Politics

A Half-Step Forward, Two Steps Back

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 29, 2007

Garbage Container Limit

Let's start with the sort-of good news: at last night's meeting, City Council sort-of passed the one container limit for garbage collection. For those people who think it's impossible for a family to limit their garbage output to one bag, the by-law includes some allowances:

In addition, the city will give "special consideration" to familes with three or more children under the age of five or who have medical conditions that warrant more than normal garbage production.

Transit Fare Increase

Now for the bad news. Council voted nine to six to apply the transit fare hike that the 2008 transit budget committee of the whole approved on Monday night.

Councillor Terry Whitehead summed up the majority approach to transit when he argued that taxpayers can't afford to subsidize transit any more than they already do.

Until this Council recognizes that transit is an investment in a stronger, healthier city rather than a subsidy for the poor, we will continue to have substandard service and embarrassing levels of ridership.

Just about every successful city on earth has a great transit system. Our City Council has confirmed once again that Hamilton is not interested in becoming a successful city.

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.

42 Comments

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By ellie (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 09:20:00

Give it up Ryan. Terry is right and you are wrong as was every deadbeat who tried to bully Council into caving in.
One small step for those of us on fixed income.
As for the garbage. Doesn't matter to me. I am alone. But what a confusion? Is it one? is it clear? is it 3 but only on Thanksgiving? What a mess.
And Mayor Fred was criticized on radio this morning for sleeping in and missing his appointment. Oy vey.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 09:39:21

you're on a fixed income and can't see how high quality, affordable transit would help you?

Wow. just wow.

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By ellie (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 09:46:26

Is it nobrainer or nobrain. Don't you see how it works...I save a little on the bus whenever I use it. And I pay a lot more on my taxes EVERY day that I live in my little overtaxed house.
Get real here.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 09:58:47

If you live in a $200,000 house in Hamilton you would pay another $12 a year in taxes. The same house in the suburbs would be only $3 or $4 a year, thanks to area rating. If council ended area rating, that is totally unfair to begin with, it would put another $8 million into transit without raising fares.

Speaking of area rating -- Waterdown is getting a new bus line but they don't pay anything in tax toward the HSR.

The system has serious problems and raising fares is not going to fix them. It's just going to drive away more riders, suck more money out of the people who have no choice but to use transit, and free up more money to sink into more highways that aren't creating jobs like we were promised. (The city is saying tax assessment growth will be a big fat zero for 2008. Where did all those Red Hill jobs go?)

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By Jon Dalton (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 10:14:37

So what Terry Whitehead is saying is we 'can't afford' $12 a year. This is unbelieveable. I knew this hike would go through but this kind of reasoning is absurd. It's an insult to our intelligence really.

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By beancounter (registered) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 10:32:56

Don't forget, nobrainer, that it was not fair for the former suburban municipalities to be forced to amalgamate with Hamilton. They were given no choice in the matter. Now to be forced to pay for inferior service or non-existing service would be like rubbing salt into the wounds.

Area rating will need to be changed at some point, but let's show the suburbs first how they have benefited from being part of Hamilton.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 10:53:25

Arrgh, don't even get me started on amalgamation. NO ONE wanted it - not downtown, not in the suburbs - the only reason Harris rammed it down our throats was so he could download social services. Which has turned out to be a disaster in slow motion anyway, like everyone said it would.

We get crap decisions like the transit fares because council is skewed in favour of the suburbs. If seats were allocated by population, there would be twice as many city councillors as suburban ones and downtown wouldn't keep getting the shaft over and over again.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 11:05:14

Hey Nobrainer,

Assessment is always rising in the dreaded suburbs you all complain about so often. It is the old Hamilton that is the boat anchor. If it wasn't for amalgamation, Hamilton would have been bankrupt long ago. Now, it's just a slower death.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 11:27:16

Nice try Anonymous. The plan was always for suburban assessment to go up so the city could afford to pay for social services, which are much higher in Hamilton than the surrounding areas because it already has the programs in place and has economies of scale like walkability and good transit that benefit people with limited means.

