Special Report: Born in Beasley

Born in Beasley: A History of the Hamilton Community Land Trust, Part 2

The Beasley Charter would seek to precisely articulate how Beasley's residents' quality of life might be measurably improved and to identify concrete barriers to achieving this goal.

By John A. McCurdy
Published September 14, 2016

This is Part 2 in a series. You can also read Part 1 and Part 3.

I

In April 2010, The Hamilton Spectator began publishing its "Code Red" series on the comparative health of Hamilton's diverse neighbourhoods. 1 Becoming trapped in expensive acute care hospital beds while waiting for long-term care beds to open, its first article would note, had become for local seniors an increasingly common experience. 2

Meanwhile, its second would add, as a result of over a decade of the province downloading social service responsibilities to its municipalities a huge percentage of Hamilton's mentally ill population had become concentrated in its downtown core.

"'When that stuff was shared mostly by the provincial tax base, it was equitable'," former regional Hamilton-Wentworth chair and Hamilton Community Foundation CEO Terry Cooke would clarify as part of the Spectator's series, "'and while it was a strain, we could support it. When it became largely the domain of municipal government, it became financially crippling'." 3

Only later that August, however, would The Hamilton Spectator go on to detail the report's most alarming revelations: McMaster University researchers had established a definitive link between individual physical and economic health and use it to account for the unusually high rates of poverty and illness Beasley's residents were experiencing. A separate but related article would go on to detail, for example, how life expectancy in Hamilton Mountain West, the city's 'healthiest' neighbourhood, was then 86.3 years, whereas the same in its downtown core was 65.5 years - a rate worse than India's. 4

While the still recent loss of at least 25,000 local manufacturing jobs between Queen Street and Sherman Avenue was a clear and obvious culprit, the article would note, so also was Beasley's abnormally concentrated pollution levels, which regularly exceeded provincial norms. Further, research had confirmed, it was not that the Beasley neighbourhood had made its residents poor; it was that its newer residents had moved there because they had been unable to afford anything else. 5

The 'Code Red' report would prove high constructive, prompting the City of Hamilton to develop a Neighbourhood Action Strategy and individualized Neighbourhood Action Plans that would help attract to Beasley and other struggling neighbourhoods scarce dollars and resources. 6

II

Prior to release of the 'Code Red' report, the Beasley Neighbourhood Association (BNA) had taken definitive steps to improve quality of life in Beasley, having fostered since 2009 the creation of a neighbourhood wide Charter, modeled on a comparable project in the United Kingdom.7 However, BNA Director Charlie Mattina would later explain, unable to negotiate the attending 'rep tape' on its own, the BNA would ask Hamilton's Social Planning and Research Council (SPRC) to stand in as a principal granting ally8, and was ready by 2010 to initiate its first five-year plan.9

Charlie would add that the Charter process ended up being a gradual one, its end goal lying in producing a document capable of unifying Beasley and the agencies that serviced it. By that time, he would note, the latter had been doing programming without knowing if people wanted or bought into it. Consequently, the Charter would seek to precisely articulate how Beasley's residents' quality of life might be measurably improved and to identify concrete barriers to achieving this goal.

Moreover, Charlie would emphasize, the resulting Charter also needed to encompass the interests and perspectives of Beasley's newer residents, many of whom had immigrated to Canada from Africa and the Middle East.10 By at least the early 2010s, for instance, the BNA had established a community partnership11 with Hamilton's Downtown Mosque.

As early as February 2010, however, the latter's plans to expand its Wilson Street East location would come into conflict with the City of Hamilton, which wished instead to reserve the adjacent lot in question as a future police forensic lab site.12 By late October that year the Downtown Mosque could be found feverishly fundraising to purchase a new property at the corner of York Boulevard and Hess Street.13

Securing it the following March and opening its doors the following September, it would go on to describe itself as "a new hub for spiritual and community life in the city's core."14 Looking back on these events, Charlie would feel compelled to describe them as an instance of neighbourhood "displacement." At the very least, though, a disagreement over land use had resulted in the geographic severing of an important BNA community partnership.

