Humour

Directions to Burlington's NHL arena

By Trey Shaughnessy
Published May 04, 2009

Directions to Burlington's new NHL arena:

  1. Exit at the Power Centre, then turn right at the Mall parking lot.

  2. Go past the giant Walmart, and the IKEA Power Centre.

  3. Turn right at the next crosswalk - it will be about two kilometers away. Don't worry, traffic on the six-lane local street travels at near highway speed, and you won't get slowed down behind a bus, cyclist, or pedestrian. The road has ten pedestrians a year on average and the City of Burlington is working on this problem.

  4. Look for the gigantic parking lot next to the gigantic parking lot. You'll see the arena in the far distance.

  5. Board the shuttle-bus. I know these aren't popular, but it's a 15 minute walk past the other fans looking for closer parking, so it's not recommended to walk. There is a convenient Tim Horton's located while you wait.

  6. Enjoy the NHL game. Afterwards, there are plenty of drive-thrus and national fast food chains located within a ten minute drive of scenic Burlington.

Trey lives in Williamsville NY via Hamilton. He is a Marketing Manager for Tourism and Destination Marketing in the Buffalo-Niagara Metro.

His essays have appeared in The Energy Bulletin, Post Carbon Institute, Peak Oil Survival, and Tree Hugger.

And can't wait for the day he stops hearing "on facebook".

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 04, 2009 at 11:14:59

  1. Look for the gigantic parking lot next to the gigantic parking lot. You'll need a GPS because you can't see the arena due to the curvature of the earth.

Fixed it for you.

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By Hopeful (registered) | Posted May 04, 2009 at 14:30:40

Okay, I can't believe I'm about to do this... defend Burlington (to a certain extent). I grew up there and had no problems leaving it's suburban state as soon as I could. Now, however, I return and see that, believe it or not, they've come a long way and Hamilton, sadly, is on thin ice if it gloats.

re. 1 & 2) Exit at the power centre. Excuse me, how is Hamilton fairing any better? Burlington fought Wal-Mart on their proposed Fairview Steet location and won concessions including a greener design, building placement that didn't allow the parking lot to dominate the street and a turning lane and lights specifically to handle the facility (and this was a situation where the land was zoned for big-box uses and the City had little leverage to actually force changes). Contrast this to the new Centre Maul where the Barton streetscape is now the backs of warehouses; the domination of the east escarpment skyline by Indigo and neighbours (with acres of parking), and; the myriad proposals being taken all too seriously to allow for more power centre development on lands required for employment and industry here (near the Innovation Centre, at Centennial and the QEW, on the mountain, etc., etc.). Hamilton is more guilty of allowing, and, in fact, promoting, inappropriate big box sprawl than Burlington ever has been. While they at least attempt to make the developments work and fit with their surroundings, they don't, for the most part, allow their construction on major highways like the QEW and they try to mitigate their impacts as best they can. Our Council, on the other hand, falls over themselves to say "You want to build, we love it, here's your permits, never mind the by-laws, neighbours or that pesky planning department."

2) Turn right at the next crosswalk. Guess what? There's more pedestrians around Brant Street and Lakeshore on an average evening now than at King and James. Better yet, most of them are bathed and none of them are bumming smokes or asking if you want/have some "really good stuff." Burlington has created, in the lower city at least, an excellent set of pedestrian and cycling trails using power lines, parks and other spaces and I can cycle from downtown Burlington to downtown Hamilton almost completely on routes where I won't get car-doored. I cannot do this from Gage Park to downtown Hamilton. As for the six lane roads, while I rolled my eyes and railed against them in my youth, at least they anticipated traffic flow and aren't the quagmire that we have on Upper James. Hamilton's apparent answer to traffic problems were the five lane expressways which suck the life out of downtown and are no more kind to people. Honestly, I'll take the six-lanes.

3) Look for the gigantic parking lot. Really? Which downtown has more surface parking? Sadly, I think it's Hamilton by a country mile. For the most part it goes without saying that Burlington's core development will have their cars parked underground and multi-level parking exists where needed like right downtown and at the Fairview GO Station. We can't get the school board, Mac or City to vision this for their downtown centre much less most of the private land-holders who will gladly tear down buildings to add to our surface stock if we need more space to park our cars. While I can't say this for sure, I'd even suggest that some of the Burlington malls and plazas have less space given to parking cars than ours in this town do. Compare the size of Mapleview to Limeridge.

4) Board the shuttle bus. Sadly, I think this that this again would be more Hamilton than Burlington. How are you going to get to the new stadium we've proposed?

5) Getting a bite afterwards. While this probably has more to do with affluence than planning, Hamilton doesn't support its local eateries to anywhere near the same extent as Burlington. Look at the number of fantastic venues that have closed of late while drive-thru fast food prospers here. The range and choice of fare in Burlington now far exceeds what you can find here (especially on Sundays and late at night). Hamiltonians eat at home too much.

Now, please don't me wrong... I do not plan to move across the Skyway. Burlington, for all I've said above, is still, at heart, a suburb. Still, it is a place where vision, hope and planning now have their place and should be looked to as an example, not a joke. I live in Hamilton and want to stay. I want a vibrant urban centre and a prosperous and livable community. This can only happen if we take some heed from others and check to see what's worked for them: a serious commitment to planning, proper rules, guidelines and enforcement. There's a lot to be learned from how Burlington has managed, and continues to manage, its affairs.

P.S. Trey, sorry for getting so serious on your, I assume, tongue in cheek commentary on our neighbour.

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By FenceSitter (anonymous) | Posted May 04, 2009 at 15:37:02

I think Hopeful might have a few good points here. We could learn a little from Burlington.

Does anyone remember the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. The stadium and various complexes were built in the outer burbs.
You basically were not allowed to drive there. Even now there is very limited parking available. Free public transport in the entire city for 2 weeks also helped to keep all the cars off the roads.

There wasn't a better time to drive a car!

It is not always the location, but the planning and intent that go with it.






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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 04, 2009 at 16:05:04

Under Mayors Walter Mulkewich and Rob MacIsaac, Burlington progressed a long way toward having a real, functioning downtown. I can even see evidence of an attempt to increase densities along Plains Rd. (On top of that, Burlington has a perception of a functional city bureaucracy and a clear, transparent process for doing business there.)

Hamilton the metropolitan area has meandered for decades on unrestrained sprawl, a shortsighted development model that is already catching up with us. The city proper, by contrast, has been drifting along on the integrity of the existing built urban form, which dates back to the Victorian era.

I'm glad that the well-intentioned Renewalists of the mid-20th century weren't able to demolish the entire downtown, but we need to be a lot more proactive about leveraging what works and fixing what doesn't.

In particular, we need to get busy and convert our streets to two-way, widen sidewalks, plant lots of street trees, build a continuous network of bike routes, complete our LRT (this is actually moving about as quickly as possible), and replacing the broken municipal zoning system with a form- and performances-based code.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted May 04, 2009 at 17:46:55

All those points would be valid IF Copps wasn't located downtown Hamilton.

I understand Hamilton has Power Centres and parking lots galore.

But Copps Coliseum is downtown inside a dense urban area. Copps is not near the Centre Maul, or in the Meadowlands or on Centennial Parkway. It's downtown.

Copps is within walking distance of other amenities that a big city can offer. Copps is on major public transit routes, including a LRT soon. Copps is within walking distance of many unique restaurants. GO Train station is walkable, hotels are within walkable distances.

Any great stadium is built downtown. There would be major differences from experiencing a game in Aldershot or Copps Coliseum.

