Is Hamilton doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods? If not, what should the City be doing?
Responses to the question: "Is Hamilton doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods? If not, what should the City be doing?"
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67 Candidate Responses (top)
|Candidate||Brief Response||Full Response|
|Baldasaro, Michael James||No||No, Hamilton is not doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods.
As I said in The Hamiltonian's extensive Online Survey of Mayoralty Candidates, "The City must put an immediate end to urban sprawl onto food lands. This will raise property values of our inner city and encourage its clean up and rebuilding throughout." http://www.thehamiltonian.net/2010/09/mayoral-candidate-michael-baldasaro.html
|Bratina, Bob||No||We have failed miserably in providing support and encouragement of investment in older neighbourhoods. There are many specific examples of how Public Works budget decisions have added to the problem, not helped. Public Works spending has to be reviewed in this context Hamilton's Cycling Master Plan has Council approval. However, the implementation timeline is very long and ward councillors can block individual bike lane projects.|
|Butani, Mahesh P.||No||The current meme of the month is: "We need to do more"!
This notion has been repeated over the last months, by many of our popular public action figures, who continue to be actively involved in the shaping of our public policies. Yes, we need to do more for sure! However the reality is that once these action figures utter these platitudes, they go back to doing less while talking even more - about doing more!
Encouraging new investments is the obvious way to solve some of the problems afflicting our older neighbourhoods. Instead, acquiescing while we hurt investments that are already in place in our older neighbourhoods, is what we excel at.
The debilitating situation faced by the Pearl Company and the Westside theater are just the tip of the iceberg. How many more individual property owners and businesses in our older neighbourhoods have simply given up from the fatigue that sets in from having to constantly battle with public policies that are at cross purposes with their stated intent?
What is that "more" we need to do to bring back things to normalcy? Is it that "more" money needs to be thrown at the problem? or is it simply that we now need "more" resources thrown at the problem, by way of "more" jobs in the ever expanding poverty industry, or the now fast emerging EcDev industry? Or is it that we need to form more committees and round-tables and seek "more" public funding to study the problem and then seek even "more" funding to discover a new language to get rid of poverty?
What is needed "More" in my opinion - is less talk about what needs to be done, and more action on what ought to be done, to support and encourage new investment in older neighbourhoods.
The first step is to reconfigure our antiquated Code and Zoning Books, to truly reflect performance and design based outcomes which are directly associated with requirements of dense, compact urban built form.
The second step is to identify and remove all bureaucratic obstacles from the city hall, and replace them with "can do" personality types. If it means getting them on a loaner from more progressive municipalities for a year - to train our own and teach them this new language - than that is where money is worth spending. The resulting direct boost in development fees, and assessment revenues will be transparently measurable.
People know where to look for opportunities. They find them. That is the genius of the free market. We waste valuable time and money crafting mission statements and slogans, printing brochures and beating our own drums. When, in fact what we really need to do is simply start behaving like human beings with so many investors who are already here. Just this simple action, will make many more from outside find their own way to our older neighbourhoods. This has been, and always will remain the basis of most thriving markets and communities.
There will always be the so called mega-developers who will surface with the promise of saving the city by feeding of the public trough - like they do in most cities. Smart cities have developed an ability to recognize them, and make them go through the 'red channel' - whereas in Hamilton, we do the reverse and open up the treasury for them, while chasing away scores of smaller investors who have through their own efforts, saved the city from collapsing.
The third and most critical step here, is to recognize and acknowledge the severe impact of mental-health issues on the streets of older neighbourhoods, and rapidly develop a humane solution for this very serious problem. Without this, all attempts at developing a "new urban future" and altering code/zone books is simply a waste of time and resources.
|Eisenberger, Fred||No||We have done a lot but we need to do more. We waived development charges in the downtown in order to encourage investment. We have created a registry of vacant buildings in order to prevent demolition by neglect and to preserve heritage buildings. Some $6.6 million was provided to low-income homeowners and landlords to repair or modify their homes or rental units. We have restored a number of landmarks, such as the Queen Victoria statue in Gore Park and the Gore Park fountain in order to revitalize our public spaces. We have instituted an anti-graffiti program and we have increased the police presence in the downtown. Bringing LRT to Hamilton will provide an economic uplift all along the line. Brownfield development is a priority. In my second term my Hamilton 360 economic development team will bring new investment to older neighbourhoods.|
|Graydon, Edward H.C.||No||Bernie, Fred, Larry, and Bob and the BIA Groups: What is going on inside your heads? You can not point the finger directly at the need for process as the culprit, for inaction on development. I have experienced the red tape at City hall first hand, but I kind of enjoy it, "you make it really quite a challenge". I believe that there is no political will to allow for progress, I have witnessed a spray paint artist or tagger, "vandal" single-handedly bring property values down all over the city, the tagger goes by the KEENUR or the KEEN, and I believe the owners of the Pearl have him on tape doing damage. Why not make the vandals pay! Why not make things happen or at least try I believe you are in capable of doing your jobs I believe the current BIA of Downtown is derelict in duty, of bringing excitement and change of any kind, and as mayor if elected "I would give them immediate notice" they are not capable of doing the job.|
|Haines, Andrew||No||Everything they possibly can!|
|Hamilton, Glenn||No||Allow investors to renovate with zoning flexibility and beautify neighbourhoods into affordable housing and solve two problems at once.|
|Leach, Ken||No||Currently the city is not doing enough to support new investment in our neighbourhoods. We are unable or unwilling to support our investors with needed direction. We currently have multiple program directed at rejuvenation of our neighbourhoods, but our investors are waiting to see progressive movement from the city. We currently have multiple programs geared for rejuvenation efforts, that are being under utilized. However, from an investors stand point, why should they battle City Hall and the red tape associated with it, if we are unable to gain their confidence in the future. The investors currently are willing to wait for the real estate values to increase and sell for a profit, instead of developing and waiting for the city to move forward.|
|Marrone, Tone||No||The city has been neglecting the core neighborhoods for sometime now. They seem to be like the black sheep of the family that nobody wants to talk about. Administration continues to bring up subjects like LRT and aerotropolis, when the inner city neighborhoods are decaying right in front of them. Until council finds a leader with some command presence, we Hamiltonians will be in for another four years of turmoil. Who wants to invest in a city with a dysfunctional council and decrepit core?
