Special Report: Heritage

Why Doesn't the Heritage Committee Designate More Buildings?

The Heritage Committee knows that without Council support, they are wasting their time trying to save heritage buildings from demolition.

By Ryan McGreal
Published December 21, 2012

Whenever the City of Hamilton issues a demolition permit, we invariably learn that the building in question is a "property of interest" being followed the Municipal Heritage Committee but was often not designated formally as a heritage property.

Accusations fly about the Heritage Committee being "reactive" or "caught flat-footed", and that it's too late to start thinking about trying to save the building.

Unfortunately, the legal, political and institutional realities of heritage protection in Hamilton sharply constrain the Heritage Committee's ability to protect buildings.

18-28 King Street East, slated for demolition (RTH file photo)
18-28 King Street East, slated for demolition (RTH file photo)

Municipal Heritage Powers

The Ontario Heritage Act offers two levels of protection for heritage properties: a municipal Council can designate a building as a municipal heritage property or the Ontario Government can designate it as a provincial heritage property.

At the municipal level, a Municipal Heritage Committee exists to advise Council on heritage issues so that new developments are consistent with maintaining cultural heritage. It includes both representatives from Council and at least five citizens appointed by Council.

The Heritage Committee maintains a register of properties of heritage value or interest, listing the address, owner and heritage value of each property. This register can include both properties that have been designated municipally or provincially and properties that have not been designated but are considered "of interest".

For buildings that are not designated, the owner must only advise the city of an intent to demolish. However, a demolition permit can be voided if the Council subsequently votes to designate the building.

For buildings that are designated, the owner may not demolish the building without first obtaining the consent of Council. Council has up to 90 days after receiving a demolition request to approve the demolition (with or without conditions) or to deny it. If Council does not respond in 90 days, consent is then implied.

If Council refuses the demolition request, the owner can appeal the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board, which has the power to overturn Council's decision.

Heritage Committee and Sanford School

When the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) announced its intention to demolish Sanford School, Councillor Brian McHattie - a member of the Heritage Committee - lamented that the Committee was not made aware of the Board's intention to demolish until it was too late to do anything about it. He said the Committee needs to become more proactive about getting heritage properties onto the registry.

Rendering of Sanford School with neighbourhood green space
Rendering of Sanford School with neighbourhood green space

Unfortunately, that is much easier said than done. Sanford was on the Committee's radar as early as March 2012 [PDF], when the Committee express concern about the "uncertain" future of the building, which "may be demolished to add additional green space to the community."

The building was then added to the City's list of buildings of interest.

In April 2012 [PDF], the Committee received an update that the School Board intended to hold onto the property and use it as green space.

In August 2012 [PDF], the Committee formally asked the Planning Committee to "put a hold on any demolition permit respecting Sanford Avenue School...until further discussion with the School Board can occur."

They also asked Council to "direct staff to meet with School Board officials to discuss holding an Expression of Interest (EOI) regarding the adaptive reuse of Sanford School".

The Planning Committee received the motion on September 5, 2012 [PDF] and sent it on to Council. Council received the Planning Committee report on September 12, 2012 but simply referred it back to the Planning Committee [PDF].

So Council had a chance to put a hold on the demolition of Sanford School back in September but chose not to act.

Since the Board Trustees decided not to put a hold on their plans at their December 17, 2012 meeting, the demolition will likely go ahead in January.

Political Inertia

The Heritage Committee could have voted to designate Sanford School as a heritage building. They could also have voted to designate 18-28 King Street East, the pre-Confederate streetwall at Gore Park that its owner, Wilson-Blanchard, plans to demolish next year.

However, those votes need to be ratified by Council, and we have a Council that does not regard heritage as a priority. According to Councillor McHattie, the "prevalent mood" in Council is "in favour of development at any cost - in this case protection or adaptive re-use of heritage buildings."

That lack of a sense of urgency is reflected in the Planning Department's priorities. "There are far too few City staff in the heritage planning department so any request for designation takes one to two years to process. Consequently there are properties waiting to be evaluated with report dates into 2015-16, hence a hesitation to add many more given the timelines."

If there was more interest from Council, McHattie argues, "more money could be added to the department to get this done. The Planning Department knows Council has no interest and therefore do not take any more action than they need to - having been shot down in flames at the Planning Committee many times."

