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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12 Candidate Responses (top)

CandidateBrief ResponseFull 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.

Response Summary (top)

Brief ResponseCount% of Total

3 Candidates Have Not Responded (top)

Di Ianni, Larry
Filice, Pasquale
Wozny, Mark