Sprawl

It's Merulla who Ought to be Ashamed

By Ryan McGreal
Published August 04, 2009

The hot sun of political opportunity has shone steadily for Councillor Sam Merulla (Ward 4) since last weekend's flooding, and he has made plenty of hay from his characteristically strident advocacy for those residents whose basements backed up with sewage from the city's antiquated combined sewer/rainwater pipes.

Slamming his fellow councillors and local newsmedia alike over their support for Hamilton's Pan American Games bid, Merulla has presented himself as a champion of the little guy, willing to dole out political capital on the unsexy issue of municipal infrastructure repair.

There's just one problem: it's a load of bollocks.

Set aside for a moment the fact that the Pan Am Games bid, which would commit future capital dollars on new sports facilities, is a red herring when considering city's past underinvestment in infrastructure maintenance - an underinvestment the city is already hastening to remedy.

Whether the Games bid is affordable or advisable as a future initiative is strictly irrelevant. If we want to lay political blame for the state of the city's infrastructure - and Merulla is only too eager to do just that - we need to look at what the city has been spending its money on over the past decade or two.

Instead of maintaining our existing infrastructure, the city has gone for broke on building a $220 million expressway to open up massive new suburban developments on top of the escarpment. The new developments made possible by the Red Hill Valley Parkway (RHVP) paved over the escarpment watershed that might otherwise absorb some of the excess rain that overwhelmed the sewers.

Not only did the RHVP open up the mountain for massive new suburban development by making it highway-accessible, but it also massively engineered the principal drainage basin for the east end - the Red Hill Creek Valley. Is anyone surprised that a highway built in a river basin ended up flooded?

At the same time, since new suburban developments actually put the city's finances deeper in the red, all that new infrastructure has cramped the municipal government's financial capacity to invest in maintaining existing infrastructure.

Councillor Merulla has been a major supporter of the Red Hill Valley Parkway in particular, as well as suburban sprawl in general. In doing so, he himself has helped to relegate his own ward residents to their purgatory of regular basement flooding.

It's not surprising that Merulla is working double-time to link his ward's sewer problems with the Pan Am Games bid. As a rhetorical hook, it helps to distract us from the real culprit: the ongoing municipal trajectory of sprawl development, of which Merulla himself is a longstanding proponent.

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 synxer (registered) | Posted August 04, 2009 at 13:23:46

Even when you're not flooded or backed up by sewer water, you're still subject to Merulla's nonsense.

City employees/Councilors should be subject to impeachment.

I saw the claws come out to Pan Am Games. I know you're reading this via Google Alerts, Merulla. Hand the reins over to more capable hands, please.

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By Auntie Democratic (anonymous) | Posted August 04, 2009 at 16:19:52

My favorite is all these people saying Bratina walking out on last weeks meeting is 'anti democratic', cause, you know, nothing says 'democracy' like racing to vote for something when you don't even know what you're voting for yet.....

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By ob (anonymous) | Posted August 04, 2009 at 16:53:43

The flooding was happening decades before the RHVP.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted August 04, 2009 at 17:05:46

the daggers are out now. Just a questin but why are the voter turnout rates so low inthis city, well actually, just not in this area but others as well. Could it be that the people are so disenfranchised from the whole system that they stay home?

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By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted August 04, 2009 at 17:11:18

NO - folks should get more engaged with the system before things happen. Raging Grannies are fine - as long as they are not always so reactive.

Get involved. Join your neighbourhood association. Start a neighbourhood association. Be part of the dialogue and stop letting guys like Merulla be your voice.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 04, 2009 at 17:59:36

People don't vote because all the options suck.

I concur with Kuruc - get involved in your neighbourhood. It's a great way to meet people and help further the quality of life in your area.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 04, 2009 at 18:31:52

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 04, 2009 at 20:01:16

JonC,

Here are a couple of RTH articles related to the incident in question:

Vote Against Merulla, not Transit: Bratina http://raisethehammer.org/blog/551/

Brian McHattie Explains Support for Fare Increase http://raisethehammer.org/blog/550

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted August 04, 2009 at 21:59:52

I think that there is alot disinformation in regards to those on Ontario Works (welfare), transit and the clawing back of the child tax credit, in the article "McHattie explains support for fare increase". The reality is that his words did not echo the truth at all.

Fast forward to 2009, those who are on Ontario Works, especially those who are single, who have to live on $572.00 per month., which is an amount that does not cover rent, never mind food, transportation even to find work. The majority of the people posting here, do not have a clue. Never mind that some of the temp companies who charge exhoribant transportation costs to those at the lowest income scale, sometimes up to $20.00 per day.

