Comment 57597

By Shawn Selway (anonymous) | Posted January 23, 2011 at 19:23:24

This is an extremely thoughtful and informative piece, but I am not sure about a couple of Graham's premises.

I believe that White Star Group is presently preparing a site plan for a two-tower development similar to his hypothetical case. Their holding is the former auto wrecking yard on the west side of Bay between Stewart and Barton. I am not aware that they are seeking any public funds as the price of their catalyzing development in the area.

My second reservation has to do with the condition of the soils in Barton Tiffany and the costs of remediation. This is a large area, with varying levels of contamination, which have varying implications for clean-up costs, depending on the ultimate use and owner. I am not aware of any publicly accessible comprehensive assessment of those costs. In my opinion, someone needs to produce such an assessment, at least to the level of detail with which Graham has treated the fiscal questions of residential development.

The best thing I have seen so far is the 6 page appendix prepared by Decommissioning Consultants for the document that compared the East Mountain and West Harbour sites for stadium worthiness. This sets out the considerations, but provides no details about what contaminants are where.

This question is important not just for this site and these Pan Am issues, but for the entire project of intensification vs sprawl in Hamilton. If the Realtors are going to call all post industrial sites toxic and unusable without subsidy, then we are looking at a lot of subsidy in the Old City to avoid continuing subsidy to the New.(In the form of road maintenance, public transit diffusion etc.) We will be very much wanting to test the claim for subsidy against the detailed facts in the ground -- especially since we will almost certainly have to provide subsidy in any case to get a healthy mix of affordable and market value housing.

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