This city's council mandate should be nothing but revitalization of neighborhoods that have suffered years of neglect. People crawl before they walk and walk before they run. A little common sense goes a long way, an attribute I'm afraid to say that seems to be absent from the existing regime. Ask yourself a question, would you want to risk investment in a place that doesn't appeal to the senses first and foremost?
Prioritizing how tax dollars should be spent is of paramount importance. Where have your tax dollars been spent lately? $70 million on a new city hall that looks exactly the same, less the beautiful marble facade, and consultant fees for things that aren't anywhere near getting of the ground. The time for change is now.
|Speziale, Gino||No||Its not been in the last four years or seven years but at least twenty years that city councils have been governing under the "Knee-jerk" reaction policy. Its an action reaction policy that has allowed the older neighbourhoods to fall apart at the seams. Although there are distinct neighbourhoods - which to no credit to the city politicians but the citizens that occupy these buildings.
With their efforts and abilities these buildings are kept with historic accuracy and an friendly welcoming Ora which attracts visitors. Hess Village with its abundance of social gathering buildings which are well over one hundred years old and the European style landscape where people enjoy their evenings as if they they were in Saint-Germain-des-Prés street in Paris France.
These proprietors of these old neighbourhoods have been very diligent and proactive to ensure their respective businesses thrive and create an relaxing welcoming environment which people voluntarily return over and over again.
The citizens of Locke Street have cornered the city when it comes to turning back the clock of time. With high lighted details of the buildings and offering good old-fashioned homemade goods and more antiques that one could imagine. If you could not see the cars on the street one would think they were in 1950! These are the attributes of this distinct neighbourhood As Hess Village, Locke Street has a following which keeps coming back.
Sections of James Street North and South have also been kept up. James Street attracts various ethnic groups to patronise their grocery stores and social clubs as well as a few art studios. We have witnessed buildings physically crumble before our very eyes such as the Tivoli Theatre. This is an indicator to reflect and appreciate the buildings for what they represented in their day and its time to move on and replace all of the adjoining buildings with new and better energy efficient structures.
The main issue of James Street as one nears Barton Street is crime. With the prostitution issues along Barton Street, brings with it drugs and gangs which at best intimidate potential patrons to this part of the city. The city has poured millions of dollars into parts of Barton Street to revitalize the streets with new sidewalks and boulevards but have allowed some buildings along theses parts to decay and are no more than an eye sore. If not for the General Hospital located on Barton Street, the city would not have allocated any funds for improvements.
To encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods the city needs to investigate, scrutinize and must be willing to invest millions of dollars in reconstruction (not City Hall). The city council must have the ability to see opportunity starring them in the face.
Roads with high volume traffic such as Barton Street between James Street and Gage Avenue is a perfect example. Because of the high volume of vehicles 75% of the work is done to attract patrons because they are already there but they just keep driving by. The other 25% is to build and create a theme or very inviting environment to have most of these vehicles voluntarily stop along this stretch.
Major demolition and building construction along with distinct roads and sidewalks which would be unique. Eye catching art, water fountains and massive squares filled in with restaurants, bistros, sidewalk cafes and a continuous art and theatres shows to entertain the people are a few examples were people would go out of there way to experience this exciting as well as relaxing and peaceful settings. This would not be unique to Hamilton, thousands of cities offer this inviting environment around the world.
As Mayor I will assure you that city council will work along side with business people and investors to have a balanced harmony. Taxes need to be lowered. The heavy burden of taxation from all three levels of government collectively is no longer sustainable by home owners, tenants and the business sector. A tax reduction moratorium must be put in place to the various business sectors and for a time period of three to five years until establishments are firmly on their feet and the patrons repeatedly frequent them.
To ensure these new rejuvenated areas continue to be prosperous for all businesses and safe for the patrons across the Hamilton Wentworth Region, the city councils will need to impose tougher laws protecting patrons. To educate and deter people from committing crimes is an investment within itself.
To encourage the business sector to reinvest in the Hamilton Wentworth region, any expansion or renovation to the business will NOT be punished by having their taxes increased. Increased taxation only acts as a deterrent for expansion. The underground economy has now surpassed the legal commerce in respect to selling or trading services and goods. The tax needs to be lowered to the point where people feel that taxes are minimal and fair and are willing to pay ther
|Veri, Victor||No||No, we need to do much more. See my website and click on "World Cultures District" and "More Co-operation with BIA".|
|Waxman, Steven||No||More could be done to attract investment in targeted areas with taxation abatements.|
|Candidate||Brief Response||Full Response|
|Greco, Tony||No||The high business taxes, the unresponsive nature of city hall to work with new investors, are the two main reasons for lack of new investment. The City of Hamilton needs to reduce business taxes, and create an atmosphere at City Hall that encourages and supports new investment. We need to play off are City's strengths world class University, Colleges, and Health care facilities. These should be the engines of future development.|
|McHattie, Brian||Maybe||The City's focus for the past 20+ years has been on an urban sprawl model, with concomittant investment in the suburban areas of Hamilton and more recently former area municipalities. The Places to Grow Act and the nodes and corridors approach contained in our new Official Plan, provide the opportunity for building new housing in the older neighbourhoods in the City, and installing dynamic live:work opportunities.
