Lister Block

Give Us the Facts on Lister Deal

By Jason Leach
Published June 27, 2008

When will the Hamilton Spectator stop acting like a PR firm for Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) and start giving us the facts?

I realize it's easy to bash council and always defend the various groups and unions that pay for advertising dollars in the paper, but please explain to the public how the city is to blame for the Lister deal falling apart.

I've read all the transcripts of their meetings and saw LIUNA Vice President Joe Mancinelli and company put on their dazzling presentation two months ago.

Council voted this past week once again to change the conditions at the request of LIUNA ­ for the umpteenth time ­ and go along with their latest proposal.

Councillors hadn't even left the building yet when Mr. Mancinelli changed his mind, yet again, and said they wouldn't agree to their own proposal.

Enough of the games. As a taxpayer and downtown resident, I'm stunned that this deal even got this far.

I'd like to learn how to buy a property for $1.6 million, ignore all property standards bylaws for a decade hurting surrounding businesses and property values, and then get rewarded with an offer of $25 million in taxpayers' money.

The city would be wise to spend that $25 million on the owners of a great number of businesses, shops, eating establishments and well-maintained properties in our downtown that are doing a fabulous job injecting new life and money into our city.

The Spec would be wise to start printing the news, instead of merely supporting their advertisers.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 06, 2008 at 13:54:38

Here's an idea...let's place a permanent ban on selling landmark civic buildings to developers who behave like LIUNA. Grounds for such a status could include long periods of vacancy, lack of any investment in upkeep and repeated instances of negotiating in bad faith (ie: raising the price of a project by 50% right before work was to begin). Developers like Vranich would be blacklisted for their handling of buildings such as the old Federal Building on Main and Caroline, and would no longer be eligible to bid on land from the School Board or land protected for heritige or agricultural purposes. Furthermore, heavy taxes could be levied on such activities, instead of granting preferential tax status to people and corporations leaving some of Southern Ontario's nicest architecture to rot.

If you think this deal is a stinker, wait for LIUNA station. If our nation intends to survive skyrocketing oil prices, we're going to need to return en masse to rail transit, and the Hunter St. GO station is simply not able to handle that kind of capacity (with the Hunter St. Tunnel as a bottleneck). Now that Go and Via are returning to the old station, a shining example of old-time grandiose train-station architecture, much like Union in Toronto) which has actually had serious upkeep, it's only a matter of time until it once-again becomes a full-service transit station. When that happens, the $23 million profit LIUNA's racking up here will look like peanuts.

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By everywhere (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2008 at 21:55:38

Thanks Jason,

I hadn't any idea that LIUNA was an acronym.

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