This was a satire piece about Burlington's suburban fabric. That's the reason why I didn't say the Great things if a NHL team was put into Copps.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 04, 2009 at 18:14:20

Ryan >> Burlington progressed a long way toward having a real, functioning downtown

The difference between Hamilton and Burlington's downtown is that people in Burlington have lower tax rates and they get to spend this extra money at local businesses. The architecture of Burlington is unremarkable, but it has been well maintained, while Hamilton's downtown has been left vacant and rotting.

Unfortunately, Ryan has spoken of higher taxes for the people of Hamilton and more money in the hands of the government for things like LRT. He is aiming to be like Boston of the seventies, when tax rates were over 2% and people left the city in droves, but at least they had lots or taxpayer subsidized rail transit.

Notice when he speaks of fixing this city he never mentions more money for average people, just more money for politicians...

"In particular, we need to get busy and convert our streets to two-way, widen sidewalks, plant lots of street trees, build a continuous network of bike routes, complete our LRT"

What do all of these things have in common? They all involve less money for Hamilton taxpayers to spend on what they want and more for politicians to spend.

The rest of the GTA communities enjoy residential tax rates 40-100% less than Hamilton and this money flows into their local businesses. If our local businesses had this extra money, we too would have a great downtown. Unfortunately, people like Ryan, Jason and your local councillors, feel the government knows better how to spend your money than you do.

They also don't care about poor people, because residential property taxes hit poor people much harder than rich people. All they care about is using your money to build what they desire, whether or not that means less for you and your family. Not very neighbourly.

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By Living In Burlington (anonymous) | Posted May 04, 2009 at 20:24:55

I have lived in Burlington for 11 years. Not much I can say to disagree with the above comments regarding development in Burlington.

Drive along Dundas, Fairview, New Street - parking lot, super center, subdivision - repeat

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By zookeeper (registered) | Posted May 04, 2009 at 21:29:51

For the love of God people, don't feed the troll! You just encourage him and he's already proven he is impervious to reason.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 04, 2009 at 21:52:03

Agreed. Please don't dominate the rap Jack, if you got nothing new to say.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 04, 2009 at 22:45:12

Lol. Funny piece Trey.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 04, 2009 at 23:05:03


JonC, when this city was growing rapidly in the early part of this century, taxes and government were a tiny part of the economy. Furthermore, during that time period, people flocked here because of the many job opportunities this city's private sector provided. Today, Hamilton is a basket case economically and we enjoy the highest tax rates in the GTA.

The goal of any economy is to invest in new and better ways of doing things, thereby increasing the amount of real output and therefore real wages to workers. In order to do that, the capital base needs to expand and not shrink. However, when government invests capital, unlike businesses, it has ZERO way of knowing whether it is wasting capital or how much. Because it doesn't need to make profits, it has now way of knowing the return on invested capital. It is investing blindly.

If you believe that relying on guesswork to allocate capital is a wise thing to do, then you should become a politician. However, if you actually want Hamilton to be a creator of wealth and not a destroyer of wealth, then the only way to do that is by reducing the role of government. There is simply no other way.

If you support current tax rates, please explain to me why you think that investing blindly is a smart idea?

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By geoff's two cents (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 02:02:34

Trey and Hopeful, thanks for posting. My defining Burlington experience, however, would have to be the following:

1) 2007. Sunday evening, dinner at a downtown Burlington pub - good food, nice patio in a nice, walkable downtown.

2) 7 or 8-ish, asked the waitress where the nearest grocery store was, as we were new in town and needed to pick up some essentials. Decent food or no, one can't afford to eat out all day every day, and our budget was stretched to the limit.

3) Waitress asks fellow waitress, but the closest grocery store open at 7 or 8pm on a Sunday night that they can recall is several kilometres up Brandt street at a huge power centre (Sobe's).

4) Walked for at least two hours (I remember it being three, but find that hard to believe in hindsight), and no bus passed us. Sidewalks at times were narrow or non-existent. It got very humid - not ideal weather to be walking to a power centre along a busy road.

5) Got to power centre by freeway. Everything is open. Lesson learned? Do not bother coming to Burlington if you don't have a car.

6) Told my experience to a few other people. Some responded with incredulity, that it couldn't possibly have been the case that the closest grocery store open on a Sunday night would be miles from downtown and next to a freeway. Most thought for a moment, and could not think of a grocery store closer to downtown.

As I'm not a Burlington native, I still don't know whether there was a closer grocery store open on Sunday nights or not. I do know, however, that the same thing could not have happened to us in Hamilton, one-way streets or no. In spite of the city's tireless efforts over the last half century to dissuade pedestrians, it's actually still pretty user-friendly for those who get around on their own two legs.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 05, 2009 at 08:25:35

Geoff wrote:

I do know, however, that the same thing could not have happened to us in Hamilton, one-way streets or no.

It's actually difficult to find a supermarket in downtown Hamilton, though there are several smaller grocery stores, convenience stores, produce vendors, etc. - and, of course, the Farmers Market.

In spite of the city's tireless efforts over the last half century to dissuade pedestrians, it's actually still pretty user-friendly for those who get around on their own two legs.

This is true, but we can't afford to be either a) complacent about our existing built form or b) too cocky with regards to the relative absence of urban form in Burlington. Burlington is still mostly a stretch of sprawling suburbs, but their trajectory seems to be in the right direction.

From an economic development standpoint, Hamilton is still incorrigibly committed to yet more vaporous greenfield development on farmland far from the city centre. I write "vaporous" because the overwhelming trend is still for property developers to cajole the city into rezoning our mythical "highway accessible industrial employment lands" for single family residential sprawl.

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By JM (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 08:59:56

last i thought... Aldershot is not within a walkable distance of "brant and lakeshore" can you even walk out of the aldershot station without walking on the road?

by the way - much larger, faster, more convenient (for cars) interchange coming soon!

lol

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By Hopeful (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 09:25:13

Hi Geoff I really hate to keep defending Burlington (it's just not in my blood) but here's the deal... I suspect the person you asked for a grocery store either didn't know the area or was thrown off by what you asked for. In fact, you could have walked along one of the nicely treed and maintained power line trails I noted in my first post to Roseland Plaza at New Street and Guelph Line to find a Shoppers Drug Mart with a large grocery section right beside a Hasty Market with decent produce and fresh baked goods (both 24/7 with no security guards). It would have taken you about 10-15 minutes and you would have only been on roads for a minute or two of this. Any other night, or an hour earlier, you could have walked 5 minutes north on Brant Street to a clean No Frills with excellent produce and all the grocery fare. In either case, I suspect your impressions of Burlington would have been quite different.
It's far too easy to dismiss Burlington with its stereotype of a car dependent wasteland, the same as folks diss Hamilton for being only crumbling rot.
I'm not sure where you would have gone in Hamilton on a similar quest but I can't imagine walking to the Westdale Metro (the closest late night store I can think of to downtown) would have been much better. You'd have to cross the same highway but do it beside five lanes of blight without cross-walk stop lights at the interchange instead of four with buttons you could push to get a walk signal. Let's take the good our neighbour's built and emulate it here. Let's take the plain mistakes they've made and file them in the do not do pile. We seem to want to be like them but are only succeeding at the worst of it.

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By geoff's two cents (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 10:08:38

Ryan, Hopeful, can't argue with either of you, and it's good to know that Burlington isn't quite as bad as I remember it. Hopefully the new T&T slated for the Cannon area actually appears, as it would be a welcome step in the right direction.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 10:43:04

First off, a Burlington NHL is never going to happen! Ever! Hamilton would get one before Burlington, which is ALSO never going to happen. It's clear that the NHL board of Governors (and Betteman) hates Hamilton, and would prefer a team in Vaughan/Maple (aka Hanna Barbera Land). Go Vaugan Minebusters!?!