In order for intensification to work, new investment, capital funding from the City is required in the form of upgraded parks, traffic calming, new greenspace (ie. new downtown park), and better ways to get around in the form of bus transit investment. LRT, bike lanes and more walkable neighbourhoods.
In Ward 1 we are doing this in Strathcona in the area around a renovated Victoria Park; in Kirkendall along Locke Street and Dundurn Street in the form of support for bike lanes, public art, and streetscaping; and in Ainslie Wood - Westdale with purpose-built student housing, upgraded Coronation Park, and the Churchill Park Master Plan to be folowed by capital improvements.
|Candidate||Brief Response||Full Response|
|Caplan, Marvin||No||If memory serves the majority if not all BIAs are in built up and comparatively older neighbourhoods. There are a number of initiatives that I am proud to say I had some influence or leadership roll in implementing:
* The facade program where the City contributes to facade improvements.
* Subsidies or outright payment for marketing studies
* City staff support and advice as well as special street furniture for BIAs
* Contributions both in kind and financial to street festivals and other business street activities
I could go on, but it is important to note that I specifically, and Council in general have not ignored the plight of older areas. As well as the two BIAs in downtown Hamilton, the city's core has been made a "no zone zone" where planning rules are relaxed. For example there are no parking requirements for downtown condos where more than one spot per unit is required in the rest of the city. One thing developers ask for is high multiples of coverage.
The more intense the development, the less expensive it is to build. The restriction of three or four times coverage in large parts of commercial areas doesn't apply in the core with the exception of the Durand neighbourhood where the community was opposed to more high rise development.
Is Hamilton doing enough? Obviously, despite some progress, it isn't. Forgive my pointing this out, but all of the activities above happened when I was on council. I know of no new City generated activity over the last seven years.
I would like to examine the question of being too generous with current "No zone zone" rules. If a property owner or developer can build 8 times coverage the temptation is to wait until there is a market for such a project instead of building 3 or 4 times coverage. The way to find out is to talk to developers who work in inner cities. Appropriate inner city and brownfield development is critical.
In Wards two three and four there are acres of job lands that no one wants to buy or develop for a number of reasons. With the pressures of amalgamation and other issues I could not get to this critical issue. I had called a meeting of Hamilton's MPs, MPPs and the Ward 1 and 2 Councilors (Morelli refused to participate) work on Brownfield issues.
Then Mayor Morrow suggested, perhaps I should say very strongly suggested, that sort of meeting should have been called by him. Mayor Morrow took over, the meeting was held, and an agenda of next steps was agreed on. The Mayor's office was to call the next meeting and I was to be kept in the loop. No next meeting was held. If elected, I have already secured agreement from one MP and 2 MPPs to work on the issue.
As well as brownfield and business areas, neighbourhood safety, property standards and traffic issues need to be constantly "top of mind" and continually improved to encourage strong neighbourhoods, the backbone of a better community economy. For more on this subject please see our web site at caplanforward2.com.
|Casey, Paul||No||I do not believe we are doing enough. City Hall does not create the jobs or reenergize our older neighbourhoods; most good examples throughout this city are the the result of visionary individuals, entrepreneurs, the neighbourhoods themselves. These successes have taken hold in many cases despite City Hall instead of in partnership with them. The City, the Mayor, the councillors must do more to inspire more of our citizens to step forward through incentives, easy access to resources and authentic support for their ideas. The desire to to realize great potential should never be shut down by red tape, bureaucracy and a "whatever" attitude.|
|Castle, John||No||I'm inclined to think that vigorous and well intentioned efforts to attract business investment have unfortunately proven ineffective. We should try to reverse course - business and wealth creation (prosperity) are negatively impacted by higher taxes, try to reduce public expenditures were possible.|
|Chiarelli, Diane||No||No, Hamilton is not doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods. For the past twenty years, the citizens have heard that the downtown core was going to be revitalized. Truly this has not happened. We can not expect new investment when our downtown looks like it has been through a tornado. People who visit here to explore new investment possibilities quickly leave and take their cash to another community.
Downtown does not have an image of a place to invest money when the city does not invest time and effort it making the core's image the place to be and invest. We need to act now to encourage new investment by getting committed to overhauling the worst areas in the older neighbourhoods. People live and invest where they feel safe and at this point l would be hard pressed to see a crowd clamoring to invest and move to our downtown neighbourhoods.
|Deans, Ian||No||The answer to the first part is probably not. It is my intention to challenge senior staff to bring forward a proposal, part of which will reflect how we would deal with derelict buildings the other part should deal with remediation and reutilization.|
|Farr, Jason||Yes||Like the new bylaw that goes after those owners who neglect property.. suppport it - plan on calling out those who care little about the core, and it's appearance|
|Ferguson, Lloyd||No||In my opinion more can be done. As a former Torontonian, I was surprised to see how many good assets Hamilton has, but have never effectively marketed them to businesses to relocate in Hamilton.|
|Geleynse, Martinus||No||To encourage investment in our neighbourhoods, we must prioritize people and their quality of life. The investment will follow if people deem the area worth investing in.
Aside from being affordable, our older neighbourhoods should be attractive because of their security, their pedestrian-friendliness, and the enforcement of property standards. By curbing urban sprawl, we will also create a greater need for housing, subsequently encouraging would-be sprawlers to reconsider downtown neighbourhoods.
