The owners of Denningers, the Black Forest Inn and Thompson Pawnbrokers and Jewellers support LRT but prefer to see it run on Main Street.
By RTH Staff
Published June 08, 2016
The owners of Denningers, the Black Forest Inn and Thompson Pawnbrokers and Jewellers have written a letter to Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr to express their concern about the City's plan to build an east-west Light Rail Transit (LRT) system along King Street between Dundurn Street and the Delta.
Writing that they are "extremely concerned" about the impacts of the LRT construction for businesses in the International Village section of King Street, they express a preference for the line to run along Main Street instead.
They also note that the current plan does not include a station in the International Village, with the nearest stops at Catharine Street and Victoria Street.
The City and Metrolinx originally decided to locate LRT on King Street rather than Main because they determined that the route would produce a bigger economic uplift while having a less disruptive impact on crosstown vehicle traffic.
Paul Johnson, director of the City's LRT office, has argued that the public right-of-way on Main Street is not actually significantly wider than King Street. Most of the difference is in the width of the sidewalks, which are extremely narrow on Main and much wider on King.
At this point, a decision to change the Provincially-approved routing would probably require the City to submit a new plan to the Province, meaning we would lose the $1 billion already committed and add several years to the most optimistic timeline.
Following is the text of the letter.
Dear Councillor Farr,
We are writing to you regarding our thoughts and concerns on the proposed Light Rail Transit (LRT) system. Collectively Denninger's, the Black Forest Inn and Thompson Pawnbrokers & Jewellers have proudly been in business in the downtown core of Hamilton for a combined total of 158 years. We employ well over 100 people. We also own our respective properties and are direct ratepayers to the City.
We are all situated in the area of King Street East known as the International Village and have been fortunate enough to weather the "ups and downs" of this King Street corridor over the years. We all believe that this section of King Street is currently on an upswing.
Although we support the concept of an LRT, we believe that the current proposal is not the best alternative for the City. We are extremely concerned that the construction period (which could last years) will have an extremely adverse impact on the businesses in the King Street corridor. It will threaten our survival. If we are able to weather the construction period and keep our businesses afloat over the construction period, we will not even benefit from LRT as the nearest stops (Victoria & King and Catharine & King) are outside of the International Village area.
We would respectfully suggest that the Planning Committee for the LRT move the design from King Street to Main Street between Dundurn Street and the Delta. Main Street is (1) straight and more direct (most likely less money to build fewer kilometres), (2) a wider street than King Street which would allow for traffic to flow during a construction period and (3) in our opinion negate the need for a dedicated bridge over highway 403 (again potentially less cost).
The proximity of Main Street to King Street (1-2 blocks apart for most of this section) will mean that the objectives the City hopes to achieve from the LRT will materialize. There are fewer businesses on Main Street meaning the impact on the city's tax base will be minimized. We have spoken to many businesses in this area who rent (not own) their property and they do not expect to survive the construction period. The International Village area will potentially become a "dead zone".
Mr Farr, we have attempted to set up a meeting with you for some time and look forward to the opportunity of sharing our concerns and exploring the alternative we have suggested with you in person and with whomever else you believe should be present.
We look forward to hearing from your office.
Yours very truly,
Mary S Aduckiewicz, FCPA, CCA, MBA
Chief Financial Officer
R Denninger Limited
Black Forest Inn
Thompson Pawnbrokers & Jewellers
Thompson Pawnbrokers & Jewellers
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