By Ryan McGreal
Published January 05, 2013
A timely and informative article by Adrian Morrow in today's Globe and Mail reports on the controversy over Wilson-Blanchard's plan to demolish 18-28 King Street East, the historic Victorian streetwall fronting Gore Park that includes an 1840 building designed by William Thomas.
The article sketches the history of postwar demolitions in downtown Hamilton, pitting the developer, who claims the buildings cannot affordably be restored, against heritage advocates who note that developers always say that when they want to demolish old buildings.
It's easy to see why some Hamiltonians are wary of block-altering developments. Over the decades, swaths of the core have been torn down to make way for inward-facing malls and a fortress-like convention centre that do little to liven up the streets. Other buildings were razed to make way for parking lots, leaving vast, empty spaces in the cityscape.
According to the article, David Blanchard is "open to discussions about preservation" but skeptical:
"There are all kinds of people running around,... trying to tell us what to do," he says. "We'll talk to them. I don't know what good it's going to do and I don't know who's going to pay for it, but we'll talk to them."
Blanchard also insists his plans are only preliminary, which, as the article notes, "is part of the problem:
He is moving to get rid of the buildings without a plan for what will replace them.
Shameless plug: the article also includes a couple of quotes from your humble RTH editor.