Special Report: Heritage

Wilson-Blanchard Complies with No Parking Order on 20 Jackson Street West

The property owner has complied with an order from the City not to use the footprint of the recently-demolished office building as a surface parking lot.

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 08, 2014

Wilson-Blanchard, the property management company that owns the vacant lot at 20 Jackson Street West, has complied with an order from the City not to use the footprint of the recently-demolished office building as a surface parking lot.

Curb stops around the footprint of the building at 20 Jackson Street West
Curb stops around the footprint of the building at 20 Jackson Street West

According to Bill Young, director of municipal law enforcement for the City:

Staff revisited this location on January 6th and noted that curb stops had been installed to prevent motorists from parking on the un-licensed portion at this location. Also staff did not observe any vehicles parking contrary to the by-law.

The owner has now complied with the order issued in December, and this matter is now considered closed.

Staff investigated the site in December after RTH reported that it was being used as an illegal parking lot in violation of a municipal by-law banning property owners from turning demolished downtown lots into new surface parking lots.

Staff visited the site, determined that it violated the bylaw and gave the property owner until January 6 to stop allowing parking on the site of the building, which was demolished in November.

Pile of rubble at 20 Jackson Street West in November (RTH file photo)
Pile of rubble at 20 Jackson Street West in November (RTH file photo)

The three-storey office was occupied with commercial tenants and a main-floor coffee shop until the summer, when Wilson-Blanchard evacuated the building. Asbestos was removed from the building in September.

According to a Spectator article, company president David Blanchard said the building's elevator and electrical system was "shot". Since the building is not residential and has not been designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, the City had no recourse but to approve the demolition permit.

The company has submitted no redevelopment plans to the City, and Council learned in December that the site went from paying $77,667 a year in property tax as an occupied office to just $7,000 as a lot.

Ironically, the moratorium on new parking lots was added to the Zoning By-Law after the same property owner demolished the old Canada Permanent building across from the Pigott on James Street and turned it into parking.

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.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 08, 2014 at 15:22:12

May want to check back in the spring when the snow melts.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 08, 2014 at 16:01:37 in reply to Comment 96515

They've actually installed curb stops around the footprint of the building - but yes, we will keep an eye on it.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted January 09, 2014 at 06:28:18

You seem much more cognizant of our bylaws than I am. Would it be legal for someone else to buy the lot, or even lease it and turn it into a parking lot?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 09, 2014 at 09:28:58 in reply to Comment 96548

That's an interesting question. I've contacted the Municipal Bylaw Enforcement office to ask for a response.

Edit - according to Councillor Farr, it would still be illegal to operate a parking lot even if the property owner sells or leases it to someone else.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2014-01-09 09:44:12

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By George (registered) | Posted January 09, 2014 at 13:12:12

Bad social media!

How dare you and your darkness, compel the city to adhere to their own policy?

Stay tuned for mayor Bratina's next stand up routine, on why Hamilton should have the Junos revisit us.

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By Special treatment (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2014 at 11:59:33

I saw a photo today posted on the HamOnt twitter that the parking lot is STILL open and being used. Wonder if there are any updates to this yet?

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By HappyHam (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2014 at 12:37:06 in reply to Comment 96760

They can still use the existing lot for parking as it was licensed, however they cannot use the land where the physical building was as parking, hence the curbs.

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