McHattie notes that the only reason the Lister Building was saved from demolition was that McHattie appealed to the Ontario Ministry of Culture to intervene. Council was perfectly happy to ignore the Heritage Committee's recommendation [PDF] and approve the demolition request - even though the Lister was municipally designated - but a last-minute deal brokered by the Province saw the building restored instead of demolished.

Since then, according to McHattie, "Nothing has changed at Council. There is still a war on heritage buildings."

Lister Block: Council voted to demolish it
Lister Block: Council voted to demolish it

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

63 Comments

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By grahamm (registered) | Posted December 21, 2012 at 11:14:32

Thanks for summarizing these issues. After the School board building, Sanford School and now the Gore, I was getting the feeling that there were bureaucratic issues that was preventing the City from stopping unconsidered demolition. In nearly any other city, this wouldn't be happening.

This failure in the system must be fixed. Anyone who cares about cities knows that blithely demolishing historic buildings will be something we will live to regret. The character of the Gore park will be negatively impacted and we will regret it.

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By dsafire (registered) - website | Posted December 21, 2012 at 11:59:05

So perhaps we should try email-bombing Ontario Ministry of Culture regarding these issues and request more provincial protection in Hamilton

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 21, 2012 at 12:10:56

we need to start designating as many as possible. Especially considering the old-boys club of developers, politicians, institutional big-wigs and city staffers who don't give a rip about Hamilton's history. They just want to replicate the Meadowlands everywhere possible. Other cities have a built-in pride that runs through their power brokers. Here, we have a built in disregard and actual dislike for anything, and everything Hamilton.

Comment edited by jason on 2012-12-21 12:11:14

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By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted August 06, 2013 at 11:25:40 in reply to Comment 84316

Yes some 6,000 building are on the list and its nice to designate heritage but lets keep them up to date and not let them crumble like the one in the Gore, lets have a by-law officer visit those building every 4 months so there kept in good maintenance so when they decide to sell it wont cost the New owner millions to bring it back to its former glory

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 21, 2012 at 19:23:42 in reply to Comment 84316

we need to start designating as many as possible.

Yes, let's designate every single building standing today, that's a start.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2012 at 17:42:01 in reply to Comment 84316

Agreed, but what will happen if we have 200 designations pending and it will take staff 50 years to process the requests?

Based on the information in the article, withotu more staff in the heritage department you'll jsut have a long line-up of buildings, none of which will have any protection while awaiting designation.

To me, this article suggests the real issue is with councillors not providing the budget needed to designate these buildings in a timely fashion.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:11:37 in reply to Comment 84330

exactly. surely we can spare some of our gazillion dollars for suburban road re-paving and roundabouts in the middle of nowhere and redirect it to helping revitalize our city.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:50:38 in reply to Comment 84349

they are the ones paying the majority of the taxes after all

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 23, 2012 at 22:20:41 in reply to Comment 84349

My, how dare the city pay for road upgrades on roads you don't use, or aren't located in the lower city!

Seriously, let the anti-suburbian bias go, or do something about it rather than crying on an online forum.

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By Mal (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2012 at 12:27:28

In light of the wealth of institutional memory in the MHC, I am frankly surprised that more buildings aren't designated. This article helped clarify the choke-points.

I wonder if the more-or-less successful resolution of the Lister episode in reduced the sense that reforms and redoubled efforts were needed. Maybe 2012 will be more memorable.

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By Gary Santucci (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2012 at 12:29:24

It would seem that the efforts to save Sanford Avenue School were well underway prior to the demolition permit request. The process appears to have been sabotaged by incompetence, negligence or worse. I was present at the meeting of The Heritage committee and heard all of this first hand. Joey Coleman's video captured it all as well and is well worth the time to watch all of it to see the sorry process explained. Our thanks to Brian McHattie for standing up for our built heritage as the Ward 3 Councillor was no where to be found, not then, not now. I withdrew my request to have the Pearl Company Heritage Recognition Award re-instated. A nomination or an award from a City Government whose track record on Heritage protection is so dismal, leaves me of the opinion that I would prefer to stand amidst the rubble rather than accept either. Thanks again to RTH for bringing our issues to the public.

Gary Santucci

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By TheFixer (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:21:11 in reply to Comment 84319

Our thanks to Brian McHattie for standing up for our built heritage as the Ward 3 Councillor was no where to be found, not then, not now, not anytime.