The idea was that the suburbs benefit from people with special needs living downtown, so they should help cover the cost. (Of course in that case having the province pay for social services makes the most sense.)

Even now suburban assessments are only just getting close to what people already pay downtown.

As for "the old Hamilton that is the boat anchor" the numbers say different. Every new house built in the suburbs, the developer pays less in servicing fees than it costs to deliver the service. That means every single new suburban house puts the city deeper in debt.

Also look at Red Hill. I know I know the highway is built but we still have to live with the economics of it. There's a reason Hamilton is the only city in Canada building a municipal highway - it costs a fortune to build and maintain!

next year's capital budget is being cut in half because we have no money left after paying for the parkway. I heard they can't even afford to service the land that the parkway was supposed to open up for industrial and commercial development. How pathetic is that?

All the promises of how Red hill was going to create all this new business and jobs and new assessments for the city are just exhaust on the air now. All the same people who jumped on the Red Hill bandwagon are now jumping on the airport/mid pen bandwagon, as if the results will somehow be different this time.

Meanwhile money drains out of the downtown to pay for all this sprawl.

And you call downtown the "boat anchor"?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 29, 2007 at 12:05:04

So much for council representing the people:

http://raisethehammer.org/blog/864

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 12:36:41

Is it fair to make suburban residents pay taxes for HSR services that are, undoubtedly, not as convenient? Have you ever tried to take a bus from Dundas to downtown Hamilton? It's an awful experience, especially in the evenings.

You can't eliminate area rating until the services are already there. No one in their right might is going to throw their money at a service that does not serve them.

It is also unfair to punish people who do not want to live in an urban environment. There are qualities about suburban and rural life that urban living does not provide.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 12:53:52

What happened to downtown is a boat anchor? Now you're changing you're argument. It's easy to get better service to the suburbs, just end area rating so there's enough money to improve service. You can't improve the service until you get the money to do it. And Talk about unfair, people in waterdown aren't paying ANYTHING toward transit even though a new bus line is going there.

Also people who don't want to live in an urban environment dont' have to but they should be prepared to pay the real price of living out in the burbs. Like I wrote earlier the servicing fees on suburban houses are not enough to cover the cost of servicing, so downtown taxpayers are SUBSIDIZING the cost for you to live in the suburbs. That's not fair.

Speaking of servicing fees check out nicole mcintyre's site today. I can't post a link in this comment but theres a link on RTH called All Voters are Equal... that links to it. Council was going to raise servicing fees on new houses so they're actually enough to pay for servicing. Then a SINGLE LETTER came into council from the Home Builders Association and they voted to defer THAT decision, but not to defer the transit hike even though they got a hundred letters or more about that one.

So much for being fare, i mean fair.

Also public transit is like public education - it benefits everyone not just people with children. It means less air pollution, less greenhouse gas, less traffic. If you're an employer and your city has great transit you don't have to provide as much parking for your employees or customers. People who don't have to buy a car (or second car or third car or...) have more money to spend locally which benefits the economy.

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By BE (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 13:29:12

"People who don't have to buy a car (or second car or third car or...) have more money to spend locally which benefits the economy. "

I've been reading this blog for a while now and nobody (or very few people) have come right out and said this statement.

Do the math, it costs around $700 a month to own, drive and maintain a small car never mind a Van or SUV. All that money goes into Honda or GM's pockets, or some insurance conglomerate or oil company. None of it goes to personal investment or personal enjoyment.

Even If I had to pay an extra $200 a month in taxes to get efficient public transit in this city. I would still come out on top $500.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 14:02:16

Nobrainer,

Even before amalgamation suburbs paid for social services, water and sewer, arterial roads, it was called the Region. So your poor old Hamilton syndrome doesn't sit well.

Also, development pays for growth related costs upfront capital. Pumping stations, roads, water, sewers everything on the site itself or in the subdivision (not the City). On top of that the City collects development charges to pay for off site costs, firestations, water treatment etc.