The hypocrisy is that we have entrenched middle class employees who work for the system telling the people to walk from downtown to Nash Road because they need a bus ticket to get to a medical appointment. Yes that is what I call a compassion society, NOT!!!!

Keep closing your eyes people.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 04, 2009 at 22:20:45

Grassroots, your last comment just reminded me of a great old tune:

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/pinkfloyd...

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By BB (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 00:30:39

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 02:28:22

Jason: Those are great lyrics. It is a shame that many sit in judgement. The blindness that is out there is astonishing, it is like people think it could never happen to them but it could.

BB: It must be nice to sit in judgement, karma is a wonderful thing, maybe the creator needs to teach you a lesson?

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By Really? (registered) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 08:01:33

I wrote to Merulla the exact same thing just after the flood... his response:

"I will never apologize for being a "fearless leader" in what I believe in strongly because it is not in my nature to be a fearful follower in something I don't believe in at all. "

So perhaps you should apologize to all the East End residents whose homes were flooded because the Expressway you supported was heavily to blame!!!

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By frank (registered) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 08:40:04

I don't intend to wage another RHCE or not debate however, those of you who portray the RHCE as a culprit in the flooding need to take a comprehensive course on water and waste watermanagement - one that includes subjects like the design of stormwater retention and detention systems. Having surveyed the damage myself both at the Red Hill and above the escarpment and being an individual who has taken said courses, I know it's idiocy to place blame on the expressway surface itself as a culprit. I'd be far more inclined to look at the plethora of new surveys (houses, driveways, roadways etc) and new shopping centres being built above the mountain brow than blame a roadway who's very construction included a redesign of a creek that would've vomitted raw sewage all over lower Hamilton in the same storm if it had happened 5 years ago.

As far as Merulla goes, if he hadn't come out the same day all guns firing I'm sure we all would've been asking what had happened to him. It's typical of him and is to be expected...

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 05, 2009 at 08:44:03

Frank, that's why I wrote, "The new developments made possible by the Red Hill Valley Parkway (RHVP) paved over the escarpment watershed that might otherwise absorb some of the excess rain that overwhelmed the sewers."

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By synxer (registered) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 10:06:45

Google Alerts User wrote: "I will never apologize for being a "fearless leader" in what I believe in strongly because it is not in my nature to be a fearful follower in something I don't believe in at all. "

Merulla, you're supposed to represent your constituents, not yourself. You're elected because your ward thought you would be successful in conveying their representation to city hall.

Try and remember that when you are 'gun blazing' though politics.

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By frank (registered) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 12:13:48

Ryan, most of those surveys were already in before the RHVP was built. Decades of poor development above the mountain brow are a ticking time bomb. The fact that Hamilton continues to develop irresponsibly really ticks me off!

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 12:57:37

if one looks at a google earth image of the upper stoney creek prior to DiIanni's election victory (I'm only choosing that point in time because that was when it was decided once and for all that the RHVP would be built) and compare it to today you'll see an incredible amount of new subdivisions. Despite the fact that lower east end flooding has become more common over the past decade we continued to push ahead with more of this type of development in the past 5+ years. And as far as I can tell, we still are today. Expect more and more floods in the years to come. And expect council to keep calling them "100 year" rain events everytime they happen. Perhaps the public will clue in when we start having "100 year rain events" 3 times a summer.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 16:23:45

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 05, 2009 at 16:26:53

Argumentum ad verecundiam.

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By Another Hammerite (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 16:52:30

I knew the RHVP would cause problems when I thought about childhood experiences of the valley and the creek. There were deep valleys between Albion Road and the ravine where the creek ran, and those were also part of that system and its floodplain. Those are now paved over. The soil there, as indicated on the geological maps, was very sandy. There were small marshes scattered across that sandy soil. In fact there were sand dunes in a few spots, under the grass. This was nearer to the escarpment. Water used to follow that system, but mostly it would disappear underground, into the porous sandy soils. You could watch the magic of its disappearing. The creek itself entered its lower valley which was also partially filled with sandy sediment, washed down from higher ground. That too was porous, and although Albion Falls was a rushing torrent, low and behold, by the time you got to King Street, there was much less water visible. Where had it gone ? Into the sandy soil, the porous accumulation of millenia of creek activity, beneath the more obvious little stream. Now, shove that little stream into a concrete pipe, thinking you have enough pipe based on surface flow characteristics, even if carefully measured year round. No. That isn't enough. You have now stopped the water from entering that porous sandy soil and the UNDERGROUND portion of the stream is now having to move above ground through the manmade pipe and channels. If the water can get there. Some can and some cannot.

The computer model used to determine the engineering of the new water course could not possibly have taken into account the many square kilometers of underground stream activity. It is the underground, invisible, Red Hill Creek, that carried MOST of the water, not the visible little trickle that danced its way across the top and under King Street.