Mr. Santucci, I hope you don't mind, but I fixed one of your sentences.

Maybe the Ward 3 Councillor wants the front doors of the building so is very quiet about the demolition.

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By Gary Santucci (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:34:13 in reply to Comment 84351

Thank you

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By Spearin (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2012 at 13:01:58

James North is a perfect example of grassroots development that is revitalizing the city. A top-down initiative to demolish and build new structures is not empowering the citizens who ultimately compose our city - but bloating costs for developers that seems impressive in a headline at first, but inevitably will leave a sour taste on the street.

Hamilton should take pride in the preservation of its character through the reinvention of heritage buildings. These decision makers need to alter their thinking that sustainability is accessibility to the population and thereby a political victory.

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By problem (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2012 at 19:47:52

The problem is councillors. Our lower city is constantly ganged-up on by suburbanites. We are literally surrounded by them. The vast majority of suburbanites don't care about heritage and will never vote for someone who does. Therefore, Suburbia and their view of the world will always rule our downtown and what happens in it under the current system.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:13:09 in reply to Comment 84332

you're right except on one point- they DO care about heritage, but not Hamilton's. If this was on Wilson Street in Ancaster, Ferguson would be making the rounds on CHML, CH, the Spec etc..... flipping his lid and talking about how restored heritage is good for business and the quality of life of a community etc.... They've proven by their actions that they don't care about the quality of life or business success of old Hamilton.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 06:43:37 in reply to Comment 84332

How can you say that? All of the suburbs surrounding Hamilton have heritage cores in their areas (Dundas, Ancaster, Flamborough, Stoney Creek, Glanbrook) and they are not being knocked down left right and centre. I can only imagine what would happen if someone proposed knocking down a row of older buildings in Dundas. It'd be stopped and we'd end up paying for full upgrades to them at the same time!

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 05:18:39

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By LOL@LOL (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 14:46:42 in reply to Comment 84336

Hey, maybe I'll buy 5 houses in a row starting with the house beside your house. Maybe I'll knock them all down. Maybe I'll put in a big store and multi level garage instead. It's my property right? My money right?

But I bet you won't be happy about that. I bet you'll be down right angry. I bet you'll go to the city and complain. I bet you'll demand them to stop it. I bet you'll say demolishing those buildings is bad for the neighborhood. I bet you'll say it will harm your quality of life. I bet you'll say it will hurt your property values. I bet you'll say it's not in keeping with the character of your community and would harm the whole neighbourhood. I bet you'll do everything you can to stop it from happening.

I bet all the shitty things in the world is okay as long as it's not happening to you. As long as it's happening to other people. It's there problem, not yours. They get hurt, not you. If they don't like it they should just leave. Right? But if it was happening to you you'd be screaming bloody murder. I bet you're nothing but a selfish hypacrite.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2012 at 07:16:42 in reply to Comment 84354

That is why we have ZONING LAWS. You know those things that are complained about so often on this site.

If you bought 5 houses beside mine and turned that into a commercial site the value of my property would just increase so by all means if you can swing it please go ahead and do it. The problem is that like all the other people whining on this site is that you don't have the resources to do something like that. Could you buy 1 house in my neighbourhood? 2? 5? LOL

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted December 24, 2012 at 14:08:22 in reply to Comment 84367

LOL all over again: If I were you, the first thing I would do is -- make small clippings of all building materials and furnishings used in my suburban home, and put them in separate glass jars, seal it tight and leave them in the sun for a few days.

Then, as I wait for the offgasing from these clippings to discolour the inside of the jars, I would quickly read the note below and talk to some professionals to verify facts.

Then, I would call my realtor and ask: what the hell is the real value of my home, if my family and I have been breathing all this toxic stuff, everyday for ___ years?

I may also want to squeeze in a call to my doctor somewhere in between, just to be sure that this stuff I have been breathing in my suburban home has not effected my thinking.

Most of the old buildings in downtown, do not suffer this fate, as smarter people have come to renovate them. Even the ones Blanchard is planning on demolishing were once "breathing buildings" up until he bought them, and set them up for demolition by neglect some ten years ago. He too could have renovated them, and put them to use, but that was not the game he was in.

Maybe after I verify facts about the hermetically sealed life I have been leading in my suburb, I may want to talk to my realtor to explore a trade - there are still some good deals up for grabs down there, in the core.