Let's look at Binbrook, you seem to think Downtown Hamilton paid for this. Nothing could be further from the truth, each and every house pays its share for running the pipe!! (over $20,000 per house x 1800 houses at full build out = $36,000,000) People pay to live there, they don't want to live downtown. When they buy their house they pay. Then through taxes and water rates they pay for road maintenance, water, sewer etc.

Unfortunately, bloggers sometimes don't present all the facts. They read and hear stuff and think it is the truth. I've seen numerous examples of misinformation.

I know you won't agree with me, but do the research, and base you comments on fact not fiction.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 14:14:46

Check out this CATCH report:

hamiltoncatch.org/view_article.php?id=201

According to Paul Mallard, the city's planning director, "We’re well below market and we’re not recovering anywhere near what our costs are in terms of processing."

Of course, after a single letter from the home builders association council voted last night to hold off on raising development fees.

Why? Maybe this will help explain:

"When Clark presented a motion that Hamilton charge the same rate as Burlington, Maria Pearson responded by suggesting to staff that the higher fees perhaps should first be discussed at the city’s standing liaison committee with the Hamilton Halton Homebuilders Association.

"'I apologize because I missed a few of those meetings, but I don’t know when the next meeting is,' she said. 'Whether you’d like to keep them in the loop of knowing what’s happening, and I’m just wondering if there’s anyway we can get this information out to them or – what’s staffs feeling on it, let’s put in that way.'"

Better make sure to talk to the stakeholders before making such an important decision.

Why not the same courtesy or accountability when dealing with transit? Oh yeah, people who ride the bus don't finance election campaigns.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 14:44:37

There you go again no-brainer. Mallard isn't talking about services like roads, sewer, water. He's talking about staff time to process a rezoning application anywhere in the city which can't be collected through development charges.

By the way, North Glanbrook has (last time I read a city report) $30 million in a bank account for servicing. Check for yourself. Don't listen to the rumours, the road just opened a week ago. You'll see!

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 15:21:10

anyone who's paying attention at all knows that suburban sprawl is a huge drain financially (and many other ways). If sprawl growth covered it's own expenses and even added something to the tax base, Hamilton would be a rich, rich city. It doesn't and we're not. If the suburbs are free to opt out of paying for transit, then those who don't own cars downtown should be allowed to opt out of building more highways to nowhere and on-ramps to walmart.

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By Confused (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 20:54:39

I'm confused, we need roads, transit, walmart and downtowns. That is what a community is about. Suburbs house downtown office workers. Walmarts serve suburban residents to cut commute times to meet their needs thereby reducing CO2 emmission. It is ridiculous to think that the suburbs (which I'd like to remind everyone are older then old Hamilton in this community)don't bring in assessment and taxes and jobs and a quality of life many people are looking for. If we don't provide opportunity and choice here then it will pass us by and we'll continue to die a slow death. We have a lot going for us. We're living in 2007 not 1907. I don't see Hamilton as a poster child for urban sprawl look at places like Vaughn etc. Sprawl is unplanned growth. The growth in this City is planned. I don't think people really understand what urban sprawl is. I can't believe how pessimistic some people are and how you're creating such a divide in this community. The us vs them, conspiracy theory is negative. Lets come together as one community and move forward.

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By jimbob (registered) | Posted November 29, 2007 at 21:24:40

Confused,

I strongly suggest you read some of the articles on this site (you can select them by category - just read some of the 'sprawl' articles) and read info from other sources too. You will find that: a. Creating communities that are nothing but houses is not healthy. Communities should have mixed uses (residential, employment, leisure, etc) b. Building large lots that need to be serviced by roads, pipes etc increases the unit cost of these services (1 sewerage pipe for 5 big houses is more expensive to build and maintain that a pipe that services 20 row houses). The need for roads to get to a from these suburbs creates health problems for the residents and a burden on the environment. c. The property taxes paid by suburban homeowners does not cover the actual cost of the roads, pipes etc needed to service them. Also, suburban taxpayers do not contribute as much to transit taxes (transit, like education, is a service that benefits the whole community). As a result the tax burden is disproportionately placed on downtown tax payers.

