Revitalization

Who Needs a Reality Check?

By Jason Leach
Published November 23, 2009

I'm sure Richard Florida would get a chuckle out of reading letters to the editor from Hamiltonians telling him to get a "reality check" on issues pertaining to urban revitalization and public design.

After all, Hamilton is clearly the envy of urban centres all over the world. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - right?

I could understand taking some so-called expert advice if we had a sub-par downtown and our city streets weren't filled with people shopping, dining and entertaining at all hours of the day.

Tell the huge lineup of international companies clamouring to locate their offices here that we should make changes to how our city functions and develops.

We've already blown past Montreal and have Toronto in our sights as cities that we're leaving behind in the 21st Century economy. Things have never been better in Hamilton!

Reality check, you say?

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

22 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By Really? (registered) | Posted November 23, 2009 at 12:37:00

Blatant Obvious Typical Spectator 'Controversy-Stirring' Sales Attempts.

The comment is so rediculously ignorant, there's no other explination as to why it would be published.

I say ignore and move on...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By alrathbone (registered) | Posted November 23, 2009 at 13:22:28

I suggest a new strategy. Ignore the ignorance, and speak directly to those people who actually think about the issues.

Arguing with someone like this letter writer will not win battles, but making the case to intelligent individuals, even those who don't currently agree with us, is more likely to be successful.

Witness the conversion of Lloyd Ferguson to the LRT plan.

Some people just will be negative and oppose everything and dignifying their rantings with a response only validates them.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted November 23, 2009 at 15:57:13

great points alrathbone and really?
I guess I couldn't help myself. Hamilton is so lackluster and far behind in it's urban streets and design, I find it stunning when someone sends in a letter suggesting we maintain the status quo, as if that should even be an option here. Either they've never traveled beyond Sherman/Barton and James Barton in their entire lives or........ you fill in the blanks.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Really? (registered) | Posted November 23, 2009 at 16:16:10

Well, seeing as one of the OpEds was from a Grimsby resident who a) Doesn't live in Hamilton, and/or b) Has NEVER lived in Hamilton, it just goes to show how serious The Spec is about creating a serious, educated debate over Stadium Location.

Instead of wasting time griping about Spec OpEds, I agree we should all be talking with Friends, Colleagues & Family as to where they would like the Stadium and why. Give them some ideas, allow them to think, and they'll likely continue the debate with their friends/family/colleagues. It's a big issue that affects us all; no matter if you're a TiCat fan or not, you know what Oskee Wee Wee means! People care about this issue!

No one really reads the OpEds anyway, since they're pretty tucked away. The only times I'm ever aware is if they're published on this site!

I had an awesome discussion with several people I had never met before (Bandwagon Jumpers) at the last TiCat game re: Stadium Location. Shockingly, Parking was always the main issue. When I asked how they arrived, and the majority of them said TiCats express --their attitudes (seemingly) changed.

Present people with alternatives, don't shove your opinions down their throats, and they will (likely) listen. Also, use examples (ie: Pittsburgh vs Buffalo, er, I mean Orchard Park).

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jonathan dalton (registered) | Posted November 23, 2009 at 16:22:50

Yeah wake up Hamilton. Don't try so hard to orchestrate your own failure, just learn from other failing cities and and repeat their mistakes here.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 24, 2009 at 09:30:36

I see the Spectator's desperation to sell controversy continues unabated in the letters page:

http://thespec.com/Opinions/LettertotheE...

Is it too much to expect that people should conduct some research - any research - before firing their uninformed opinions off into the ether?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 24, 2009 at 09:42:38

Ryan: They posted this letter as well

http://www.thespec.com/Opinions/Letterto...

It seems that the objective is just to clear some people off the streets without any real input into solving the problems as to why they are there in the first place.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jonathan dalton (registered) | Posted November 24, 2009 at 09:52:48

^Hahah. I was just about to post that but you beat me to it!
'LRT pulling empty cars from one side of the city to another...' This is just getting funny.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By z jones (registered) | Posted November 24, 2009 at 09:56:04

@grassroots have we found the real identity of "Capitalist"?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 24, 2009 at 10:45:44

z jones: Is it?

Anyways, given that EI rates in Hamilton has increased 116%, one does have to wonder about this letter to the spec. What about those whose EI have run out now and may not have found work. Welfare is not enough to sustain you as a person or as a family while you are still searching for work.

http://www.thespec.com/Opinions/LettertotheEditor/article/678304

Even at last weeks meeting, Tom Cooper said, the worst is yet to come!

What choices do people have if they cannot find work, social assistance is not enought to sustain them?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 24, 2009 at 19:06:16

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 24, 2009 at 22:45:19

A great way to help the downtown would be to introduce "progressive" property tax rates. Rather than every dollar of assessment being taxed at the same flat tax rate, the city could exempt the first 50k of market value, have a second band at 0.5%, say from 50k to 100k and then have the top rate that everybody paid.

