Comment 24227

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 29, 2008 at 14:51:26

I agree that filling the downtown with parking lots and other inspired creations is crap. The vast majority of people would love to see new buildings (condos, hotels, retail, etc), and I am at the top of the list. The point is you have to ask yourself why is this not happening?

What is it about Hamilton, that differs from Toronto or even Burlington? An obvious answer is that people want to live there. Investors know that if they build a condo in these cities, the demand will be there. Since investors are primarily interested in making money, if people wanted to live in downtown Hamilton, investors would build condos here as well.

You mention that without zoning bylaws the city would erupt in chaos. Why is that? What would land owners start doing, knocking down their properties for no good reason? Are you telling me every single land owner would destroy his or her building to create a parking lot. That is completely illogical. Imagine I own an apartment building, under your line of thinking, I would knock it down, and give up all the rental income I was making. That simply would never happen.

The only reason for zoning bylaws is to allow certain segments of the population to control other people's property without having to buy it from them.

Prior to 1917, Canada did not even have an income tax. So don't tell me that without the heavy hand of government, we would be living in chaos. My grandfather and his brothers lived rich, full lives, and did it in an environment with limited government regulation and oversight. A hundred years ago, a time when Hamilton was becoming quite prosperous, government played an extremely limited role in the marketplace. There were no land transfer fees, no height restrictions, et al.

If you compare the rate of development in that era (100 years ago), compared to today, and the obvious conclusion is that regulation and big government has slowed Hamilton's growth, not increased it.

With regard to the talk about the city's goals trumping the individuals goals, who are you referring to? What is the city, if not the totality of all the individuals that live there?
Anytime you stop an individual from maximizing his/her property, you hurt the city as a whole. When you start placing the collective ahead of the individual, you start treating individuals as second class citizens. Or is it that by city you actually mean a group of elites, politicians, professors, select business people.

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