Comment 52177

By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted November 24, 2010 at 22:35:38

Here is the primary issue with Urban development in Hamilton. It's not happening mainly due to image. Downtown and the North End have a bad image, and much of it is justifiable. There is higher crime rates, much higher mortality rates (as Code Red pointed out) and there is far more abandoned development there then anything else. The private sector isn't about to invest in an area with that kind of image and without wooing the private sector, you can't get Urban development that downtown needs.

The solution, well the first is to simply disallow suburban development. Suburban development leads directly to higher infrastructure costs and lower net taxation, despite property values being higher. Any short term benefit is drowned out by long term infrastructure issues. The next is to improve the image and costs associated with these problem areas. Large scale abandoned buildings with heritage elements MUST be expropriated, preserved and renewed by the city ASAP before they are beyond the point of repair and converted to low-mid cost condos if they don't have commercial development. The Lister block, Augusta St Firehall, Royal Connaught and the Tivoli are some examples.

Small scale buildings need the same thing, only demolition is a more feasible option in many cases. Expropriate or condemn decrepit or poorly maintained blocks and open them for redevelopment. Expropriation ensures more then adequate compensation is given for the cost of such properties if the residents are suffering from financial losses, especially if the city includes impartial third party arbitrators and assessors in the housing business in the expropriation process, possible one appointed by each the Federal and Provincial governments to ensure impartiality to the city's numbers. Expropriation is a municipal tool Hamilton has been far too squeamish to utilize in my opinion and frankly every penny of surplus money the city has should be devoted towards it instead of paying for further infrastructure expansions from new development.

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