. Frankly, Morelli should know this, and should of told Gary about the City's new zoning and planning initiatives.

If elected, DiMillo promises to to help the Pearl Company "navigate the new zoning by-law" and "help mitigate a workable solution that will keep the Pearl Company operating".

Bob Black

Black believes the situation with the Pearl Company needs to be dealt with quickly. He offered numbered responses to each of my three questions:

  1. I don't believe the "process" is working for the people who are attempting to not only enlighten our neighbourhoods but to build on culture and education as well.
  2. I think I would start by aproaching the people who live in the immediate neighbourhood to see how they feel about keeping Pearl Company because who knows better if there is a future than the people who are going to be affected. next I think I would put together a plan that I could take to my fellow Councilors to garner support in an effort to get the Zoning changed as soon as possible. I believe I would also start to make an effort have the charges against Mr Satucci and Ms Milne dropped and if warrented an apology made [sic].
  3. I can only say that this is an issue that would have to be dealt with quickly in order that people may become aware of the direction the new council is going in, as for a time frame I would hope that it would all be dealt with in short order so that they don't haave to sell the property and can get on with running a small business and improving the culture of this fair city.

As well as Morelli, Wilamina McGrimmond and Sean Gibson did not respond to questions.

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz

31 Comments

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted September 24, 2010 at 09:06:00

I think Paul and Mark are both working very hard in this election. I have seen both of them out pounding the pavement in Ward 3. I had a chance to speak with Mark for about half an hour, I believe he is very sincere in wanting to help his community. Unfortunately I have not had the chance to speak with Paul.

I just hope these two don't split the vote, allowing Bernie's army of old biddies to once again send Bernie to city hall.

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By omro (registered) | Posted September 24, 2010 at 10:34:34

If you want to speak to Paul, go to his website, www.paultetley.com, or his facebook page, Paul Tetley for Ward 3, and get his contact information and call him up. He's very happy to talk to anyone who wants to get to know him!

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By Generic (anonymous) | Posted September 24, 2010 at 11:22:10

A very well thought out response Mr. Tetley, not at all reactionary. Looks like you've done some research on the subject.

I'm pleased to see that you are looking beyond the Pearl Company and considering alternatives for future redevelopment.

You've got my vote!

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted September 24, 2010 at 11:35:11

"Sean Gibson did not respond to questions"

Not surprised, he wouldn't understand zoning, as he clearly doesn't understand the law in general! http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/let...

Or perhaps he just understands the zoning for Ward 2?

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By overfedandfedup (anonymous) | Posted September 24, 2010 at 12:23:56

EugeneM that's a new one.

There was nother on the spectaor comments a few weeks ago, http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/letters/Ontario%20Barbers%20Association_Restraining%20Order_July%2030,%202010.pdf

looks like they are conected. what Ward 3 doesn't need, a candidate who makes up their own law.

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By Gary santucci (anonymous) | Posted September 24, 2010 at 17:40:53

To Candidate DiMillo

Planning Process

Please visit our website www.thepearlcompany.ca and select the rezone tab. There you will find all of the information you require to reverse your assumption that we did not engage in a process with the City. More recent documents will be posted to relfect our ongoing work and consultation with the City. Should you have any further questions you many contact me by telephone at 905 524 0606 and I will be happy to meet with in person to help further your understanding of our situation.

Gary Santucci

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted September 24, 2010 at 19:29:38

There you will find all of the information you require to reverse your assumption that we did not engage in a process with the City. - Gary Santucci

Is this semantics? Meaning, does the city not feel that you have "engaged" in the process until a rezoning application is submitted and paid for?

Given the information from Mr. Fletcher posted by Ryan I am really starting to get confused about this issue.

Has a rezoning form been submitted?

Were building permits obtained?

I support your cause Mr. Santucci and would like to see the Pearl continue but a picture of you simply being unwilling to jump through ANY hoops is being painted here.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 24, 2010 at 20:56:02

The problem as I understand it is that as soon as they start the rezoning application process, a whole slew of related fees and charges - everything from zoning application fees to engineering studies to development charges to building permits to cash-in-lieu-of-parkland fees to parking fees - automatically kicks in.

Gary and Barbara believe their current use of the building is a legal, non-conforming use, whereas the city's position is that it is not a legal use. The matter has not been decided by a judge, so the legality of their current operation is still up in the air.

