Aerotropolis

Aerotropolis 2.0: You're With Us Or You're Against Us

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 20, 2007

(this blog entry has been updated)

You've got to hand it to former Mayor Larry Di Ianni: he doesn't mince his words.

In his latest blog column, Di Ianni returns to another of his signature projects, the proposed aerotropolis development - now officially called the "Airport Employment Growth District" - around Hamilton Airport.

Based on a theory by John Kasarda, the director of the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, the aerotropolis concept is based on the premise that just-in-time manufacturing trends favour air transport and that twenty-first century cities will grow around airport-oriented development.

According to Kasarda, future economic growth will be based on what he calls "the three As" ("accessibility, accessibility, accessibility"), and proximity to the airport will be crucial to value-add business.

Di Ianni was such an ardent aerotropolis supporter during his tenure as Mayor that when it came time to develop the six possible planning scenarios under the Growth Related Integrated Development Strategy (GRIDS), Di Ianni mandated that the aerotropolis be included in all six.

When I asked Di Ianni why Hamiltonians weren't allowed even to consider a growth scenario that didn't involve aerotropolis, he answered that "it wouldn't be honest" because he had no intention of not proceeding with it. Update - Di Ianni also noted that a number of previous studies had recommended the airport development. 1

Council voted in 2005 to expand the urban boundary by 1,254 hectares (~3,100 acres), after which the city would conduct studies to determine how much land to service, how much it would cost, how many jobs would be created, and so on.

No Development or Progressive Development?

Outraged that the city would rezone the land before conducting the appropriate studies to determine whether it should rezone the land, a group called Hamiltonians for Progressive Development (HPD) and the Ontario Government filed apeals to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

In his blog, Di Ianni launches the following straw man attack against HPD:

[T]he city's naysayers led by the anti Red Hill opponents who needed a fresh cause, began their moaning and groaning. An instant group sprang up almost overnight to lead the fight. They adopted a different name and found a few fresh faces, but the bulk of the opposition was tried and true in its make-up.

In Di Ianni's characterization, the aerotropolis opponents don't just oppose this project, they oppose development itself. He adds, "A veteran stalwart was someone who fought against many developments in the city, believing that development was contrary to the way the city should grow."

These days, Kasarda's aerotropolis development model is coming under scrutiny by other economists and planners. In an April 2007 essay titled Airport futures: Towards a critique of the aerotropolis model, Michael B. Charles et al. argue that aerotropolis "not yet been critiqued adequately, especially from a long-term public policy and planning perspective."

The critique covers three areas of concern, including peak oil and sustainability, response to climate change, and the increased risk of threat scenarios. All three present serious challenges to the idea that an airport as a "critical commercial, industrial and logistical hub" is a viable or even desirable goal.

The section on peak oil concludes:

In short, the oil-fuelled aerotropolis of today and the immediate future, as presently envisaged according to Kasarda's "business as usual" (BAU) scenario for future aviation (which, as pointed out above, largely corresponds with May and Hill's "growth forever" scenario) ostensibly represents an investment in an unsustainable mode of transport, powered by an unsustainable fuel source, transporting unsustainable components (many low-weight, high-value components are petroleum derived). Thus the increased emphasis on air transport vis-a-vis terrestrial forms of bulk transportation, especially shipping, carries with it the threat of focussing too much of our energy on a transport system that may not necessarily survive in its present form.

But Di Ianni appears so committed to this particular development model that he assumes opposition to it must entail opposition to development itself. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth, as HPD was founded by successful business entrepreneurs who could hardly be accused credibly of opposing development.

Scenario Planning

In fact, a willingness to question assumptions and consider different scenarios is essential to good planning. It's shortsighted to draw conclusions about whether, how and where to locate employment lands without first considering what kind of development it makes sense to attract.

In a September 2006 ruling that affirmed this approach to planning, the OMB reversed the urban boundary expansion and ruled that the city needed to undertake public consultations before proceding.

Di Ianni tells it a bit differently:

With an OMB hearing lurking in the background, Council won the right to examine the airport lands without a legal fight and promised to involve the stakeholders, including the opponents, in a Community Liaison Process that would carefully examine all aspects of the Airport Lands project. The opposition spun this as a victory. In fact it was a face-saving gesture for them. The city is obliged to involve stakeholders in significant land development projects. Council was told to do exactly what it would have done anyway.

There' no mention of the urban boundary expansion the OMB reversed pending the studies that the city was supposed to conduct in the first place. This is disingenuous at best.

Ersatz Consultation

In the end of October, the city established a community liaison committee to work with Dillon Consulting, which is being paid $1.2 million to develop a land-use plan for the "growth district", now expanded to 1,600 hectares (3,950 acres).

Unfortunately for citizens interested in a fair consultation process, the committee is stacked with aerotropolis supporters: Councillors Lloyd Ferguson and David Mitchell, representatives from the airport, Chamber of Commerce, realtors association, a commercial property developer and the Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, a housing developer, a real estate agent, the former Glanbrook town planner, a pro-aerotropolis air traffic controller, and representatives from Six Nations, Environment Hamilton, the Hamilton and District Labour Council, and Hamiltonians for Progressive Development.

Out of fifteen members, eleven are strongly predisposed to support aerotropolis. The committee is supposed to make decisions by "consensus", but instead of decision-making in which everyone involved agrees with the end result, the city's definition of "consensus" means:

I have had the opportunity to express my views and/or feelings. I believe I have been heard and understood. If I was making the decision myself, I would not necessarily go in the group's direction. However, because I have had the opportunity to influence others and truly feel everyone understands what I think/feel, I will support this group's decision now and in the future.

Again, Di Ianni has an interesting take:

The opponents have already voiced their disapproval of the group. They state that too many of the group members are supportive of the project. They state that the terms of reference do not allow for stonewalling but rather just encourage the expression of opposition to reach consensus.

Notice how he shares the city's unique definition of "consensus" and equates actual dissent over whether the city should be developing the airport lands with "stonewalling". In other words, you're welcome to disagree as much as you want; just don't try to get in our way.

Projection and other Political Defence Mechanisms

He closes by warning that the people who oppose the airport development "are better equipped at manipulating the glare of public attention and existing laws of procedure than are those who want to create jobs and opportunities in the city."

The supporters of bidness as usual in this city absolutely love to project their questionable traits onto their opponents.

