Revitalization

An Inspiring Source of Civic Pride!

By Jason Leach
Published November 30, 2009

Recently I mused to a friend about how annoying it is when the odd new building is being built in Hamilton and no renderings are ever installed on the site to allow residents to see what is coming.

Granted, new construction of buildings or towers is at a virtual standstill in Hamilton and has been since the early 1990s. This makes it even more stunning when I read articles in our paper from residents or business owners who are scared of change - as if Hamilton has been some sort of Shangri-la for decades.

As if it could get any worse, check out the newest rendering recently published on the Skyscraper Page website

Don't be deceived by the website name. In most other cities, forum participants offer opinions and share excitement in new condo, office and highrise construction projects in their city. From New York to Winnipeg to Portland, virtually every city on SSP looks like a veritable boomtown compared to Hamilton.

Now we may have set a new mark in economic development futility - we are producing crystal clear renderings of (brace yourself) parking lots.

General Hospital Parking Lot Rendering
General Hospital Parking Lot Rendering

Yes, that's right. Parking lots.

Perhaps the fine folks who spend time and energy trying to develop a Hamilton presence on SSP should take their efforts to Surface Parking Heaven or Brownfields R Us.

Every Hamiltonian should be alarmed at what has been happening in this city for decades.

Next year is another municipal election and yet another chance for us to elect some new blood, new ideas and new vision into our city hall.

However, if history is any guide, we'll get another four years of the same old, same old as Hamiltonians choose to believe the crazy notion that nothing is broken and in need of fixing.

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

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted November 30, 2009 at 23:55:27

I can't believe people will actually drive and park... and then the hospital has its own SHUTTLE BUS to take them to work. You think we'd plan for lofts or towns or something, not more parking...

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By madmatt (anonymous) | Posted December 01, 2009 at 09:25:26

My wife and I purchased our home 20 yrs ago. We are literally 100' away from this block of land. Over the decades it has sat empty or used only for storage of barrels of ????. The old building that was also mostly vacant was recently demolished (no more mysterious odors of varnish/turpentine since). We have seen numerous letters regarding zoning change bylaws, but very little action. I don't want more parking lots, however I really don't want vacant, barren brown fields which serve only as congregation points for junkies, prostitutes and other assorted vagrants. Most of the people in our area are home owners or long term tenants and feel the same way. The main block to development of this area is the homeless shelter on Ferguson Ave. N. Until it is gone NO ONE would want to develop this site. The townhouse/apartment complex in which this shelter is located is a RESIDENTIAL area with people trying to raise their families. The city has done a great job streetscaping Ferguson and the completion of the bridge is the icing on the cake. The hospital has also done a fantastic job on the new buildings and generally cleaning up the area. Those new parking lots are a far cry better than the vacant factories which were routinely a favorite site for arsonists and other useless bastards. I would much rather see real residential and retail development, but clean, new parking lots are far and above what we currently have. MOVE THE SHELTER TO ANCASTER so they can have their fair share of city services!!!!!

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 01, 2009 at 10:00:53

Can you imagine the outcry if that shelter was proposed to move to Ancaster?? Stop and think realistically about that.

Goes to show once again that the poorer, urban areas are disregarded as less important and less valuable than the wealthier folks in the outlying area.

The long term plan for this site did call for shops and residential, but as we all know, once a parking lot is paved in Hamilton it's a gold mine for decades to come.

I wasn't so much commenting on the value of this idea as much as the embarrassment of having the first beautiful parking lot rendering that I've ever seen on SSP, or anywhere else for that matter.

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By madmatt (anonymous) | Posted December 01, 2009 at 10:22:50

We really do need to spread out the social services in Hamilton to beyond just the core. With the current economic downturn our poverty issues are rampant in the east end and, heaven forbid, THE MOUNTAIN!!! The relocation of the shelter on Ferguson needs to be addressed if any progress is to be made in the Beasley 'hood. On a (hopefully) high note, the south end of this site, where the old factory was on Robert, is to be developed as townhouses. We have also had a couple of new houses built on Wellington St N. We love this neighborhood; we raised our 2 daughters here and our grand daughter is the next generation. We have done many improvements to our home over the years and we have no intent to bail. As we've always said, this neighborhood has been beaten down so far for so long that it can only get better.
On a side note, I think all new building sites and developments should have architects drawings posted to let people know whats going in and what it will look like.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted December 01, 2009 at 10:45:11

I believe that is also the rendering for the New Mountain H.W.D.S.B (School Board) site?