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By Sean Gibson (anonymous) | Posted September 26, 2010 at 10:44:02

Dear Resident and especially Eugene; The restraining order I have received and the FIGHT that I have been fighting with the Ministry over the last 10 years is no different than the fight that the Pearl Company has encountered. I am providing education and barber instruction that’s not available anywhere else in Ontario to individuals who are interested in the barbering trade, unfortunately its not a high profile case like the Pearl Companies but it still illustrates how an entrepreneur trying to better the community being dissuaded and discouraged by government. The Pearl Company broke the law and The Barber Centre broke the Law in both of our cases. I have since rectified the conflict with the Ministry and continue to move forward, and so has the Pearl Company. All in all this inability for government (Municipal and in my case Provincial) to work with business and local residents is what I’ve been lobbying for over the last 10 years. So Eugene; all those nasty comments you have suggested about my restraining order and my overall intentions must also apply to this Pearl Company debacle? I have been fighting for this neighborhood long before this election began and I’ve never heard any comments on your behalf……I’ll continue to fight the good fight and I hope the Pearl company does the same.

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By seangibson (registered) - website | Posted September 26, 2010 at 11:30:50

Dear Ryan: Much of the reason I haven’t responded to your questions is that many of your readers and online viewers support Paul and are behind Gary’s candidate of choice. Therefore having a fair and unbiased opportunity to voice my thoughts and opinions turns into mud slinging, no thanks. I wish Paul and all my other opponents the best of luck, pray we don’t all split the vote and let Bernie back. God Bless

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted September 26, 2010 at 12:20:28

Sean:

It does not give me a lot of hope for you as a councillor if you won't even answer questions provided to you during the election by people you perceive (wrongly or rightly) as political opponents.

Councillors need to serve the whole city, and particularly their own ward. If we can't even get straight answers out of you with an election on, what chance would we have after an election?

To refuse to answer some simple and straightforward questions from the public demonstrates your arrogance and lack of respect for the citizens of Hamilton.

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By seangibson (registered) - website | Posted September 26, 2010 at 13:17:24

Forgive me if I have misled you to believe I would not answers questions from the public, this was not my intention. I don’t have a problem answering any questions put out during this election; I just find it difficult to receive an unbiased opportunity to do so through this forum. If I haven’t responded to any concerns or questions you may have for me please feel free to ask. What is it you would like to know Tybalt? My number is 289-921-8683- www.gibson2010.ca or visit me at 510 Main.St. east. I welcome a healthy robust discussion about ways to improve our community, address the growing concerns our neighbourhood faces and the plethora solutions we can implement. Where would you like to begin?

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By BeUpfront (anonymous) | Posted September 26, 2010 at 16:39:44

@Sean Gibson,

Oh, I get it you'll answer the public, but not in an open forum. Mr Gibson, we don't need another backroom deal guy at City Hall.

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By seangibson (registered) - website | Posted September 26, 2010 at 23:06:56

"Please ask me a Question" This confirms my suspicions were correct(No questions, no constructive critiquing nothing progressive said, just as I thought).........Call me residents, send me questions you want answers to or pass by the campaign office and speak to me directly. No matter what's said in this forum, I truly look forward to effectively representing Ward 3. Goodnight & God Bless

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By Questioning (anonymous) | Posted September 27, 2010 at 08:37:57

@Sean Gibson. Good Morning.

With your apparent aversion to answering questions in an open forum, will you be attending any public all-candidates meetings? Are any planned for Ward 3?

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By sylvee (anonymous) | Posted September 27, 2010 at 11:55:02

Mr. Gibson,

with all due respect, the owners of the Pearl Comapny are not running for political office, as last look you are. Do you not see the importance of that when running for office? you mentioned you stopped operating, does that mean you were breking the law? It appears that you felt your were.

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By Jimbo (anonymous) | Posted September 28, 2010 at 07:43:39

Mark Dimillo has come out even more strongly against The Pearl.

http://www.markdforward3.ca/what-is-your-position-on-the-pearl/2010/09/27/

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 28, 2010 at 09:24:25

Well, at least Ward 2 candidates will manage to unseat an incumbent.

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By Jimbo (anonymous) | Posted September 28, 2010 at 14:02:23

To stay consistent with my post on the other thread. Is Dimillo, Bernie Jr.?

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By frank (registered) | Posted September 29, 2010 at 09:18:00

Sean, I fail to see what the basis for your aversion to responding to ward specific issues... The best way to find out what your opponent's strategy or arguments are is to argue with them. As a councilor it is not only your duty to represent your ward but to help foster this City along with your ward into the type of city people would want to live in.