They conduct backroom deals with interested parties and but their opponents "lurk in the darkness of cyberspace and secret meetings."

They seek to co-opt and/or short-circuit the public consultation process, but their opponents are "cunning and perhaps procedurally ruthless".

It's the same old story: in Hamilton we rig the game to support the property speculators, then apologize for the cronies and demonize the citizens who try to hold them accountable.


1. This was not included when I first wrote this blog entry, and I've added it in the interest of fairness. Please see my comment, below, for more details. Return to updated paragraph. -Ed.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By g. (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2007 at 02:34:25

Di Ianni is very carefully trying to set the board against those who wish to oppose this latest bit of developer friendly city action. don't fall for it. this is not an environmental issue first and foremost. the negative consequences for the environment will be terribly but that is not really the point that should be debated. the point is that we don't need ANY more land in the urban boundary regardless of what it is used for. what's the rush larry? if we had business knocking at our door begging for serviced land to build eco businesses i could see going to the province and asking for a couple of hundred acres. but really, 5,000? come on. this is about making money for developers who already have an interest in the lands that are being included in the expansion. pure and simple. buy it cheap from farmers and sell it to whoever comes along at ten times the price after the your buddies at the city build you some nice roads and sewers. sounds like a capatilist's wet dream to me. unfortunately, like any commodity, the more there is the less the rest of it already owned by the all us hard working tax payers is worth. i'm not trying to suggest here that the environmental disasters that this would become are not important, it is, and it is the reason to fight against this, but it is not the face the debate should take. and the reason is that the environment is just what ol' lyin' larry is hoping to hinge the debate on, 'cause he knows when it comes to the health of the planet, hamiltonians in general are more worried about "jobs" and "economic growth" and other mythical beings supposedly borne as if by magic just by burying in asphalt some of the best farm land in the country. don't get bogged down in rhetoric, don't allow di ianni to tie this issue to red hill and what is percieved as being "feel good politics".

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 20, 2007 at 09:32:06

let's worry about opening up more land for development once all the current land is used properly. The Hamilton Mountain business park has been sitting there, much of it serviced, for 25 years. As far as I know, a stinky pig plant has been the only business to come knocking so far.

Regarding progressive development and the HPD group, aren't we supposed to be trying to attract folks like the guys who started this group?? One of them owned a high tech firm in burlington, NOT hamilton. city hall always goes on about how this is the demographic we need to lure here, then when one of them dares to get involved we call them names and yap about their hidden 'agenda'. Yea, their agenda is that Hamilton quits acting like a filthy, backwards 1950's hicktown.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 20, 2007 at 12:59:05

You're darn tootin' it's an environmental issue. According to an article in Viewmag by Maggie Hughes a while back, 1,000 of the 3,000 acres slated for the Aerotropolis comprise the headwaters of Chippewa Creek which flows into the Welland River affecting many downstream communities. Where do Di Ianni and the boys get off messing around with such an important watershed without consulting Welland, Niagara Falls, and all the other communities that will be affected?

www.viewmag.com/viewstory.php?storyid=3262&page=4

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By Brad (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2007 at 14:08:38

You do realize that you're basically referencing a bag lady.

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By bag ladies unite (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2007 at 14:12:06

Shame on you Brad! Maggie Hughes is a long standing media activist and advocate for the poor in Hamilton she has done alot of important work long before sites like rth were around. She has a physical disability that is slowing her down these days but she still makes it out to most functions and still runs her radio program on cfmu.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 20, 2007 at 15:01:35

Did you click on the link Brad? That's one smart bag lady.

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By Hmag (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2007 at 17:00:24

I too am here to say stop picking on Maggie Hughes.

Many of the things Maggie has said and done in this town and on her radio show has been instrumental in helping to shape the overall discussion taking place now. We all should grateful.

She is tough. She is smart. Respect her contributions.

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By Sally (registered) | Posted November 22, 2007 at 09:36:34

Maggie a bag lady? Stop being so kind to her!

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By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted November 22, 2007 at 12:33:49

I just read the hateful diatribe from 'g'. I am not sure his personal attacks are worth responding to because the public record has already stated the facts. I would encourage him/her to read my blog on this on ChrisEcklund.com Just follow my link. Ryan's critique is fair ball, but it doesn't capture what I say in its entirety. So read my words, not the interpretation of those same words.
As for G's point. I don't own any lands in the area and have no personal interest other than the community's interest. The point though is not that I made the case for creating employment on those lands, independent reports have made that case time and again. As well, other nearby communities are making the case by attracting new industry, some from our city. As for the 5000 acres? Again a distortion; the purpose of the study is to figure out the size of employment development might suit the city.

As for the unkind things said about Maggie Hughes. I don't agree with her politics, but she was always a polite, interested person whenever I saw her.
Really, I will occasionally post here only if people are above personal smear. Be tough on the ideas folks, but don't demonize the individuals because they hold different opinions than you. That is the essence of democracy, I think.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 22, 2007 at 13:25:08

Larry Di Ianni wrote: "The point though is not that I made the case for creating employment on those lands, independent reports have made that case time and again."

This is correct, and in the interest of fairness I have updated the original article to reflect this.

At the same time, it's important to note that the studies recommending the airport development simply did not consider the long-term prospects of airport-oriented development in light of the emerging evidence of a near-term peak in oil production, followed by inexorable annual declines in the rate of production.

When I challenged Di Ianni about the changing economic conditions, he responded that he had lived through the 1973 OPEC crisis and fully expects that this energy crisis will be resolved as well through alternative energy sources and new technologies.

http://raisethehammer.org/article/131

However, since there is currently no combination of alternative energies and technologies that can effectively replace oil, this confidence is based on hope, not on tangible evidence.

http://raisethehammer.org/article/119

Again, I will cite the example of Richard Gilbert's report Hamilton: The Electric City, in which he concludes that gas prices are more than 50% likely to reach $4/l in the next decade or so.

At those prices, air transport, which today accounts for only something like two percent of transport activity per tonne-kilometre, may well not be a viable economic development engine.

http://raisethehammer.org/article/121

Of course it's possible that the air transport industry will survive by switching to zeppelins or something, but the studies we're going by today accept this as a given (in fact, they ignore it completely) when it is actually highly uncertain, as Charles et al. argue in their aerotropolis critique.

I was at the Council meeting when Gilbert made his presentation, and I remember councillors desperate to keep the aerotropolis idea alive trying to argue that the airport itself is secondary and that the development around it wouldn't be tied to air transport.