Well, it's sure no Taj Mahal!

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By JM (registered) | Posted December 01, 2009 at 10:46:16

...i actually though those links to the parking lot websites were real.

damn

would have been interesting to see - i know there are parking advocates out there

JM

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By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted December 01, 2009 at 11:23:32

For the residents of Beasley, Central, and all those lower city neighbourhoods in which the City has dumped all the shelters, social services, halfway houses, etc. - what about bringing a class action against the City on the basis of injurious affection under the Expropriations Act? It is evident that these areas have been unfairly targeted, and that homeowners have suffered extreme property devaluation/stagnation.

I think this would likely be a novel claim and maybe wouldn't go far, but it would certainly send a message to the powers-that-be that the lower city is in mutiny against the status quo.

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By madmatt (anonymous) | Posted December 01, 2009 at 11:42:42

Hey Tammany, as a resident of Beasley who has long been displeased with the inaction of City Hall to address zoning and poverty issues, let alone property by-law enforcement for dilapidated buildings and vacant lots, I would certainly support a civil suit of sorts. It truly appears that is the only way to get attention from City Hall, unless you are a developer of course.
Another site I'd like to see some action on is the old Plastimet site, now Jackie Washington park. They did a great job of remediating the property, but other than the basketball court, which gets plenty of use, there is not much else. There definitely needs to be a playground or splash pad. Considering that most of the land is sloped and bisected by a fenced off rail line, this could be an excellent location for a leash free dog park (I don't own or even care much for dogs myself, but I can see the need for a park for them to run in).

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 01, 2009 at 12:13:50

Do we really need more parking lots?

The Wesley Center: Many in this neighbourhood do not like the center being there and well one can understand why.

But what is the answer for those who go there? I think that maybe we need to look at the social services and how they are failing people.

How do we get people to stop using those really bad drugs or alcohol and move toward a better life? I do not think that there is an easy answer but it something as a community we need to work at.

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By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted December 01, 2009 at 12:23:21

Absolutely Grassroots. If we could solve those problems, then everyone would be happy: the property owners, families, police, social workers, and not least of all the disadvantaged themselves.

I don't know if anyone attended at the Bill Strickland talk last night, but the sort of social services agency he runs (if it can be described as such) is an asset to a neighbourhood, not a liability dragging down property values and discouraging investment. We have an extremely benighted approach to the delivery of social services in this country. Not having spent a lot of time thinking about it in the past, I am just waking up to this reality now.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 01, 2009 at 12:38:57

Tammany: Yes I attended Mr Strickland's talk last night. His words were uplifting.

One does have to look at social services and how things are not right. Even for those people who are just struggling looking for work are treated very unfairly, so those with issues, whether they are mental health, alcohol or drugs, well they are just lost.

It is the system, the social workers cannot do what they trained for as many are just paper pushing, appeasing the bureaucrats, if you get my drift. We all need to stand up and really look at things. Everything is tied together, the inadequate amounts from all social services, the lack of housing, the lack of food, the lack of education opportunities, a real lack of caring.

I was a forum in one of the wards not long ago and well one person spoke up about their trials and tribulations with drugs. The person said they were very nasty.

The message that this person brought was that, we, as a society or community should not give up on those, as this person was now clean and had moved forward.

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By frank (registered) | Posted December 02, 2009 at 08:31:04

I think Losani has a rendering of their proposed building on the South Service Road in the Creek on their sign...does that count? Of course it could just be a picture of the building beside it. And the building beside that...

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By madmatt (anonymous) | Posted December 02, 2009 at 10:59:09

Nice one, frank! Nothing like originality in architectural design.

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By frank (registered) | Posted December 03, 2009 at 09:52:38

Hey, they build houses with cookie cutters, why not offices? lol

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