Comment 90645

By brodiec (registered) | Posted August 06, 2013 at 13:25:23 in reply to Comment 90631

Hi Kieran, it's me Brodie!

So it's been about two years since I've had an income that allows to frequent some of the same establishments as you do. I miss our chats. I don't really go downtown much anymore because there isn't much for me. I've tried getting jobs that pay me the same as I used to make but mostly I need to commute far distances. It's really crappy for a lot of Hamiltonians that way not just in terms of finding employment but also spending their money. Realistically there is nowhere downtown where I'd like to or can afford to spend on pretty basic items like clothing, furniture or electronics. Let alone the sort of niche businesses most thriving downtowns cater to like instruments or scientific equipment.

I'm not willing to shop local if it means getting inferior products. Few people admit it but most people do it.

When you say things like "towards the interests of Hamilton and Hamiltonians" I become instantly suspicious. You're a professional and homeowner, for instance. I am neither of those things. You have interest in preserving small business because you are also a landlord. I, like many Hamiltonians, have no tenants or properties for lease.

I've come to the conclusion more recently, as an advocate of heritage, that the term doesn't really mean that anymore in a municipal politics context. I think it's more about barring large business out of downtown while sending lower income dollars to the suburbs in search of the goods and services they need or want. I think people of your class and higher have adopted a neo-bourgeois attitude that paints all large and successful retail businesses, and associated development, as entirely bad. Interest groups of heritage and downtown have managed to convince many young people and students still supported by their parents or debt that this is good for them. I think it does a great disservice to our economy and livability for all strata of incomes and lifestyles.

So many people are more concerned about projecting their ideal lifestyle for the observation of others rather than observing their real behaviours and interactions with their local economy, including suburban big boxes. And as jobs are concerned, small and medium-sized businesses can be the worst performers in terms of job security, pay, benefits and workplace safety because there is less scrutiny. Logical fallacies of "Mom & Pop" businesses with maternal and paternal figures at the helm oftentimes dominate discussion. Anyone who's worked in these situations realizes how silly and out-of-touch that notion can be.

Speaking specifically to the heritage provenance of the King St. East properties on Gore Park I'm somewhat unconvinced. Nobody is able to explain to me why those buildings are of note despite their egregiously ugly stucco facades. I can be easily satiated however nobody has been able to qualify this beyond "It's a pre-confederate building". Much like Hammer In The News points out, so are open sewers. Could somebody tell me if a person of note had custody of or was a tenant in these buildings? Did anyone or anything of note reside there, ever? Was there an historical event in any way related to these buildings?

Does that mean I think we should tear down and replace it with somebody cheap and crappy? No. But it can be an alienating position in this town, sometimes, to admit that you live in the 21st century and wouldn't mind seeing some architecture that was drafted in the last 100 years take centre stage. I think the mix-up between Burrito Boys and glazing requirement quite deftly illustrates how out of step the priorities of activist citizens and city staff are with the spirit of businesses and people at large. Despite Burrito Boy's wanton disregard people at large find the requirements frivolous and I tend to agree with them.

On that note I really respect a lot the work you and others have done to elevate our community in the last decade. But I fear we are a victim of our own success and maybe a bit too concerned about our aesthetics over the hardship and livelihoods of Hamiltonians. So when you speak about us to government and invoke our names please, consider who you really speak for.

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