I've come to the conclusion as a (Proud!) Hamiltonian & an NHL fan (Go Habs, Go'ooh wait) that the NHL will never settle in this City again, regardless of WHO'S behind the idea (Wayne Gretzky, the NHLPA, Local/Provincial/Federal Politicians, billionaire NHL-obsessor Balsillie, etc). Sad, but very very true.

So my only hope lies in Kitchener-Waterloo. I would rather see a team there than ANY GTA suburb (besides Hamilton, of course). One could grab the K-W LRT to the arena, or walk one of their walkable downtowns to the game and grab some drinks/food before/after the game in the arena's general vicinity. Much like one could do in Hamilton by Copps!

So lets not change this Blog into a Burlington vs Hamilton debate. That's old & tired!!! We all know the differences and similarities between the two, so why fight about it!?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 13:18:26

Ryan >> Burlington is still mostly a stretch of sprawling suburbs, but their trajectory seems to be in the right direction.

And yet MORE people would rather live in Burlington, than in Hamilton. I guess that's what you are referring to when you talk about market failures. The failure of the market to buy into your crazy theories.

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 05, 2009 at 13:26:05

And yet MORE people would rather live in Burlington, than in Hamilton.

what is your source on that?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 13:52:49

Reuben, homes in Hamilton, especially in the downtown, are very cheap relative to Burlington. This indicates that very few people want to live there, otherwise they would be willing to pay higher prices. So while Ryan can talk about Burlington "sprawl" in a negative manner, his views don't reflect the reality of what people actually want.

People like sprawling Burlington and it's much lower tax rates, while they do not like Hamilton and especially it's downtown, where tax rates are high and transit is plentiful. Please try to explain this Ryan, if built form and transit drive demand, not lower tax rates, why doesn't Hamilton enjoy higher property values than Burlington? What is the marketplace missing?

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 05, 2009 at 13:57:56

A Smith -- if you could point me towards some stats that show that more people move to burlington than hamilton, i would appreciate it. even better would be numbers showing how many former residents of hamilton now live in burlington and vice versa.

even more helpful would be a study comparing quality of life and other factors considered 'desireable' in either city.

house prices, while part of the equation, are not the sole indicator that more people want to live in burlington versus hamilton.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 14:03:44

I just checked out the signs on the 403 which state the populations of Burlington and Hamilton. Yep. It appears that ASmith is right. Waaaaay more people live in Burlington than Hamilton. Oh well. We tried. I hope they enjoy their NHL team.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 14:35:34

"if you could point me towards some stats that show that more people move to burlington than hamilton, i would appreciate it."

Why look for facts when you already have CERTAINTY. :P

There's no point trying to debate with TRUE BELIEVERS. You've got as much luck trying to convince Fred Phelps that God might not actually hate gays.

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By zookeeper (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 14:45:24

Please, people, I really insist that you stop feeding this troll. It's vital that we keep the trolls on our specially formulated diet, otherwise they become bloated, unhealthy and ill-tempered.

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 05, 2009 at 15:28:15

interestingly enough, in yesterday's spec (who loves to hate their own city): http://www.thespec.com/article/559703

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 05, 2009 at 15:30:47

quote from the above article:

"Everson says Hamilton is hearing the message that quality of life is key to growth. "It used to be that the only important factors were cost of land and taxes ... but if you can't get people to live there, the cost of land and taxes won't matter."

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 15:36:30

^In before the haters:

"Hamilton managed an improvement of close to 10 points -- and 27 spots on the ranks -- this year over last year."

Also, "Hamilton placed above or at its overall rank on use of public transit, average income, discretionary income, provincial tax rate, climate, low crime rate, buzz and number of health professionals."

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 16:26:45

Reuben, while this is an interesting article, home prices are vastly superior at reflecting the desirability of a community than any study based on a few subjective criteria. Home prices are set by real cash transactions and reflect the totality of variables that add to or subtract from the living experience in a given community. When people put real money on the table, they do so after taking in to account everything that's important to them, not just the few variables included in this study.

Therefore, the fact that people are willing to put down more cash for a home in Burlington, than Hamilton, tells us that the public think it's a better place to live, regardless of what this study says.

As to the comment for Neil Everson..."It used to be that the only important factors were cost of land and taxes ... but if you can't get people to live there, the cost of land and taxes won't matter."

A Hamilton public employee arguing against lowering tax rates for the people of Hamilton. Big surprise. If tax rates were the lowest in the GTA, then he may have a point, but they're the highest, so what is he saying, that they need to be even higher?

Jason >> Yep. It appears that ASmith is right. Waaaaay more people live in Burlington than Hamilton.

Did I say that? No, what I said was that more people want to live in Burlington than Hamilton. Don't lie Jason.

NoBrainer >> There's no point trying to debate with TRUE BELIEVERS

Do home prices reflect demand from the buying public? If so, how do you explain Hamilton's lack of demand form the marketplace? Answer that.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 16:34:08

"the totality of variables that add to or subtract from the living experience in a given community"

Nonsense. We all know there's only ONE variable that adds to or subtracts from the living experience in a given community, and that variable is PROPERTY TAX RATE. :P

"Big surprise. If tax rates were the lowest in the GTA, then he may have a point"

Ah, there we go. Back on message.

"more people want to live in Burlington than Hamilton"

Then why do more people live in Hamilton than in Burlington? Why is there a higher population density in Hamilton than in Burlington? Do people not live where they want? I'm so confused.

"Do home prices reflect demand from the buying public? If so, how do you explain Hamilton's lack of demand form the marketplace?"

Funny, I just sold my house in downtown hamilton for almost twice what I paid for it earlier this decade, and I sold it for what my asking price within two weeks of putting it on the market even though we're in a recession. (My new house is also downtown but closer to a proposed LRT stop.)

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 05, 2009 at 16:40:33

Therefore, the fact that people are willing to put down more cash for a home in Burlington, than Hamilton, tells us that the public think it's a better place to live, regardless of what this study says.

if you are actually trying to convince me of this you will have to do better than stating that your opinion has more weight than a researched article based on a national study. especially when you opinion is that the study is not valid.

determining how desirable a community is cannot be boiled down to one factor. the study weighed 24 different indicators. notice i am not claiming more people want to live in hamilton over burlington, i am simply saying the route you are using to draw your conclusion is faulty.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 16:58:46

more people 'want' to live in Burlington, but so far only 100,000+ have made the plunge?? Great theory.

I'm glad to hear Everson speak about quality of life issues finally. He could have clued in about 10 years ago, but whatever.... I'm sure it'll be the status quo for a while still.

While there is some truth to higher house prices indicating 'desirability', it's not always the case. Sometimes it indicates people's ability to be sold something by developers.

For example, an identical home just over the Ancaster border along StoneChurch Rd costs over $100,000 more than the identical home at Stonechurch and Omni. It's 30 seconds away.
There's a reason mortgage brokers have made jokes about the 'meadowlands mortgage' over the past several years. They, and anyone paying attention, could see that home values were grossly overpriced. Hence, last year the meadowlands and upper stoney creek saw the largest decrease in home values in the entire Hamilton area.

People can get sold a bill of goods by anyone looking to make a buck. That doesn't necessarily make their area more desirable. It means they have bought into some advertising....a quick recession quickly corrects that.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 18:33:53

nobrainer >> We all know there's only ONE variable that adds to or subtracts from the living experience in a given community, and that variable is PROPERTY TAX RATE

You mock and yet this city is still the laughing stock of the province. Big government, high tax rates, low property values, crumbling buildings, high poverty rates, poor economy. Meanwhile, our next door neighbour, with less public services, better maintained neighbourhoods, enjoy higher property values, lower tax rates and less poverty.