Similarly it is unlikely that the calculations for the visible stream were supplemented by the massive amounts of water underground from its tributary system of sand dunes, flood plain, and little marshes nearer to Albion Road. That was not likely taken as being "Red Hill Creek" proper. Unfortunately that _is_, or rather was, a major part of the Red Hill Creek system.

It is very sad when excessively simplistic calculations are used to model such complex systems, that in reality includes groundwater flow, soil characteristics,... a hydrogeology that is far beyond the limits of the modeling system. Now, did anyone actually construct a scale model, to test flow effects in the redesigned valley ? Not likely. It's very expensive and even that is fraught with risk due to crude approximations.

Expect more floods.


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By jason (registered) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 17:09:04

capitalist, please go re-read all my posts on this topic. I haven't blamed a road. I've blamed unchecked suburban sprawl allowed by the city, while at the same time not recouping costs from the developers or new buyers in order to build a new water run-off plant to handle all of the new runoff created by these developments.

I realize your screen-name means that you think that's how the world should run - some developers get filthy rich while the rest of us pay the cost, both financially and physically (drying out our basements) but there are some people who see the unfairness in this model of development and would like to see it change.

the RHVP will be brought up time and time again in future floods because some genius decided it would be a cool idea to build a road through the main flood plain that handles water from hundreds of streams and rivers on top of the escarpment. The real flood culprit however, is the last 30 years of partially paid for sprawl.

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By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 17:14:28


Engineers are the be all and end all. Some are amazing at what they do and the others get hired by the city of Hamilton.

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By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 17:39:08

Sorry meant to say "aren't the be all and end all'.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 20:02:54

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 22:36:44

maybe if we lower taxes to 0.5% it will never rain again...

sorry, I couldn't resist. Lol

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 05:48:56

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 08:08:28

I can't believe I'm doing this, but it's bad enough when you parse actual facts. I counter your fiction with this fiction

Genesis 2:15 (KJV) "And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it".

It turns out that Smith spits in the face of god's commands. Good work!

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By synxer (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 09:21:34

Ahhh, nothing will get a debate back on the ol' logical track like a few versus from religious texts.

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By Speller (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 09:36:20

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By Really? (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 10:37:23

Hammerite:

Very well said! Most of us forget about Hamilton's underground waterways, ie: the NEW Erimosa Krast Park in Upper Stoney Creek which was supposed to be another Development. These undeground waterways are part of the reason why the lower-City cannot have a Subway system.

I totally remember BMX'ing on those Sand Dunes in Lower King's Forest between Greenhill & the Escarpment... I had never seen dunes anywhere else in Hamilton!

As for Sam Merulla; I really hope there is some concrete competition for the 2010 Municipal Elections! C'mon Ward 4: Show Merulla we don't buy his B.S.!

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By Old Insider Tired of the Grind (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 10:45:01

@Capitalist

Forget about expertise, it's irrelevant and everyone in municipal planning knows it. Here's how these things work:

Politician: We're being asked to approve some new developments on the east mountain.

Engineer: Um, that's going to lead to problems with runoff and flooding.

Politician: Never mind that, just engineer it to handle anything less than a 100-year storm and our asses will be covered.

Engineer: Can I get that in writing?

Look at the big box store council approved on the east mountain. Staff recommended against it, but council pushed ahead anyway. Staff were told: make it work, so they did.

And here we are.

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By floating in ward 4 (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 11:23:53

@ob - the flooding's getting more frequent and severe.

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By synxer (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 12:51:43

@Speller - While I don't think my appreciation for logic translates to "moral supremacy", I appreciate the sentiment from an anonymous source.

I still feel that religion and logic have no relationship.

  • verses

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 14:56:33

In defense of my comment, I did call it fiction.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 16:03:43

@Ryan

Why can't you answer my question?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 16:24:33

JonC >> Genesis 2:15 (KJV) "And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it". It turns out that Smith spits in the face of god's commands. Good work!

Banning people from developing their land ("dress it") and having control over their land ("keep it") is what you are advocating, not me. You want the tax collectors to control the land and also to keep it in it's naked, raw form. If anyone is going against what God wants, it would appear to be those who support government mandated greenbelts.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 18:07:28

A Smith: LOL, did you really look at your words before you posted? I am not a religious person but if you want a reply, well how about this

the land belongs to all, people and all of the creatures on this earth. Maybe the land should be shared, not owned, for the sake of profits that destroy mother nature.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 19:23:49

I didn't realize it was god's ordinance to divide the lands among real estate developers so that they could go forth and prosper. Must have been in the back somewhere. I also didn't realize I develop myself every morning and control it real. I suppose it's easy to make things say what you want if you redefine words to mean something else. Heaven forbid the bible contradict itself, constantly.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 20:11:19

Grassroots >> the land belongs to all, people and all of the creatures on this earth.