Again, I won't re-hash all the articles that have demonstrated this (with facts and reports and stats...), instead I suggest you do some reading and come to your own conclusions.

Good luck!

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By CityJoe (anonymous) | Posted November 30, 2007 at 00:56:17

I don't know why you folks are playing 'who got the best/worst' results of amalgamation.

We ALL lost big time! (Unless you happen to be a developer or in a related field or are the Ontario Finance Minister.)

The 'Burbs drained the City of it's industry, stores, restaurants, & vitality. In return the 'Burbs got rediculous tax increases & unending sprawl, traffic & lagging infrastructure. The City became a frequently neglected empty shell. The 'Burbs got traffic bloat, & big box stores.

Absolutely nobody in the GHA won anything much with amalgamation, & I wish people would stop trying to say that 1 area or the other came out benefiting from it. We all got screwed!

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By CityJoe (anonymous) | Posted November 30, 2007 at 01:29:24

Quote:"Even now suburban assessments are only just getting close to what people already pay downtown"

Gee, nobrainer this year I expect to pay over $4000.00 in property taxes for a 65 yr. old basic home in the 'Burbs with 1 1/2 baths, no garage, & nothing in the way of home improvements. When we moved in, 2 years before amalgamation the yearly property taxes were under $2500.00 /yr.

I don't know anybody downtown who pays $4000.00 a year in taxes on a similar house. A downtown resident will likely have something resembling a bus service so that he/she can ditch the car ($700.00/month saving) entirely or most of the time. You can also get to the GO transit station.

Would somebody please tell me how I'm not paying more than my fair share to support the GHA?

I would also like to know if Burlington has had similar tax increases. Nobody in Burlington ever seems to complain, even though they are a part of this greater mess.

I suspect that the expanded GHA covers more area than PEI. That is a huge tax base. (From Burlington to the borders of Brantford, & from Lake Ontario to Cambridge.) If Hamilton cannot make something profitable & livable out of this huge opportunity then something is very Very Wrong! Is it possible the GHA is just too big to govern & manage?

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By Objective (anonymous) | Posted November 30, 2007 at 08:24:52

The lefties are misleading as usual. The fact of the matter is that the suburban dwellers are paying more than their fair share. The larger homes pay larger dollars. It is the smaller, townhouse, close together homes enjoyed by the lefties that don't pay their fair share. We need housing mix but don't let anyone tell you that you in the burbs are draining the city. It's the other way around.

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By BE (anonymous) | Posted November 30, 2007 at 09:21:11

Oh! I get it now. Nobody told me that we could categorize peoples political views by the type of house they live in. I had no idea the world was so black and white. Thank you objective.

By the way, your ignorance is showing, you might want to cover up a bit.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 30, 2007 at 16:23:07

save us all the hassle of having to read such ignorant comments and go check out the tax rates in old Hamilton vs the suburbs. Still no comparison...the reason they are finally going up in the burbs is because we're playing catch-up after decades of a completely free ride. It still isn't equal yet - Hamilton's older city is bearing the brunt of the tax base in this city...but one of these days hopefully the suburbs will pay an equal rate (especially since servicing all their sprawl costs a fortune and nobody in this city has the spine to make the builders pay those costs) and then you can all truly feel like a Hamiltonian!

Go find stats before embarassing yourself on here with more of those intelligent "objective" comments....lol!

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By Objective (anonymous) | Posted November 30, 2007 at 19:08:18

I think that Jason is ticked because I told the truth. The suburbs are getting royally tax screwed. That is why amalgamation happened to save the old city from itself. Just check out the statistics and you will see. The old debt that hamilton had is now spread across all the old suburbs who ran much less costly government because they didn't have the unions to contend with as much as the old city. they also didn't have the welfare costs. they also had less transit, contracted out services and the like. so Jason before you call someone ignorant check out the facts.