The reason why tax rates matter so much, is because they shrink government and they limit spending on things that destroy capital. However, lower tax rates also promote thousands of individual investments by average people and businesses (think Kiva), so when you attack that idea, you show your ignorance of how real wealth is created, by the private sector and not by politicians simply looking to spend money to get reelected. Hamilton needs to be less like Cuba and more like Singapore. The former is an economic basket case, the latter is a wealth and job factory.

>> Then why do more people live in Hamilton than in Burlington?

Because the City of Burlington is restricting the amount of homes that developers can build. And also because Hamilton developed earlier than Burlington and thus has a larger supply of housing stock.

>> Funny, I just sold my house in downtown hamilton for almost twice what I paid for it earlier this decade

That's great, but homes in Burlington have also risen in that time period and they still enjoy a premium over Hamilton home prices. My friend bought a home in Burlington in 2001 that has almost doubled as well. Therefore, Hamilton's homes are still less valued than our GTA neighbours.

Reuben >> determining how desirable a community is cannot be boiled down to one factor.

On an individual basis you are correct, people don't decide to buy in Burlington because it is more expensive. But the fact that people in aggregate, are willing to pay higher prices for homes in Burlington, indicates that there is something overall about Burlington that they value more than Hamilton. Prices simply reflect this greater willingness to hand over larger amounts of cash, something that people do not like to do unless they have to.

Jason >> more people 'want' to live in Burlington, but so far only 100,000+ have made the plunge?? Great theory.

If land owners weren't barred by the government from selling their land to developers, or from zoning regulations, then many more housing units would be built. That's not the fault of the market, but of politicians who like telling others what they can and can't do with property they paid for.

Furthermore, Jason, if downtown Hamilton is such a great place to be, with all of it's transit and historic buildings, why doesn't the market price of homes reflect that great demand? Answer that if you can.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 21:02:56

I've been reading all these comments about; where are the cheapest property tax rates? and therefore that's where I'm living or locating my business.

I'm just guessing, but I bet the property tax is really cheap north of North Bay, by comparison to Hamilton.

Burlington may charge less property tax then Hamilton does. However; that will soon change for Burlington -- its business model is going to change soon. As the young 'city' gets older so will its costs increase, while at the same time the 'city' virtually has NO real City amenities.

The adage goes; You get What you Pay for. Yes you will pay less taxes in Burlington and frankly you get the appropriate amount in return. That is, a life that will revolve around driving an automobile, a life of either going to Hamilton or Toronto to experience City amenities, if you grow-up in Burlington and wish to pursue more education beyond High School -- you are leaving the 'city' or commuting.... better still... may as well get used to commuting to everything except Walmart if you plan on living in Burlington.

In the very near future - after this little economic hiccup - business will have to locate where people want to live. You've heard of a "buyers' market" well it will be an "employees market" soon. And they will be able to choose to either; work in a windowless box on a service road, next to a highway, accessible by another highway. OR. work within a urban fabric that has transit options, places to explore on-foot during a break, livable housing within the same city and more social interaction.

BTW: It's officially named "Hamilton Harbour" NOT "Burlington Bay". Just read the plaque in the lobby of the Hamilton Port Authority Bldg.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 22:22:17

Smith, until you take the time to write an article, you continue to be a waste of space.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 00:02:33

TreyS >> bet the property tax is really cheap north of North Bay, by comparison to Hamilton.

It was 1.76% as of 2005. This is a bit higher than Hamilton.

>> Yes you will pay less taxes in Burlington and frankly you get the appropriate amount in return.

Here's an analogy that might help. Does it make more sense to spend your own money on what you value, or let a complete stranger decide what you want? Which choice will bring the most happiness and economic benefit to your life?

That's the exact thing that happens when you send money to the government, they decide what the "average" person wants and then they buy the good or service that appeals to the "average" person. The result is that no one really gets what they want, but because the government has no way of knowing what each person wants, they make compromises. As a result, the overall utility of government spending is much less than simply allowing the people to spend their own money in the first place.

If tax rates were lowered, a smaller percentage of people's net worth would be spent by strangers and the result would be much more tailored economic decisions and much more diversity in the local economy.

JonC >> Why do you enjoy letting other people make your decisions for you? Are you that insecure that you need them to think for you?

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By really? (registered) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 07:53:17

Wow from a tongue in cheek article about a Burlington hockey team to petty insults in only 35 posts!

Not only does this thread win the "Most Off Topic RTH Thread Ever" award but it did so in record time!

Congrats to everyone involved

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 08:06:52

No. It's just frustrating to watch you repeatedly make the same absurd claims, flawed analogies and poor statistics and then tip toe away and pick on the semantics of paragraph five of the thoughtful reply as your original argument is smashed around you.

You clearly have no concept of why governments exist in the first place and start from a point of confusion that proliferates through all of your comments. That you believe a society could be held together by individuals making every single economic transaction is confirmation of that. Government doesn't exist to "buy the good or service that appeals to the "average" person" as you so ridiculously word it. The money spent by the government is primarily in large scale infrastructure and our nation has decided to make sure all citizens are at least given a chance at having some sort of sustainable life, so we also support standards for health care, education, etc.

Do you have valid points hidden in there somewhere? I couldn't care less anymore as you never care to actually engage in conversation, just to spew the aforementioned absurd claims, flawed analogies and poor statistics.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 13:09:20

As a Burlington resident with a fondness for both cities, I can tell you that the higher housing prices in Burlington have absolutely nothing to do with tax rates.

The taxes on a 2000 sq. ft home in Hamilton are actually lower than on the comparable home in Burlington. The Burlington resident pays more for their home (on average about $80K), pays more taxes and receives similar service (actually less if they choose not to be automobile dependent). Why, then would anyone consider living here? Clearly, over 20,000 people have realized that they get a better deal in Hamilton, as that is approximately how many Hamiltonians commute to work in the City of Burlington.

Proximity to Toronto is the major factor. Tbat also explains why Oakville prices are $30K higher than Burlington's, and Mississauga prices are higher than Oakville's.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 13:35:10

"Proximity to Toronto is the major factor." No way! The only POSSIBLE explanation for differences in house prices is that they're caused by property tax rates.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 13:57:01

JonC >> You clearly have no concept of why governments exist in the first place

To take money from people like yourself, who feel insecure in making their own decisions.

>> That you believe a society could be held together by individuals making every single economic transaction

The USSR had 100% government spending and how did it fare? 1917 to 1991, 74 years and not much in the way of an economic legacy to the world.

Compare that to the U.S., where from 1776 to 1929, government spending comprised less than 10% of GDP (exception being WWI) and where it became the preeminent economic power in the world, producing many valuable inventions ( tinyurl.com/coadkg ).

If government spending is so important, how do you explain all these important inventions that came from an economy with less than 10% government spending? It's as if you have no clue what your talking about.

>> The money spent by the government is primarily in large scale infrastructure

First of all, fixed investment (infrastructure) in 2008 accounted for only 52B out of an economy of 1602B, making it about 3.1% of GDP. The bulk of government spending went to transfer payments and wages to public employees. Don't you get tired of me having to correct your "facts"?

>> our nation has decided to make sure all citizens are at least given a chance at having some sort of sustainable life

And with residential tax rates in Hamilton capped at the GTA average of 1%, this would be put in dire jeopardy. How does Burlington do it? There should be anarchy there and yet, Hamilton has more poverty and run down buildings then they do. It just doesn't make sense. You make me laugh Jon, you're ignorance is so pure and complete, you're a throwback to a time before people had access to books and other sources of information.

>> Do you have valid points hidden in there somewhere?

Yes, I do.