Mahesh P. Butani


The 1973 Oil Embargo and Sick House Syndrome:

"One might wonder what the 1973 oil embargo could possible have to do with sick house syndrome but the resulting energy crisis actually set a chain of events into motion which was to drastically increase the amount of people suffering from this syndrome. With world wide oil shortages looming in the near future, the 1973 oil embargo helped push the price of oil higher. and government agencies into a new line of conservation practices. One of these was a new set of building standards code which was put in place to insure that buildings would be as energy efficient as they could be.

In the early 1900's and throughout the mid 1900's building standards code required 15 cubic feet of fresh air per minute per person for appropriate ventilation within buildings. New energy conservation measures were implemented in the 1970's that reduced the amount of fresh air ventilation within buildings. The current 15 cubic feet per minute per person was reduced to a mere 5 cubic feet of air per minute per person. Newly constructed and renovated homes, offices, and schools, were to follow the new standards set out to insure that these buildings would be much more airtight.

It was believed that these new building standard codes would insure that buildings required less heating, and cooling costs, and so would therefore be more energy efficient. What no one could foresee then was that these new building code standards rather than being of benefit during the oil crisis, would instead served to trap bacteria and other pollutants within these buildings. The trapped contaminants then had the opportunity to multiply and rise to dangerous levels. It was this contaminated indoor air which then caused the people within these buildings to become ill."

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2012-12-24 14:41:10

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 26, 2012 at 10:49:21 in reply to Comment 84414

You are right about one thing. There are some deals downtown. The reason these deals exist is because anyone with means chooses to live elsewhere. Hope you enjoy your downtown lifestyle. Something that the vast majority of us do not want.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 26, 2012 at 13:06:34 in reply to Comment 84423

You're welcome to leave downtown and live however you like. Just stop telling everyone who stayed how they should live.

Thanks!

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By LOL@LOL (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2012 at 14:13:15 in reply to Comment 84367

"That is why we have ZONING LAWS." Thank you for proving your hypocrasy. Rules that stop other people from doing things you don't like are perfectly fine, as long as there aren't rules to stop you from doing things other people don't like. You don't have a problem with control as long as the people in control feel the same way you do. In fact you're quite happy to see them force other people to suffer to convenience you, and to accuse them of wanting to be controlling just because they don't want to have to live in their community under YOUR rules.

Also I call BS on you not minding if the houses beside you were turned into a store. The only reason you can say that is you know the rules stop it from happening - rules you're quite happy to see enforced because they help YOU.

One more thing, you don't know anything about how much resources I have or anyone else on this site. But try taking a look at the bios of the people who write here. Dcotors. Lawyers. Transportaion engineers. Chemical engineers. Mechanical engineers. Software engineers. Stationary engineers. Engineering technologists. Architects. Mathematicians. Business owners. Publishers. Millwrights. Physicists. Biologists. Computer programmers. Designers. Geologists. Biochemists. Industrial researchers. Analysts. Journalists. Transportation planners. Elected politicians. Operations managers. Chefs. Business managers. Investors. Chartered accountants. Executive management consultants. Executives. Nuclear physicists.

You know, unemployed bums you can ignore with a wave of your self righteous hand.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:58:06 in reply to Comment 84382

but they are not the ones posting the trash. You are. I have found out that those with the least want to control those with most. Those with the most are happy controlling what they have.

Zoning laws have been around for a long time and I typically agree with them. I don't believe that I have ever railed against them like so many on this site. I live and play by the rules, not such a hard thing to do. If you find that hypocritical then you have every right in the world to feel that way. Hope it makes you happy.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:11:33 in reply to Comment 84404

LOL will you ever post anything factual. We are waiting? Do you agree with the new urban official plan and the zoning reform that is part of the plan. Most of what people are criticizing on this site relates to the zoning of the past and the time it has taken to update the zoning by-law. Are you okay with the C5 mixed use designations as well as the expansion of community improvement areas and support for Heritage buildings and their adaptive re-use? Let us know as this is what we are talking about here. Become informed or give it up.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 26, 2012 at 11:16:10 in reply to Comment 84407

I have no problem with the C5 zoning. What I have a problem with is people who decide to ignore zoning laws and simply proceed to do whatever their little hearts desire. Then they whine and complain when the city shuts them down. There certainly needs to be municipal control to a certain degree. Beyond basic zoning laws I just believe that the city needs to tread lightly and carefully. Telling property owners what they can and cannot do with their buildings can have a huge detrimental affect.

