Activism

By-Law Crawl: An Update

By Matt Jelly
Published February 08, 2010

this blog entry has been updated

I'm very glad to report that we had a very successful first By-Law Crawl this past Saturday. The group has identified numerous vacant and derelict properties throughout Downtown, which have been reported to city by-law staff.

So far, 24 complaints have been sent, and more are on their way. You can view this progress on Google Maps, thanks to By-Law Crawl volunteer Ryan Danks.

Approximately 75 people braved the cold temperatures on Saturday to take part. Unfortunately, no local councillors were present, nor were any representatives of the by-law staff, all of whom were invited.

I would hope they can take some time out of their busy schedules to attend the next crawl on Saturday, March 6, 2010. This event will work very much the same way, but we will also be doing a trash cleanup throughout the city at the same time.

If you didn't see it, CH came along on the crawl with us, as our team found a door unsecured on the ground level of the Connaught, as well as a number of other infractions. You can watch their report here.

The Hamilton Spectator also published a report today. You can also find reports of by-law crawl on Raise the Hammer and The Hamiltonian.

Thanks for your support, and I hope to see you at the next By-Law Crawl on Saturday, March 6.

In other 'crawl' news, the JAMES STREET NORTH ART CRAWL is this Friday! Come down and support Hamilton's original "crawl" in all its glory.

Update: in response to this comment I've embedded the Google Map into the page. -Ed.

Jelly is a local artist, graphic designer and map maker living in Downtown Hamilton, Ontario in the Central Neighbourhood. Matt is an advocate for built heritage, toxic waste eradication and the revitalization of downtown Hamilton. www.mattjelly.com

10 Comments

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted February 08, 2010 at 15:21:54

As you can see from the map, most of the buildings don't have any photos associated with them yet. So if anyone has any you can forward them to myself or to Matt and we'll get them added. The photos really drive home the sorry state some of these buildings are in and it makes the map look better (as opposed to the default pic which I threw together in MS Paint).

Comment edited by UrbanRenaissance on 2010-02-08 14:22:26

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2010 at 20:06:47

I am getting a File Not Found error for the map link.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted February 08, 2010 at 21:11:47

I am getting a File Not Found error for the map link.

Try refreshing the page, there's a quirk in how google caches the maps so sometimes if the site is busy the map doesn't load fast enough and you get that error.

It's odd because it only happens when the map is linked to, if the map is embedded on a web-page it works fine.

Comment edited by UrbanRenaissance on 2010-02-08 20:12:42

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted February 09, 2010 at 09:37:29

Excellent work Ryan! I actually love the MS paint logo!

I'll be entering more infractions this morning.

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By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted February 09, 2010 at 10:52:25

I couldn't be happier to hear that the crawl was such a popular success.

However, with respect to key downtown properties like the Connaught, getting the city to sporadically ticket the owners probably won't serves as much more than a minor irritant. The push should be to have the property designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

As far as I know, the city is officially only considering designating the property under part IV of the Act. I have no confidence that they'll accomplish anything in this regard. Pressure should be applied at the provincial level to have the Connaught designated by the Minister under section 34.5(1).

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 09, 2010 at 11:13:20

The push should be to have the property designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

That will be tough to pull off. Despite updating the Heritage Act to give it some real teeth, the Ontario Government demonstrated amply through the Lister fiasco that it's not prepared to step on municipal toes by actually designating buildings.

Despite the Heritage Committee report recommending that the Lister be designated, the Ontario Heritage Ministry refused to take that step and in fact was utterly silent on the issue. The Province offered a $7 million sweetener for the city and LIUNA to come to an agreement on restoring the Lister but stopped short of mandating anything.

LIUNA eventually agreed to the preservation plan, possibly under a behind-the-scenes threat to go through with the designation - but the designation itself never went ahead.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2010-02-09 10:18:30

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By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted February 09, 2010 at 12:34:02

Ryan, you are probably right. My understanding is that there are some provincially designated properties in Ontario, but these are mostly buildings or sites with obvious touristic value.

Even so, the legal tools are there, and the Royal Connaught is a much more prominent (and arguably important) building than the Lister, so I wouldn't write off the possibility of success quite so summarily. But a tough slog it would surely be ...

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted February 09, 2010 at 12:38:44

Great work Matt!

Any plans to do a ward 3 crawl?

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted February 09, 2010 at 18:52:23

Actually, yes. I was hoping we'd have a couple of teams head east, but understandably they stuck to the core. The next one will be a bit more organized, and I'll specifically assign teams to each area- ward 2 and ward 3 bear the brunt of this problem more than any other part of the city. Next time, we should have more people, more teams, more resources, and a bit wider scope.

In the meantime, if anyone has a complaint about a property, feel free to report it at http://bit.ly/BYLAWFORM

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By Hopeful (registered) | Posted February 11, 2010 at 12:56:36

This action rocks! I congratulate and thank everyone behind it (and all of those who participated!) and hope it leads to changes in how the City's past is protected and appreciated.

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