>> I couldn't care less anymore as you never care to actually engage in conversation,

I didn't ask if you care. Just listen and soak it in. It will be good for you.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 14:36:06

"To take money from people like yourself, who feel insecure in making their own decisions."

You can't have it both ways. Either people are the best judge of how to spend there money or they aren't. Since most people support paying taxes for public services, does that mean they don't know what's good for them?

"The USSR had 100% government spending"

There ought to be a Godwin's Law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%... for references to the USSR in discussions about government spending. By trying to compare any government spending to the USSR you just admitted that you don't have a leg to stand on.

Zookeeper was right. Feeding you just makes you more ridiculous.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 15:46:15

nobrainer >> Either people are the best judge of how to spend there money or they aren't. Since most people support paying taxes for public services, does that mean they don't know what's good for them?

If that's the case, then why not let the ones who enjoy paying taxes pay and let the rest of us who would rather spend our own money, do just that? That way, everybody will be happy.

>> By trying to compare any government spending to the USSR you just admitted that you don't have a leg to stand on.

I didn't admit anything, stop lying.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 15:57:08

"If that's the case, then why not let the ones who enjoy paying taxes pay and let the rest of us who would rather spend our own money, do just that?"

Free-rider problem. If you don't pay, you still benefit from other peoples contribution to public services. If you don't like democracy, go move to your beloved China where they don't have any.

"I didn't admit anything, stop lying."

Ha ha, argument fail. You admitted it by giving up the pretence of a real case and resorting to the same old smears that libertardians all eventually resort to when pushed against the wall. I call Godwin-USSR on you, go back to the 19th century and stay there, the rest of us have a modern nation to run. :P

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 06, 2009 at 16:08:37

i think it is high time to write a greasemonkey script that allows custom display of comments on RTH.

it would be great if the comment section of the blogs here were self moderating. the signal to noise ratio here has dropped dramatically in the past few months.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 06, 2009 at 16:16:20

reuben wrote:

it would be great if the comment section of the blogs here were self moderating. the signal to noise ratio here has dropped dramatically in the past few months.

Agreed. What do you think of allowing registered users to:

  1. Vote comments up or down; and
  2. Set a net vote threshold for display of comments

This would actually be easier than a decent comment threading system, which has been on my to-do list for some time.

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 06, 2009 at 16:25:14

Set a net vote threshold for display of comments

perfect.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 16:32:18

Set a net vote threshold for display of comments

Translation for the tech-challenged please?

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 16:36:59

Smith, it's almost as though you completely missed my point about your use of absurd claims, flawed analogies and poor statistics. I mentioned it twice in the hope you might pay attention at least once.

Ryan, any sort of moderation would be welcome.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 06, 2009 at 16:37:22

highwater wrote:

Translation for the tech-challenged please?

Let's say a given comment gets three upvotes and eight downvotes. It therefore has a net vote score of -5.

If you set your threshold for, say, -4, that means you will only see comments that have a net vote score of -4 or better. (You could set your threshold on your user profile page.)

For the example above, you would not see the comment. Instead, you would see a message like "Comment below threshold" with a button or something to make it visible in case you change your mind about that comment.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 16:48:04

nobrainer >> Free-rider problem. If you don't pay, you still benefit from other peoples contribution to public services.

Why does that have to be the case? Just ensure that those who don't pay taxes, don't have access to public schools, public hospitals and public roads. Real easy.

Furthermore, if you don't like people getting a free ride, then you are also against the idea that the top 10% of income earners having to pay 53% of income taxes. Furthermore, the bottom 50% of all earners in Canada only pay 4% of income taxes. That's so unfair and a according to your logic, a big free rider problem.

>> You admitted it by giving up the pretence of a real case and resorting to the same old smears that libertardians all eventually resort to when pushed against the wall.

This is what i actually said...

"The USSR had 100% government spending and how did it fare? 1917 to 1991, 74 years and not much in the way of an economic legacy to the world.

Compare that to the U.S., where from 1776 to 1929, government spending comprised less than 10% of GDP (exception being WWI) and where it became the preeminent economic power in the world, producing many valuable inventions ( tinyurl.com/coadkg ). "

This is how you replied...

"By trying to compare any government spending to the USSR you just admitted that you don't have a leg to stand on. "

So rather than address the lack of success that the Soviet economy had in producing anything of lasting value to the world, you simply resort to defending big government spending by lying.

Why not address the comparison of the private sector economic model vs the government sector economic model. Can you do that, or is lying the only thing you can do?

Ryan >> What do you think of allowing registered users to:

1. Vote comments up or down; and
2. Set a net vote threshold for display of comments

Dissenting views bad, groupthink good. So sad.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 17:29:55

Logic good, inanity bad.

Take your first point in this last response "nobrainer >> Free-rider problem. If you don't pay, you still benefit from other peoples contribution to public services.

Why does that have to be the case? Just ensure that those who don't pay taxes, don't have access to public schools, public hospitals and public roads. Real easy."

In your brain, the only beneficiary of an education is the student. In reality, when those with the greatest aptitude to become doctors or teachers or economists or mechanics or whatever attain training, all of society benefits.

The reason that no one responded to your USSR comparison is because it is statistically invalid. I seem to recall you praising the Chinese this past week. And of course, no capitalist countries have ever had failed economies. These are the sort of thing I mean when I refer to "absurd claims, flawed analogies and poor statistics". Watch, I'll argue like you, but the opposite,I'll take your argument and modify it ever so slightly.


Frnace has high government spending (over 60% of GDP) and how did it fare? Much in the way of an economic legacy to the world.

Compare that to Haiti, where from government spending comprises less than 17% of GDP and where it became one of the weakest economic powers in the world.

If a lack of government spending is so important, how do you explain all these important inventions that came from an economy with more than 60% government spending? It's as if you have no clue what your talking about.

Amazing!

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 19:08:46

JonC >> when those with the greatest aptitude to become doctors or teachers or economists or mechanics or whatever attain training, all of society benefits.

What is your point? That because I benefit from your education, that I must be forced to pay for it. That's like saying that I should be forced to pay pretty women for their gym membership, because I benefit from their beauty. Your logic is all messed up.

>> no capitalist countries have ever had failed economies.

Countries that limit government's role to basically enforcing contracts, protecting private property rights and otherwise protecting people's liberty do not have failed economies, you're right.

>> France has high government spending (over 60% of GDP) and how did it fare? Much in the way of an economic legacy to the world.

In the past six years it's GDP has grown at an average of 1.75%, so big government doesn't seem to be working so well. Combine that with rigid labour laws and you have an economy that is lacking in innovation and flexibility. However, for most of France's history, taxation was a fraction of what it is today, so extrapolating today's France with historical France may be overreaching a bit.

>> Compare that to Haiti,

Haiti does have low government spending, but it also a long history of repressive and corrupt governments, hardly a bastion of economic freedom. To be clear then, besides limited government intervention in the economy, countries and communities need their governments to fear them and not the other way around.

>> If a lack of government spending is so important, how do you explain all these important inventions that came from an economy with more than 60% government spending? It's as if you have no clue what your talking about.

As recently as 1978, according to the OECD, French government spending was only 43% of GDP, 10 points lower than today. If you can show me any numbers from before this period, showing higher spending, I would like to take a look at them. It's likely that government spending was much lower for most of France's economic history, but I don't have the numbers to prove that. Then again neither do you, so your opinion is just that.

One positive thing about France is that it lets its people buy private health insurance, on top of publicly funded health care, unlike Canada.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 20:45:49

Dissenting views bad, groupthink good. So sad.