As Councillor Merulla said at the time, "So in essence what I've gathered from this presentation is that development pertaining, being directly correlated to the airport is bad, but development in that area not correlated to the airport is good, because we are localizing employment because it ties into our economic development strategy. Is that correct? [emphasis added]"

Gilbert responded, "My own opinion, but this is not an opinion based on expert research, is that you have a huge opportunity for developing lands for this kind of purpose between where we're sitting now [City Hall, 71 Main St. W. at Bay St.] and the harbour. I've walked around there, and around the harbour, and I'm just impressed by the opportunities for the kinds of industrial development that I'm talking about, which is very knowledge-intensive, very rich in small-scale activity."

http://raisethehammer.org/article/317

Gilbert responded that Hamilton is going about its land use planning the wrong way: instead of deciding what kind of development we want, and then reasoning from that to where we want it, Hamilton had committed itself to developing the airport lands and was then trying to find a justification for it.

http://raisethehammer.org/blog/219/

The bottom line is that either the economic development is oriented to the airport activity or it's not. If it's not oriented to airport activity, then there's no special reason it should be around the airport rather than somewhere else.

Hamilton's long-term economic development strategy is also supposed to emphasize bioscience and information technology clusters, but the Hemson Consulting land use study presented to Council in February 2007 proposed putting all of Hamilton's employment eggs in one basket: logistics and warehousing around the airport.

http://raisethehammer.org/article/511/

The study presented exactly one option for employment lands (the airport) and explicitly refused to speculate about what economic conditions might be in 20 years, since its mandate was to deal with current conditions. So much for long-term planning.

It was so bad even aerotropolis supporters on Council asked staff to prepare an addendum with an alternate strategy involving brownfields, of which Hamilton has plenty.

Gilbert's recommendation was to acknowledge that energy declines are going to be a major economic factor over the next few decades, and Hamilton should position itself to turn that potential crisis into an economic opportunity for producing and conserving energy.

In fact, he went so far as to argue that this should be Hamilton's primary economic cluster, it's Plan A.

Over a year and a half after Gilbert made his report, we're still waiting for city staff to come back with any study that looks more closely at Gilbert's recommendation. It hasn't informed Hamilton's long-term growth plans, and it certainly hasn't informed Hamilton's commitment to building an economic cluster around the airport.

We need to stop making our decisions based on studies that serve as self-fulfilling prophecies by begging the question and presuming the conditions they're supposed to be evaluating.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted November 22, 2007 at 14:03:46

Wow, lots of reading! Mr. DiAnni, I don't believe you addressed the opinions reflected here that have to do with bringing the businesses that would be built near the airport into areas around the harbour. Also, Ryan, as a matter of feasibility (sp?) the movement of goods using airplanes will always be around until teleporation is possibility. Society has an instant satisfaction complex that simply can't be satisfied by moving goods using ships, rails and trucks alone.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 22, 2007 at 14:37:39

By all means let's stop demonizing those who hold opposing opinions.

You have used words to describe your opponents such as "cunning", "ruthless", and "evil genius". You have accused them of "lurking in the darkness of cyberspace and secret meetings" (secret meetings? I'm shocked, shocked!) and "discouraging progress". You are entitled to tell your story as you see fit in my opinion, but you can't be too surprised when people answer you back in equally strong terms.

It's no fun to be on the receiving of a 'smear'. When it happens to me I look back at what I've said to see what my motivations might have been, if I could have expressed myself differently, or if I should have provided real evidence to back up my assertions. But hey, you're a politician! Surely you are immune to the hard knocks by now. The comments here aren't vetted so it might get a little rough at times, but the majority of commenters are civil so I hope you won't be dissuaded from coming here often.

While we're on the topic of not demonizing people, can we lose the strawman argument that red hill and aerotropolis opponents are against progress and development? As you can see from Ryan's comments above, and from the whole raison d'etre of this site, nothing could be further from the truth. Just as you have studies backing up your particular view of development, there are loads of studies and successful models backing up alternative views. It is a tiresome meme that is long past it's 'sell by' date, and you do your arguments no favours when you make such demonstrably false assertions.

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By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted November 22, 2007 at 17:06:31

Okay. Discourse and debate really are the essence of democracy. In my blog, I identify no single person and am generic in my assertions. Don't misread strong opinions with demonizing. Someday I may write a book which will name names, not now.
For now, let's focus on the issue which is the economic development of our city. I am not apologizing for my positions; they are part of the public record; nor really do I have the need to defend them. The RHP has already proven to be popular as a transportation corridor even in these early days. (See this week's log) and it has drawn economic development dollars in the $100M plus range. More is sure to come. I heard a television commercial for a retail company inviting customers to shop in their store by using the 'friendly, quick RHP' I think the voice-over said.

I also am not afraid of criticism and yes, as your post states, I have been battle-hardened, but have always tried to maintain civility.

Ryan and the opponents of the employment lands around the airport love the term Aerotropolis because it conjures up images of a space-city somewhere in another universe. I believe the talented Spec cartoonist Graeme McKay used it in one of his works. The fact of the matter is that the lands around the airport are the only available large tracts of industrial lands which can accommodate companies of a major size. Many of the potential businesses will be airport related; many will not. Just as those businesses near our port are not all port-related. In fact when I was first elected Mayor I had the unpleasant experience of trying to talk Procter&Gamble into staying in the city of Hamilton. They had outgrown their space on Burlington Street and were willing to stay. There was NO shovel ready land for them to go to. You know where they went? You guessed it, Brantford. Others followed suit: Ferrero-Rocher, Tim Horton's Head office to name a couple. It is these sorry experiences which motivated me to get ourselves ready for companies wanting to locate and relocate. It is easy to opine and blog, but when you are in government, you also have to produce for our city. We did; we developed a Brownfields strategy and approved an office to open it up; we got funding to open up the North Glanbrook Industrial Park, contrary to the naysayers who claimed that these lands were sure to go residential. Attempts were made to go in this direction, but I stood steadfast in wanting the industrial designation to stay; we moved on some lands in Stoney Creek and in Flamborough. The last piece to take us to a new level is the Airport Development Lands project. I also, as you know, tried to get Maple Leaf to come to the Glanbrook site. Many of the airport opponents also opposed this project. Hamilton needs many and varied strategies. Our single greatest challenge is to provide jobs for our citizens. Jobs which will pay well. We should be working together and marshalling forces on this multi-pronged strategy, not fighting each other on any of the fronts for purely idealogical reasons. So, I will stop labelling opponents as opponents of 'progress' if I can be shown some results. Again, it is easy to theorize and offer grandiose strategies and visions. But we must also listen to the experts in the market place who tell us what they need. And the market place is indicating a need for shovel ready lands in our community, around the airport.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 22, 2007 at 21:01:27

"Ryan and the opponents of the employment lands around the airport love the term Aerotropolis because it conjures up images of a space-city somewhere in another universe."