The BNA's early efforts at reaching out to the Beasley neighbourhood as a whole would lead to many successful and often cutting edge partnerships, however. Seeking to assist the community in taking back Beasley Park, which had by then been lost to drugs and other toxic elements, it would establish a creative relationship with resident skaterboarders, who would go on through the summer of 2010 to help develop a skate park in Beasley Park15 - a project Charlie fondly recalls - and to actively help make the neighbourhood a safer place for all.16

III

When the doors to Beasley's new City of Hamilton built Community Centre, constructed alongside the public school's new Dr. J. Edgar Davey Elementary School on a piece of Beasley Park, officially opened in November 2010, Hamilton's then Mayor Bob Bratina would claim the project "as one of his principal career achievements."

Featuring a computer room, library, physical activity spaces, community meeting rooms, and recreational programming later delivered by Wesley Urban Ministries17, both the Community Centre and the school would be built as part of a ten year and nearly $7 million City of Hamilton downtown renewal initiative.18

Finalizing Beasley's Charter in the spring of 2012, the BNA would go on to draw up a constitution and by-laws19 and to then draft, based on a series of community meetings and surveys, its first Neighbourhood Improvement Plan, whose goals would include: increasing a sense of health, safety, and security in the neighbourhood; improving the social and cultural connections among its residents; strengthening its business and economic opportunities; and improving its physical design.

The Charter and Plan were then presented in committee to the City of Hamilton in late September, receiving official approval the following month. As HCF CEO Terry Cooke would tell CBC Hamilton after the Charter and Plan had been presented and endorsed: "They were powerful, they were informed, mature and sophisticated grassroots groups that challenged leaders but also extended the hand of partnership."

Among other measures, the Beasley Neighbourhood Improvement Plan would support the redesigning of Beasley Park and the commissioning of a community mural. That October the BNA and the Hamilton Skateboard Assembly would stage a Hamilton skateboarding and breakdancing competition, BNA co-president Sylvia Nickerson describing the competition as exemplary of its ongoing grassroots community development and mobilization efforts - values the HCF had reaffirmed in its 2012 Vital Signs report.20

IV

Just under a year later, in August 2013, the BNA would unveil its new 'Badger' mascot and community mural21 and see its plan for the revitalization of Beasley's McLaren Park approved.22

That same summer, or shortly before, the BNA would also articulate interest in establishing a democratically-controlled, Beasley neighbourhood-based, Community Land Trust (CLT), which might, it reasoned, help remedy two chronic issues Beasley faced: putting its many vacant, abandoned, and contaminated lands and buildings to constructive, community oriented, use, and adding more affordable housing, green space, community space, or locally based economic opportunities for residents. Sharing the idea widely, support would be forthcoming from residents in more than a dozen other lower-city neighbourhoods.23

Arguably, it was not the first time a Hamilton group had talked of establishing a local land trust. In the mid-1990s, long-time Hamilton resident Renée Wetselaar had worked to establish a Housing Trust for artists on Barton Street. Though the plan briefly secured $10 million in funding from Ontario's then provincial NDP government, the funds were taken back by the Progressive Conservatives, following their June 1995 election victory.24

Two years later, in 1997, participants associated with the Hamilton Organic Mentorship Experience would advocate establishing a Land Trust in Hamilton, based on the City's Vision 2020 statement25, followed by Hamilton Eat Local in 2007, which would call explicitly for establishing a local CLT.26

Otherwise, in 2005, Hamilton's long lived Naturalist Club would successfully establish an ecological trust in the form of its the Head of the Lake Trust, while the Hamilton Agricultural Profile of 2008, which would advocate supporting the Ontario Farmland Trust in "establishing a bundle of options for securing the [local] agricultural land base."27

That summer, while having coffee with a fellow Wilfred Laurier University Alumnus, Allison Maxted would share her vision of establishing a CLT in Hamilton. Supportive of her idea, he would put her in contact with BNA Executive Mike Borrelli, who she would go on to meet.

This first meeting, Allison explains, was soon followed by a second, to which Charlie Mattina was invited, at which point Allison set a date to tour Beasley neighbourhood with Charlie. The tour, she would note in a recent June interview, would be "about five hours long" and cover "every inch of Beasley," but would also change her life. "It lit a fire in me," she would insist:

Because I had come to the BNA with the thought: I care about Central Hamilton and think a CLT would be a good idea. But it didn't really matter, in the end, what I thought; after touring the neighbourhood with Charlie, who's a leader in that community, I understood why he thought Hamilton and Beasley especially needed one. Knowing that really gave meaning to my idea; it was the first time I realized: this is something residents here want. I had worried that I would be imposing some kind of idea that local people just wouldn't care about. So that tour was fascinating and really drove my passion. In fact, it still does.28

Though she had grown up in Caledonia and had never before lived in Hamilton's downtown, neither she nor her ancestors were strangers to Hamilton. "My family has been connected to the city for generations," she would tell me, one of her grandfather's, who had grown up in Hamilton's North End, having left school as a teen to help financially support his family - he would go on to work in the neighbourhood as a textile machine technician from the 1930s until the 1970s. "As a teen," she would add:

Hamilton was what I knew in terms of urban spaces; it was where I went for appointments, to hang out with friends, to go to concerts. Back then, in the early 2000s, I didn't quite recognize what a tough place downtown Hamilton could be. But even then, I loved this city!

V

While completing her undergraduate studies at Wilfred Laurier University, Allison had worked as a Research Assistant, in support of a project that had examined urban land use controversies. Throughout the process she increasingly came to look to Boston's Dudley Street Neighbourhood Initiative as a model CLT, one that had ultimately acquired the authority to expropriate land for community purposes.

Temporarily going on the backburner after graduating, Allison's interest in CLT would ultimately revive when she left Ontario to complete a Master's Degree in Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia. There she would explore and interrogate Richard Florida's widely read Creative Class, which, among other things, she notes, looks at the phenomenon referred to as gentrification.

It was a pattern, she would tell me, seen over and over and over again, of artists coming in on a grassroots level and then big developers taking over and the artists and long-time residents getting displaced, or of a municipality imposing a top-down creative planning structure or strategy. Either way, she would note, "the end result is a sort of sanitized place and people getting pushed out: a place that becomes something other than what it was."

This, she insists, is something she doesn't want to see happen in Hamilton.29

VI

Allison would go on to carry out a research study for the BNA on the viability of a CLT in Beasley,30 remaining conscious as to how its Neighbourhood Improvement Plan committed to achieving "neighbourhood intensification without gentrification[.]"31 Completed that November, her report, Community as Developer32 would include a brief summary of Beasley's history, which echoed many of the insights Bill Freeman had offered in his Hamilton: A People's History.

Taking different causes of the district's decline into consideration, she emphasized how Hamilton's postwar model of "downtown renewal" had been overtly "top-down," insisting, by contrast, that a land trust or renewal in general would need to be shaped by "community-influenced development changes" that would guard against allowing beautification and livability initiatives to merely reward real estate speculators.33

That CLTs can be adapted to either weak or strong market communities was another key point forwarded in Community as Developer, Beasley being understood at the time as a notable example of the former.34 Consequently, Allison would advocate Beasley use its own to maintain and enhance neighbourhood affordability and intensification, to attract new residents who might support local businesses, and to facilitate or enhance community empowerment.35

The report would highlight four geographical regions in Beasley that were well suited to, or that stood to benefit the most from, hosting a CLT initiative: the parking lot district, clustered between Hughson Street, Wilson Street, and Mary Street; the Cannon Street auto-repair district, between James Street North and Catharine Street North and Beasley Park; and the brownfields located near Catharine and Mary Streets.36

Potential barriers to establishing a successful CLT, Allison would add, included: land acquisition challenges, financing, the risks associated with brownfield remediation, and the issue of "limited precedence" - the fact that almost no comparable CLTs had yet been established in Canada.37

In the report's conclusion Allison would caution against the assumption that exact timelines can be established for new CLT initiatives. At the same time, she affirmed, it "an organization with the mandate and readiness to acquire land when it becomes available" could still be set up.38

Cover of Maxted's Community as Developer (November 2013)
Cover of Maxted's Community as Developer (November 2013)

VII

Reflecting in a recent interview on how Community as Developer had presented Beasley as a 'weak' market, Allison would note that both she and the BNA were aware at that time that the neighbourhood was beginning to transition to the much stronger market it is today.

"We knew it was happening," she acknowledges:

"The Land Trust started around recognizing that ... the lower city had been neglected by real estate investors, banks and other financial institutions, for a long time. A few years ago, one of the BNA's members tried purchasing a Barton Street property, for instance, and couldn't get a loan for it.

A lot of the properties had been held by speculators who had just put parking lots on them for decades and had never cared about the community. This neglect had been happening for years and years and years and years."

"Yet we were also starting to see interest from internal and outside developers and investors starting to pick up; it was a lot slower then, but we were seeing it. Still, a lot of people had grown used to false starts around Hamilton revitalization; a friend of jokes, for instance, that Hamilton isn't the Ambitious City but the City with Potential - a potential that never seems to be realized; for decades people talked about the City's potential; so people were understandably cynical; and I think that was the climate at that time."

She cites revitalization of the Royal Connaught Hotel as an example, noting one or two plans for the building were released, as far as what developers would put there, before the actual and current plan was finally circulated and begun.

Regardless, she notes, a CLT could establish a positive presence on the ground in Beasley before it was too late. "The thought," she would emphasize, "was that, after being neglected by them for so many years, to let them be the ones to decide what was going to happen to Beasley's properties, was not acceptable."

Allison and Mike Borrelli would go on to forthrightly communicate these and other concerns in their March 2014 Raise the Hammer article, "Toward a Community Land Trust in Hamilton." Remarking, in particular, on the then growing phenomenon of so-called Greater Toronto 'refugees' moving to Hamilton in search of cheaper lifestyles and real estate they would posit that a CLT help prevent "profiteers" from grabbing available downtown land.39

VIII

"I never meant to be the one that was working on starting the Land Trust," Allison would note with a hearty laugh in an interview conducted this past June, two days before completing her final day of work as the Hamilton Community Land Trust's Project Director. "I thought I was going to do this project for Beasley, and that they would start a Land Trust. But when I finished the project they said: 'This is great; you should do it!'"

"So, here I am."

To set the process in motion, a Volunteer Working Group would be established in January 2014. It would go on to identify the initiative's top short-term options as establishing a community garden, community centre, affordable housing, or converting a parking lot into a green space.

To help build a consultation-based "social framework" and support the process of incorporating a CLT later that summer, the Group, with the support of about twenty volunteers, would also begin planning a public launch event at LIUNA Station for early April40, to which citizens, organization leaders and municipal officials would be invited.

On April 1st, the day before the launch, The Hamilton Spectator article that would announce the launch and reprint part of an interview conducted with Charlie Mattina. Typically, Charlie explained, CLT Boards were composed of one-third community residents, one-third leaseholders, and one-third public interest representatives.

At the time, he noted, the HCLT had its eye on 245 Catharine Street North, a promising but potentially contaminated Beasley property.41 Though urban-based land trusts were still rare, Charlie also emphasized, one had recently been successfully established in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood.42

IX

The idea of establishing a CLT in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood dated to 2010, Inside Toronto would later report, when the Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (PARC) had commissioned students enrolled with the department of Urban Planning at the University of Toronto to research the impact gentrification was having on food security in the neighbourhood.43 As Samira Mohyeddin would report in The Torontoist, between 1996 and 2006 rents had increased 93% in a neighbourhood composed of 90% renters, 40% of whom were low income or else surviving on social assistance.44

Released in December 2010, the students' report, Beyond Bread and Butter: Toward Food Security in a Changing Parkdale, confirmed a high concentration of affording housing persisted south of Queen Street in Parkdale but that "residential stock north of Queen Street [was] gentrifying rapidly, with progressively more affluent residents moving in."

Among the report's ten recommendations would be an insistence that local residents establish a CLT and seek to acquire a "pilot project for the Toronto Food Strategy" so as "to leverage wider support from the municipal government, and help attract funding and enthusiasm for food initiatives in Parkdale."45

Eleven months later, in November 2011, researchers who had worked on the initial report would go on to release A Place for Everyone: How a Community Land Trust Could Protect Affordability and Community Assets in Parkdale, a discussion paper the PARC had commissioned.

Warning current trends indicated "affordable services and community assets" in the Parkdale were under threat, its authors noted they were then in the process of founding a temporary Advisory/Steering Committee, composed of local stakeholders and recognized experts, mandated to build greater city wide support for a Parkdale Community Land Trust.

The document would call for a Feasibility Study and Business Plan, alongside a three-year budget and long-term fundraising strategy. Ultimately, it concluded, residents should aim first to incorporate as a non-profit organization, to then apply for charitable status, and to then elect an official Board of Directors.46

Proceeding by "baby steps," its Chair Judy Josefowicz would later disclose, it would take the nascent Trust until November to secure status as a non-profit organization47, the neighbourhood's considerable human diversity informing from the outset its gradualist approach, which sought to establish a genuinely "democratic, equitable governance model."48

X

Participants in attendance at the Hamilton Community Land Trust's April 2014 public launch would receive copies of a program that projected a comprehensive vision for the new initiative. "We see Hamilton turning a corner, led by the dynamism, diversity and density of its downtown," it would read, and "want to ensure that [its] transformation is sustainable and inclusive, giving downtown communities a role in decision-making as abandoned, underused, or contaminated lands are re-purposed."

Noting the threat Toronto-style development and gentrification posed for Hamilton's core, it committed a Hamilton Community Land Trust (HCLT) to "protect[ing] the character of our core and ... [to building] the affordable, mixed density, walkable, welcoming and well-serviced neighbourhoods we want for Downtown."49

HCLT Public Launch Poster, April 2014
HCLT Public Launch Poster, April 2014

Small-Group Discussion at HCLT Public Launch at LIUNA Station, April 2, 2014 (Image Credit: Sara Collaton Photography)
Small-Group Discussion at HCLT Public Launch at LIUNA Station, April 2, 2014 (Image Credit: Sara Collaton Photography)

The following month, the HCLT and the SPRC would establish a partnership that would raise about $100,000 in cash and in-kind donations from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the HCF, and private donors, a portion of these funds being used to hire Allison as Project Director, to support the building of a start-up Board, and begin to establish a five year plan.50

A Mission and Visioning Statement would follow in August, alongside a clearly articulated set of values and the assembling of a start-up Board, whose members would include: Charlie Mattina (whose work with the BNA stretched back to 2007); Mike Borrelli (who would bring with him a long association with McMaster OPIRG and experience working as a Treasurer for the BNA and North End Neighbours); Todd Jacques (associated with Tides Canada); Kathy Stacey (an Architectural Technologist and Historic Building Consultant); and Krist Hayes (then serving as a teacher with Columbia International College, as a Director of a local Boys and Girls Club, and a member of the Strathcona Community Council).

Great things, as they say, were finally afoot.

Footnotes

1. Hamilton Spectator, "Code Red: Band Aid Fixes Getting Us Nowhere," April 12, 2010. The series was based on a McMaster University based 'health mapping project,' whose municipal data had been gathered between 2006 and 2008.

2. Hamilton Spectator, "Seniors caught in costly hospital limbo," April 15, 2010: http://www.thespec.com/news-story/2123914-code-red-seniors-stuck-in-costly-hospital-limbo/

3. Hamilton Spectator, "Mental Illness: Poverty's Dark Side," April 16, 2010: http://www.thespec.com/news-story/2141510-code-red-mental-illness-poverty-s-dark-side/

4. Hamilton Spectator, "Worlds Apart," August 25, 2010: http://www.thespec.com/news-story/2168237-worlds-apart/

5. Hamilton Spectator, "Great Divide of Extremes and Disparity," August 25, 2010: http://www.thespec.com/news-story/2168238-great-divide-of-extremes-and-disparity/

6. Email received from Allison Maxted, March 18, 2016.

7. Allison Maxted, Community as Developer, 2013.

8. Interview with Charlie Mattina, February 21, 2016.

9. Interview with Charlie Mattina, February 21, 2016.

10. Julia Chapman, "How one Hamilton community groups keeps community confident; Hamilton's Vital Signs 2012 Report," CBC Hamilton, October 3, 2012: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/how-one-hamilton-neighbourhood-group-keeps-community-confident-1.1200848

11. Beasley Neighbourhood Association, "Hamilton Downtown Mosque nominated for 2011 Reader's Choice Award," September 22, 2011: http://www.ourbeasley.com/article.php/HDMReadersChoice

12. Teresa DiFalco, "Hamilton Downtown Mosque expansion? The Hamiltonian, February 9, 2010: http://www.thehamiltonian.net/2010/02/hamilton-downtown-mosque-expansion.html In fact, the mosque, which first opened in 1992, had begun putting expansion plans together as early as 2004. See Daniel Nolan, "Mosque moving into building at Hess and York downtown," Hamilton Spectator, March 5, 2014: http://www.thespec.com/news-story/4398161-mosque-moving-into-building-at-hess-and-york-downtown/. Moreover, it had been attempting to acquire the lot in question since 2008, its existing lot being limited to twenty-five dedicated parking spaces. See Samantha Craggs, "Downtown mosque gets a little more time to fundraise $3M," CBC Hamilton, November 1, 2013: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/downtown-mosque-gets-a-little-more-time-to-raise-3m-1.2304375.

13. Samantha Craggs, "Hamilton Mosque needs $3M by Thursday," CBC Hamilton, October 29, 2013: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/hamilton-mosque-needs-3m-by-thursday-1.2255298

14. Cory Ruf, "After 'miracle' deal, downtown mosque is on the move," CBC Hamilton, March 5, 2014: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/after-miracle-deal-downtown-mosque-is-on-the-move-1.2559559. See also Nicole O'Reilly, "New Hamilton Downtown Mosque opens its doors," Hamilton Spectator, September 17, 2015; reprinted at Hamilton Downtown Mosque: http://downtownmosque.com/hamilton-spectator-article-new-hamilton-downtown-mosque-opens-its-doors/

15. Hamilton Spectator, "It's a grind at Beasley Park," August 13, 2010: http://www.thespec.com/news-story/2166940-it-s-a-grind-at-beasley-park/

16. Interview with Charlie Mattina, February 21, 2016.

17. Sylvia Nickerson, "Original Intent of Beasley Community Centre Remains Unrealized," Raise the Hammer, April 11, 2013: https://www.raisethehammer.org/article/1823/original_intent_of_beasley_community_centre_remains_unrealized . The initiative had including $4 million in grants, including a 'renewal grant' for the Royal Connaught project, and $2.9 million in interest free loans, one of which later went into default.

18. "[D]owntown growth" in the City's core would generate "a $500,000 net increase" in tax revenues from 2008-2012. When these figures were made public then urban renewal manager Glen Norton would indicate he expected greater revenue generation between 2012-2015 as a result of an anticipated "'two to three year lag'," adding the City would have faced a negative position had no development incentives been offered. See "Two steps forward, one step back, for downtown Hamilton renewal," CBC Hamilton, November 27, 2013: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/two-steps-forward-one-back-for-downtown-hamilton-renewal-1.2439343

19. Beasley Neighbourhood Association website.

20. Julia Chapman, "How one Hamilton community groups keeps community confident; Hamilton's Vital Signs 2012 Report," CBC Hamilton, October 3, 2012: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/how-one-hamilton-neighbourhood-group-keeps-community-confident-1.1200848

21. Beasley Badger, Fall 2013: http://www.ourbeasley.com/new/filemgmt_data/files/BNA%20Newsletter%20Fall%202013.pdf

22. Stacey Escott, "Beasley abuze over plans for McLaren Park," Hamilton Spectator, August 19, 2013: http://www.thespec.com/news-story/4037923-beasley-abuzz-over-plans-for-mclaren-park/ To read a blog maintained by members of the skateboarding community, check out Skate Beasley: https://skatebeasley.wordpress.com/

23. Hamilton Community Land Trust Backgrounder.

24. Interview with Allison Maxted, June 15, 2016, and electronic message from Renée Wetselaar, received July 26, 2016. For a detailed recounting of the Barton street initiative, which was brought to my attention by Wetselaar, see Gary Santucci, "The Barton Street Boondoggle," The Hamilton Spectator, November 25, 2010: http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/2178707-the-barton-street-boondoggle/

25. The author was a member of this organization at the time.

26. Otherwise, in 2005, Hamilton's long lived Naturalist Club successfully established an ecological trust in the form of its the Head of the Lake Trust, while the Hamilton Agricultural Profile of 2008,which would advocate supporting the Ontario Farmland Trust in "establishing a bundle of options for securing the [local] agricultural land base." See Hamilton Agricultural Profile 2008: http://www.investinhamilton.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/hamiltonagriprofile08.pdf For information on Hamilton Eat Local, see: http://hamiltoneatlocal.blogspot.ca/search/label/Community%20Land%20Trust

27. Hamilton Agricultural Profile 2008: http://www.investinhamilton.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/hamiltonagriprofile08.pdf

28. Interview with Allison Maxted, June 15, 2016.

29. Interview with Allison Maxted, June 15, 2016.

30. Allison Maxted, Community as Developer, p. 11

31. Allison Maxted, Community as Developer, 2013, p. 14.

32. Allison Maxted, Community as Developer, 2013: http://www.ourbeasley.com/new/filemgmt_data/files/Community%20As%20Developer-%20A%20Beasley%20CLT%20Background%20Report.pdf

33. Allison Maxted, Community as Developer, p. 11.

34. Allison Maxted, Community as Developer, p. 20.

35. Allison Maxted, Community as Developer, p. 48.

36. Allison Maxted, Community as Developer, p. 50.

37. Allison Maxted, Community as Developer, p. 51.

38. Allison Maxted, Community as Developer, p. 55.

39. Allison Maxted and Michael Borrelli, “Toward a Community Land Trust in Hamilton” Raise the Hammer, March 28, 2014: https://raisethehammer.org/article/2135/toward_a_community_land_trust_in_hamilton

40. Hamilton Community Land Trust Launch, April 2, 2014.

41. Just under two years under two years later, Charlie would mention the property again, noting how its previous owner had been forced to clean up a number of barrels filled with contained heavy metals that had been left behind on the property. See Metroland News Service, “Land Trust Aims to Reverse Hamilton Neighbourhood Decay,” Metro Toronto, April 1, 2014: http://www.metronews.ca/news/hamilton/2014/04/01/land-trust-aims-to-reverse-hamilton-neighbourhood-decay.html and see also CBC Hamilton, “Why Hamilton Needs a Community Land Trust,” April 2, 2014: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/why-hamilton-needs-a-community-land-trust-1.2594761

42. Metroland News Service, “Land Trust Aims to Reverse Hamilton Neighbourhood Decay,” Metro Toronto, April 1, 2014: http://www.metronews.ca/news/hamilton/2014/04/01/land-trust-aims-to-reverse-hamilton-neighbourhood-decay.html. See also CBC Hamilton, “Why Hamilton Needs a Community Land Trust,” April 2, 2014: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/why-hamilton-needs-a-community-land-trust-1.2594761

43. Hilary Caton, “Community land trusts could keep low-income earners and the working poor in Parkdale,” Inside Toronto, November 27, 2014: http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/5159000-community-land-trusts-could-keep-low-income-earners-and-the-working-poor-in-parkdale/

44. Samira Mohyeddin, “Parkdale community groups confront gentrification,” The Torontoist, September 22, 2015: http://torontoist.com/2015/09/parkdale-gentrification/

45. Chloe Richer et al., Beyond Bread and Butter: Toward Food Security in a Changing Parkdale, December 17, 2010: https://parkdalecommunityeconomies.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/beyond-bread-and-butter-2010.pdf

46. Brendon Goodmurphy and Kuni Kamizaki, A Place for Everyone: How a Community Land Trust Could Protect Affordability and Community Assets in Parkdale, November 2011: https://parkdalecommunityeconomies.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/a-place-for-everyone-parkdale-community-land-trust-november-20111.pdf

47. Hilary Caton, “Community land trusts could keep low-income earners and the working poor in Parkdale,” Inside Toronto, November 27, 2014: http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/5159000-community-land-trusts-could-keep-low-income-earners-and-the-working-poor-in-parkdale/

48. Parkdale CLT Newsletter #3, January 29, 2016: https://parkdalecommunityeconomies.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/parkdale-clt-newsletter-3.pdf

49. Hamilton Community Land Trust Launch, April 2, 2014.

50. HCLT Backgrounder, November 5, 2015. These funds, Allison Maxted notes, were in additional to $400 in private donations and $450 received from OPIRG McMaster and the BNA respectively, all of which were received after the public launch.

Copyright © 2016 by: John A. McCurdy, for Vintage Histories and Stories. This article was first published on the Hamilton Community Land Trust website.

A Hamiltonian and passionate local historian, John A. McCurdy is the owner of Vintage Histories and Stories, which provides Organization, Community, Family and Personal History services in the Hamilton region. He can be contacted through his website at www.vintagehistoriesandstories.ca, or can be found digging through the archives in support of his next project.

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By JohnnyHamont (registered) | Posted September 15, 2016 at 13:51:11

This is great! These stories are so important to share - Thanks John! Can someone from the RTH community record the story behind the Cannon Bike Lanes?

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By sbwoodside (registered) - website | Posted September 16, 2016 at 22:40:41

This Community Land Trust is fantastic. It seems like a potentially great way to counteract gentrification. But I have some questions.

Where does the CLT get the money to buy the property?

How does the CLT deal with rising property taxes, while still leasing the land at an affordable price?

Can the CLT increase density on properties that it owns?

simon

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By JohnMcC (registered) | Posted September 18, 2016 at 15:47:05 in reply to Comment 120043

Hi Simon: These are all excellent and essential questions. I will be producing a Part Three in the series later this year and will endeavour to answer them as part of the article. I also encourage other readers to share questions they have about the Trust here as well. Thanks!

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 19, 2016 at 11:14:00

Hi Simon/SBWoodside, three quick replies:

1) CLT gets the money from members, and looks for affordability through tax sales and other land liquidations. However we are not at that point yet--our membership model is still under development while we concentrate on a few potential leads.

2) Property taxes will float, and that's a reality that would have to be worked into the lease-back model. The real way in which affordability is addressed is by taking the land off the market permanently and splitting it from its land-use. That is, residents in units built on a CLT pay for only what is built on the land--the increasing price of the land is not factored into the rental.

3) Yes, that's the idea. Hopefully we'll have more good news on that front in 2017.

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