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By amalgamationistic (anonymous) | Posted November 30, 2007 at 20:44:48

Everyone knows the tories amalgamated Hamilton and its suburbs so they could make a tax base big enough to dump social services on. I wouldn't be surprised if they also did it to paralyze council between the city and suburban councillors (pretty close split even though twice as many people live in the city) so it would be impossible to do anything progressive.

That's the biggest part of why the city's in such bad straits now - that and Red Hill, which we can't afford after all. Now that's an embarrassing truth no one at city hall wants to talk about.

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By Balance (anonymous) | Posted November 30, 2007 at 23:11:05

I feel great now that I know there are people out there that do in fact know the truth (CityJoe and Objective) A house assessed at 200,000 in Dundas is a hell of a lot less house then one in the old City!! We should start our own website like this. We'll call it Building a Balanced Community.

One thing that always breaks me up in this City is that minority websites like RTH, CATCH, and HPD pop up, its only a few people (usually the same) who proclaim to know what it takes to build a community and are all anti-business (unless its a ma and pa shop), anti-growth and development. The Spec and media actually give them coverage even though they have no expertise. Then they talk about Portland etc. and try to draw comparisons here. READ Joel Kotkin and he tell you what a success San Fran and Portland really are.

Then they claim that all roads built are for the sub-urbs which are older then the old City itself. We live in a huge region folks not a self contained bubble, we need roads, airports, houses and big business.

Suburban development like Binbrook pays for itself through DC's (full cost recovery) and then huge taxes and water rates to sustain and operate the system. To think the Red Hill was built for residential development is assinine. We now have a great system for goods movement loop around Hamilton.

On another note, HPD president Mike, who proclaims that the City does planning wrong, runs a company in Burlington, drives a big ass V8 and lives in rural Ancaster on a suburban street in the middle of prime agricultural land. Lindley Farms used to own and farm the property his house is located on. Check out Courtland Drive in Ancaster. Talk about hypocritical. They get coverage because they create controversy.

This group and the Province lost at the OMB hearing just like Larry Dianni said. It would have been tossed out because they appealed an urban boundry expansion which was not what the City was doing, they were doing a special study area to consider a possible expansion if further study warranted. Look what happened, the City got another 1000 acres added to the study area, it was 3000 before the OMB hearing now it is 4000. Lets be objective here. You need to look at the facts and not listen to the propaganda.

I do believe that everyone in the community has something to offer, RTH, HPD, Homebuilders etc. That is how a balanced community will be created.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 30, 2007 at 23:46:11

OBJECTIVE SAID - "I think that Jason is ticked because I told the truth. The suburbs are getting royally tax screwed. That is why amalgamation happened to save the old city from itself. Just check out the statistics and you will see. The old debt that hamilton had is now spread across all the old suburbs who ran much less costly government because they didn't have the unions to contend with as much as the old city. they also didn't have the welfare costs. they also had less transit, contracted out services and the like. so Jason before you call someone ignorant check out the facts."

I'm not ticked at all. I'm more than happy to find some basic info (much more detailed stuff is available, but feel free to find it yourself) for you to read. I only read the charts from 2002-2007.

Here's a new game for everyone. It's called "find a single category in any of those 5 years where Hamilton's tax rate is lower than everyone else's".
Good luck!! Oh, and please forgive my ignorance! lol.

http://www.myhamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/E0...

http://www.myhamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/B5...

http://www.myhamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/C9...

http://www.myhamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/9D...

http://www.myhamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/95...

http://www.myhamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/20...

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 30, 2007 at 23:50:16

I lived in Portland. Joel Kotkin is a moron who realized he could sell books by trashing the most successful city in the US. I'll give him credit for one thing - he's a smart moron. He realized that controversy sells. Why write a book trashing Detroit? Nobody would buy it because everyone knows it. Trash Portland and suddenly people perk up. Go walk the streets and live in the neighbourhoods. There's plenty to learn from successful cities. To suggest otherwise is truly assinine (and just a cop-out since you know Hamilton won't. Actually we REFUSE to).

