Comment 13045

By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted October 19, 2007 at 09:35:35

Hey Anonymous,

I don't doubt that some industries are locating on the east Mountain, and I don't doubt that some of these jobs are better paying and more 'future friendly' than some of the dying industries, but just look at what we have to provide - and destroy - in order to attract them. And just look at the not-so-coincidental increase in housing that has occurred at the same time.

This kind of development is hugely expensive. Even if we discount the environmental and social costs, the $ ROI numbers - which no-one at City Hall EVER calculates by the way, which means we are forced to guess them - would almost certainly be atrocious, and never supported by any private corporation (again, I'd LOVE to see the actual numbers: - expressway costs $millions (to build and operate), - business taxes bring in $millions, - unemployment is reduced by xx bringing in $ extra taxes etc).

Apart from now being out of pocket then, what else have we done by providing this new infrastructure? We've encouraged sprawl! We can now have more low density car dependant housing which results in a net loss for the city in terms of costs versus tax revenues and associated environmental and social costs too!

And for what? The sake of a few warehousey jobs and a smattering of higher paying opportunities?

When you look at the alernatives - investing in existing infrastructure and providing incentives for some of the better paying growth industries, it's clear that this road, and this type of city building, is not an effective way to grow a city.

Another fact you simply can't ignore, when you look at how deeply the housing industry and land speculators are entrenched at City Hall, is just how much money these business are making from this investment of our tax dollars. The formula is simple - buy a farmers field at a low price. Sit on it for a while. Promote several councilor candidates and build relationships with them. Hire good lawyers and, when the time is right, push for improved infrastructure and road networks near your plot of land, get an approval for your re-zoning application and Bam! - you've made yourself a few million dollars.

The reality is that it's the developers who are defining the growth strategy for Hamilton, not any enlightened urban planners. Again, this is no way to build a city.

Nice chatting with ya!

Ben

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