The city must then play its role in providing the infrastructure in which people can thrive. This includes increasing green spaces (particularly important in the Durand neighborhood), encouraging investment in efficient public transit (LRT), reducing traffic speed and quantity, and providing safe pedestrian and bicycle routes. It comes down to making the quality of life in our older neighbourhoods a truly outstanding investment.
|Gentile, Matteo||No||This question is near and dear to me as I am passionate about redeveloping our older and priority neighborhoods. As Coucillor for Ward 2, I would work hard to limit the amount of residential development occurring in the "suburbs" or the Hamilton outskirts. If you limit or restrict this development, developers will look at opportunities that the redevelopment of our priority neighborhoods will present.
This will also have the effect of improving our infrastructure without taxpayer's money. It will improve our image and moral as a city. It will create jobs that are accessible to everyone using our current transit system. There are so many benefits to the city if we focus on redeveloping these neighborhoods and I have been a long time advocate of this strategy.
|Hess, Erik||No||Hamilton should be pressing for provincial and federal money to assist in recovering our brownfields. Because of Hamilton's industrial past, we are not on a level playing field with municipalities that don't inherently have such areas to clean up. If we are left to pay for those costs alone, it increases our municipal tax burden, which in turn, affects the decisions of businesses we're trying to attract.
I believe that when the empty spaces in our core areas are redeveloped, the neighbourhoods thrive. People naturally draw business with them - people move in, business moves in to serve them, and a neighbourhood lives. We must work to rejuvenate the dying areas within our city before expanding outward.
|Ielasi, Pat||No||No, Hamilton is not doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods, there are currently six programs in place for the revitalisation of downtown, but very little for the neighbour hoods, one example i can think of off hand is the Durand Park Revitalization Program that conducted a comprehensive details and inclusive plan in 2006 and will have to wait till 2013 to get the money needed for the improvements the requested. that amount is only 75,000 dollars. 7 years they will have to wait from the time of the report... totally UNACCEPTABLE.
Workable solution: Set up a contingency fund for each ward that will be administered by the WARD COUNCILLOR AND A COMMUNITY COUNCIL made up of the presidents of the neighbourhood associations and the BIA'S. This way if there is no money left in the pool of moneys there will be some money already set aside for these types of improvements.
|Janjic, Ned||No||No, in fact the city is hampering new investment through its inflexible and time-consuming by-law enforcement methods.
From personal experience, when I opened up a billiard hall/night club in my own commercial property, the procedures took over 18 months. Building a business is tough enough, yet when you are forced to wait for approval from a myriad of uncoordinated governments departments, plus the regular expenses of rent or a mortgage and utilities, it's enough to deter anyone from setting up in the downtown neighborhoods. I have personally witnessed people run out of resources before a project in the downtown core nears completion. On top of all this, financial institutions stay clear of investments in older neighborhoods for these reasons.
The city has attempted some half-hearted projects to attract investment to the downtown neighborhoods, but none have addressed the underlying structural and institutional obstacles that deter the sort of investors who would finance ventures without government subsidies.
Because small business growth is the cornerstone of my campaign, I am compelled to share an additional personal experience to further reinforce my point. I must also underscore the fact that other municipalities have been more responsive to the needs of both residents and businesses and are doing a better job of harmonizing their procedures and standards.
In my personal residence (Hamilton's historic Rockcastle) I've been subjected to so many bureaucratic obstacles that I understand why there is so little interest in the ownership and restoration of such wonderful properties, of which Hamilton has so many. Rockcastle is 180 years old and I have to comply with the same rules and regulations as the modern apartment buildings next door, yet numerous historical boards have put liens against my property to force me to maintain the building's original condition. This is absurd, because you cannot possibly comply with all of the contradictory standards. Furthermore, Ward 2 -where I live-has many beautiful, older buildings that have fallen into disrepair because banks are reluctant finance such properties
So, when someone from the artistic community invests in a property (renting or owning) and wants to perhaps live on-site as well, I understand the administrative hurdles. Likewise, I understand the frustrations of small businesses and homeowners that are exposed to additional financial risk due to time- consuming and inflexible regulations.
|Jelly, Matt||No||Fair taxation for downtown businesses and properties
Fair taxes for downtown businesses is critical to their success. I will fight for fair tax policies in the City budget and with the provincial assessment corporation so downtown businesses can continue to thrive.
Key Developments - Connaught, Barton-Tiffany, Waterfront
There are key developments in downtown Hamilton that must happen. We cannot afford another 20 year Lister Block. I will fight to give the Royal Connaught a heritage designation and bring this important downtown landmark back to life. I will also support redevelopment with our leading edge waterfront and downtown plans.
A Strong Arts Business Community
I will work with local arts groups to bridge the divide between artists, arts organizations, arts entrepreneurs and City Hall. We need to find common ground, and to recognize the significant economic impact the arts have on our City. I will bring together key members of the arts community for regular consultation on how we can further facilitate a strong arts community in our downtown. As someone with a professional arts background myself, I understand these relationships well, and recognize that the arts will play a significant role in Hamilton's economic development.
Downtown Business Advisory Council
I believe very strongly that small business is the life blood of downtown. Our downtown businesses are entitled to a Councillor who is in their corner and accessible to them. I will establish my Downtown Business Advisory Council to meet regularly with me on taxation, city services, city capital budget, and downtown business issues.
Sustained funding for business community organizations
Downtown business organizations are entitled to stronger and sustained funding. I support permanent funding for the BIA Association (HABIA) as well as for downtown business community organizations. I will also work with my own Business Advisory Council and the BIAs to find common ground.
Creating an environment where downtown businesses can flourish
I will not shy away from downtown's most complex problems - graffiti, abandoned buildings, crime, and addressing Hamilton's homelessness crisis. At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, I truly believe these are key elements, which would help to go a long way in attracting and keeping businesses. I will work towards a more sensible approach to housing social services- these are much-needed services, but downtown should not be the only part of town that shoulders this burden. All of Hamilton needs to work together on this issue.
