By Sean Burak
Published December 11, 2007
(First published on the Hammerboard.)
According to their website, a developer called Trinity Group wants to put a bunch of parking (and a few buildings) on some of Hamilton's prime business development land.
Based on their business description, the land will likely be new-format (read: big box) retail and food:
Founded by John Ruddy, TRINITY DEVELOPMENT GROUP has played a prominent role in the development of new format regional retail centres across the country. The company also continues to construct and lease high quality food-anchored neighbourhood and convenience centres in several Canadian markets.
You can see from their drawing that their proposed plan is about 60-70 percent surface parking:
Red Areas are parking, blue areas are buildings
Meanwhile, the land is currently zoned to allow for research park facilities, in line with what McMaster will be building in a seven phase, 21 year plan on adjacent lands.
Research parks will create high tech, long term, well paying jobs. They are true employment lands, and represent exactly the type of development we should be striving for in order to move our city forward under the stresses of a shrinking manufacturing industry base. Trinity has appealed to the OMB to have these land use restrictions removed.
Let me restate the point to ensure it is obvious and clear: Retail development does not offer long-term financial or social benefits to the city.
Retail, especially in big box form, offers short-term cash in terms of taxes paid to the city. But at the same time, it sucks money from the local shoppers and funnels the meat of the profits to large corporations based in other cities, or in most cases, other countries.
Locally, retail offers little back to the community: taxes and short-term, low-paying jobs with no benefits. It also creates seas of parking which are not only ugly to look at, but put undue stress on our wastewater management systems.
While we are talking about this region, let's take a moment to have a look at the proposed plan next door to Trinity's potential retail spot: The McMaster Innovation Park (MIP).
The Innovation Park architects have come up with a beautiful plan that allows for human-scaled streetfronts, car-free areas, self-contained stormwater management and lovely greenspaces instead of parking lots.
Over time, most of the parking will be pushed underground. On top of all this, the MIP will bring in thousands of REAL jobs and boost the surrounding communities and the city's economy.
Take a look at this animation to see how their proposal will pan out.
You can see that the modest surface parking areas are replaced with buildings (and underground parking) at each phase. The final result is a site which is mostly greenspace and structures, with only a small amount of surface parking (rectangles with P denote buildings with underground parking).
Here is another animation which shows what the entire area will look like with the MIP superimposed on Trinity's drawing.
When placed side by side, the MIP and Trinity appear to be coming in from different planets.
What can be done? Contact Ward 1 councillor Brian McHattie and let him know how you feel these lands should be developed:
Be sure to copy the mayor's office:
Finally, attend the Frid St. Extension public meeting for more info and to raise concerns (be aware that the focus of this meeting will not be Trinity's proposal; in fact it may not even be mentioned).
Public meeting about the Frid St. extension
6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m
Auditorium @ The Spec building, 44 Frid St.
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