If you believe this, then I guess you wouldn't mind if I turn your house into a storage bin for my garbage. If everyone has equal claim to each piece of land, then no individual, nor group of individuals can control it's use. In this scenario, where no one person(s) has exclusive property rights, what are the odds that people will invest time and effort trying to improve that land? If a bunch of jokers can lawfully decide it would be fun to burn down the home you just built, how many homes do you think will get built?

The truth is, land is only valuable when people manage it with an eye towards increasing it's value to either themselves or somebody else. That's why most of the GDP in Ontario is produced on land owned not by the government, but by private individuals and businesses.

>> Maybe the land should be shared, not owned, for the sake of profits that destroy mother nature.

Profits don't destroy "mother nature", indifference does that. Just compare a private community with public housing. Which land is better taken care of? When people can own land, they have a strong personal and monetary incentive to keep it in good repair and improve it. When land is owned by the "public", there is very little motivation to protect it or improve it.

Furthermore, when the public owns land, what that really means is that politicians own it. Because politicians can't directly benefit from improving the land, or by selling it, they have little motivation to take care of it.

Just as a shepherd protects his flock because he has great personal interest in doing so, people that own land outright do the same. Think about children, imagine if someone said that all children born are owned by the public. That would be a disaster. While people might not ever phrase it this way, parents instinctively believe that their children are their own personal treasure. They will fight to the death to protect this treasure and this "ownership" attitude produces healthy, happy children.

Ask yourself this, if private ownership of land is so bad, then why are the nations who are embracing private property rights also lifting millions of people out of poverty and starvation (China, Russia, India)? Closer to home, why are the First Nations people, with their inability to own individual plots of land on their reserves, such a basket case when it comes to producing their own sources of income? It's not because they lack talent, or creativity, it's because they lack a system that allows them to benefit from their personal hard work and enterprise.

When you combine private ownership with an equally important attitude of compassion and care for one's fellow man, you produce a society that is both wealthy and generous.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 21:18:17

You're becoming increasingly unhinged. See a doctor.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 06, 2009 at 21:34:56

@Capitalist

I did answer your question.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 21:40:47

JonC, how would you feel if I knocked down your house and built my own in it's place. Would that be wrong? If so, why?

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 21:48:56

That's clearly a ridiculous question, further demonstrating the degree of your insanity. get help.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 22:07:38

another discussion that has turned into a beauty.

ASmith, all I (and I think the others on here) have said is growth should be sustainable and if it's sustainable it should be paid for by the people building it and buying it. Remember that nifty thing called the 'free market'? You and I paying sky high water taxes in order to subsidize sprawl is not a sustainable development model.

Those building and buying said developments should be more than happy to pay the cost of a new water/wastewater system to handle THEIR runoff.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 22:44:33

Jason >> You and I paying sky high water taxes in order to subsidize sprawl is not a sustainable development model.

I agree that people should pay for what they consume. But that list should also include libraries, health care, education, parks, transit, etc, not just water infrastructure. Do you agree?

JonC, if you believe in private property rights, then it's an easy question to answer, you must agree that it would be wrong for me to take control over your land. The fact that you can't say it's wrong, likely means that you do believe it would be wrong. However, because you also believe that it's alright for government to limit other people's property rights, you can't explicitly say this.

Once again, would it be wrong for me to take control over your land? If so, why?

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 22:55:05

The government limits everyone's property rights and for good reasons. Your brain sees all government control or intervention as evil as created by the devil to trick people from following god's free market principles. So, you opinion is void. Seek help, please.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 06, 2009 at 23:03:41

A Smith wrote:

that list should also include libraries, health care, education, parks, transit, etc, not just water infrastructure. Do you agree?

Okay, I'll bite. No, I disagree.

I support public subsidies for public goods, i.e. goods and services that benefit everyone, while at the same time opposing public subsidies for private goods that cause public harm.

Public goods benefit everyone insofar as everyone ends up better off because of them. For example, places with public education enjoy higher overall productivity that more than offsets the cost of the program.

As a taxpayer, maybe I'm not too happy about paying for public schools to educate some other guy's kids; but as a capitalist, I'm pretty pleased that the labour pool from which I pick employees is far better educated and more productive as a result.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 23:34:40

Ryan >> I support public subsidies for public goods, i.e. goods and services that benefit everyone

Food production benefits everyone in society, much more than a formal education and yet it's not run by the government. What is the difference?

JonC >> The government limits everyone's property rights and for good reasons.

What reasons are they?