Er, no. Good faith arguments good, bad faith arguments bad. So you're all for freedom of choice, unless it's the freedom of others to ignore you. So funny.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 20:56:55

So you agree that Government expenditures are not correlated to successful economies (you don't say that, but you expand upon my point implying agreement). But notice how you then argue some other unrelated point that no one made. My point being that your opinion (that the success of the USSR vs America is directly correlated to the level of government expenditure) is absurd, and I'm glad you agree that cherry picking two pieces of data from the entirety of history is disingenuous, to be polite.

As to "What is your point? That because I benefit from your education, that I must be forced to pay for it. That's like saying that I should be forced to pay pretty women for their gym membership, because I benefit from their beauty."

a) Not forced. You can always move elsewhere, or decide to not pay taxes, or create a political platform to attempt to convince the populous that dog eat dog is the best society, or make a legal case that you are being unfairly taxed. Other than that, Yes. b) Those examples are not analogous. c) You missed the point of going to the gym.

As for failed examples of capitalism, I of course was being sarcastic, if your counter argument is that there has never been a true example of capitalism, you only further insult your ability to debate.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 22:52:44

Highwater >> So you're all for freedom of choice, unless it's the freedom of others to ignore you.

I never said I was against Ryan running his site the way he wants. But if your only defense against criticism is to black out opposing views, that doesn't really say much about your ability to debate the issues. Especially when the voices you are attempting to black out are a tiny percentage of the community. It looks very weak.

JonC >> So you agree that Government expenditures are not correlated to successful economies

No. But if you do, then what do you have against lowering tax rates here in Hamilton. If government spending doesn't affect the economy, why not let people keep their money?

>> But notice how you then argue some other unrelated point that no one made.

No. You brought up Haiti, I simply pointed out that that they are one of the least free economic countries in the world and that their governments have a long history of interfering in the private sector. Furthermore, Haiti also relies on foreign aid, whether from governments or individuals living outside the country. As I have said before, relying on others to pay your way, hurts one's own ability to develop organically.

In this respect, they are very much like Hamilton, too willing to accept handouts from other people.

>> You can always move elsewhere, or decide to not pay taxes,

That's really sad that you think that way, that people must be forced to pay for things simply because you have the physical strength to make them pay. Nice morals.

>> As for failed examples of capitalism, I of course was being sarcastic,

Capitalism will never fail, because at it's core, it's all about mutual exchange for mutual benefit, without coercion or the threat of violence. Too bad you don't understand these concepts, but only understand coercion and violence. One day you will have to explain your willingness to condone this unnecessary violence. Make sure you have some good reasons.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 23:22:58

So to reiterate - You disagree with points you previously elaborated on - You still don't see realize that you go on unrelated tangents - You still parse statements to suit your agenda - You still live in an unrealistic dreamworld and try to cow people with hyperbole

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 06, 2009 at 23:37:11

A Smith wrote:

I never said I was against Ryan running his site the way he wants.

My inclination has been to maintain an unmoderated discussion forum; I am considering allowing individual users to self-moderate what they see because I'm getting a strong message from users that the quality of commentary has been in decline.

But if your only defense against criticism is to black out opposing views, that doesn't really say much about your ability to debate the issues.

Many people are specifically frustrated with your a) absolute refusal to adhere to even the most basic principles of reasoning from evidence and b) relentless trolling of every single posted article or blog entry to flog your one. Single. Idea.

Especially when the voices you are attempting to black out are a tiny percentage of the community.

You have single-handedly posted ten percent of all the comments posted in the past 14 days (among comments by 143 unique commenters).

You also posted ten percent of all the comments posted in the past 30 days, and in the past 60 days, and in the past 90 days, and in the past 120 days, and in the past 150 days, and in the past 180 days.

You post nearly twice as many comments as I post, and I'm the website editor.

You also continually refuse to take up the standing offer to submit an article that makes your case for lowering property tax rates for consideration; choosing instead to troll every other article whether or not it is at all relevant.

Your persistent trolling derails many discussions that might otherwise have generated constructive ideas, and your omnipresence dissuades others from bothering to post comments.

You, A Smith, are the biggest obstacle to freedom of expression on this site.

I'm willing to introduce comment voting and the individual option to hide comments with scores below a given threshold if it allows others to interpret your comments as damage and route around them (to repurpose John Gilmore's famous phrase).

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 06, 2009 at 23:39:18

Especially when the voices you are attempting to black out are a tiny percentage of the community.

I'd like to see comment/word counts that show your participation here as a percentage of all comments. I think your piece of the pie here is larger than you think.

I never said I was against Ryan running his site the way he wants.

I'll just accept this as the truth and not accuse you of lying as you have accused other users.

If government spending doesn't affect the economy, why not let people keep their money?

Maybe because life does not always revolve around the economy.

Capitalism will never fail

Wow. Just. Wow.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 07, 2009 at 01:44:38

JonC >> So to reiterate
- You disagree with points you previously elaborated on
- You still don't see realize that you go on unrelated tangents
- You still parse statements to suit your agenda
- You still live in an unrealistic dreamworld and try to cow people with hyperbole

Instead of telling me what I think, why not tell me what you think? Is bigger government, ALL THINGS BEING RELATIVELY EQUAL, a better way to generate wealth and new products for consumers? Yes or No? You may provide reasonable examples to prove your case.

Ryan >> I'm getting a strong message from users that the quality of commentary has been in decline.

I agree, almost every article and comment is about government spending and regulation. It's just too much.

>> Many people are specifically frustrated with your a) absolute refusal to adhere to even the most basic principles of reasoning from evidence

Coming from people who believe that planting trees is more important to Hamilton's economy, than allowing individuals and businesses to spend and invest more of their income, that doesn't surprise me.

>> trolling of every single posted article or blog entry to flog your one. Single. Idea.

That one single idea involves thousands, if not millions of economic decisions. So while you see it as just one idea, it will result in many more spending decisions then what the politicians will make. The difference is, the spending ideas are not a result of central planning and committee, but by individuals without consultation with anybody else, except maybe their spouse. Can you grasp that, or do you need to form a study group to vote on what I'm saying?

>> You have single-handedly posted ten percent of all the comments

What do they say, 20% of the people produce 80% of the wealth.

>> You also continually refuse to take up the standing offer to submit an article

This way is better for me. But I do appreciate the offer, it's very nice of you Ryan.

>> Your persistent trolling derails many discussions

No pun intended?

Reuben >> I'll just accept this as the truth and not accuse you of lying as you have accused other users.

"nobrainer >> By trying to compare any government spending to the USSR you just admitted that you don't have a leg to stand on."

"I didn't admit anything, stop lying."

I told nobrainer to stop lying, because he/she accused me of admitting to something which I didn't admit to. The fact that you have a problem with this, speaks volumes about your character.

>> Maybe because life does not always revolve around the economy.

So, because life doesn't always revolve around the economy, people need to be forced to hand money over to the government? Why is that?

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 07, 2009 at 07:20:25

A Smith>> Is bigger government, ALL THINGS BEING RELATIVELY EQUAL, a better way to generate wealth and new products for consumers? Yes or No?

a) all things are not equal, not even close.

b) there is no yes or no answer to that question and that is the difference between debating and the godly absolutism that you are still amazed that us rubes haven't accepted as fact yet.

Ryan >> I'm getting a strong message from users that the quality of commentary has been in decline.

A Smith>> I agree, almost every article and comment is about government spending and regulation. It's just too much.

I must have missed the part where this article, tagged as humour with absolutely nothing to do with spending or regulation, was about spending or regulation. I did go back and reread the first line of your response. "The difference between Hamilton and Burlington's downtown is that people in Burlington have lower tax rates"

Ryan Many people are specifically frustrated with your a) absolute refusal to adhere to even the most basic principles of reasoning from evidence

A Smtih Coming from people who believe that planting trees is more important to Hamilton's economy, than allowing individuals and businesses to spend and invest more of their income, that doesn't surprise me.

