Jobs No Longer Bundled in Bunches of 500

By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published September 01, 2009

An interesting write-up on Hamilton by Trevor Cole in the Globe's Report on Business is generating a lot of discussion.

It's maybe slightly too negative, but he says the same things we've heard over and over. From the concluding paragraph:

But if it is to take the path of Providence, Hamilton will have to stop its bickering and turn away from the endless pursuit of "jobs" by realizing that jobs no longer come bundled in bunches of 500, or boxed in large, grey factories assembling "tech," but in handfuls of mobile, educated individuals looking for the benefits that a city brings. They will have to focus more resources than ever before on quality of life, so that the thousands of graduates turned out every year by the local colleges and university have reason to stay. Deal with the brownfields, clean up the downtown. Make it even easier for art and culture to prosper here. Stop mourning the death of Steeltown, and start fostering the birth of something new.

When will the City actually heed this advice, instead of sinking more money and effort into yet another greenfield industrial park on the outskirts? They also need to realize that cheap big-box centres and more sprawl is not "economic development".

Of course, there are people trying to following this advice (which we've heard dozens of times in dozens of ways from dozens of educated and thoughtful observers), they just don't have the support of the City.

Nicholas Kevlahan was born and raised in Vancouver, and then spent eight years in England and France before returning to Canada in 1998. He has been a Hamiltonian since then, and is a strong believer in the potential of this city. Although he spends most of his time as a mathematician, he is also a passionate amateur urbanist and a fan of good design. You can often spot him strolling the streets of the downtown, shopping at the Market. Nicholas is the spokesperson for Hamilton Light Rail.


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By jason (registered) | Posted September 01, 2009 at 10:20:04

I don't think his piece is negative at all. It's bang on the money for the most part. I'm sure some of our local elite don't like it. But that's only because they are the ones who have overseen the stewardship of our city during this last couple decades of ineptitude and bidness. Nobody likes it when the light is finally shone on their faults or poor deeds.
I hope people from coast to coast read that Globe piece. More importantly, I hope everyone in Hamilton reads it.....and actually does something about it at the next election (seems like we say that every election).

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By Globby (anonymous) | Posted September 01, 2009 at 10:43:10

There was an interesting on-line discussion yesterday at noon on the website - check out the comments - you have to hold your mouse on the box that says "Saving Hamilton Replay" and wait for the countdown to end to see it:

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By LL (registered) - website | Posted September 01, 2009 at 18:56:30

Wow. Hear that Council and Chamber? That was the Globe and Mail talking. You are getting direct orders from higher levels of the establishment. Your major assets are the greenspaces and the workers, not the expressway and the airport. Fix downtown and make it suitable for the quality of life that today's workforce demands. Stop being so damn "parochial" and "50's" in your thinking.

Unlike the locals who you've brainwashed with consultants and media monopoly, this author can see the plain, obvious truth of the matter. Your expressway was to spur suburban development - not to relieve traffic or bring jobs. You killed downtown - it didn't die of natural causes because people don't like cities. Your chance of being a "livingroom" community for Toronto rests on being a "real city" - an alternative to Mississauga or Milton, not an imitation of them.

One thing I disagreed with in the article though was its assessment of manufacturing. I have a hunch heavy manufacturing will come back to North America now that they've used "globalization" to kill previous decades' wage gains. It doesn't make sense that whole sections of the world don't make anything.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 02, 2009 at 05:35:07

This article speaks volumns.

Of course the poor, the working poor and many others seem to have no input into this?

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By z jones (registered) | Posted September 02, 2009 at 08:31:22

Not sure why grassroots is being down voted, other than quick mention of "social service agencies" the entire article was about what the Chamber wants the government to do.

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By synxer (registered) | Posted September 02, 2009 at 10:59:16

I consider myself a pretty positive Hamiltonian. In my workplace, I am the defacto Hamilton supporter, although others in my workplace and life see the inconsistencies of the negative drones that blanket the city.

You have to understand that a sub-heading such as "Its days as Steeltown are finished—but can Hamilton see its future?" is the exercise of the "Let us move on" movement.

When our economy started to flop and the steel mills shut down, I'll admit that there was a side of me wishing they would stay closed. I know for those who depend on these jobs that it sounds insensitive. But there is a bigger picture and a forecast that costs us all.

No matter how much we try to push the many incentives of Hamilton there will always be someone whispering in the ear of a fresh Hamilton entrepreneur: "Psst. Don't do it. This place stinks!". We constantly battle the negative sizzle while the proverbial "Hamilton steak" seasoning shakes itself over to Burlington, Toronto, etc.

Say what you want about Harry Stinson, but he has one thing correct about Hamilton. Negative Hamiltonians are a virus that eats its host alive until we all die, or evolve elsewhere.

Image is everything. I know it shouldn't be, but at this point it is painfully obvious it is.

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