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 04:17:27

A Smith: Here's an example for you on private ownership, how about the water down there in Bolivia

The corporations privatized the water so that the poor could no longer afford to buy it, so they started collecting the rainwater but the corporations even declared ownership on the rainwater that fell from the skies. Absurd as that is.

Anyways, the people fought back and the water was no longer privatized. So there is a reasosn why governments must put limits on ownership. Some businesses and the people that run them are just way too greedy and/or mentality ill.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 06:13:23

That you can't conceive of reasons on your own shows defect in your thinking. You have serious cranial injuries, and I continue to urge you to seek medical attention.

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By Puzzle (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 06:54:33

Jason, 'those who use should pay'...do you mean like public transit where users should pay rather than it being nearly 60% subsidized by non users?

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 07:45:33

Puzzle, or like roads and highways which are far more heavily subsidized than transit....

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By synxer (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 09:46:23

Can't we agree all sides have good ideas and pick which work for the situation? I really wish there were a political party that didn't pick sides and use a template-model for every action they perform.

It could be called the "Because It Works" Party.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 09:53:49

@Puzzle

Actually it's about 54% fares with the rest coming from property tax and gas tax transfer. Also, what Ryan said above - public transit is a public good that benefits everyone, not only people using it: less traffic congestion, cleaner air, more people mobile enough to get to work, etc.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 10:45:32

@Ryan

Sorry Ryan, but Argumentum ad verecundiam doesn't quite cut it.

Let me repeat my question for you again:

What qualifications (certified education, experience, licenses etc) do you have to make these kinds of accusations about the RHVP?

Also, can you provide the name of a qualified engineer who has publicly made the same claims as you about the RHVP / "sprawl" and flooding?

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 10:54:51

@Jason

You said in an earlier post:

"capitalist, please go re-read all my posts on this topic. I haven't blamed a road. I've blamed unchecked suburban sprawl allowed by the city,..."

"The real flood culprit however, is the last 30 years of partially paid for sprawl."


Well Jason, then you have a role in this unchecked sprawl. According to the website of your church (which you promoted through a link from this site) you are planning to build a new church on Pritchard Road in the E. Mountain (perhaps the church is already built) right in the middle of the sprawl country that was fuelled by the construction of the RHVP!

So you rant and rant about unchecked sprawl and the evil developers and the stupid city for the sprawl and building of the road yet you are a part of it yourself.

What do you have to say for yourself Jason?

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 11:01:04

this seems to be a common occurrence in every thread where you disagree with the comments, but have nothing to reply with.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 07, 2009 at 11:25:16

Capitalist,

The only reasonable response to your argumentative fallacy is to point out that it is an argumentative fallacy. Attacking my qualifications says nothing about whether it's true that building sprawl developments on a watershed reduces its water-absorbing capacity.

I recommend that you go and do some reading on the subject so you will be more familiar with it. There's a lot of research out there if you're interested in learning.

Here's a link to get you started:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=sprawl+development+...

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 11:29:40

Capitalist, how about this:

http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/267125.pdf

"A high level of urbanization has drastically altered the natural landscape, streams, riparian zones, and the fish habitat [of the Niagara Escarpment]. The dramatic increase of impervious surfaces has lead to greater surface runoff and susceptibility to flooding."

The more you know.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 13:05:10

"Also, can you provide the name of a qualified engineer who has publicly made the same claims as you about the RHVP / "sprawl" and flooding?"

While there are a multitude of articles on the affect of urbanization on rainfall, here is a local example from 2006 based on planned development in the Davis watershed (up near the karst).

https://www.myhamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/D...

The whole thing is pretty interesting, but for this purpose, you'll want to focus on section 7.2 onward

Including choice quotes such as "Results in Table 7.16 further indicate that proposed development under future land use conditions would increase runoff volume by 54%, while decreasing infiltration by approximately 12%."

Or

"Potential impacts may occur due to future watershed development in the headwater area of Davis Creek, which is the only largely undeveloped area remaining. The headwater area is a major source of base flow from groundwater inputs, and loss of base flow could potentially occur due to the interception of groundwater flow by infrastructure. Urban development of the existing agricultural and naturalizing areas of the headwater area would increase watershed imperviousness, and therefore exacerbate the existing problems of erosion and extreme flow conditions that impact habitat and habitat utilization."

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By z jones (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 13:56:09

Prediction: we don't hear any more from Capitalist on this thread. Instead he'll just pop up somewhere else with all the same failed arguments that got demolished on this thread and we'll have to start all over again.

No point debating with people like that, they aren't interested in facts.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 14:21:27

Agreed, it is nice to go through the exercise of trying to find useful things online every once and a while though. I had never seen that report before, but it was all pretty interesting (to me), although there were a few charts that could have used more annotation. I also stumbled over this thesis submission, The Urban Growth Machine Vs. The Red Hill Valley: A Case Study

http://www.freenet.hamilton.on.ca/link/f...