Instead of the city choosing to designate a building as a "heritage site" and tying the owners hands I would much prefer the city to reward the preservation of buildings that are special. Giving owners a portion of the costs to keep the buildings looking period for example. This would entice investors to buy and renovate those buildings were it is truly worthwhile. The system that we have now were the city or province simply designates the site and puts all the costs and burdens on the owner is ridiculous and counter productive.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted December 28, 2012 at 10:06:30 in reply to Comment 84424

Are you running for re-election in 2014?

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By Dane (registered) | Posted December 27, 2012 at 23:12:25 in reply to Comment 84424

Funny in Halifax designated buildings abound. You know what happens, people adapted. The actually move whole houses to put better foundations and basements in. Property values and desire for olde buildings has risen dramatically.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 19:39:23 in reply to Comment 84354

Probably not. If it's your land and it's within variance, it's no big deal. You can always move away since it's a zoning thing, not personal.

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By whoosh (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 21:39:05 in reply to Comment 84362

At least the point didn't go sailing clean over your head!

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 23, 2012 at 06:44:19 in reply to Comment 84364

Not acknowldging your trolling doesn't mean I didn't get it. Pretending to care about something like that by playing devil's advocate is easy. Why not do something about it? Where's the email campaign? Where's the contact list to get out there and profess your displeasure? Why is there not a crowd at City Hall or in front of Wilson Banchard's offices to let them know how you feel?

It's easy to sit behind a computer and lament about how this city is nonsensical and makes you sick. Go out and do something, or else it's clear you don't actually care, you just pay lip service to the vocal minority here.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 15:19:24 in reply to Comment 84354

Sounds like plan.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 15:20:42 in reply to Comment 84358

Sorry sounds like a plan.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2012 at 07:18:47 in reply to Comment 84359

OH please. I can hardly wait.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 08:38:31 in reply to Comment 84336

You seem to make a lot of assumptions on the qualifications of many of the posters on this site. You are free to post here as you can see and you are free to submit articles or contrary opinions with the usual back-up and research. You may not agree with those opinions and the research but you have every right to make your case as well or to invest the substantial time it takes to maintain a sight such as RTH. You seem to always engage in anecdotal evidence and make statements that are not backed up. Please provide us with your vision for the City of Hamilton if you can in a thoughtful meaningful way.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 06:44:31 in reply to Comment 84336

Amen!

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 08:54:25 in reply to Comment 84339

Here is link for all you need to know about the future of the Sanford Avenue Site.

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/223950--bylaw-makes-school-site-rezoning-much-easier

The single family homes semi-detached residences by-law

Suburban planning in an urban environment. You can bet that Paul Mallard Director of Planning East was behind this one. That's all he knows. One house one car.

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By 1234 (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 09:28:44

LOL promotes the formalized training in the planning world. Well Here is an article from Julian Smith, Internationally acclaimed heritage architect and Executive Director of Willowbbank School of Restoration Arts In Queenston that speaks to such ligitimized professions and how they are the ones that have gotten us to this state of sorry affairs. However Mr. Smith also offers solutions.

http://www.willowbank.ca/content/beta/home/about-us/new/archived-editorials/editorial-2/

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By Gary Santucci (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2012 at 09:50:25

A quote from Julian Smith's Article.

" Professional planners and designers over the last fifty years have managed to bring us the most inefficient communities in human history, and they are not likely to take us back out. The whole casting of sustainable communities or individual sustainable buildings as utopian concepts is central to the problem. Utopian visions are not ecological and never will be. Organic development is the only viable option over the long term, given that we inhabit a world that is already a series of highly-developed cultural landscapes. Unless we can read the complexity of those landscapes into the contemporary design and planning exercise, we will be running roughshod over the artifacts and rituals that define sustainability. "

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2012 at 07:27:13 in reply to Comment 84348

Over the last 50 years we have built the cities that people want. If the wants of the populace change then the cities will too. The biggest appetite for housing is single family homes. The market has responded by providing single family homes. If and when the demand for something else overtakes that then the supply will change. We call this a free market economy. If you wish to change this to a some other form where you get to make the decisions then I think you will have a fight on your hands. The free market economy is not perfect but I much prefer it to other forms I know about. Obviously you have other ideas.

