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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16 Candidate Responses (top)
|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.|
Response Summary (top)
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3 Candidates Have Not Responded (top)