I call it "aerotropolis" because that's what John Kasarda, the business professor who invented the concept, called it. It's city development anchored by the airport, in the same way that ports and railway stops anchored cities in the 19th and 20th centuries.

"I will stop labeling opponents as opponents of 'progress' if I can be shown some results."

A couple of decades ago, Portland, OR decided to try something different from business as usual for North American cities. It established a firm urban boundary, ripped up highways, built several new light rail lines, planted close to a million trees, established 230 km of continuous bike routes throughout the city, developed a green energy trust, planned to get 100% of municipal energy from renewable sources by 2010, rewrote their zoning regulations to encourage mixed use and transit oriented development, and established some of the strictest building codes on the continent for energy efficiency.

Here are some results:

  • Reduced per capita gasoline use by 10 percent.

  • On track to meeting Kyoto obligations (GHG emissions 6% below 1990 levels by 2010).

  • Attracted $2.3 billion in new private investment in a half-mile corridor around a single streetcar line running through what had previously been a run down warehouse district.

  • Started a new American manufacturing company (Oregon Iron Works Inc. / United Streetcar LLC) to produce trams and streetcars. It's expected to provide hundreds of jobs.

  • Known as the most bicycle-friendly city in the US, with the highest percentage of bicycle commuters in the US. Several bicycle companies have their North American headquarters in Portland, supporting the economy and providing a thousand jobs, including a growing number of entrepreneurs, custom builders and such.

  • Dramatic population increase as people travel from all across the US to live in what is widely regarded as America's most livable city. Portland's population grew 22 percent between 1990 and 2004.

  • Economically, Portland has been losing manufacturing jobs (like everywhere else in North America) but gaining jobs overall, mainly in information technologies, graphic design, high tech hardware design, health care, education, sportswear and other services. It's no longer about a few big employers but rather about hundreds of smaller businesses, growth-oriented startups, entrepreneurs, and so on.

  • Ironically, Portland has a relatively high unemployment rate, because people are moving there faster than the job market can absorb them. Unlike most cities, people move to Portland first and then look for a job. They're finding jobs as well; Portland has been adding jobs faster than most other American cities.

  • As housing prices plummet across the US, they are still growing in Portland, since demand for housing is supported by the steady stream of people moving there. The skyline is dominated by tower cranes.

  • The biggest problem Portland faces is the steadily rising cost of living. That's the kind of problem a city like Hamilton wishes it had to deal with.

We will get the economy we plan for. If we plan for an economy of pork processing, warehousing and logistics, that's what we'll get.

I think we can do better.

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By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted November 22, 2007 at 23:52:15

Ryan points out Portland, Oregon as an example for Hamilton to follow. For once, I think, Ryan and I are going to agree. Portland is indeed a city that is being successful in a number of important areas: social sustainability, environmental responsibility and economic well-being. All three are important. What Ryan may not tell you, but I will is that, in part, the economic successes of Portland are due to the Port of Oregon, established in the 1890's through state legislation. This port is responsible for the operation and maintenance of among other things several marine terminals, 4 airports (Portland International, Hillsboro, Mulino and Troutdale) and SEVEN Business parks.
The mission statement for the port says this: "The mission of the Port of Portland is to enhance the region's economy and quality of life by providing efficient cargo and air passenger access to national and global markets."

The 2007 review of Port activities, available online, gives some startling and impressive statistics.
.Maritime and Aviation activities contribute to over 30,000 direct jobs for the citizens of the area. 18,712 are aviation related and 11,724 marine.
.There are more than 300 firms in the business parks which in turn generate an additional 35,000 jobs not all aviation or marine related.
.over $180M go towards local and state annual taxes.
.$1.75Billion in earnings for workers annually

And these are just some of the economic benefits.

Ryan, thank you for helping me make my case. Hamilton deserves no less in opportunities. We are not Portland, but if all of us work together rather than fight each other, I am convinced we can enjoy the best of all worlds.


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By jason (registered) | Posted November 23, 2007 at 08:52:55

having lived in Portland I can attest to the well-run operation known as the Port of Portland. they have been instrumental in getting light rail to the airport, waterfront districts and business parks. I can also attest to the fact that downtown Portland was a pile of crap in the 70's before they decided to abandon the Los Angeles model of city growth and decided to follow a more European model. As we all know, a city's downtown is it's heart, soul and image. I know dozens of people who have moved to Portland from other parts of the US. All of them cite livable neighbourhoods, great transportation options (unlike Hamilton where we discriminate against anyone who doesn't own a car - how citizen tax dollars are spent in the city's transportation network will back up this point), bustling downtown and that hard to pinpoint 'cool' factor. I've never once heard someone say "I'm going to move to Portland because that marine terminal is so neat". Sure, the marine terminal and airport are a part of their economy, but the city isn't putting all of it's eggs in that basket like Hamilton has. Buffalo has had a booming airport district for years and has been considered an armpit of a city. Only now that they have finally turned their attention (and TAX DOLLARS) to downtown are they starting to receive positive press and seeing people move back to the downtown area. New jobs are coming downtown. New towers are being built. The fact is plain to see all over the world. Downtown must be FIRST priority, then everything else follows. In Hamilton, downtown seems to be near the bottom of the priority list (again, I can say this based on the past 15 years of municipal investment downtown compared with Stoney Creek, Ancaster or the South Mountain). We'll learn eventually. Either now, without aerotropolis, or in 2 decades with aerotropolis anchoring a craptown. Sadly, it sounds like our politicians are too willing to applaud Portland, and then ignore the lessons staring us in the face.

