By Ryan McGreal
Published May 09, 2013
this blog entry has been updated
For months I've been hearing a rumour that the owner of 20 Jackon Street West plans to demolish it to make room for a parking lot. The rumour surfaced again last week, and I asked Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr if he would look into it.
He had heard the rumour as well, and he contacted the City's Planning and Building departments to inquire. As of right now, no demolition permit has been applied for or issued.
Farr also quoted the response from Steve Robichaud, the manager from Planning: "Correct, under the zoning bylaw the use of the property for a commercial parking lot is not permitted."
They would never be able to put a surface parking spot there. As you know, we have a moratorium. I would never endorse a surface lot if they asked for an exemption. We will likely require a parking structure when the [Downtown] Parking review come back, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. That will likely be in July.
Farr clarified that the city has hired a consultant to review the parking situation in downtown Hamilton, and it will be presented to councillors in a few months. He also stated, "[The parking review] will not affect the moratorium on surface lots."
It almost sounds from Farr's comments as though the building at 20 Jackson may be considered as a site for a multi-level parking structure once the parking review is complete.
However, in a follow-up email, Farr clarified, "I didn't mean to confuse the issue with the parkade. The fact is, the owners of the building have not applied for a demo, nor have they called me back yet with their intentions."
It seems possible that the parking review will indicate we need a multi-level parking garage downtown, and that approval will consequently be given to demolish 20 Jackson to make room for it.
Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but given the painfully regressive decisions coming out of City Hall of late, it would not surprise me in the least to see the city approve the demolition of 20 Jackson to make room for a multi-level parking lot.
We definitely need to keep a close watch on this. It would be insane to demolish a perfectly serviceable, occupied multi-floor office with retail on the main floor right next to the City Hall parking lot in order to build a parking garage.
Update: Due to a misunderstanding, this blog entry originally attributed Councillor Farr's first extended quotation to Steve Robichaud. You can jump to the updated attribution. RTH regrets the error. The blog entry was also updated to add follow-up comments from Farr clarifying what he meant by his earlier comment. You can jump to the added paragraph.
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