More evidence of your excellent reasoning skills

Ryan trolling of every single posted article or blog entry to flog your one. Single. Idea.

A Smith That one single idea

Mark this post as the one where Smith admits that he only has one idea

Ryan You have single-handedly posted ten percent of all the comments

A Smith What do they say, 20% of the people produce 80% of the wealth.

So I guess you fall into the 80% forming 20%

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 07, 2009 at 09:01:46

You also continually refuse to take up the standing offer to submit an article

This way is better for me. But I do appreciate the offer, it's very nice of you Ryan.

Expand on this. I want to know why, specifically.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 07, 2009 at 09:17:07

A Smith wrote >But if your only defense against criticism is to black out opposing views, that doesn't really say much about your ability to debate the issues.

Stawman no.999. No one is talking about blacking out opposing views. If you stay on topic and argue in good faith (ie. no strawmen, no cherry-picking, no hostile demands for answers to your rhetorical questions), your comments won't get downrated. And of course, if you register, you will have the ability to rate the comments of others. That way, you can downrate all the repetitive, off-topic comments about "planting trees" and "government spending and regulation". It's a free market of ideas! What's not to love?

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 07, 2009 at 09:22:44

really, A Smith, I thought of all people you would be on board with the comment rating system. the strongest ideas get pushed forth, the weakest die off.

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By Pissed Off (anonymous) | Posted May 07, 2009 at 10:53:59

A Smith, think of the up/down system as a perfect free-market solution. Sufficient down votes means there is no market for your commentary but it's still available for the niche who wish to pursue it. You show nothing but disdain for this forum and are ruining the experience of visiting it for others. This has nothing to do with censorship. It has to do with you being an inconsiderate a**hole blinded by your certainty and righteousness.
P.S. Don't bother responding, I stopped reading what you post when it became predictable (about two or three days after you first logged on). I just hate having to waste my time wading through your chaff.

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By Still Pissed Off, but... (anonymous) | Posted May 07, 2009 at 11:38:00

Sorry for my last post. The language is inappropriate. I kind of lost my patience.
Remove it if you like.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 07, 2009 at 14:47:06

JonC >> all things are not equal, not even close

Okay, so do you have any way of knowing whether or not lowering tax rates would hurt government revenues? If each situation is UNIQUE and therefore completely unpredictable, aren't you simply guessing that lower tax rates would hurt city revenues.

>> there is no yes or no answer to that question

If there isn't a yes or no answer, then I suppose you don't really care as to whether or not tax rates should be lowered and government spending reduced. Is that correct?

>> I must have missed the part where this article...

Here is a snippet from said article...

"Don't worry, traffic on the six-lane local street travels at near highway speed, and you won't get slowed down behind a bus, cyclist, or pedestrian."

Does this sound familiar yet? Businesses and cars bad, zoning regulations, cyclist and public transit good. Like I said, almost every article attacks business and promotes more regulation and government spending. That's the sad reality, face up to it.

Highwater >> It's a free market of ideas! What's not to love?

I wholeheartedly believe in Ryan's freedom to do this, but the result will be that there will be less debate and more uniformity of opinion. More cheerleading and less competition.

Reuben >> the strongest ideas get pushed forth, the weakest die off.

If you believe truly this, then why do you have a problem with lower tax rates and less government interference in the economy?

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 07, 2009 at 15:18:33

Reuben >> the strongest ideas get pushed forth, the weakest die off.

If you believe truly this, then why do you have a problem with lower tax rates and less government interference in the economy?

i was comparing the comment voting system to your belief in the free market -- and that it should fall right in line with your belief system. so... does it? don't throw the question back in my face.

for the record, i've never stated that i had a problem with lower tax rates and less government interference in the economy, so don't jump to conclusions.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 07, 2009 at 15:20:27

It factually would lower city revenue in the short term, the guessing is in whether the future income would exceed current income levels. Which you adamantly believe they will without having any solid evidence (since you believe that correlations are simplistic and only work in the direction that argues to your favour)

Admitting ambiguity has nothing to do with a lack of care. If anything, the certainty that begin all 'discuss' with implies a lack of caring as you have no desire to further educate yourself.

So, what does any of that have to do with the lower tax rate that you begin your reply with? I'll save you the time, the answer is nothing.

And your lack of refuting implies that you accept the confirmation that you are a one idea man. A zealot. Which, is a little sad. I mean it explains why you can never bend or admit fault in yourself. If you did, then it would imply weakness in your one idea, the concept that you base your superiority around. A nuanced world where sometimes taxes need to be increased and sometimes they need to be decreased and sometimes redirected to collect from different streams would be far to complicated to fit into your binary reality. Matching this up with some of your other posts, it seems that you've correlated taxes with evil. I could be wrong and reading too much into things, but it would certainly clarify your rigidity.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 07, 2009 at 17:02:39

JonC >> It factually would lower city revenue in the short term

Show me your "solid evidence" to prove this assertion.

>> Admitting ambiguity has nothing to do with a lack of care.

Nor should it be a reason to charge the residents of Hamilton the highest tax rates in the GTA. If you are ignorant as to how tax rates affect city revenues, there is no good reason not to lower them.

>> your lack of refuting implies that you accept the confirmation that you are a one idea man. A zealot. Which, is a little sad. I mean it explains why you can never bend or admit fault in yourself.

Ok, here is a second idea, don't make factually incorrect statements say like this one...

"The money spent by the government is primarily in large scale infrastructure

Is that better.

>> A nuanced world where sometimes taxes need to be increased and sometimes they need to be decreased

What criteria do you use to make these judgments?

>> it seems that you've correlated taxes with evil.

If I came to your house and stole money for my education, would you consider that wrong? What is the difference between that and having the majority decide they need to take more income from rich people, simply because they have a good reason to do so?

Don't get me wrong, I believe that rich people who fail to give back to those in need are missing out on one of the best things any one can do, spreading compassion and love. But resorting to theft, even if it is organized and democratized, is still wrong. Furthermore, if you look at the history of things like welfare, there is a lot of evidence that says it is counter productive.

Reuben >> for the record, i've never stated that i had a problem with lower tax rates and less government interference in the economy, so don't jump to conclusions.

True, you didn't say those things. I jumped to conclusions.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 07, 2009 at 17:15:26

X.2 = .2X X.1 = .1X unless of course you believe say halving the residential tax rate would immediately double property values. Which it won't

I would suggest using more than one criteria.

I would also suggest you stop taking comments out of context if you wish to be taken seriously "The money spent by the government is primarily in large scale infrastructure and our nation has decided to make sure all citizens are at least given a chance at having some sort of sustainable life, so we also support standards for health care, education, etc."

I hope you took my previous comments regarding your zealotry to be constructive.

And for the record, I've also never stated that I had a problem with lower tax rates and less government interference in the economy, so don't jump to conclusions.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 07, 2009 at 18:55:42

JonC >> unless of course you believe say halving the residential tax rate would immediately double property values. Which it won't

I personally don't think tax rates need to be cut in half overnight? But limiting government spending to the rate of inflation, plus population growth, would allow tax rates to fall and allow much more money to be spent by the people and businesses of Hamilton. It would force government to live within a budget, but could also be part of a larger program that provided large bonuses for staff that came in under budget.

In this way, government would have much more motivation to do a good job, but also less ability to make excuses and raise taxes.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted May 07, 2009 at 21:27:42

This so off topic... but still a good conversation to have. I'm not against anyone challenging Hamilton's faults. Hamilton does need to get a lot of things together. But the long term sustainability of Hamilton looks better then any of the suburbs between us and Toronto... including North Toronto.

