The city announced last week that it is spending a half a million dollars to build two observation decks at Albion Falls on the east Mountain.
Apparently, some mountain councillors think that this 'investement' will bring in busloads of tourists to our much maligned city and completely change the perception people have of Hamilton.
While I am a big fan of nature and, in particular, Hamilton's wonderful geography, I really can't wrap my mind around the price tag for this project. Not while the city faces bankruptcy and is squeezing every penny they can out of the provincial government to help finish the 8 km shortcut to Toronto known as Red Hill.
I suppose I should be happy that this expenditure has nothing to do with roads and new subdivisions, but I don't share the sentiment that this will reinvigorate the tourism industry.
Making matters worse is the news that during the final day of budget talks the city decided to cut $100,000 from the $250,000 downtown cleaning budget. Let's all stop and think about this. Out of a half-billion dollar budget this year, the city is cutting $100,000 from cleaning downtown. Everyone will notice that, observation platform or no observation platform.
(What did that $100,000 save each taxpayer, two bucks?)
If there is any hope of increasing tourism in Hamilton it is in the downtown core and waterfront area - not by building a couple of overpriced platforms for viewing a waterfall dwarfed by a roaring expressway, full of Hamiltonians heading to Toronto to spend their money in that city's shopping districts instead of our own.
Maybe the platforms should have been built overlooking the new expressway. Then we could have all stood on them and waved goodbye to more local businesses as their customers rip out of town.
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