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By lurk-a-licious (anonymous) | Posted December 01, 2007 at 00:12:48

Normally I just lurk on this site but I just had to add my $0.02 after reading "Balance"'s unbalanced screed.

"A house assessed at 200,000 in Dundas is a hell of a lot less house then one in the old City!!"

It totally depends on the area. Westdale and Kirkendall are a lot more expensive than the north east end.

"minority websites like RTH, CATCH, and HPD pop up, its only a few people (usually the same)"

All you have to do is look at the names of the people who run these websites to see this simply is not true.

"and are all anti-business (unless its a ma and pa shop), anti-growth and development."

The only way you could think that is to not actually read anything on this site. It's full of pro business, pro growth and pro development - just not the same kind of development Hamilton's been doing for the past 50 years. Of course for the people who get rich off that kind of development it's easier to say people who want change are "anti development" than to admit that maybe there's more than one way to build a city.

"READ Joel Kotkin and he tell you what a success San Fran and Portland really are."

O please. Joel Kotkin is a sprawl shill with a hate-on for actually working cities, bankrolled by a gaggle of libertarian think tanks.

"Then they claim that all roads built are for the sub-urbs which are older then the old City itself."

Nuh-uh. There's a big difference between old Ancaster and the Meadowlands. Or between King Street in Dundas and the shitstream along Governors Road. YOu don't get to pretend they're part of the same line of development. Old Dundas is quite nice, fairly dense, tree-lined, mixed houses and businesses. It's a good neighbourhood. The crap orbiting around the fringes strung along the highways is a different creature altogther.

"We live in a huge region folks not a self contained bubble, we need roads, airports, houses and big business. "

Peak Oil. Global warming. We can't just keep doing things the way we did them before. It's wrecking the planet.

"To think the Red Hill was built for residential development is assinine."

So where are all the businesses we were promised? As Jason keeps pointing out, tax assessment growth for 2008 is expected to be zero. That's the projection from planning and economic development, not some 'crackpot' blogger. If the highway is good for economic development, WHERE'S THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT?

"We now have a great system for goods movement loop around Hamilton."

I'm sure the truckers bypassing Hamilton really appreciate us paying to build them a highway. YOu do know Red HIll is the main reason why our budget is so crunched right? I didn't make that up, it's what the city is saying. They have no money, no capital budget for next year, and they're trying to figure out how to limit tax increases to 3%. You can bang on all you want about how you and the red hill/airport/warehouse shills are pro development and pro growth but the development is all residential or big box plazas serving the residential and there's no tax assessment growth.

Cmon, everyone knew red hill would be complete by the end of 2007, why weren't they building new factories and things up on the mountain so they'd be ready when it opens? Maybe because the 'jobs' argument was bullshit right from the start.

"This group and the Province lost at the OMB hearing just like Larry Dianni said. It would have been tossed out because they appealed an urban boundry expansion which was not what the City was doing, they were doing a special study area to consider a possible expansion if further study warranted."

Bullshit. Council voted to expand the urban boundary. That's the fact of the matter no matter how much you and Larry want to spin it different. They voted to expand the urban boundary and the OMB told them to take it back.

It wasnt the OMB who increased the study area to 4000 acres, it was the city. the provincial government took the city to the OMB because the city had NOT conducted studies to figure out how much land it needed. Now with the study area increased the city STILL hasn't done studies to figure out how much land it needs.

They're planning this totally bass ackwards.

Either you're badly misinformed or you're trying to DISinform with your comment. There seems to be a lot of that in the comments lately. Maybe the old boys club is starting to get scared...?

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By Balance (anonymous) | Posted December 01, 2007 at 16:52:26

lurk-a-licious

Thanks for your comments. We obviously disagree and that is fine.

We'll see what happens in North Glanbrook now that the Red Hill is open. It's not fair to think that after two weeks there would be new businesses there already.