Which (while pretty clearly biased, so maybe not the best thesis) was a pretty condensed history of the proponents and opponents of the RHVE, but looking at it from Molotch's theory of the urban growth machine.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=XtIMclQw...

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By Brioski8 (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 14:43:28

Yet another "interesting" discussion destroyed by facts, scientific studies and rational thinking.

What is wrong with you people... don't you know these things have no place in an internet discussion?

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 14:55:33

the conversations always seem to end so quickly once the facts, studies and rationale are brought in.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 14:58:23

That was a very interesting report, thanks for posting it.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 07, 2009 at 15:02:56

Raise the Hammer: harshing your buzz since 2004!

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By synxer (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 15:02:58

@jason - Ha. I always think that.

The comments wither away into rationality and commonsense eventually.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 15:14:03

Ryan, food production benefits everyone in society, much more than a formal education and yet it's not run by the government. What is the difference?

JonC >> That you can't conceive of reasons on your own shows defect in your thinking.

What is the rationale for banning farmers from selling their land to developers?

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By zookeeper (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 15:14:19

/thread

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 15:25:21

Grassroots >> they started collecting the rainwater but the corporations even declared ownership on the rainwater that fell from the skies

Could you provide a link that details this?

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 15:46:45

A Smith: If memory serves me correct, I think you will find in the movie "The Corporation". How about you just google Bolivia and water, all sorts of info comes up.

here is a link you can look at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xw5Fon_Ej...

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 15:56:17

yea, it's in the corporation. Alternatively, www.google.ca allows one to search any topic they want and find the results there.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 16:07:17

A Smith writes: What is the rationale for banning farmers from selling their land to developers?

Maybe the rational or focus should be on promoting and making our local farmers profitable. If you had gone to the Food Stakeholder's Committees launch on April 30, in which local farmers are a part of this process, you would of found out the many of our rural city members are struggling, they live in poverty, just trying to farm and provide both organic and non organic food. Some of these farmers really enjoy this life and want to be able to continue. It is unfortunate that the big agriculture corporations are trying to put them out of business.

Our fellow rural members of our community need to be supported and promoted. Why should they have to live in poverty? And since food security is an issue for many of the low income citizens, it seems that both urban and rural low income people need to start working and joining together. People like yuo, are not helping them, when you are the talking voice the big corporate interests, who do not realy care about how people struggle.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 16:18:20

Grassroots, Jason, while your humour is appreciated, I have yet to find a reliable source detailing the banning of rainwater collection. Can you please provide a link to a news report, or some other official document that details this law against collecting rainwater?

Assuming this law actually existed, however, it highlights the importance of private property rights and the dangers of allowing governments to diminish them. You are making my case for me.

Jason, what is the difference between subsidizing water infrastructure and the other services the government provides (libraries, parks, education, health care, etc)? While you worry about paying more than you get from the city, do you think it's alright that Hamilton as a whole receives more from the province than it pays?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 16:25:29

Grassroots >> Maybe the rational or focus should be on promoting and making our local farmers profitable.

If you want to help farmers, go ahead. But how does stopping them from selling their land to developers do that?

>> People like you, are not helping them, when you are the talking voice the big corporate interests, who do not really care about how people struggle.

I want farmers to have the freedom to do what they want with their land. If they can't grow crops at a profit, then I feel bad for them, but that's life. Once again, how does banning farmers from selling their land for development better their economic situation?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 19:09:56

Ryan, don't you think that our food production/distribution system should be be nationalized? Food is so vital to human existence, why should we leave it's production/distribution in the hands of the private sector.

Furthermore, because food is so important to everyone, it should also be free, right? The government can figure out the best food to ensure our health and then all we have to do is pick up our weekly rations at the local government outlet.

Do you think this is a good idea?

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 19:35:18

What happened to you defending your disobedience of god's word? I assume you forfeit the point and will be residing in hell for all eternity. Tough break.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 19:55:31

JonC >> What happened to you defending your disobedience of god's word?

How did I disobey God's word?

While you're here, please tell us what "good" reasons there are for having government ban farmers from building homes on their land? This is a very simple question for a very simple person, are you willing to try and answer it?

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 20:56:20

Don't be coy. We covered it, but then you stopped responding when it was impossible to defend your position. Don't worry though, everyone has to disobey the bible (if they care about that in the first place).

But in the world of fact, we must live in parallel universes. Last I checked, most of Hamilton is built on old farmland. If you have some specific ban you're referring to, feel free to name it, but I wouldn't bother since it must be real difficult to get around whatever half-assed laws you're alluding to.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 21:43:52

JonC >> you stopped responding when it was impossible to defend your position.