I fully support efforts to lobby senior levels of government to put in place key federal and provincial funding to establish a world-class LRT system in Hamilton. I believe this is one major component to linking Hamilton's many communities, and expanding our existing transit system.
There are gaps in the current HSR system - I firmly believe we need more north-south connectivity between Main Street and the North End. As someone who relies on transit and walking as primary modes of transit, I take these issues seriously.
|Lescaudron, Dawn||No||No, Hamilton is certainly not doing enough to support or encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods. If we start to prioritize, clean up brownfields, rejuvenate our older neighbourhoods, and support our police department (who are working diligently on decreasing crime), we will be moving in the right direction.
That said if and when new business is introduced to our city we should expect that agreements put in place will be honoured. A perfect example is the current situation that our steelworkers are now facing. I strongly support their position and I feel that any breach of contract should be subject to penalties.
I think our image is only exceeded by our reputation. Improve our image and create a strong reputation by supporting what we already have in place.
|Novak, James||No||Hamilton is not doing enough to encourage nor support investment in our older neighbourhoods!
Some say, "If you build it, they will come". I say, to the city, "If you build it, then maintain it".
In the lower city, we have beautiful old homes and below them we have rusted-out and or lead water and sewage pipes, we have beautiful parks that are not maintained, we have insufficient transportation infra-structure, we have roads that are in terrible shape, many without bicycle lanes, we have had libraries closed in Ward 2.
Money needs to be spent immediately to remedy this situation. We have city housing that is in need of immediate repair. Our most vulnerable (the poor and seniors) are made to live in un-dignified and un-reasonable conditions. If you build city housing, then maintain it!
Remember, when non Hamiltonians are looking to move to Hamilton, they investigate all of these things.
At the moment, we do not appear to be very attractive compared to other cities. Only an attractive city with new or up-dated infra-structure will attract the population we need to grow and prosper.
|Pipe, Charlie||No||The city has not done enough to encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods. The advantages Hamilton offers should be intensively marketed beyond our city. Also, a focus on redeveloping brownfields for new residential, commercial and recreational use is essential.|
|Candidate||Brief Response||Full Response|
|Black, Bob||No||No the city is not doing enough to encourage new investment in older neighbourhoods. Something needs to be done to shake up this hive of potential. Initiative and resources need to be put into this part of our city I would not be at all surprised to find one of my constituents has already come up with a viable solution. In addition, I intend to look for it.|
|DiMillo, Mark||No||Many of my constituents have indicated that they would like to see better property standards enforcement, especially with respects to older commercial buildings. The City in my opinion is not doing enough enforcement to help preserve the integrity of the buildings in older neighbourhoods.
How this is relevant? If an investor sees depressed buildings or neighbourhoods, the general feeling is that although this may create an opportunity to purchase investment property inexpensively, it also makes it very difficult to resell and obtain financing for redevelopment. Therefore, an investor may not be inclined to invest.
Having said that, the city's new zoning by-law stage 1 which has been adopted by council and is waiting for Provincial approval, or may have already been approved was designed to support the redevelopment of the lower city, and in the BIAs. It will remove much of the red tape usually associated with redevelopments.
As well, the City is providing grants and loans, and money for remediation through the LEEDS program to help encourage developers to invest in older neighbourhoods and brownfields. The general feeling again, is that if someone has a good idea, but the zoning doesn't support it, the new zoning by-laws may make it easier to bring a developers vision to fruition, without having to go through the expensive re-zoning process.
As a City Councillor, I will ensure that there is continuous monitoring and measurement of these programs, and make sure that any improvements will be implemented swiftly to accommodate new investment opportunities in the lower city, to encourage continuous growth and revitalization of the older areas of our City.
|Gibson, Sean||No||No, the city is not doing enough. This is straightforward, cut out some of the red tape and invite people to invest in this area. Attaining a permit to enhance/renovate your property is like pulling teeth and costs just as much in some cases. Starting or establishing a business in this community is not a very pleasant or enjoyable experience, I'm speaking from experience. The support and encouragement that a municipality could provide is just not there. In the 16 years, I have operated my business here in this city, I have never once heard.... "Thank you for investing in Hamilton Mr. Gibson", it's the simple things that make a difference.|
|McGrimmond, Wilamina||No||Hamilton is not doing enough to support or encourage new investments as the older parts of Hamilton is still boarded up and falling down around us.
The City should be looking at ways to improve the older neighbourhoods instead of working in the new areas as they have been doing. They need to restore the history of Hamilton by restoring more old buildings.
|Morelli, Bernie||No||Hamilton can always do more to encourage investment in our older neighbourhoods.|
|Tetley, Paul||No||Hamilton is not doing enough to attract new business, or to support and encourage existing business in our older neighbourhoods. This is clearly evidenced by the recent news that Ward 3's The Pearl Company is preparing to close after 5 years of unsuccessfully dealing with the city's red tape.
Implementing a Community Improvement Plan is one of the cornerstones of my campaign. It will allow for owners of industrial heritage buildings to plan and finance for tenancy, adaptive re-use, and the restoration of lands and buildings, along with the infrastructure supporting them.
We will also establish an Industrial Heritage Building Association, consisting of property owners who will work together to share successes, advise on incentive programs, work to attract business, and co-market their facilities.
And we will put in place a plan to proactively encourage businesses to establish and customers to return to our commercial streets, while keeping them clean of garbage, and eliminating the illegal social clubs, as well as other illegal storefront uses.
|Candidate||Brief Response||Full Response|
|Bulbrook, Norm||No||I think that the City of Hamilton should be encouraging more new investments in our older neighbourhoods by having incentives to come into the areas that once were flourished with small Mom and Pop shops.
