Comment 119814

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 23, 2016 at 09:14:19

This is a nice analysis, based on personal observations, of how different people are using parks along the waterfront. It is nice to see recent arrivals already enjoying the beautiful waterfront space Hamilton has to offer. I've noticed the same thing at HAAA, with (apparently) recent immigrants getting together regularly to play soccer.

I have to agree with Jason, however, that providing expanses of grass, walking paths and playgrounds is already Hamilton's main focus to the exclusion of the sorts of amenities most of other cities provide in their urban waterfront parks.

Hamilton still treats what is essentially urban waterfront as if it is a nature reserve: there are almost no cafes, restaurants or pubs (or even kiosks selling ice cream) over tens of kilometres of Hamilton's waterfront. It is possible to integrate small restaurants, cafes and kiosks into parks without excluding other uses.

The total count for over 15 kilometres of waterfront from east to west is :

  1. Beaches grill and patio serving burgers etc at the changing rooms at Van Wagners beach.

  2. Barangas, an informal Greek restaurant with one of only two patios overlooking the water on Hamilton's waterfront.

  3. Hutch's serving burgers etc.

  4. Sarcoa at pier 8 (which is going through a lot of problems and is often closed).

  5. Williams cafe, a fast food counter and an icecream counter.

So, that's three fast food places, an ice cream counter, one or two restaurants and a cafe in 15 kilometres. The city built a kiosk that served ice cream and drinks in 2000 at the start of the waterfront trail by the boat launch at Bayfront, but they gave up after a couple of years and it has been shuttered ever since.

The result is that the non-fast food places open all day (i.e. Williams and Barangas) are jam packed in the summer and there are very few places for people who just want to sit and have a drink or a meal by the water. Of course, for those who are so inclined and can afford the fees, the Yacht Clubs do have nice terraces on the water, but they're pretty exclusive!

We shouldn't fall into the trap of thinking that it is either/or for Hamilton's urban waterfront parks.

We can have both large grassy and covered areas for group picnics and informal sports, waterfront paths AND more places for those who want a place to sit and have a drink or a meal with a view of the water. There is clearly the demand for both!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-08-23 09:19:26

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