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By BrentChislett (anonymous) | Posted July 08, 2013 at 15:07:35
It is articles like this that lead to stagnation in downtown's development. If it isn't a backwards city council, that loses progress in a complicated and lengthy process, it is citizens who believe their vision of a downtown revival is the ONLY vision worth considering. I would challenge these individuals to consider the options if it were their own development dollars being spent after a careful analysis of the costs.
Mr. Blanchard has proven himself to be a responsible developer in the past, and as one of the few willing to spend real money and make real investments in downtown revival we should be applauding his efforts. The man is not proposing another parking lot, or big box development, but high-density, mixed-use urban development.
Also, I think we should take into consideration the scale and importance of these buildings-- they are neither striking nor important Hamilton landmarks. Indeed, over the years they have been stripped and resurfaced more times than I'm sure anyone in this forum cares to recount. I'm sure the stucco and white-wash were not part of the original style, but alas they are there and I do not recall any hum-drum when these esthetic changes were made. Moreover, I did not hear cries from the streets as these buildings fell into disrepair over the years, slowly degrading to where they are today-- in need of costly repairs. Indeed, it was only when Mr. Blanchard proposed demolishing these building that anyone much cared to take notice of them; they weren't featured on any hamilton postcards, there wasn't lengthy articles about their beauty and history-- they sat there, mostly unnoticed and forgotten.
SO, today I ask the naysayers and rabble-rousers to take a moment to consider whether or not this is worth the battle. Perhaps, we should be focusing our energies on fighting landlords who own dilapated and unused properties (for which there are many). Maybe we should be urging council to adopt measures to encourage these people to recondition such properties, and adopt measures to punish the worst offenders. Perhaps we should be urging council to offer more incentives for developers to invest in Hamilton and rebates for the costs of saving heritage properties.
But alas, I doubt this will happen. I increasingly find us to be a reactive civic population... more intent on fighting battles as they arise, rather than anticipating them and proactively seeking solutions.
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