It is a shame to see all the empty store fronts on our inner city streets and large new businesses being built on the out skirts and taking away what is left of our indigenous animals natural habitats.
|Cicconi, Giulio||No||Hamilton is not doing enough. We should be looking at initiatives to redevelop our older neighbourhoods. This would create jobs, bring renewal to the area and attract new families to purchase homes in the area.|
|Merulla, Sam||No||As you know, I have always been very concerned about wasteful spending at city hall and creating an environment conducive to increasing assessment growth. I believe there are workable solutions available that will enhance governing based on our needs rather than wants. I would like to see our City of Hamilton attract and retain business in a sustainable manner.
We need to continue to find a balance between greenfield and brownfield developments in an attempt to provide a diverse environment of opportunity through employment lands.
The most significant motivation in my seeking office has always been my desire to help anyone who needs it. I have been in public service for twenty years from working with people with disabilities to substance abusers and troubled youth to serving the great people of Hamilton East, Ward 4, and as a whole, the City of Hamilton and there is no better feeling then advocating change and seeing it legislated.
My focus has been and will continue to be eliminating the one billion dollar deficit in hard infrastructure (i.e. Woodward Wastewater Treatment Plant, roads, sewers and bridges). Continue to pursue successful redevelopment of East end neighbourhoods through infill/brownfield developments (i.e. Lowe's at Barton and Woodward, Princess Auto on Barton, Seniors Centre at Main and Cope, Greyfield developments on Ottawa St and Kenilworth, Barton, King and Main Streets).
Furthermore I am focused in continuing to create a climate of investment such as Ward 4's The Centre on Barton, Crown Point Medical Arts building on Kenilworth, redevelopment of the old Derby Tavern to Rexall Pharmacy and the future Native Cultural Centre on Kenilworth. Lastly, I am very proud of the future park development at Rennie/Brampton Streets (Rennie St. End Use) and the creation of a new pedestrian/cycling bridge which will allow Ward 4 residents to safely connect to the city's waterfront.
City Council must focus on emerging problems (i.e. the need to increase industrial and commercial investments; thereby, increasing tax revenues without impacting residential taxes or front line services). We must be far more aggressive in uploading the tens of millions of dollars that the Province of Ontario downloaded to the City of Hamilton in terms of mandated programs and services without the necessary funding which deems it NOT revenue neutral and has cost the municipal tax payer in Hamilton $1 billion over the past decade or $146 million dollars, which impacts our operating budget.
The successful conclusion to the downloading crisis will allow council to function in a manner conducive to focusing in our needs and actually put the city in a position to assess a tax decrease of nearly 25 percent. We must determine who does what and who pays for what in our relationship with Ontario. We must do this in consultation AMO and FCM thereby renegotiating our agreements with Ontario to ensure a progressive form of taxation at the municipal level rather than the regressive nature that exists presently.
|Candidate||Brief Response||Full Response|
|Bedi, Jaswinder||No||The City is not doing enough. My view is that city should adopt a more comprehensive approach for the development of a healthy sustainable business ecosystem by business congenial policies. On the other hand, city should make efforts to make this city, a centre of excellence any a particular area by developing appropriate infrastructure and a business incentive program to attract investment, business and the talent.|
|Stacey, Dave||No||I believe that the city could be doing more to attract new business to Hamilton. It is a shame to hear about how council has put bureaucracy before innovation when it comes to examples such as The Pearl Gallery. Hamilton has a great advantage to most other cities being a thruway for all traffic heading to and from NY state. We should take better advantage of this in attracting businesses and not punishing those who are helping to rejuvenate this city.|
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|Behrens, Chris||No||Hamilton is not encouraging enough new investment into our older neighbourhoods. Infrastructure is very important to a business owner, so are the costs related to business. I feel that we need to upgrade our crumbling infrastructure, lower realty taxes, and build a solid plan to encourage new business.|
|Jackson, Tom||Yes||I am a strong proponent of upgrading our aging infrastructure, particularly in our older neighbourhoods. We need to allocate sufficient resources in future budgets to ensure that these improvements are made.|
|Knowles, Steven||No||In response to the posted question, I do not feel we are doing an adequate job of promoting new investment in our older areas. One way we could ease new business into our communities would be with tax breaks.
I know corporate tax breaks are not everyone's favorite but this would allow new business to get established before paying into high tax accounts. An example of this is with our downtown. Property tax is high and for that reason many businesses just don't go there. If we offered a tax rebate to all leaseholders, provided they are still doing daily business, then it would ease there start up.
We need to focus on the future and as such, we need to save people a little money today in order to help them prosper into tomorrow.
|Yan, Nathalie Xian Yi||No||From my personal experience and observation of past 9 years, city definitely did not do enough to support and encourage of establishing new business and draw attention of investment. The city need sustainable business development plan, diversified industries with long term goal. I believe that many of the problems we have in the city are a result of using a band-aid approach rather than addressing the root cause of the problem.
Learning from other jurisdictions on sustainable growth, we would need an all-encompassing plan that would look at everything from water and sewage use, to neighborhood planning, transportation, energy positive waster disposal, biofuel and solar energy.
Various schemes and funding from all three levels of government come and go, seemingly not play the "seed money" to get "fishing" skills to reach a long term result. Businesses already pay a lot more in property tax than residential taxpayers. I am frustrated in dealing with the unwillingness of city council to work with business owners on solutions to make our communities business friendly.
There are huge waste of human resources potential in our city is the immigrant population. The city need foster a culture where council look at all aspects of planning and investing, not just the political consequences.