It's time to step back and take a look at a bigger picture here: while the Pearl Company is located in Ward 3, the decision to essentially force it's closure is caused by insane development charges that are the same all over the city! So by engaging citizens from other wards on the issue and jumping into the fray you'd be displaying leadership qualities. As it stands, you're stating an less childish equivalent of "I'm only going to talk to my friends because they say what I like to hear". News flash: Being a councilor requires an ability to lead people...including those who disagree with you, in any type of forum-online or otherwise.

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By pantonfire (anonymous) | Posted September 29, 2010 at 14:11:02

agreed frank, childish is where he's at. Lok at saying YES six times in response to living in Ward 3, and then going queit; http://www.thehamiltonian.net/2010/09/meet-ward-3-contender-sean-gibson.html#comments

i think, he has lied about where he lives, not to mentions brushing off a provincial restraining order. they are issus and he won't (or can't) understand that people want to represented by people who live in their neighborhoods, and they want councilors who arent fighting restrining orders.

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By CCurrie (anonymous) | Posted October 11, 2010 at 14:27:27

Back on Track. I am sorry that the Pearl Company is closing. I enjoying the venue but like the rest of us, there is procedure to follow. Mr. Tetley seems to think that he can make instantaneous changes if he is elected but that is rather naive. He can grandstand as much as he pleases in council but he is still subject to the current policies and procedures that are in place. A Councillor is only one person on council. Mr. Morelli knows the limits of the law and is trying to work within them. If the owners of the Pearl Company are not able to work within those guidelines then it is indeed unfortunate. There always seems to be one candidate that makes undeliverable promises and tends to knock the others down in order to elevate their own perceived greatness. I really hope the Pearl Comany will reconsider with Mr. Morelli's assistance rather than hang their hat on the empty promises of Mr. Tetley.

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By cantweallgetalong (anonymous) | Posted October 12, 2010 at 00:03:46

CCurrie, very well put and from the alliances I've seen on here, very brave too!

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted October 12, 2010 at 07:03:58

Morelli has had years now to assist the Pearl Company and has declared no strong support for them. I can see why the owners have no faith in him as their champion. Whether Tetley can offer them an immediate fix when elected or not, he has stated that he will support them and that is more than any other candidate. If you support the Pearl Company and wish to have a voice on the council that will actually take a stand for them, then you can only vote for Tetley if you want that. Alternatively vote for another candidate like DiMillo. Just don't waste your vote on four more years of Morelli!!

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By curiouskat (anonymous) | Posted October 12, 2010 at 11:01:02

ccurrie, you finish by saying tetley's promises are empty. can you eloborate how you've determined they are empty? or, is it an empty statement? just curious, as i assume you have some backing history.

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By ccurrie (anonymous) | Posted October 12, 2010 at 17:14:03

curioskat: ccurrie is my real name and I would gladly elaborate if you could come out from behind your cute little moniker for a real discussion.

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted October 12, 2010 at 17:22:37

Does it matter if people use their real name or a nickname?

I am curious if you can elaborate on your comment please ccurrie?

Comment edited by EugeneM on 2010-10-12 16:33:44

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By ccurrie (anonymous) | Posted October 12, 2010 at 17:36:00

EugeneM: It does matter whether people use their real name. It shows confdence behind their convictions. And I certainly can shed a great deal of light on my comment and I will at the all candidates meeting. Please be sure to come out for it. I would love to speak to many of you face to face rather than face to anonymous name.

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By curiouskat (anonymous) | Posted October 12, 2010 at 20:17:23

ccurrie, as i thought an empty statement with no backing history. thanks for the response, or should i say nonrsponse

real name, or not, if you are going to attack a person in public (note, I'm guessing tetley is his real name), please be able to back-up your statement.

ps. i'll back everyone i put up here.

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By Ccurrie (anonymous) | Posted October 12, 2010 at 21:09:19

LOL Curiouskat. It appears that you are an expert on empty statements as I can find no meanful dialogue anywhere in this thread from you. I made it clear when my statements will be backed up. I think it is only fair that all of this innuendo is cleared up in front of a larger audience. Try to be a bit patient.

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By curiouskat (anonymous) | Posted October 12, 2010 at 22:53:17

yup, and i can spot your empty ones a mile away. all show, zero go.

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