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By Michelle (registered) | Posted November 23, 2007 at 14:17:59

Jason, you make valid points but so does Mr. Di Ianni. Surely the Port (Air and Marine) can be influential here too. But if we don't give it a chance, how will we know? We are talking about a study at the airport right? Give it a chance before poo pooing it. As someone looking for work, and having to commute to the Niagara region I can tell you that is my priority.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 23, 2007 at 14:31:39

Michelle,

RTH strongly supports studying carefully whether it makes sense to leverage the marine port as a catalyst for economic development.

We also support studying carefully whether it makes sense to leverage the airport as a catalyst for economic development.

What we oppose are:

  1. Expanding the urban boundary around the airport before conducting the appropriate studies. The OMB agrees with us on this one.

  2. Commissioning studies on the airport development that ask leading questions and refuse to take into consideration whether economic conditions in 10 or 20 years will still favour airport oriented development. E.g. the Hemson study.

  3. Commissioning studies that do take into consideration what the economic conditions will be like in 10 or 20 years, and then refusing to take those studies into consideration when planning. E.g. the Gilbert study.

  4. Stacking the community liaison committee with people who already support the airport development, many of whom stand to benefit personally from it, and redefining "consensus" to mean something other than consensus.

Hamilton cannot make good planning decisions if we rig the planning process to generate a pre-ordained outcome instead of making the best decision based on the available evidence.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 23, 2007 at 14:32:50

Hi Michelle. I'm not saying to "not give it a chance". I'm just saying that we need to have the urban downtown as our priority. Having priorities shouldn't mean that we can only do one thing at a time. But in the past couple decades that's exactly what we've done. Virtually ignored the existing city in favour of finding new areas to pave over. And the results?? people like you commuting out of Hamilton for work. Our port could be amazing. I've written about it before on RTH. The builders and those with a vested interest in more sprawl always try to paint citizens like us as "anti-development". The fact is, we want development in Hamilton far more than they do. We want jobs in Hamilton far more than they do. All they care about is their own pockets (or in the case of the politicians, their career jobs). For too many of this old boys club, Hamilton is not at the top of their priority list. Their own personal gain is. I think we can learn from other cities and do the right things. But in Hamilton when you suggest that, you're branded as an activist or obstructionist or anti-growth ankle-biter. Companies will flock here once our city's reality and image are something to brag about. In the meantime, happy commuting.

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By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted November 23, 2007 at 14:50:19

Gosh, Jason, Michele was only offering an opinion and you jumped down her throat. To suggest that the city is ignoring downtown is to ignore the millions of dollars that we have rightly poured into development activities, one way road alterations and improvements, facade programs for some of our buildings, conversion investment, millions in clean up initiatives, increased police and camera surveillance. Lots is happening downtown. And more should happen. This takes time AND money. Where is this money to come from? Not an already overtaxed home owner. They can't stand any more. It has to come from businesses, and the industrial sector. How do we expand this sector? Well, all the experts are saying you need to have 'shovel-ready' land. Please see my earlier post.
I know you have lived in Portland. In fact it was you who peaked my interest in researching that city. It isn't a panacea by any stretch. But the city is doing many things right. And the Port/Airport are too. Who is to say that these entities would do any less in Hamilton?
Let's not treat them as enemies. Or let's not demonize capitalists for participating in the capitalist system. Check out my blog on Philanthropy at www.chrisEcklund.com. It may give you a new view of successful business people.
I recall, Jason, a young youth pastor and his father coming to see me about some exciting plan for their parish in our inner city. I wished then, as I do now that we had had enough money and programs to assist that great ministry. The city is stretched; however, if we can increase the wealth coming into the city's coffers, everyone would gain.
I am not an elected politician, by the way. I was; and God (and the electorate)-willing, I may be again. Until then, at least concede me this: I am an interested citizen with a unique perspective, because of the experiences I have had, on our city, with some opinions and the time to share them. Take them for what they are worth.
It is also fun to engage in discussion and debate, by the way.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 23, 2007 at 17:44:05

hey Larry...thanks for the response. I just re-read my post and don't think I jumped down Michelle's throat. I was just stating basically what you just said - we can do more than one thing at a time. Or at least, I wish we could. Yes, things have been going better downtown, but we still seem reluctant to jump in with both feet. Especially in regards to the two-way conversions. They have been a remarkable success and yet the public works staff recently mentioned that they don't see how Main or King could ever go two-way (history books show them 2 way only 5 decades ago) and are even proposing another strange two-way proposal for York Blvd - 2 lanes east, 1 west. I would love to see our port become a huge asset to this city. I wish our business parks would fill up. Again, I must repeat, I am not closed for business. All of us on here want to see Hamilton prosper, including you.
Red Hill is finally done (at least the construction portion). Hopefully now we can get onto building a proper city in a holistic manner. I agree with the need to create wealth. I'm a huge fan of our great philanthropists and successful business-people (again, you're insinuating that somehow I'm anti-capitalistic). I wish we had dozens, hundreds more of them. The facts is, it is tough to generate real wealth in the suburbs. Any wealth they generate is gobbled up by the massive costs to maintain and deliver services in those sprawled out areas. Our best bet is to generate wealth in the city. That's how Portland can afford to spend hundreds of millions each year on light rail and streetcars. Empty lots become 30 storey towers. thousands of new people move into the city. New companies locate there. Industrial parks are filling up. The wealth creation starts in the heart of the city and spreads out across the entire region ideally. If that is somehow anti-business, then I'm really confused. I'd love nothing more than to see Hamilton become a world model of development like Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and many other cities have become. An airport is a small piece of that puzzle. Not the grand-daddy of it.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 23, 2007 at 18:14:33

Perfesser Bart suggests we aim to be the "Best City in the World!" This is ludicrous of course, but I think top ten in North America is totally doable. There is no reason why Hamilton cannot stand in the company of Portland, Seattle, et al. someday, but we'll never get there by trying to emulate Brantford of all places.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 23, 2007 at 22:06:50

...or Mississuaga or Brampton or Burlington or Markham or Milton or any of the other drab places city hall seems obsessed in copying.

I say we shoot for the best city in Canada. Why not?: Portland is a small city by US standards and consistently wins all sorts of awards for quality of life and urban revitalization as best in America. Their Pearl District in an old abandoned downtown district (it was brought back to life on the back of tax incentives for fixing up empty buildings and construction of light rail) was named the most livable neighbourhood in America last year. The city has set their own goal of being "the most European city in America". Why should Hamilton settle for top 10 or best in Ontario etc..... the only reason I can see the powers that be setting their sights lower would be if they know that's where they'll end up with business as usual. Setting a high goal means we must change what we've been doing. To me, that's our number one obstacle.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 24, 2007 at 10:11:02

You're right. I've been having some fun with the Ol' Perfesser (he's a pretty easy target with all that "mystery of mission" claptrap)here and over at hallmarks, but perhaps he has a point with setting high goals. It continues to piss me off that the Powers That Be call anyone with a different vision anti-progress when in fact they are the ones holding us back from greatness.