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|Beck, Keith||Maybe||It's hard to assess if the city is doing enough to encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods. It's easy to look around and say that not enough has happened. But, we recently reorganized the suite of incentives the city offers and the recession has put many plans for investment on hold. We're going to have to see what results their are in new construction in older areas over the next 2-3 years to see if what the city offers is enough to get what the community wants.|
|Duvall, Scott||Maybe||The City is doing much to encourage investment in the form of Grants, Loans and Programs for the B.I.A.s and new business owners across our community and in the downtown area. While there are rules that must be followed, the City is willing to work with all investors. However, I am continually dealing with residents in older neighbourhoods who have been promised new sidewalks and roads for 15 or 20 years. I am appalled that they have been consistently put off in favour of other projects, while their community's infrastructure crumbles, and have been advocating on their behalf on an ongoing basis.|
|Gallagher, John||No||It has become clearly apparent that the programs in place have failed to inspire Brownfield cleanup and to return them to productive properties has been a disappointing failure. As for our older, established neighborhoods, the high taxes, fees for service and other charges Hamilton imposes on property/business development discourages investment of any kind.
If elected, I will ask city council to explore ways to mitigate those high costs and, where possible, provide realistic financial incentives to encourage new investment. The financial benefit from returning properties that are currently not contributing to the tax base is obvious.
|Pettit, Trevor||No||The current brouhaha surrounding the Pearl Company highlights that we need to rethink the way we do business. We need to cut red tape and streamline the process so that developers and investors jump at the chance to do business in our older neighbourhoods. We need to be careful not to focus on residential development in these areas as opposed to commercial/industrial wherever possible. We need to reduce the percentage of revenues that are derived from residential. Currently we are at close to 70% residential and that is a runaway train heading for the end of the line. Any development must first and foremost keep the environment in mind. We need to be much more aggressive in terms of business retention and in reaching out to potential investors/developers.|
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|Jenkinson, Kim||No||No, the City is not doing enough to encourage new investment in the older neighbourhoods. Traffic, parking and transit are issues throughout the city and they can be a barrier to people trying to access businesses. The permitting process can be slow; one newspaper reported a business waiting four years for the permits needed to grow his business.
Revitalizing the older neighbourhoods will depend on making them attractive for business investment. If the environment is conducive to business then investment will follow. The City's role is to ensure appropriate services in each area and to be responsive to requests from business.
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|Fiorentino, Nancy||No||Hamilton is not doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods. We must encourage investment in older neighbourhoods by providing more and better incentives and reasons for developers to assist in the process so that we can attract businesses and residents to those areas. We must create a beautification program that focuses heavily in these areas and to clean up the brownfield sites, to create sustainable infill development and to attract people and money!
Older neighbourhoods are valued heavily in other municipalities and are considered a great asset. Hamilton must do the same. We need to revitalize the older neighbourhoods and promote their significance and contribution to the greater city. They have great history and a lot to offer and cannot be neglected.
|McMullen, Geraldine||No||While Hamilton has some good financial incentive programs that assist with development and property improvements - like the Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program (CPIG), Hamilton Downtown Property Improvement Grant Program, Hamilton Downtown Multi-Residential Property Investment Program, and the Commercial Corridor Housing Loan and Grant Program - it is important to ensure that the City continues to improve upon these incentives and perhaps create more to entice new investment in our older neighbourhoods.
Working on continuing to make the older neighbourhoods walkable and rideable would assist in making these areas attractive for people to want to work, live and play, thus promoting new investment.
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|Bustamante, Jose Pablo||No||I do not think that the city is doing enough to support and encourage investment in any of our neighbourhoods. We live in an economy that relies in the small and medium businesses and besides attracting big corporations, the city needs to support the SMB segment. We need to start by reducing barriers in the different processes when someone wants to invest in Hamilton.|
|Josipovic, Bernard||No||The city is NOT doing enough to support new investment in older neighborhoods. We have to get away from the "cookie cutter" homes that seem to be taking over our city. We should be investing and working from the inside out, NOT just putting in shiny developments all around the place.|
|Pearson, Maria||Yes||Hamilton Economic Development team is doing the best it can to encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods. Further incentives, programs, etc. can always be brought forward and reviewed by Council.|
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|Chartrand, Ken||No||The city of Hamilton has not been doing enough to attract new business and or to support and encourage business in our older neighborhoods.Programs such as CPIG, and the Hamilton downtown property improvement programs are in place however the city needs to work further to enhance our down town core.
It has become clear that programs that are in place have failed to inspired brownfield clean up. The city needs to invest with small entrepreneurs, as well as big manufacturers as we need both.
|Johnson, Brenda||No||In the past, the City's focus seems to be on urban sprawl in the former area municipalities and not enough on intensifying development inside the urban boundary. The Places to Grow Act and the nodes and corridors approach contained in our new Official Plan, provide the opportunity for building new housing in the older neighbourhoods in the City, and installing dynamic live: work opportunities. We need to incorporate good planning strategies for sustainable communities where we can work, play and live. In Ward 11, there is an abundance of urban sprawl with no supporting infrastructure. We need to start to concentrate on intensifying within the urban boundary to improve our infrastructure.|
|Mitchell, David||No||Hamilton has created some excellent programs so far, for example like the ERASE program and interest-free loans (Downtown loans program) to refurbish unused commercial and industrial sites. These programs are steps in the right direction but we still need to do more. I would like to build on these and for the future we need to attract and retain more residential development to appreciate what downtown has to offer (i.e Art Gallery, Discovery Centre, Pier 4 park) and by doing that more commercial development will follow.|
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|Cox-Graham, Brenda||No||Hamilton is definitely not doing enough to revitalize city spaces. They should be cleaned up and made "shovel ready", as the builders say, to encourage new business to utilize these lands. Various forms of financial incentives could be offered. Some of it should be utilized for low income housing units. Small but good quality and carefully monitored. Small businesses should be encouraged especially with small start-up loans and help with understanding the risks and how to avoid them.|
|Ferguson, Lloyd||Yes||I believe we doing enough, based on the number of building permits which have been appoved in those areas. Also ERASE provides exception from development charges and a 10-year tax break for those neighbourhoods.|
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|Powers, Russ||No||It's very easy to say no because there's never enough that can be done. The availability of limited and dedicated resources and the setting of priorities defines what and when issues are dealt with in neighbourhoods but never soon enough! The City's capital infrastructure budget is $159 million short of the dollars annually needed to carry out everything that's wanted in any given year but are all taxpayers prepared to accept a 2% surcharge on their tax bills to make this happen...I don't think so!