I always believe you get what you pay for. Hamilton offers a lot for its taxes. Good libraries, entertainment, cosmopolitan lifestyle, community sports (at a very good price), parks, recreation, variety of living, transit (going to get even better), geography you can't beat, and location (you can't beat) at the hub of the Golden Horseshoe.

No where in Canada has as much unrealized potential as Hamilton.....

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By Hopeful (registered) | Posted May 08, 2009 at 10:25:53

Trey, Thanks for trying to bring this back on track (although I guess I'm the one who moved it from a humourous jab at Burlington to comparative rants in the first place --- sorry). I agree wholeheartedly with your comments above on Hamilton. Having just been involved with the sale of a house in Burlington I can vouch for the tax spread not being as great as some suggest and your point that community sports (as well as a lot of other things) are available less expensively here than there. This makes them more inclusive since a lot of people in Hamilton would not have the ability to participate in Burlington activities with high user fees and a lot of people in Burlington (especially families with large mortgages) are stretched economically by these extra costs.
As I've said, I hope that we can learn from our neighbours and do what's best for us. Hamilton not only has a lot of potential --- it has a lot going for it already! Hopefully forums and discussions like this can help it prosper. Thanks for your work towards this.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 08, 2009 at 16:45:00

Trey S >> the long term sustainability of Hamilton looks better then any of the suburbs between us and Toronto... including North Toronto.

What do you mean exactly?

>> Hamilton offers a lot for its taxes.

If that is the case, then does why Hamilton's downtown, which has the greatest density of city services, also have the lowest property values? If city services are a net positive to the community, then the downtown should have the highest property values, not the lowest. How do you explain this?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 09, 2009 at 11:04:02

How do you explain this?

FYI, if the comment rating system goes ahead, I plan to downrate any of your comments that end with passive-aggressive rhetorical questions.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 09, 2009 at 13:01:01

Highwater, that's right, you already know the truth, so why bother listening to counter arguments.

Once again, if government services are so valuable to people, then why are property values so low in an area of the city where they are also the most plentiful. In Ancaster and Dundas, where transit and library service is a fraction of the downtown, property values are much higher, how can this be? Ryan, Jason, JonC, anybody?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 09, 2009 at 13:21:33

Read my comment again. It's not the content of your arguments, but rather your belligerent style of arguing that would earn a down vote from me.

how can this be? Ryan, Jason, JonC, anybody?

I rest my case.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 09, 2009 at 13:24:51

that's right, you already know the truth, so why bother listening to counter arguments.

Aack! Splutter. Thud.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 09, 2009 at 14:32:17

The reason I didn't responded to your post (and I'll assume the same for anyone else). Is that: a) we've already covered reasons for price differences numerous times since I started reading the site, and I'll guess more before that. You continually to believe there is one reason. b) you don't actually want to hear answers. c) I don't believe that your statement "Hamilton's downtown, which has the greatest density of city services" is true. Or that if it is, that the level of services available downtown is particularly greater than any other area of Hamilton.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 09, 2009 at 16:54:31

Highwater >> it's not the content of your arguments, but rather your belligerent style of arguing that would earn a down vote from me.

If that was true, you wouldn't keep responding to what I say, you love having me around.

JonC >> I don't believe that your statement "Hamilton's downtown, which has the greatest density of city services" is true.

There is the Central Library, Copps Coliseum, AGH, Hamilton Place, Hamilton Convention Centre, and access to almost every single transit route. Compare that with Dundas or Ancaster, which have very little transit availability, small public libraries, yet much higher property values and far less run down buildings.

If people love living near government services, then property values should be higher downtown and lower in the outlying areas of the city. But the opposite is true. In fact, it appears that property values go up, the less government spending there is. Which, of course, was the experience in Boston, when the state capped government spending at 2.5% per year and assessment growth (from the private sector) took off.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 09, 2009 at 21:05:09

Only one of those buildings is a city service and the library resources are pooled, so if you want a book that is available at another branch, they'll bring it to your branch (I'm actually assuming that's still true, I could potentially be wrong about that).

Your argument that people would move away from free money is more ridiculous than usual.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 10, 2009 at 18:56:26

Jon >> Your argument that people would move away from free money is more ridiculous than usual.

Can you offer more than name calling? How about a logical reason why people would rather live in areas of the city where transit coverage is poor and where there aren't government goodies, like stadiums and arenas that are so valuable to the community? Is it possible that all of these city owned facilities are nothing more than a complete waste of taxpayer's money? It sure looks that way.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 10, 2009 at 23:17:53

No. I was being polite by calling it ridiculous. Saying that people would pay more to have less is idiotic.

Furthermore, do you honestly believe that living next door to a stadium provides any additional benefits to living a kilometer away or ten kilometers away?

There are hundreds of reasons people live where they live, many of which have been discussed on this site. Of course your counter argument to any of those reasons were that whoever brought it up was wrong and that tax rate was the only reason anyone would live anywhere. So of course no one actually cares to explain anything to you, as you clearly enjoy wallowing in your ignorance.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2009 at 19:41:24

JonC >> Saying that people would pay more to have less is idiotic.

Then why are property values lower downtown Hamilton, than in outlying areas of the city like Ancaster and Dundas? What is your explanation?

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 12, 2009 at 20:57:00

"Then why are property values lower downtown Hamilton, than in outlying areas of the city like Ancaster and Dundas?"

I don't agree with that. From personal experience, I just sold my downtown house not long ago and the price I got per square foot was equivalent to houses in Dundas and Ancaster. It all depends on the area, you can't paint downtown Hamilton with broad strokes.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 13, 2009 at 03:20:07

nobrainer >> the price I got per square foot was equivalent to houses in Dundas and Ancaster.

There are some nice homes downtown and a lot of really run down homes. Is there a way the city could use incentives, other than just large scale projects, like cultural facilities and transit, to get investment dollars into fixing people's homes? Perhaps a property tax rebate for renovations?

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 13, 2009 at 09:59:31

Perhaps a property tax rebate for renovations?

I think this is a great idea, but I could also see people taking advantage of it. If the purpose of the tax credit is to get old run-down homes fixed up, how do you make sure it is only applied in the areas that need it? Would it be fair to give the same rebate to renovations on homes that are 20 years old and in great shape (a reno like an addition or something) versus homes that are 100 years old and in poor shape (with renovations such as re-wiring, re-roofing, re-cladding, new windows, etc)?

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted May 13, 2009 at 11:54:12

Perhaps a property tax rebate for renovations?

If the purpose of the tax credit is to get old run-down homes fixed up, how do you make sure it is only applied in the areas that need it?

Not a bad idea, the problem would be in quantifying when a building is considered run down and when its considered acceptable. Would it be based on comparing home prices before and after the reno (taking into account surrounding home prices and conditions), or would it look at the type of reno done (i.e. upgrading structure or cladding as opposed to the above mentioned addition).

Incidentally, there's already a program like this in effect called the "Enterprise Zone Municipal Realty Tax Incentive Grant Program". However it only applies to properties with a less than 50% occupancy rate. (so for the case of residential homes it would only count if the house was vacant or it was demolished and rebuilt) Basically this program gives the qualifying developer a yearly grant equal to a percentage of the increase in property tax due to the renovation and/or construction. (100% the 1st year, 80% the 2nd year, 60% the 3rd year, 40% for the 4th year and 20% for year 5).

The program applies for land within the area denoted here http://www.myhamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/01...

And the details of the program can be found here http://www.myhamilton.ca/myhamilton/City...

If someone could come up with a good set of criteria for non-vacant residential homes maybe the city could expand the grant criteria to include them?

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By br (anonymous) | Posted May 28, 2016 at 18:16:28

Burlington rules. Hamilton drools.

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