Mr. Di Ianni (I'm not being snide when I address you formally, I just can't wrap my head around calling you 'Larry'), you don't need to name names in order to demonize your opposition, you have used inflammatory language on your blog to label anyone and everyone with a different vision as devious and obstructionist. I don't object to your right to do this, it's your blog and it's obvious that you're writing a polemic. I just object when you lecture others not to demonize their opposition. And I must confess to a bit of 'concern trolling' when I suggested that you undermine your credibility when you continue to argue that anyone who doesn't share your particular idea of development is anti-progress, but seriously, stop. Just stop.

Also, stop calling narrow business interests "market experts" as though they were objective market analysts. There are many analysts who find fault with the business model that demands a continuous supply of 'shovel-ready' land. Why do we have to treat the words of the 'experts' who support your views as though they were holy writ, while ignoring all evidence to the contrary?

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By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted November 24, 2007 at 10:16:45

Dear Highwater,

Re-read your invective. I rest my case.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 26, 2007 at 13:14:07

I re-read my comments and looked up the definition of invective just to be sure:

in·vec·tive /ɪnˈvɛktɪv/ –noun

  1. vehement or violent denunciation, censure, or reproach.
  2. a railing accusation; vituperation.
  3. an insulting or abusive word or expression.

I'm sorry, I'm just not seeing it. But then I didn't think Jason had jumped down anyone's throat, nor would I have described g's comments as a 'hate-filled diatribe'. Strongly worded perhaps, but then so are some of your blog postings. I must be missing something. I'm beginning to think you're not the real Di Ianni afterall, but someone who came here looking for 'invective' and 'hate-filled diatribes' then had to invent them when they didn't materialize.

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By h (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2007 at 18:56:51


"By Larry Di Ianni
Posted 11/23/2007 2:50:19 PM

Gosh, Jason, Michele was only offering an opinion and you jumped down her throat."

I'm pretty sure I've heard Larry say Gosh in real life and it wouldn't surprise me that he would type it in his response. This is definitely the real Larry DiIanni. Sorry folks. It's true!

Don't wory Larry. I am no gosh saint either - I've used gosh a few times in real life too! ;-)

On to something really fun - Larry and Matt Jelly recently took a drive together down the NEW "Red Hill Park-way" (ugh - I feel dirty even typing it.) - now that is something I want to read about. C'mon Larry and Matt - spill it and give us all a review of the drive here on Raisethehammer!

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted November 27, 2007 at 08:09:52

"the NEW 'Red Hill Park-way' (ugh - I feel dirty even typing it.)"

Don't worry h, when induced demand bogs Red Hill in stop-and-go traffic in a few years the "park" in parkway will start to feel like truth in advertising...

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By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted November 27, 2007 at 09:00:15

Dear High. Re-read your definition. I rest my case (again).

Dear H. I do say 'gosh' sometimes. I even write it. I also say other words, which I seldom write. As for the RHP. I'll leave it up to Matt to offer his opinion in writing. He did so on the Opinionators.
I touch upon it ever so briefly in this week's blog. www.ChrisEcklund.com and follow my link.

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By h (anonymous) | Posted November 27, 2007 at 10:40:02

Hey Larry-

I was posting in good fun after I read this:

"I'm beginning to think you're not the real Di Ianni afterall," posted by Highwater.

Message boards are no fun.

BTW Congrats on becoming a grandfather.

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By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted November 27, 2007 at 17:20:01

Thank you, 'h'. Highwater and I don't agree. I am polite about it, though and s/he isn't. I am enjoying discovering RTH and its views. I even agree with some of them! Best wishes.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 27, 2007 at 17:26:38

hey fellas...while I realize I'm about to run the risk of taking this conversation right off topic (I've forgotten what it started as anyhow) and possibly turning this into the longest blog in the history mankind, I must ask why folks who mention the opening of Red Hill always add in that bit about "50 years later". I realize it was first suggested 50 years ago, but people make it sound like we've been actively planning it for 50 years. The Spectator did a little "timeline" recently of Red Hill history. Not surprisingly, they seemed to skip this period of time: Read from the bottom-up:

June 1979 - Region releases six possible alternative routes for north-south expressway. All six go through the Red Hill Valley. Nine other alternatives, including three other north-south locations were eliminated internally without public input.

1978 - Region begins study of potential locations for East-West and North-South expressways. General Manager of the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority resigns from the committee in protest.

1977 - Council votes to allow Red Hill Valley location to be considered after provincial government withdraws funding subsidy for land acquisition for the East-West expressway.

1975-1977 - Continuous pressure from provincial Conservative government to reinstate valley route for north-south expressway. Three additional votes by Council confirm 1974 decision, but by decreasing majorities.

1974 - Hamilton City Council and the newly-formed Regional Council vote unanimously to "to retain the natural character of the Red Hill Creek Valley and to maintain permanently its present natural state". Motion adopted to remove valley expressway from the Official Plan. East-West expressway retained.

So, as of 1979 there were 6 highway alternatives released through the valley....sounds like the beginning of planning to me. I'm no math expert, but that isn't 50 years. Mind you, I'm obviously not too bright....I also fail to see the "extreme left wing" agenda on Raise the Hammer that Mr D. talks about in his current blog. If by "left wing" you're referring to anyone with an opinion other than sprawl and more zero business growth years (which is what we're projecting for 2008 in Hamilton - thank goodness for the new highway!) then I am guilty as charged.

Blog away!!

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By joejoe (anonymous) | Posted November 27, 2007 at 19:08:47

All this nonsense about people on this discussion thread being inconsiderate is, well - nonsense!
Mr D - I don't know what kinds of discussions your used to having but this one has been entirely respectful. With all due respect (and God help me you are going to take offense at even this) you are not going to last very long in Dion's government if you can't handle a discussion like this.
Debate gets heated and I'm sure (in fact I know) you've taken more heat that this in your time. We all need to keep our eye on the subject matter here and stop complaining and apologizing.
Perhaps we can get someone to give us a hug and get back to the discussion?

