Comment 90700

By bikehounds (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2013 at 09:46:58 in reply to Comment 90645


I'm not sure how I will be able to get through your bitterness. You have taken direct shots at several people over the last year, most of whom are working very long hours on projects which they hope will develop into bright futures for themselves and the city they live in and love. Most are barely making a living wage doing this, and must support themselves with other work. I'd like you to know that I do not get paid for the hours spent at the bike shop. Every dollar that comes in goes either back into the shop, to taxes, or to the few employees that I can (barely) afford - whom I need so that I can keep the doors open while I work at my second job.

You are being very selective in what you take from this Gore demolition discussion. This is not about keeping Target out, or trying to force expensive boutiques into a neighbourhood that can't afford to spend there. This is about supporting organic growth that will create more businesses (employers), and attract more residents (customers) who will support more businesses still - generating a healthier more diverse economy downtown so that there are more local jobs for those who might otherwise be forced to commute to work.

In terms of "large and successful retail businesses", there is plenty of space in downtown Hamilton for these establishments to put down roots - without having to tear any buildings down. But we need to achieve critical mass in residents (customers) before this happens. Are you trying to argue that the demolition of these buildings will somehow speed up the inflow of larger employers? I don't see how this is possible. If it was a lack of space holding them back, we would have no vacant lots downtown.

In regards to reasonably priced amenities, I find your shopping list a little odd. Furniture - I have lived with hand-me-down furniture for most of my life. Is this a basic item you shop for often? Electronics - this is a basic necessity? Clothing? There are numerous places downtown to buy inexpensive clothes. How about food and shelter - our grocery options were just blown wide open by Nations, and affordable rent is still one of the hallmarks of Downtown Hamilton. But imagine if the city stopped encouraging speculators to hollow out the upper floors of their buildings for tax breaks - the increase in available housing would be good for everyone, regardless of income level.

Heritage - this word has many meanings to many people. For some, it means museum-like preservation of the most architecturally significant structures in a city. Keeping the intact ones from falling into disrepair, and rebuilding the broken ones using historically accurate materials and techniques. But when it comes to the Gore buildings, we know that they have been changed over the years and that they are not museum-worthy structures. Their heritage value lies in the embodied energy of their built form and past uses. They have supported dozens of uses over generations and can continue to do so if our city council had the guts to enforce heritage preservation in this town.

The value of these buildings is in the jobs and living spaces they could support in the future if they were in the right hands, versus what an empty gravel lot will support - nothing.

We have tried blockbusting demolition and development in this city for decades and it is clearly not working. Organic growth starting on a small scale is proven to work, and our only chance to bring a diverse collection of employers, employees and customers to the downtown as permanent fixtures (not drive in and drive out commuters) is to follow this organic model.

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