The next time a prospective business owner is scared away by the state of the Connaught or Lister Block, we can all thank our Council for throwing up yet more roadblocks to investment.
By Jason Leach
Published September 09, 2007
CHML reports that Councillor Lloyd Ferguson (Ancaster) led the opposition to a proposal from Councillor Brian McHattie (Ward 1) requiring property owners to maintain property standards in heritage buildings, on the grounds that doing so is "chasing investment away".
I didn't realize buying a designated heritage property (and knowing full-well the range of protections such properties have upon purchase) and then leaving it empty to rot for 15 years was called 'investing' in Hamilton.
The last time I checked, people in the suburbs make a grandiose scene of identifying that as a rundown and decrepit downtown that they "won't visit".
Perhaps we need to clear up the meaning of the word 'investment'.
It isn't just any money spent regardless of the outcome. If that were the case, Hamilton Police recently chased out a very high-tech and money-making investment in the old Sandbar Tavern.
Investment is something that improves our city and brings us closer to our stated goals of becoming a great place to live, work and play.
I'm utterly disappointed in Council for not endorsing this simple piece of legislation that would have resulted in far fewer decaying, empty buildings in our city, which would have then led to further investment in our city.
The next time a business owner comes to check out our city as a possible place to invest, but is scared away by the state of the Connaught or Lister Block, we can all thank our Council and specifically its suburban Councillors for throwing up yet more roadblocks to turning this city around.
I would strongly urge all Council members in the former city of Hamilton to push forward with an end to the discriminatory area rating system (also known here in the downtown core as the 'free ride for the burbs' system) as well as the incredibly low tax rates in Hamilton's suburbs.
It's time for some financial fairness in this city instead of always robbing from the poorest. Lord knows we're going to need to find more funds in this city to continue cleaning up collapsing buildings.
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