Great!

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By race_to_the_bottom (anonymous) | Posted November 27, 2007 at 21:13:17

"Extreme left wing opinions"? That's a bit rich coming from the guy who made a $225,000,000 public subsidy the centrepiece of his mayoralty.

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By jude (anonymous) | Posted November 27, 2007 at 23:30:42

I thank everyone responsible for the Red Hill road. It was long overdue. Stop your bellyaching those of you who are against it. And leave Dianni alone. He had the balls to do what others were afraid of doing. He got the road built. I know he wasn't alone but he was important in doing it.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 11:16:48

as I expected...nobody wants to address these several years of history I posted above. Funny how that happens. I'm especially interested to hear people's opinion on the piece from 1974 declaring the valley to be maintained in it's natural state. Has the Spec put muzzles on you??

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By race_to_the_bottom (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 11:31:04

Don't you know jason, reality has an "extreme left wing" bias...

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By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 13:07:06

Not to put too fine a point on things, but I will just respond to the zero growth raised by Jason. The road is built. If you are truly interested in anything but extreme left wing hype, please see the mountain of reports that have been written over the past decades on the economic impact of the road. These reports make the case.
Or, you can spare yourselves some time and consider just three examples that have already borne fruit. 1. Lowes, on Barton St. A $30M dollar investment. I was at the press conference where the president of the company cited the road as reason to locate the business in the heart of an established neighbourhood, revitilizing a brownfield piece of neglected property.
2. The Center Mall...a $100M facelift. The rationale for investing in this inner city mall versus the outskirts of suburbia? The RHVP which will facilitate customers coming to this shopping area. By the way, planning staff is doing something quite creative rather than box-store development here.
3.The Spec carried a brief story a week or so ago talking about the revitilization of Ottawa Street now; and Kenilworth next because of the Center Mall investment. Properties are worth more, businesses are thriving and that is all good.
So, start adding it up in terms of dollars. Factor in jobs. Include the revitilization of estblished neighbourhoods and you will see an immediate return for the investment taxpayers have made on the RHVP.
These are just a few facts to consider.

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By extreme heisenbergian winger (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 13:22:58

No Larry, the mountain of reports do not make the case. What they make is a big pile of paper. Maybe we can burn them for heat this winter - if it ever actually gets cold.

What WOULD make the case is real, actual, shovel-in-ground tax assessment gains year over year. Oops, there aren't any. The road is built but projected tax revenue growth is 0% for 2008 and the city's capital budget is being cut deeply since we have no money.

Your anecdotes do not, in fact, add up to a compelling case that RHVP was a good investment - and your invective left-baiting does not, in fact, add up to a compelling argument. Fail.

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By yeeee haw! (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 13:33:33

You mean Red Hill didn't work quite the way they said it would? Maybe what we really need is another highway - a longer highway, a wider highway, a highway that stretches all the way from the US border so we can import cheap American cars even faster.

Yeah! It could go through the middle of the Niagara Peninsula, and it would open up all kinds of new development land at each cloverleaf interchange, and think of all the new houses that could be built along it, and it could plug into the existing highway at, say, where the 403, QEW and 407 meet, because there's always room for another overpass or two.

This time, it will REALLY drive new development. You'll see. It will pay for itself in a few years, and it won't hurt downtown at all, and people in the suburbs just LOVE knowing there are even more suburbs farther out from their suburbs with newer houses and wider roads and bigger parking lots and - I'm getting all emotional, I don't think I can write any more right now.

But it will be great. Really great. Trust me. I'm sitting on an escarpment of reports.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 13:56:18

is it too much to ask for straight answers? 0% growth in 2008. I'm not trying to be rude here or anything, but I'm a taxpayer in this city. I was already concerned with the financial straits of our city, and now hearing that our economy isn't going to grow at all next year is worrisome. We have buried ourselves in debt and the only way out is very robust economic activity, which is what we were promised with our $450 million investment (Linc/Red Hill). If that doesn't happen, then what??

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 14:47:16

r_t_t_b, it seems that not only does reality have an 'extreme left wing bias', but it's not very polite either.

We've just totally lost perspective on left and right haven't we? I'm old enough to remember Bill Davis' Big Blue Machine, the Red Toryism of Joe Clark, etc. Time was, small 'c' conservatives believed that government had a role to play in tempering the worst excesses of the market for the benefit of the greater good. Crazy talk, I know. Now even people calling themselves 'Liberal' can't imagine government doing anything other than designing policy and directing public money to benefit corporate interests, assuring us that the greater good will be somehow be served by the 'trickle down' effect. Hasn't worked in real life yet, but it looks good on paper. Lots and lots of paper, apparently. (I don't recall low wage retail jobs being the sort of jobs the RHVP would bring us, but I guess I haven't seen all the reports.)

Things are so skewed now that when someone like Naomi Klein suggests that maybe Pinochet wasn't such a great guy afterall, everyone jumps all over her like she's Stalin. And anyone with the temerity to suggest that maybe we ought to balance the bottom line with the greater good (or God forbid, the environment!), is labelled a wild-eyed radical. I would love to believe that the people doing this are merely ignorant of our political history, but I'm quite sure that it is a conscious attempt to marginalize mainstream views, and scare voters away from voting for policies that will actually benefit them.

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By Objective (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 17:14:53

Larry, do yourself a favour. Don't encourage these wing nuts. you make too much sense and the senselessness of those who are stuck in ideology prevents them from acknowledging some of the numbers you quote. They are not made up. They are real. Their hysteria however is a real testament to their folly.

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By tellitlikeitis (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 17:44:29

These guys lost the battle over the Red Hill Parkway, now they want to win the argument. Oh let's let them win this one. they cannot do any more harm, other than to their credibility

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 18:12:44

as much as I appreciate all the name-calling, I really would just like a decent answer on the serious question I pose regarding our 0% growth rate. Yes, Centre Mall is being rebuilt. Yes Lowes is opening a store on Barton. Yes, the turnaround CONTINUES on Ottawa Street (I've been spending time/money on Ottawa for years...it's turnaround is nothing new and nothing Red Hill related).
And YES, the projected growth in the city next year is 0%. So far I've heard a lot of stuff here about arguing and battles and wingnuts and ideology (the usual response in Hamilton when someone asks a decent question). I'm starting to think that Larry is my only hope to get a thoughtful answer on what ails our economy to the point of having such a bad projection for next year...the year after our newest highway links have opened up. It's a legit question and so far your responses confirm my suspicion that I won't be hearing any solid answers from any of you until the Spec tells you how to respond. God gave you brains. Use them for something other than tossing shallow insults at someone.

