Same As It Ever Was: The Same Failed Ideas for Economic Development

By Jason Leach
Published January 29, 2007

If you're bored stiff or enjoy being annoyed by Hamilton city council, read these three reports, which are headed to the Economic Development Committee this week.

These plans were supposed to outline our future as a bustling, compact, urban city. Instead, they offer up more sprawl, big box stores, warehouses and endless amounts of townhomes and underwhelming neighbourhoods for us Hamiltonians to call home.

The future, sadly enough, looks very much like our past 40 years.

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 peter (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2007 at 09:23:21

yep, total bs. i try not to get my hopes up that the city will do the right thing, so i'm not upset.

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By Jon Dalton (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2007 at 17:23:23

Great - lets put all the jobs somewhere outside of the city only accessible by car. This doens't get my hopes up of someday finding work in my own city. There are areas around the golden horseshoe where GO service is very good and soon to be better, with high density employment areas. Going to Hamilton airport from the lower city is just as much of a commute as the QEW / Brant St. area, only there are no public transit options.

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By A Robot (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2007 at 23:35:06

Did you even read the Residential Intensification Study? Aside from the bit on "Outer Ring Employment Growth" it seems like the kind of thing RTH should be promoting, not just dismissing with one quick mash at the keyboard. The following Directions are taken straight from the study:

Direction #1:

Encourage a compatible mix of uses in neighbourhoods that provide
opportunities to live, work and play.

Intensification can bring a diversity of housing choices to neighbourhoods and
provides the population needed to support local retail areas.

Direction #2:

Concentrate new development within existing built-up areas and within a
firm urban boundary.

Direction #3:

Protect rural areas for a viable rural economy, agricultural resources,
environmentally sensitive recreation and enjoyment of the rural landscape.

Intensification is development that is focused development within existing built-up
areas and focuses growth away from the rural area.

Direction #4:

Design neighbourhoods to improve access to community life.

Residential Intensification places new housing units in closer proximity to existing
commercial areas, institutions and community facilities, providing the necessary
population to support local retail, institutions and services.

Direction #5:

Retain and attract jobs in Hamilton’s strength areas and in targeted new

Residential Intensification creates interesting, diverse, desirable
neighbourhoods, contributing to a positive image to potential businesses.

Direction #6:

Expand transportation options that encourage travel by foot, bike and
transit and enhance efficient inter-regional transportation connections.

Residential intensification in appropriate locations adds the necessary population
to support transit use and places residential development in locations where
walking and biking to employment and shopping is possible.

Direction #7:

Maximize the use of existing buildings, infrastructure and vacant or
abandoned land.

Reuse of brownfield sites, infill development or expansion or conversion of
existing buildings are all examples of intensification.

Direction #8:

Protect ecological systems and improve air, land and water quality.

Intensification allows growth to be focused away from ecologically important
areas. Intensification in appropriate locations supports alternate forms of
transportation, contributing towards improved air quality.

Direction #9:

Maintain and create attractive public and private spaces and respect the
unique character of existing buildings, neighbourhoods and settlements.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 01, 2007 at 11:25:17

A Robot, those are the nine GRIDS directions.

They're laudable and commendable, and RTH has done much to try and convince city council actually to follow them in deciding on its policy.

Here are a few links to RTH articles that look at the directions in more detail:

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By Archy (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2007 at 00:54:43

Hamilton Airport has the opportunity to grow considerably into an area of employment for the city. It currently employs over 1700+ people and soon to employ more with the addition of Flyglobespan. What is essential with this opportunity is to make the airport a sustainable investment for the city and for Southern Ontario. Building sustainable transportation links using rail and BRT can potentially create the synergy needed to link this new development area with downtown and with the port. The city needs to put emphasis onto multiple areas to make employment growth possible in Hamilton (while continuing to execute a strategy for developing the port’s brownfields). The airport has become a premier cargo port and should expand this feature to benefit Southern Ontario. Perhaps Hamilton has the opportunity to build Canada's first major 'green' airport development. Bristol airport in the UK is using biodiesel and energy efficient facilities to reduce reliance on fossil fuel. If airport development is to occur in Hamilton is should be carefully executed, progressive, and linked in a sustainable way to the GTAH. Check out their website and masterplan.

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