Comment 5301

By Sharchy (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2007 at 12:38:45

Its seems that there is a lot of nostalgia around developing greenfield sites for various environmental reasons. However not all greenfield development needs to cause environmental damage and not all airports need to be unsustainable. Bristol airport in the UK has converted its airport vehicles to biodiesel and has developed various energy efficient facility buildings and has even developed a program of ‘offsetting’ (offsetting is a program that funds the planting of trees to offset the carbon created by air travel). If Hamilton airport had an offsetting program it could use it to fund tree planting on downtown sidewalks, between residential neighborhoods and industrial buildings in the east end, and in city parks).

Airports will be around for many years to come; although peak oil is a concern it is necessary to develop the airport as a sustainable service that does not fluctuate so much by changing market conditions. Other technological services will come online within the next 20 years that will allow this to happen. It would be nice just to have an airport developed that can maintain a reasonable level of service. The Ancaster business park has some high-end companies that develop sustainable technology such as wind turbines etcetera. It would be great create to se more of this type of ‘high tech’ development around the airport. It would really diversify the range of manufacturing services the city can offer.

Although the east harbor lands have driven a huge amount of Hamilton’s economic activity over the last 30 years. The area in general is in very poor condition environmentally. The city would benefit more from regenerating the bay area in terms of its environmental conditions then trying to cram in more of the same types of employment facilities (conventional manufacturing in K-zoned industrial lands). A recent report stated that Hamilton could generate about 1 billion dollars of economic activity by being delisted as an area of concern by the International Joint Commission's list of Great Lakes pollution hot spots. The Hemson report is correct in that firms generally don’t want to locate in areas where there is heavy industrial pollution. Over time if the port area is cleaned up significantly it may be able attract higher end business. This will take many years and is an extremely important investment for the city.

A city functions as a whole most vibrant cites with populations over 500,000 have well developed seaports and well developed airports. Portland, Oregon is an examples of this. Hamilton should look to develop its new strengths and use its new strengths to clean up its old weaknesses. Construct a sustainable airport with a high end manufacturing community and use the revenue from this economic activity to improve the environmental conditions of the port area. Create a port that can offer a healthy environment, recreational activities, and cleaner industrial activity.

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