You really need to read the actually amendment that the City was trying to pass. It was not an Urban Boundary expansion it was defining a special study area. A city can do that. It is impossible to expand the urban boundary without numerous justification studies and Provincial approval - IMPOSSIBLE - Please read the report carefully. The province and HPD lost and the City to avoid dragging out a hearing got another 1000 acres added. Please read. I'm not making this up. Please don't tie me with Larry, it's the furthest thing from the truth. I've done my own research into the matter.

Anyways, I've really enjoyed being a part of this blog entry, I really like reading other points of view, it's how I learn. Looking forward to the next time.

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By Objective (anonymous) | Posted December 02, 2007 at 12:16:22

Look out lefties. It looks as if Balance isn't only balanced, he is also well-informed. All of a sudden the rhetorical poker game has gotten more interesting.
Lefties hate informed citizens. They don't scare as easily.
As for those who run the websites (CATCH/HPD) where do they identify themselves? Maybe I missed it.
At least Ryan has the courage to tell the world who he is and what his opinions are without as someone else said "lurching in cyber space".
Go Balance Go!

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By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted December 02, 2007 at 13:24:35

God I'm getting so tired of this! Objective, in England we have a word for folks like you. As you may or may not be un-balanced I'm not going to use it here. Maybe if we get to know each other a little better I'll let you know what it is (it's not good).

Really you're not worth responding to, but for the sake of anyone who might be mildly amused or, God forbid impressed by your snide little posts, here's a counter:

Firstly, I should point out, as if it's not obvious already, what you are trying to do here. You are trying to cast RTH contributors as stealthy mis-informants, hiding in the shadows. Demonizing the enemy - that's very big of you I must say, very original. As you well know, RTH contributors are listed here: http://raisethehammer.org/contributors.a...

Was it sooo difficult for you to go to the RTH header and click on 'Authors'? No, it wasn't. You know who we are but chose to pretend otherwise (Oh How I wish I could call you that name...!)

Secondly, you're calling people names without explaining why, or even what the name means. If I ever get the chance to call you what I know you are I will be happy to explain why. What does 'lefties' mean anyway? How do RTH's conservative contributors fit into this category? Should I call you 'right wing' in reply? Would it serve any purpose? Are you implying all RTH writers are constrained by some kind of ideology? The RTH 'ideology' is explained here: http://raisethehammer.org/index.asp?id=7 Is that left wing? If so then that's fine - I guess that's what I am.

OK, I'm bored now.

I hope RTH readers see these Objective and Balanced posts for what they really are. I'm sure we do. Really, it's not worth arguing with them. Either they're benefitting financially for Hamilton staying the way it is, or they are, well this word I'm thinking of. Either way they're wasting everyone's time.

OK, I feel better now.

Cheers

Ben

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By highwater (registered) | Posted December 02, 2007 at 14:20:02

At least Balance is arguing civily, but I'm beginning to think 'Objective' is just a troll. The neocons have pushed the political centre of gravity so far to the right that ordinary folks like me, raised with Olde Ontario small c conservative values, are now considered far left. Now some of my best friends are 'far left', but I still resent the hell out of it.

I imagine alot of you have seen this already, but for those of you who haven't, here's a fun alternative to the left/right political spectrum that has been rendered obsolete by the 'Objectives' of this world:

www.politicalcompass.org/

Now there's only one response to a troll as far as I'm concerned. This one's for you Rusty:

Irish Manhattan

1 1/2 oz Jameson's whiskey 3/4 oz sweet vermouth dash Angostura Bitters 1 tsp maraschino cherry juice

Stir with ice, strain into martini glass, garnish with maraschino cherry.

Cheers!

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 02, 2007 at 19:10:06

Objective - have you tried out our new game yet? Or are you going to just ignore those reports I posted and keep spamming the message board??

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted December 02, 2007 at 23:13:06

Dudes, that was intense, pass the duchy (on the left hand side...)

Does anybody have a source for a generic Canadian city on what happens to $1 spent at different types of businesses? I think it's clear that you do more for Hamilton per dollar spent by doing so at the obsolete mom and pop shop than the big box, but by how much?

