Comment 84665

By The So Fist (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2013 at 10:37:49

Hamilton's biggest problem with its downtown core is that not enough people live there. It's been the same issue for decades and has never been adequately addressed.

The proposal to build a condo complete with destination venues like a grocery store, pharmacy, flower shop etc in place of the existing "stores" that draw virtually no one is the kind of proposal that has been sorely lacking in Hamilton for the better part of 40 years.

The argument that this kind of development should not be given the go ahead seems to based on the notion that the proposal will require the removal of the existing buildings that some deem to be relevant simply because they are already there, are nice to look at, and repurposing the buildings supports the call for sustainable development.

These arguments, while fair and not without merit, are troubled by one unmistakable concept...the people who make these arguments are not responsible for property. They make grand statements about what should be done with the property and offer everyone else's finances except their own to facilitate their position.

There is a reason those buildings have sat vacant over the decades. There is a reason the downtown core has crumbled. You may not like to hear it, but the city of Hamilton is dying. A slow, measurable, inexorable death. A death that is manifested from its heart, its downtown core.

It is dying because the people of hamilton do not want to live downtown anymore because the downtown is dying, and the downtown is dying because people don't want to live there anymore.

It is time to put forward projects that bring people downtown to live, to work, to shop, and to build community ties.

Preserving 4 story buildings where the top 3 storys sit vacant and uninviting, while admirable, is folly. We have enough monuments to mediocrity in this city.

We need change. We need investment. We need the people to stand up and say, "we will no longer look to other people to solve our problems". We need to think big and develop our urban capital into modern monuments. We need urban revival on a grand scale, the kind of scale that Pigott, Thomas, Durand and their contemporaries envisioned for the city when they began their urban renewal projects a century ago.

If Blanchards proposal is not to that scale, then we should be fighting for his proposal to be more grand, rather than fighting to maintain the mundane status quo.

Preserve the fascade if you must, if you believe that fascade is the best the city can do, but think big Hamilton.

The time is now.

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