Comment 50904

By Andrea (registered) | Posted October 29, 2010 at 22:08:29

^ It's not just the poor that live in the central city either. If I may beg everyone's indulgence and share a letter I wrote to the Spec (which won't get printed) that echos a bit of the above sentiments:

"Regarding your column from the October 26th print edition; both facilities that Ace & Joy Clarke founded (including the Joshua Centre, directly across the street from the Hamilton Dream Centre) have proven to be assets to our neighbourhood. Ace, Joy & their congregation are wonderful neighbours; they have made capital improvements to their building & property, they engage the community when holding special events and demonstrate a genuine love of helping people.

There is one quote in your piece that has motivated me to respond: “If you don’t’ normally think of ‘dreams’ when you think of that part of Hamilton, you may be forgiven”.

Although I am familiar with ‘Code Red’ and do recognize that Ward 3 is one of the poorest and most crime ridden areas of the City, it gets very disheartening to continually see the way in which the media presents the central city to the rest of Hamilton. It is one thing to report cold, hard realities and bring attention to a serious matter, but it’s quite another to paint an entire part of the City with broad sweeping strokes. I could throw a football and hit the Dream Centre, yet my particular neighbourhood is definitely NOT a ghetto. Our neighbourhood exhibits both diversities and disparities but I think it’s important to recognize that in addition to the typical ‘Code Red profile’ many middle class families, working individuals, entrepreneurs, professionals and multi-generational families live in the area. Believe it or not, some folks do choose to live the urban lifestyle, and it’s not due to poverty, unemployment, disability or lack of education.

Obviously I am not an expert, but I have lived in this part of our city for almost 30 years. It does make a lot of sense from a practical point of view, that in ANY city, the most economically challenged citizens are going to live in the oldest part of the City. The old City of Hamilton is relatively affordable for housing (albeit not always in a good way), there is accessibility to mass transit, and has amenities (groceries, drug stores, doctors, parks, recreation centres) that are easily within walking distance in residential areas. All of which are important considerations when living on a fixed income or tight budget. That is the reality. It is certainly not all sunshine and rainbows, and I am not burying my head in the sand and denying that our Ward doesn’t have many challenges, but I like to think that Central Hamilton neighbourhoods located East of Wellington street, also have a lot of positive attributes. In my particular area we have beautiful, character, century homes that are substantially less expensive than their West Hamilton counterparts. We have sidewalks and mature trees. There are ample parks, we can get our groceries without having to drive into a box store mega-centre, we know our neighbours and local business folks and we have great community associations. Ultimately, I do feel safe when out walking the dog or going to the local drug store at night.

We all need to work on many issues in the entire City for Hamiltonians to collectively become prosperous and proud, as was reflected in the platforms of many candidates during the recent election. While recognizing our challenges it’s also important to highlight the positive attributes of the central City to engage and encourage those that have vibrant and viable lifestyles to stay here and work towards making the necessary improvements instead of giving up and moving to the other areas of Hamilton."

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