My position hasn't changed at all. I believe that private property is a biblical principle, otherwise, there would be no need for laws against stealing.

Please just answer the question...What "good" reason is there for the government to ban landowners from developing their land the way they see fit?

>> If you have some specific ban you're referring to

www.greenbelt.ca/greenbelt/about-the-ontario-greenbelt

www.greenbelt.ca/greenbelt/learn/facts-figures

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 23:12:43

ASmith: Please just answer the question...What "good" reason is there for the government to ban landowners from developing their land the way they see fit?

That's a great point. I'm going to turn my front lawn into a manufacturer of ragweed and sell it at local garden centres. Then I might put in a nice big water slide from my second floor into a new pool. The top of my house might become more exciting with the new 3rd floor nightclub that will have no windows and a sound system that makes the Skydome sound lame. Of course, it will only be open from 11pm-5am six days a week.
Finally, I think the neighbour across the road and I are going to go in on a rifle range. We'll have targets on one side of the street and the shooting range from the other.

The rest of you sucka's can keep working till your 65. I'll be retiring early with the new 'Downtown Hamilton Amusement Park and Nightclub' (and ragweed manufacturing inc.).

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2009 at 00:42:40

Jason >> Finally, I think the neighbour across the road and I are going to go in on a rifle range. We'll have targets on one side of the street and the shooting range from the other.

That's pretty funny, although, I would not condone such behaviour, since all the activities you mention directly interfere with the property rights of your neighbours. However, if you could keep excessive sounds, fumes, toxins and bullets from moving across their land, then that would be a different story, as they would have no reason to claim injury because of your behaviour.

That is the proper role of government, protecting each citizens personal property from attack by others, whether by malice or just selfishness. It is not the role of government to limit the rights of property owners, simply because certain groups of people don't like how they are using their land. In that case, the correct remedy is to purchase the property in question, in which case the new owner can do whatever he/she wants with it.

Government is not a tool that should be used to get what two parties couldn't come up with by mutual agreement. In this case, government becomes a weapon of attack, rather than a defender of rights. Do you see the difference?

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted August 08, 2009 at 07:43:57

A Smith writes: "That is the proper role of government, protecting each citizens personal property from attack by others, whether by malice or just selfishness. It is not the role of government to limit the rights of property owners, simply because certain groups of people don't like how they are using their land."

I read a book called toxic Sludge is good for you, in which was discussed the process which allowed farmers to put toxic sludge on their land. One farmer did this but it caused problems for others whose land was near the one who did. Water was affected, contaminiated, thus affecting the animals, food and human life.

So in this case I beg to question your comment, when it was the government itself that set in motion the ability to put toxic susbstances on the land which affected the properties of another.

Businss is always lobbying government to set in motion practices that are in their favor which often do not take into account what is best for the people.

While people think that government is there to represent the needs of the people, the truth is that corporate or business interests have the ways and means to affect policy for their agenda which is not always good for the people. In this case, business marketing toxic sludge as being good, yet it is very bad.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 08, 2009 at 08:43:55

"However, if you could keep excessive sounds, fumes, toxins... from moving across their land, then that would be a different story, as they would have no reason to claim injury because of your behaviour."

I didn't know you hated cars so much

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By East End Lover (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2009 at 11:24:19

So back to Merulla...

He must be on vacation or under a sun tanning bed - because he's been unusually quiet. With the humid weather coming up - perhaps he'll demand the city buy all those affected by the flooding a real fancy dehumidifier?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2009 at 13:34:24

Grassroots, just curious, why would a farmer want to destroy his land by putting toxic sludge on it?

JonC >> I didn't know you hated cars so much

Are you making the argument that car exhaust violates your property rights as much as the examples Jason laid out. If so, do you drive, take the bus, use products that are delivered by trucks? If you don't then you have a good point.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 08, 2009 at 13:38:02

ASmith wrote: "That is the proper role of government, protecting each citizens personal property from attack by others, whether by malice or just selfishness"

EXACTLY! Finally, we're getting somewhere.

Folks in the east end face this exact sort of 'attack' everytime it rains now because developers and homebuyers were allowed to develop and buy a product without paying to offset the effects on everyone else's personal property. You're right that it's governments role to prevent this. Unfortunately in Hamilton's case, our local government is one of the main culprits behind it.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted August 08, 2009 at 14:33:55

A Smith: Why don't you read the book? It will anwser your questions. Or just google "toxic sludge is good for you", it is on google video.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2009 at 15:51:26

Jason, we really should look into hiring a private company to run this city's infrastructure. At least that way, we could impose monetary penalties against them, rather than other taxpayers, when things go wrong. I asked this earlier, don't you think councilors would do a better job if they had their own money on the line?