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By Dane (registered) | Posted December 27, 2012 at 23:15:22 in reply to Comment 84369

What if single family homes spiral a city into financial ruin?

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:04:10 in reply to Comment 84369

More unsubstantiated anecdotal evidence presented here.
Do you not distinguish between urban and suburban?

Please explain the condo explosion in Toronto and elsewhere, since you seem to have your finger on the pulse of what the people want.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:20:31 in reply to Comment 84378

Toronto has a condo explosion because it single family homes are too expensive and/or to far away from where people work. Toronto is a far cry from Hamilton. Two totally different cities. If you do not know the difference then you should visit Toronto for a while. I used to live there and like so many others before and after me I was just too happy to escape.

Take a look at the sheer volume of commuters trekking into Toronto every day. Who wants to do that every day? Commuters are not doing that because they want to they do it because they have to. People choose to live elsewhere because they cannot afford suitable housing in Toronto. The single biggest demand is for single family homes. Not saying that is where people live just where they want to live.

Sure there are exceptions. Especially 20 somethings who are looking for the drinking partying lifestyle. By the time they mature and settle down their wants change.

Why are more condos being built now compared to 20 years ago? Think maybe because the typical commute has gotten longer and longer and people are just giving up? Even 20 years ago the possibility of having a single family home and commuting to work in Toronto was more realistic then it is today. So many people settle for condos because they just cannot afford a single family home.

Do you see a similar explosion in Hamilton. Yes there are some condos being built here but the market for them is not nearly that of single family homes. I would love to see a comparison of number of units built here.









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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:06:41 in reply to Comment 84378

I meant to refer to LOL 84348

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By Steve (registered) | Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:23:44 in reply to Comment 84369

Do people know what they want? Steve Jobs felt that customers don’t know what they want.

Steve Jobs quote; “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

Historically, your above statement might be correct but that doesn't mean it will always be true. Perhaps, we just need someone, someone with vision to show people something different and then they'll want it.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:01:00 in reply to Comment 84376

ABSOLUTELY. Now all you have to do is find that new means of housing that will change the way the people feel and what they want. Good Luck.

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By wake up (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2012 at 09:42:10 in reply to Comment 84369

Wait a minute here...

In Hamilton, those who chose the "single family home" life are the ones making decisions for those who didn't.

Don't pretend that this city is a free market economy.

The built city was raped and put into financial turmoil in order to build suburban wonderlands, pushing the edges out with new roads and sewers that we can't afford.

There is a demand for dense, livable, bustling downtowns - the evidence is in every successful city in the world.

But the suburban oppressors here won't allow it because they need to drive to work faster.

In just about every council vote, the suburban wards are making decisions on behalf of the urbanites.

So you can get off your high horse.

You, my friend, with your drive-through-the-city agenda, are the problem.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:32:59 in reply to Comment 84373

OH my you love to use the emotional gut wrenching language. RAPE a city? Really? Come now, what are you really trying to say? If there was a demand for dense liveable downtowns then why did everyone leave? That is exactly what Hamilton had 40 years ago. Oh and even then the dominant demand was for single family homes with yards and space. Not just Hamilton but virtually every other city in North America. People left for bigger nicer single family homes in the burbs. What most of us wanted then, what most of us want today. If you wish to live downtown then do so. It is cheap enough. No one is telling you cannot.

Just how are you being oppressed? Do you even know what the word means or just using it for its emotional appeal? I doubt anyone has told you where you can or cannot live. Those suburbanites you love to whine about are the ones financing the city. Take a look at the value of the average house in Dundas, Ancaster, Stoney Creek or other burbs and compare it to the value a house in the core. Taxes are calculated on the value of the house. That is where the money that fuels the city's budget comes from. They pay they should have a big say in how it is spent.




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By 1234 (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2012 at 09:59:29

It is not free market, a false model. You are subsidized lol. This was done by selling this view of utopia. Let's get as much stuff as possible and then we will be happy. You advocate for the race to the bottom. Shortsighted. It is a rigid way of thinking that will lead our future generations to view this era as a dark age. They will be asking what happened to all the stuff. Why are there only these romantic notions of built heritage left? Why were the communities gated and walled and built on corn fields. How did the city streets go from for people to for autos?