The answer to this question will explain a lot about your tax bill.

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By Humanist (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2007 at 08:21:54

I have had a chat with Highwater. S/he and I are much aligned politically I believe with small c conservative leanings.
I will vouch for his/her integrity but am concerned about her/his hard line sometimes.

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By Skelee (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2007 at 13:52:08

Do people forget that riding a bus is a service!
Why should my tax dollars pay for someone to ride the bus! Do bus riders pay for me to drive my car! Does the government help pay my 407 ETR bill! There should be a vote on this sort of thing, we are in a democracy. As fas the garbage, send it to a farmer! They will burn it for you!

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2007 at 14:21:29

Skelee asked, "Do bus riders pay for me to drive my car!"

Well, yes, as a matter of fact. The various taxes and fees drivers pay are not enough to cover the cost of highways and roads, which are funded out of general levies and property taxes, respectively.

Further, the driving fees you pay does not cover the health care costs of people who require medical attention due to air pollution, more than half of which is caused by automobiles. (Air pollution kills over 5,000 people a year in Canada, more than motor vehicle accidents.)

Nor do the driving fees you pay cover the cost of adapting to climate change. That cost is going to be staggering in the next several decades, and most of the people who will have to pay the steepest price worldwide will never be able to afford cars.

Nor, even, does the price you pay for gasoline cover the cost of producing it, including billions of dollars in public subsidies for oil companies, even though they are enjoying breathtaking profit margins. It doesn't pay for the environmental devastation of the Alberta Oilsands, or the horrible atrocities committed against the Ogoni people in the Niger Delta, or the excruciating despotism of the oil-rich Saudi Arabian government.

Your choice to drive a car is publicly funded in many lavish ways, but it does not contribute to the public good. Transit is comparatively starved for public funding but does contribute to the public good.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 03, 2007 at 15:46:41

Skelee...I'll have to check my tax bill next time it comes in, but I hope you're right. I'd love to see a rebate on the roads portion of my taxes for the percentage of time that I take the bus. Boy oh boy, I hope this is true. All these years I had no idea that I could opt out of paying a huge hunk of taxes simply by taking the bus. Thank goodness there are people around who are more informed than I or I'd still be paying all of these taxes without realizing it! thanks Skelee. Keep up the great work!

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By CityJoe (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2007 at 02:19:03

Quote: ""and are all anti-business (unless its a ma and pa shop), anti-growth and development."

Just to make my own point, I would drop dead twice for a Real Hardware Store, Not Walmart or Cdn. Tire! A Mom & Pop store, Mom & Pop with a franchise...I don't really care. Just a real hardware store with real tools, paint, & hardware!

I would also walk a mile for a real bus. (no wait a minute, I already do that.) A bus that will take me into Hamilton, to the Go-Station or a place of work that does not require me to ask, "Do you want fries with that?" Maybe even a bus that runs After the Mall closes, before it opens, or on Sundays After church! Is that really too much to ask in 2007!

Dundas got a lot of things right. They have a bus that does go down town..sometimes. You do not have to change bus's 3 times to get there. There are actual stores in Dundas as well as a Cdn. Tire, & so far no Walmart. Good! They also kept there downtown core pretty, picturesque & in tact. They did not hype up central King St. with big box stores & fast food. They did not tear down old buildings & build replicas of old buildings in their place. (although the old time replicas are a whole lot easier on the eyes than some of the stuff that has been built in the last 5 years.)

Absolutely correct that there is a world of difference between Old Ancaster, & Dundas & what surrounds them. I'm sure if you asked some of the people who live in the sprawl, the best thing that could happen is for the older areas to be 'improved' with demolition & re-development, so that everything would look Exactly Alike. For all I know, City Hall & the developers may feel the same way.



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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2007 at 19:41:35

CityJoe, I was delighted to discover a real, honest-too-goodness, mom-and-pop hardware store on James North near Barton - one less reason to have to drive to Ancaster Consumerland.

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