We could pay a management team a fixed amount to keep things running smoothly, if they came in under budget, they would keep a portion of the savings and so would we. If they messed up, they would lose the contract and/or pay for damages.

Grassroots, the problem here is with the government, not property owners. No property owner wants his land destroyed by sludge, but then they rely on the government to tell them the truth. The problem with listening to the government is that it is run by power hungry, self serving individuals who ONLY pretend to have the public's interest at heart. It's a lie and a great one at that.

My advice would be to stop believing that government is any different than any other group of people. They look out for their own interests first and they only do enough to stay in power. It's human nature and once people understand this, they will start to rely on themselves more. If government can help you, great, but you shouldn't expect that they will.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 09, 2009 at 14:41:11

"Are you making the argument that car exhaust violates your property rights as much as the examples Jason laid out. If so, do you drive, take the bus, use products that are delivered by trucks? If you don't then you have a good point."

It wasn't my argument. It was your argument against across the street firing ranges. Your brain is seriously malfunctioning. Again, why do you hate cars so much? I can't believe you want to ban anything noisy, that emits fumes or toxins. You're such a pro-government, rule-making, enterprise-hating, everyone-should-be-able-to-enjoy-living-without-a-firing-range-shooting-across-the-street-next-door hippie. Let the free market settle the across the street driving range.

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By frank (registered) | Posted August 10, 2009 at 09:05:38

Yeesh, I got to the bottom of all 91 comments and then looked at the title. Not many of these comments have to do with Merulla...

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By none (anonymous) | Posted August 13, 2009 at 14:38:31

Oh well I am going to pat my comments about the RHVP section anyway even though it has nothing to be with Sam what ever.

Anyway Like some have said the valley and surrounding neighbourhoods didn't flood because of the Redhill. More would hae to do with the developments on the escarpment(pre Redhill days) ie upper kenilworth over to upper james. basically the whole wast mountian of old hamilton. 90% of the water flows through a series of storm sewers which empty into once massive one which surfaces into a stream being the old Ottawa St Dump just to the north west of it. If you look on Google Earth you can find it. According to once website its the largest storm drain in Canada (build pre RHVP) Also a large majority of the develpoments build since the RHVP have storm water retention ponds with them these are there to hold the water back from just rushing through the system. Unfortunatly they didn't start building these until the 1990s. Anyway there is some more information for you guys to chew on. Oh and this bs about it happening everytime we get a thunderstorm get real. we won't be seeing that type of rain every time it rains. with or without the highway the valley would have flooded. If this amount of rain had fallen over the Spencer creek watershed, dundas would hae probably flooded too without a highway being there.

One last thing liek i said in my letter to the spec editor. If the resident of Hamilton didn't spend 40+ years fighting over the red hill maybe the money saved would have been put towards fixing the infrstructure.

Anyway continue complaing about everything that you people on the website complain about. I used to think that site was for positive things about the city but all you guys seem to do is complain.

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By diva (anonymous) | Posted August 14, 2009 at 01:28:27

Wow I've never read more pathetic comments from inferior individuals in my life! Merulla is the only councillor we know in the east end who gives a damn about us and the city and has to subjected to small minded individuals such as yourselves. This is the first time I've come across this forum and basically the last time I read anything on this insignifant guise for constructive discussion for residents to contribute! Get a life guys obviously your inadequacies cannot be overcome by name calling! Get a life and run for office rather than hiding behing your pathetic blogs. Make a difference and build something rather than knocking down people who have proven track records.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 14, 2009 at 07:46:22

None, according to Merulla, there have been nine floods in the past five years. I'll assume that's factual.

Diva, I don't think that anyone doubts that Merulla cares about his constituents, but not nearly as much as he cares about himself. I hope someone who doesn't act like a child does run in ward 4 (or that Merulla learns to stop acting like one).

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By z jones (registered) | Posted August 24, 2009 at 13:46:55

Hey, wouldntcha know it, but my prediction from here...

http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog.asp?i...

...came true! Facts are like bug spray for "Capitalist".

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By Jay Wong (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2010 at 18:54:51

Now that Merulla has proven that you are all a bunch of idiots!!! Enjoy your URBAN SPRAWL Stadium!


Merulla should get a raise for have to deal with all you Morons.

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By Basment flooding (anonymous) | Posted October 23, 2011 at 13:08:18

Research shows that almost 100% of all basements will suffer some form of basement flooding at some point in their existence. “Almost 100%” translates into “it’s certain”. It makes sense, too, because basements are the single lowest location in any structure, and excess water is always going to flow downhill. Put the two together and you have an unwelcome flooded basement.

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