Comment 48250

By Imperial (anonymous) | Posted September 26, 2010 at 13:02:11

Great debate going on this issue.

So the biggest issue here is that we've not managed to find a common ground solution to bridge the gap between now and the new OP for the Pearl, and a larger ongoing issue that was mentioned by City Manager Chris Murray - the City's need to increase non-residential tax base income to become sustainable.

Both completely valid issues.

We as citizens should be glad that our city officials are trying to reserve the disturbing tax trend in our city. This affects our city's ability to pay for other needed services (including increases to arts funding programs). Increase the non-residential tax base and we increase the City budget without hitting our HSR fees, or residential property tax. All good.

Keeping the entrepreneurial and creative spirit alive in Hamilton by allowing new business owners to exist in "non-conforming" use spaces is also clearly vital. Regardless of how messy the process has been with the Pearl - the vision of the space, it's programming and intended positive impact on the neighbourhood is indisputable.

So here is our middle ground.

The Hamilton Future Fund was created in order to seed legacy building projects in our community. It seems to me that we've lost that picture on the PAN AM Games sham for long enough.

If our community wants the light industrial spaces of our past converted into new neighbourhood hubs, new centres for the arts or recreation, or community building lets do the following:

Propose that a set bundle of money from the Future Fund go to towards paying the fees of projects that meet these goals. We set an annual or semi-annual application process where would be project can pitch the benefits of their project to the Future Fund Board. The FFB would set an annual budget or something of who much could come from this program and the Board would cover the costs of the fees to the city and such with set conditions (SUCH AS - if the building were to be sold the owner would contribute a percentage of the funds granted back to the Future Fund).

This would ensure the City gets its fees paid and continues to work at the non-residential tax base. We stand firm that this process is due to the cultural and community building nature of the projects proposed - therefor no excemptions for drive-thrus and big box stores. Unless the citizens of Hamilton stand up and say they want that in their neighbourhood.

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