If this went into effect today, a 120k downtown home would go from paying an average tax rate of 1.59% to 0.473%, or from $1,908 to $568. In effect, the city would reward people who bought into low market value neighbourhoods, thus driving up demand for these lower value properties and reducing the present market value differential between the poor and rich areas of the city.

Progressive income tax rates decrease income differences amongst people and progressive property tax rates would do the same for property values.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By madmatt (anonymous) | Posted November 25, 2009 at 16:50:01

Well Mr. Smith, I'm in agreement with you on using a progressive property tax system to spur repopulating the downtown areas. I also think it would serve the city well to stop increasing my taxes if I decide to renovate and upgrade my property. Why not increase the taxes slumlords and others who let their properties deteriorate and become eyesores.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 25, 2009 at 21:24:40

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By z jones (registered) | Posted November 25, 2009 at 21:30:19

Oh please. If you can't acknowledge all the articles, reports, sources and PROVEN case studies this site has published on LRT, why should anyone take YOU seriously?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 25, 2009 at 22:46:11

z jones, I'm not asking people to give me their money, Ryan and Jason are. If they want to take people's hard earned money and spend it on LRT, they should have to provide at least ONE reason explaining how the LRT will bring thousands more people to live and shop downtown. Have they done this? NO. They haven't.

Ryan and Jason believe that just because richer cities can afford to spend money on LRT, it means that spending money on LRT will make Hamilton richer. That's like saying to a janitor that if he borrows money to buy a sports car, he will magically get richer. Flawed logic.

All I'm asking for is ONE reason why thousands more people will live and shop downtown Hamilton if they can ride on the LRT rather than a bus? They may get downtown five minutes faster, but if the downtown is still filled with poverty once they get there, why will they return?

If the LRT was a good idea, Ryan and Jason would be able to explain why this is. But they can't. You then have to ask yourself, why should I trust someone who can't back up their claims?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By z jones (registered) | Posted November 25, 2009 at 23:29:12

Since you're so obviously trolling I'm not going to reply after this comment. Jason and Ryan has posted TONS of articles answering your exact question. You just choose not to see it because it's more fun to troll than to be intellectually honest.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2009 at 00:44:05

z jones >> You just choose not to see it because it's more fun to troll than to be intellectually honest.

Neither Jason nor Ryan have EVER explained how the LRT will make downtown Hamilton a better place to shop and/or live. They base their entire argument in favour of LRT on nothing more ANECDOTAL tales of other cities, never once mentioning that other cities have radically different investment tax policies and rely much more on the private sector for economic growth.

My question is an extremely easy one, how will transporting people downtown five to ten minutes faster make downtown Hamilton a better place to live and shop? That's all I want to know.

People already drive farther afield to avoid the downtown because of it's dearth of private sector offerings, so how will the LRT improve this situation?

How will the LRT make people with money want to live and work downtown? If the city set up the LRT to run to the sewage plant, would more people want to live and shop there as well? The LRT idea is a scam and Ryan/Jason's inability to answer my questions about it prove that.

The LRT is nothing but a waste of money.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JM (registered) | Posted November 26, 2009 at 11:30:12

A Smith,

It will take TIME - it doesn't happen overnight. But once the ball gets rolling then things will really change.

People just need to understand there is no "quick fix".

It will work like gentrification, which in my opinion, has already started - think of James Street.

You will most likely begin to see results along or around James, and King/Main West around Hess village. Then things should spread from there.... "organically" as a city should develop (which is why mega projects such as Jackson Sqr have failed).

JM

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By schmadrian (registered) | Posted November 26, 2009 at 15:16:46

"(which is why mega projects such as Jackson Sqr have failed)."

I'm enjoying this discussion. Learning a lot.

But I have to point out that this statement is erroneous.

Jackson Square was fine for the first 20 years. I know, I worked there.

The forces that impacted on its state, rendering it to its current one are very much connected to this discussion...although I believe we'd have to look at the history of downtown a mite farther back than the time-frame currently being examined.

I don't agree with everything that happened when Jackson Square was built. However, context is everything. It was a bold initiative at the time (one that included Vic Copps delaring that in order for the downtown to properly flourish, the area east of James to Wellington had to be given its own share of attention...which it wasn't)

I believe in organic growth. But please; let's get the facts right when we're slamming development.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JM (registered) | Posted November 27, 2009 at 08:14:49

I'm not slamming development!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By schmadrian (registered) | Posted November 27, 2009 at 10:52:39

"Then things should spread from there.... "organically" as a city should develop (which is why mega projects such as Jackson Sqr have failed)."

Inorganic development is not why Jackson Square failed.

And 'organic development' from scratch hardly ever happens in a modern world.

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds