A recent Spec article highlighted the amazing amount of creativity in our city. When the newspaper recently did their One Big Idea, campaign, they were flooded with amazing and forward thinking ideas to rejuvenate our city.
A local communications firm hosts a conference each year on the new 'momentum' Hamilton is slowly gaining and how to leverage it in the future. They recently held a contest for citizens to send in their ideas that would bring positive change to our city.
Read the results and you'll once again be inspired by the creativity, passion and focus on the proper things downtown, street, public spaces, image etcc - being presented in these ideas.
This left me wondering. Why can't City Hall ever take one or more of these ideas and begin to revitalize our city from the centre out? Why are the least creative people in our city the ones running the show? Why does every new idea revolve around more paving over farmland, building highways to empty business parks and ripping out trees, animal life and other greenery for another drab depressing subdivision?
Hamilton must be the only city on the planet where one can use the argument, "We've been planning this since the 1950s" as a statement that is supposed to gain support for said project.
Other cities would say, "1950s? We'll get with the times and do the opposite, thanks." Not Hamilton.
One-way streets roaring through town with industrial transport trucks mere meters from family homes may have been 'progress' in 1950, but today it stinks - in every sense of the word.
Imagine sitting the Byward Market in Ottawa with speeding transports and cars flying by drowning out conversation every ten seconds. You wouldn't be sitting in the Byward Market if that were the case. If fact, there probably would be no great place called the Byward Market. It would be a second rate, dinky market with cheap vendors, no customers and an overall bad vibe.
This is the vision our council has for downtown. They develop plans for streetscapes or two-way conversions and then plan on waiting 20 years to implement them. Other cities develop the plans, put them in the daily newspaper, have a few public meetings and start redeveloping their cities immediately.
You're going to hear a lot more of this in the days leading up to our next election, but Hamiltonians of all stripes, backgrounds, political 'affiliations' and social classes had better wake up and smell the truck fumes, because we are constantly electing a group that cares about the suburban developers and that's it. Bottom line. End of story.
Argue with me if you must. I'd rather you travel to Portland, Seattle, Ottawa, Montreal, Boston, and Europe and then come home and vote properly for a change. Until we do, this city won't experience any significant change in momentum, image or attitude. And that's a shame. A filthy, noisy, 18-wheeled shame.
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