There are many positive things that the City is doing to assist neighbourhoods and the City as a whole that are very helpful but then red tape, cumbersome bureaucracy and antiquated legislation grinds everything to a halt. A review of rules and process was initiated a couple years ago but will legitimately take substantial time to correct...significant issues are receiving priority.
|Robinson, Glenn||No||To encourage investment in older neighbourhoods, the city needs to focus its efforts in the following areas:
* Provision of efficient and affordable public transit
* Transit oriented development in the downtown core and along public transit corridors
* Creation of safe, clean and walkable neighbourhoods
* Incentives to restore or maintain historic and heritage buildings
* Brownfield development and remediation over greenfield development
Focusing on these areas will attract talent, business and investment.
|Scime, Danya||No||If by "investment" you are referring to small business and enterprise, I don't believe the city is doing enough...They do have start up and business resources at City Hall that can be accessed but I don't think it is of any huge use.
The problem is too much red tape, too much indecision, too many headaches. The average small business owner already has the skills to carry out her/his business, yet when they get to City hall to apply for the necessary permits, they quickly find out about by-laws and zoning restrictions etc.
So to be brief, no, Hamilton is not doing enough to support nor encourage new investment. They do not do enough to maintain existing businesses either.
The City needs to address each entity separately. I keep saying ~ "We cannot be painted with the same brush"...each Ward is different and we cannot apply the same by-law that works on Upper James to a rural road in Flamborough. The same applies for different areas within the core of Hamilton. Many of our older neighbourhoods need to be cleaned up. Start by charging full tax to the people that are letting abandoned warehouses rot away...Encourage investors to purchase and rejuvenate these buildings by giving them the tax break for revitalizing our streetscape. We need to have our Council think outside the box and look at the broader picture.
It worries me that everyone keeps reading about the struggles that existing entrepreneurs have within our City, this will discourage anyone who was thinking of coming to Hamilton, it certainly is not going to "encourage" them to invest here.
We need investment in our City to come from the small entrepreneurs all the way to the big manufacturers...when we get that right, the average family will also invest, by purchasing a home.
|Tammer, Ron||No||No, the city is certainly not doing enough to encourage new investment in older neighbourhoods. As a matter of fact, if we consider the "Pearl" situation on Steven St., they seem to be striving to discourage this type of investment! Hamilton should be bending over backwards to help entrepreneurs to pursue ventures like this by loosening the antiquated zoning bylaws, and offering tax incentives to those that want to redevelop closed down and dilapidated buildings in older neighbourhoods, instead of kissing up to developers that want services handed to them when they build on prime farm land.|
|Candidate||Brief Response||Full Response|
|Bos, Neil||Maybe||Let's be clear. I do not want Council to have another excuse to run up to Flamborough and steal everything we've worked for, in some cases for generations.
I plan to be at the council table to represent Ward 15 (Flamborough), and I will not approve "new investment" of any kind by council until I'm satisfied that Flamborough is either free or has been fairly treated by Hamilton and/or the province.
|Gaspar, Brian||No||I feel there is always room for improvement. As do the demographics, change so do the investment strategies of the older neighbourhoods. Businesses and developers see different potentials for a newly forming Hamilton continuously creating a more sociable environment for people to be attracted to Hamilton. We must continuously be creating a proper balance to establish appropriate needs for business and communities. We must utilize municipal provincial and federal governments' incentives to lessen the tax burden on residences.|
|Partridge, Judi||No||The city should consider funding programs (incentives) to encourage restorative development of existing older buildings as multi-use facilities to include commercial/institutional and residential. We need to grab hold of the new "restoration economy" and leverage investments to rebuild old neighbourhoods. We need to stop sprawl and focus on intensification.
The program would be most successful if it applied to all older neighbourhoods throughout Hamilton (old and new), and a smart way for leveraging investment from the private sector. Older neighbourhoods should include the downtowns of Ancaster, Dundas, Waterdown, Stoney Creek and Glanbrook. One of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city is actually Greensville in Flamborough.
One project that would be hugely successful in older neighbourhoods would be to develop medical facilities based on multiple service delivery. The clinic model could be large or small depending on the size of the neighbourhood, and include doctors, x-ray/ultrasound, pharmacy, physio, blood clinic, dentist and include a senior specialist to address the accessibility needs of our aging population. Potentially, there could be one floor of affordable senior housing as part of the development - a similar type development was just approved by Burlington Council to build on Plains Road in Aldershot area.
There could also be health care intern programs run in partnership with McMaster and Mohawk Colleges to train students "hands on" experience in the clinic. It could be replicated in older neighbourhoods throughout Hamilton creating medical hubs. Private investment funding from angel investors, doctors, the municipality and the province would make it a reality. Any developments must be self sustaining and not require ongoing taxpayer funding.
Response Summary (top)
|Brief Response||Count||% of Total|
16 Candidates Have Not Responded (top)
|Di Ianni, Larry|