Don't feel bad if you've been confused by recent media stories involving the building industry in Hamilton. if you're confused, it's probably because you've been paying attention.
First we have the proponents behind another big box complex in Hamilton complaining about the city's "delay" in processing their application to convert industrial land to the necessary zoning for big box retail.
All this fuss despite the well-known fact that current zoning bylaws are meant to prevent more industrial lands (read: job-creation opportunities) from being converted for homes or retail without first completing an evaluation of the city's current land inventory.
Let's keep in mind that these same builders and local policitians were the ones promising us job creation and new industrial development 'til the cows come home once we finish our highway network.
If huge pieces of land along the QEW aren't "prime industrial land", I don't know what is.
I completely respect and support the city's decision to make a proper choice and not be railroaded into a bad decision just because the folks behind these projects decided to complain to the media about it.
But hang on! Before you think to yourself, obviously the builders don't have time for more studies and reports, read this next news report.
This time, it's over City Council trying to move forward with a plan to increase Hamilton's insanely low development fees to match Burlington, right next door.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it called the Hamilton Halton Home Builders Association? It would make sense to eliminate the confusion and red tape often cited by these groups by having matching fees and processes in place in both cities, wouldn't it?
Now it's this same development industry calling on City Council to do a "comprehensive study" before raising the development charges. For those keeping score at home, Hamilton's existing taxpayers are on the hook every time a new blob of "growth" proceeds on the outskirts of town.
I don't really care if that growth takes place or not - just have the new residents, businesses and developers pay their own way instead of relying on the rest of the tax base to bring these projects to pass.
So let's try to clear this up before we finish.
On one hand we're hearing the development industry stay, Knock it off with the comprehensive reports and studies. Just let me build now!
On the other hand, we're hearing them say, You can't make this decision without first undergoing some comprehensive reports and studies. It's irresponsible to act in such a manner!
So which is it? Who's right?
And why are Hamilton's local media trying to make the city look like the bad guy in both cases?
Sadly, we've seen this scenario play out time and again in Hamilton. Ultimately, City Hall is responsible for the planning and oversight of our city.
Private groups, on the other hand, only have themselves to worry about. That's why they can recommend skirting the proper process when it benefits them and then turn around and recommend bogging down the proper process, again, if it benefits them.
Perhaps most disheartening is the fact that you'll never read this side of the story in the local media. They've already chosen sides long ago, and will present their stories to have the city come out looking bad every time, even if it means publishing contradictory news stories two days in a row.
2 new power centres for Hamilton, Skyscraper Page discussion, Dec. 4, 2007
Developer fee increase on hold, Citizens at City Hall, Nov. 30, 2007
You must be logged in to comment.