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By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted November 30, 2007 at 00:17:03

Jason, you do deserve a thoughtful response and I will try to give you one. I have not read the staff reports on the projected growth for next year, so I will do that and come back with a fuller report. Just for the time being though, I repeat what I have been saying all along. One of our biggest challenges is to create jobs and assessment growth for our city. This will take a concerted effort on the part of all the stakeholders: Council, the Province, the Feds, and the investment community as well as our educational institutions.
Working in concert, I'm convinced we can turn things around.
I don't want to belabour the point about the value of the RHVP. It is a road which in the fullness of time will prove its economic worth. You may not think the turnaround on Ottawa is unrelated to the Center Mall expansion, but the merchants on Ottawa believe that to be so. You may not believe the expansion of the mall is related to the RHVP, but the investors pointed it out (as did the Lowes people) when they announced their investment.
True, our assessment growth may be at zero next year. The Mall additional assessment would not figure into that calculation becasue the work hasn't been done and assessment dollars have not yet been collected, I suspect. The additional revenue from the Ottawa St. turnaround is probably in the calculation. Imagine how we'd be faring if these additional monies were not available. Less than zero perhaps.
As for the North Glanbrook Industrial Park. It is now seriously being looked at. The servicing for this park won't cost our taxpayers a penny because the Province gave us over $20M to service it. Once the servicing is done and connections made to the RHVP, businesses will come.
Similarily, the Airport Employment District is important to future economic growth. As is the port and the brownfields redevelopment (LOwes was a brownfield).
Anyway these are random thoughts jusst after midnight. I will try to do a better job once I read a report or two from staff.
I may even write on this topic on my blog, but I'll reference it here.
Thanks for asking.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 30, 2007 at 23:54:12

Hey Larry

Thanks for the response. I figured I could count on you for more than the craziness of those spammers. One more question, if you don't mind. Is there any sort of timeline in your mind as to when we'll see this projected growth in Glanbrook Industrial Park or other major assessment-bossting ventures?

It would seem to me that time is not on our side. I'm not sure if we can afford another decade of nothing but housing sprawl like we've seen since the Linc opened up.

The sooner we get real investment happening in this city, the better. I'd hope that the powers that be can give some rough timelines and be accountable for the success or failure to start turning this ship around. Any thoughts?

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By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted December 01, 2007 at 21:33:32

Jason, stay tuned. Thanks.

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By hmag (anonymous) | Posted December 01, 2007 at 22:02:44


I heard the renewal on James Street North was because the Red Hill Expressway was finally built after 50 years of people sitting in trees, left-wing activists controlling City Hall, blah, blah, blah...

I love the fact that there are groups of people in this city that think our positive and progressive attitudes and thoughts are the reason this city has stalled in the mud.

For those of you who really want the truth about Hamilton and its past (and this all links into the NOW) - please read: Their Town-the media, the mafia and the political machine by Bill and Marsha Freeman. It was put out in the 1970s - but pretty much sums everything that is still happening to this day!

This current city council isn't helping any matters BTW - we might as well be some backwater town by the way they are treating the future of this city...absolute disgrace!

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By liveD (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2007 at 04:01:34

Hey, HMag. you can always live in toronto. I'll buy the ticket.

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By Chill Rob G (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2007 at 11:32:28

@liveD

The first step to making things better is to figure out what's going wrong. It's pretty cowardly to run someone out of town just because you don't agree with them.

Also I'm pretty sure HMag has done a hell of a lot more to make Hamilton a great place than you have.

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By Hmag (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2007 at 19:54:00

Thanks Chill.

I wasn't complaining liveD. Why is it that a certain majority of this city think the ones who are doing positive and encouraging local activities - we must be disgruntled, angry and have a hateon for the city.

NO I LOVE THE CITY - DON'T YOU GET IT?

Save your money and get yourself a ticket to come to Hamilton - I'll give you a personal tour. You won't believe the amazing things taking place here - you just won't read about or hear it from the big media here in town.

Wow - I'm starting to sound like Jason ;-) got to stop reading RTH. You are a bad influence ;-)

How about a Jason Leach and Dave Kuruc reality tour? Who's on board?

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By cowabunga (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2007 at 10:27:12

The Jason and Dave tour?...Hmmm - Can you bring some nice looking babes along?

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By liveD (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2007 at 16:32:48

I'm on for that tour. I'll bring the hallucinogens and the 3D glasses.

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By hmag (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2007 at 22:20:41


Nah - you're not welcome you'll just wreck it for everyone else.

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By susie (registered) | Posted December 09, 2007 at 18:45:44

Jason, my God what a rant! But thank you for your honesty. Now I know what you are so angry about. Just to let you know, I am a life-long Hamiltonian who lives a stone's throw away from St. Joseph's hospital where I was born more than a couple of decades ago. I grew up in this city and went to school here and am the product of working class parents. I am a professional who has had to commute these past decades first north and now to the GTA for employment. I am a city booster. I love our architecture. My house is over 100 years old. I love our arts. I am deeply involved in opera. I love our downtown with all its warts. It has character. I even love our politics involving myself in all manner of campaigns if I like the candidate. I support the Ticats with seasons tickets...like I know anything about football. I give to the SPCA and love nature. Get the drift? I don't need to be lectured by you on my love for this city. But unlike you I don't hate our suburbs. I have friends in Ancaster, Dundas, Waterdown and the Creek. I visit them often. I don't blame most of these Hamiltonians for moving to a place they liked. Nor do I blame the evil villainous developers for building in the suburbs. They saw a market opportunity and took it. In terms of our municipal politicians, don't get me started! We have the good and we have the bad. We also have the incompetent. Look at our current Mayor. Can't even get his votes straight. But most of all, we have human beings who chose to run and were elected. We need to support them, even the bad and incompetent ones, at least until the next election. What do you do for our city? Why don't you run if you think you can do a better job? I say this sincerely. We need fresh ideas. Ultimately you will be elected or rejected based on those ideas, not billboards or fluff. Do you dare? I plan to at some point!

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