Comment 14348

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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