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:42:31 in reply to Comment 84374

It went that way because that is what people wanted. No one forced millions of people all over North America to flee the cores of cities and move to the burbs. The burbs were built because there was a demand for them. How is it subsidized? The money the cities get from taxes comes from the people who live there. Are you subsidizing Hamilton? Your brother maybe? The States? Europe? The moon? Mars?

If people wanted heritage buildings then people would buy them and use them. Apartments and office space in them would be in high demand spurning more projects to produce more square footage. Alas that is not the way it is in real life is it. Maybe future generations will think of this as the dark ages. That is there right. I think of some of our predecessors as living in the dark ages. I think some of the people who post on this site are living in the dark ages right now. Yet life goes on for all of us.



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By davidsfawcett (registered) - website | Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:35:29

Here's at least part of the problem we're experiencing in Hamilton. Changing the culture re: preservation vs./and/or development requires a reasoned, balanced discussion. Here's the link Bill Kelly's most recent blog posting (also delivered after the 5:00 P.M. news on CHML). When this is the only local mass media voice available to radio or podcast listeners, what should we expect? His is the same voice that moderates (?) former morning man, now His Honour, the Major's visits to the same media outlet.

http://www.900chml.com/Blogs/BillKellysB...

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted December 23, 2012 at 17:06:19 in reply to Comment 84377

To Bill Kelly:

Bill, This is probably the lamest thing you have written in your entire career:

"Wilson/Blanchard Gore Park Plan Just What's Needed In The Core - Posted 12/21/2012 6:27:00 AM

A few days ago, I opined that I was happy that a dilapidated Ivor Wynne Stadium was being demolished, to be replaced by a new ,more functional structure.

Well, same goes for the Wilson Blanchard plan to bring down a few tired, old buildings and build a much needed complex that would include a grocery store, office space and residential.

Of course, the usual suspects are voicing displeasure with the idea.

And, as usual, the most vocal naysayers just love to tell investors where and how to spend their money, but rarely dip into their own wallets to move the City forward.

Well, here’s a news flash to those types; the ‘50’s just called, they’re not coming back !

We need new investment and new ideas and this project will inject new life and vibrancy to the Core.

This Gore Project is a continuation of their investment in Hamilton’s downtown.

Demolishing run down, non functioning buildings to be replaced with an attractive commercial/ residential property is not destroying our heritage, it’s building our future. -- Posted By: Bill Kelly

Here is why:

1) You have zero knowledge of downtown and what is going on down here, on most days.

2) Your total lack of curiosity about our downtown prevents you from learning facts and truth about our downtown.

3) You make up stories about downtown as you go, to cover up for the lack of your direct knowledge on subject you opine on day-after-day.

These are indisputable facts - which you can challenge, but the truth is stacked up against you.

In 2010, when you, for the first time, developed some courage to leave the safety of you cushioned studio (to come downtown and broadcast a live program called "Bill Kelly Unleashed" from the storefront of the new city developed building on King, off John), you refused to reply to my email informing you of the construction of 50 condo lofts that were almost complete, right behind the building from where you were broadcasting.

Your show was dedicated to 're-development work going on in downtown'. The 50 condo lofts were the first and only privately funded condos being developed in an old building in decades, and none have been built inside the core since then. You simply failed to invite the developer of this project to your show.

I wrote off your pathetic behaviour, back then, as lack of curiosity and poor journalistic skills on your part - or your unease with broadcasting reality.

Well, here’s a news flash for your types who don't see real development work done by out-of-towners in our city as real development worth talking about in public:

a) Your "local" buddy has come up with a pathetic notion of a mega development -- with not a shred of real design or finances to show for. And you are parading him around town as the best thing to be invented since white bread.

b) Many locals, and out-of-towners from GTA, including new immigrants, have directly invested more than $100 million in the core over the last twelve years.

c) Scores of tired, old, run down, non functioning buildings in the core have been bought with "real" money and fixed, restored, and put to new use which has helped re-grow the local economy.

d) Scores of people have come to live and work in them, and pay taxes to the city - which have gone towards subsidizing the charmed lives of your types in Ancaster.

e) The Wilson/Blanchard Gore Park Plan -- is not a plan. Presently, as proposed, it is an abortion with a wire hanger.

f) Your buddies first need to develop a good design, consult with the residents of downtown, then raise finances and then apply for permit to build. The need for a permit to demolish, then would become redundant, as would all this drama.

g) The heat you and your friends are feeling here, has as much to do with the lame sketch that was proposed, as it has to do for the premature and arrogant filing of the demolition permit.

When you promote such blatant idiocy in the name of development, and then haul you solemn presence each year, to lay flowers at the cenotaph at Gore park, you not only insult the memory of those you claim to cherish, you insult their lives and their work upon which you have developed your identity as a Hamiltonian.

Those buildings that you defile with you ignorance, are what gave you a leg to walk on culturally in this country.

You may as well profess to tear down the Gore cenotaph as it is old now, and have your buddy David replace it with a glass-clad box with stucco and a candy store at the bottom of it, to signify your perverted notion of progress.

Your types are irrelevant to the future generations of Hamiltonians. That you'll hang on to your jobs like crabs to earn you pensions when you'll have nothing of substance left to say, is comical.

Your abject lack of vocabulary on topics such as: progress, is what leads your types to see demolishing as the only way to growth.

I plead you to stay away from topics of downtown redevelopment in future, and if you must indulge your golf-club buddies again, do the honorable thing and run ads for them instead of opining publicly on their behalf.

Your giving broad coverage to Wilson Blanchard's wild fantasy in Gore Park, while slandering those who are actually rebuilding this city, is distasteful, and you need to apologize for you lack of knowledge on what you speak here.

Mahesh P. Butani

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:46:06 in reply to Comment 84388

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By problem (anonymous) | Posted January 05, 2013 at 09:10:12 in reply to Comment 84412

You accuse others of posting trash, then you post this hunk of garbage. No wonder you're the most voted-down Pariah on RTH

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted December 23, 2012 at 19:28:49 in reply to Comment 84388

Bill Kelly: It is never too late to begin learning about what it takes to build real culture and real cities. If you are ever so inclined, you could start here:

The Timeless Way of Building, by Christopher Alexander

and if this interests you, and want to dig deeper:

Twelve Lectures on Architecture and Principles of Urban Structure, by Nikos A. Salingaros

Men of your age who are in a position to shape public opinions, should be the ones advising the coming generation on a better way of living and building, and not its opposite.

Mahesh P. Butani

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:04:00

Building the Future while Preserving the Past

"South Side of the Square... the Fountain Square" in Bloomington, Indiana, was blessed to have some great visionaries among their midst who believed that restoring their past, would help improve the future.

This is what they did for their city for years, with clarity of belief and consistency: http://youtu.be/cmGyQlx7Kl4

These visionaries from Indiana belong to the same generation as those in Hamilton who proclaim that destruction is the way to progress.

Please email above video/link to all our local "geniuses without a cause" - also send it to our holidaying councillors, who may possibly come back from their holidays to see a drastically altered Street Wall in Gore Park.

Destroying one healthy building in the core a decade ago; upgrading two solid buildings that were not crumbling down, with city grants; sticking a banal, stucco box on the rear of one; then again destroying one more in Gore Park, and now threatening to destroying four more buildings because of short-sightedness, hardly qualifies one to be known as a restoration maverick who deeply cares for our city's future.

If the stucco box behind the Old Bank of Montreal building is any indication of design sensitivity, what could unfold at Gore Park South, may be heartbreaking.

Mahesh P. Butani

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2012-12-24 12:06:08

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By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted December 27, 2012 at 05:48:27 in reply to Comment 84406

Yes its verry nice to see old buildings getting a facelift .. but now days it cost builders an arm and a leg to do so .. thats why its easyier to start from scrach

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:47:58 in reply to Comment 84406

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By Steve (registered) | Posted December 24, 2012 at 14:23:07 in reply to Comment 84413

"The huge majority of us too lazy to do anything."

Fixed it for you LOL.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 26, 2012 at 11:25:20 in reply to Comment 84415

NO you didn't.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted December 27, 2012 at 07:57:01 in reply to Comment 84425

Yup, I did.

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:20:37


If Councillor Mc Hattie can do it, so can we.
This is the woman to email at the Ministry of Culture
Hamilton area. I have sent an email asking for an
Intervention on behalf of the community, our councillors
And our children.
The premise is that our city would like to put forward an expression
Of interest. The school board have ignored us and chosen to work
Against the city and we believe this will create a huge loss for our
Community's culture and heritage.
Please contact her and ask for intervention if you are so inclined.
Best,


lorraine.hogan@ontario.ca

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