Council is poised to vote on the Airport Employment Growth District, a 3,000 acre plan to expand the urban boundary around Hamilton International Airport for employment lands. Do you support this plan? Why or why not?

Responses to the question: "Council is poised to vote on the Airport Employment Growth District, a 3,000 acre plan to expand the urban boundary around Hamilton International Airport for employment lands. Do you support this plan? Why or why not?"

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15 Candidate Responses (top)

Ward 02
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Caplan, Marvin Maybe Despite the importance of this decision, and particularly the symbolic importance of a "No vote" for environmentalists, many unions, and voters with whom I generally look to for support, I cannot at this time give a yes or no answer. Were a referendum to be held, I have no doubt whatsoever that the majority of voters in wards One, Two, Thirteen and perhaps the Flamborough ridings, would vote not to expand the Urban boundary. I am also of the opinion that those voters who are right of centre, and most of the balance of the city would support the expansion.

Before I voted I would need to better understand our supply of Industrial land, the quality of the "greenspace" being utilized, and any other information to which I have not carefully studied. Many contributors to* Raise the Hammer*, and my understanding of your editorial position is that you are opposed to any expansion of the Urban Boundary.

Rather than pander to the position held by you, and I assume the majority of your readers, my position as previously stated is: I am opposed to expanding the urban boundary for residential use. I am opposed to the profligate practice of past councils using job land for residential uses. I will support expansion of the urban boundary for job lands if necessary, but only if my careful analysis indicates it is critical to do so.
Casey, Paul Yes I support the AEGD with strict conditions:

I know this will likely cost me some voter support, and I do strongly believe that attracting viable and sustainable business to our wealth of Brownfields is a priority in revitalizing Hamiltons economic engine. However we need options. We all want to see our already serviced and established industrial lands churning out goods again, but we don't own alot of that land right now, and a high tech industry, or research facility may not wish to be located in the midst of medium to heavy industrial areas. When you look at the Technology hubs and Light Industry campuses around the world we admire and strive to attract, it is generally their choice to locate in more pristine areas. We need the space and infrastructure for both.

My conditions:

-A much smaller corridor than that currently planned for. 1000 acres or so.

-Strictly business: Light industrial, high tech, research and innovation. No retail unless it is there only to support these new businesses (ie: no big box outlets, shopping centers that would take business away from existing "consumer" areas

-NO rezoning for residential.

-Any and all environmentally sensitive areas strictly Hands Off with a wide buffer zone.

-Brownfield First mind set: We always pitch out existing lands first, no matter who the prospective investor may be with an strong 2nd option of the AEGD

Any city owned agricultural lands not in my downsized AEGD plan would be either leased back out at favourable rates for continued agricultural use, or even better, used as community garden areas for the residents of Hamilton to grow their own non commercial produce. Small plots that can be rented out by the season for a small rate.
Castle, John Maybe I don't know the details, I'll reserve. Knowing what I know about YHM - it's probably a complete and utter waste of resources, just like the airport itself.
Chiarelli, Diane Maybe The Airport Employment Growth District has been around for some time now. While I do believe that we must support growth to provide vital jobs for residents in this city, I feel I do not have enough information to fully state that I support it 100%. Who owns the 3,000 acres at this point? We must remain sensitive to the needs of the community. We should encourage agri-business to invest in this area, a corporation that focuses on green initiatives, and seek out a new industries that can bring a different perspective to the table to utilizing the employment lands.
Deans, Ian Maybe I get the impression that this like many things is driven by those who will benefit financially whether it's right or not. As soon as this is approved it will require considerable sums of money just to get the first phase underway, and we don't know what that will cost, let alone the project as a whole.
Farr, Jason Yes Hate driving by Wayne GretzKy Parkway and seeing all that we could have had - WE NEED JOBS - we MUST attract investment (LARGE) and that the best spot - lets celebrate what will still be a billion dollar ag. industry too. And lets welcome new jobs and industry with the most prudent and appropriate measures
Geleynse, Martinus No I do not support the AEGD plan. The last thing this city needs is a $350 million investment based on speculation and the creation of NON-living wage employment. The AEGD is a further investment in urban sprawl at the expense of redevelopment of our brownfields. While it is great for property speculation in the outlying areas, it does not do anything for the redevelopment of our lower city. It most certainly doesn't expand our tax base in a sustainable way. The simple business case is dramatically flawed. I would rather see our commercial tax base expanded by smart investment within our existing city infrastructure.
Gentile, Matteo No This is a double edged sword for me. In principle I do not support developing green space when we have a number of Brownfields that must be remediated and developed. We have to focus on remediating the Brownfields to bring residents and jobs to the city's core. I'm even in favor of taking on the task of remediating the Brownfields in an effort to attract industry that want "shovel ready" lands. And when you revitalize the core, you revitalize the city.
Hess, Erik No This is much too large of a project at this time. I believe that we must look at the brownfield areas as our future growth area. The businesses that MUST be near the airport should, of course, be near the airport, however non airport businesses need to be part of our brownfield development area.
Ielasi, Pat No No I cannot support the use of Agricultural Lands to be converted for commercial use. Urban sprawl is one of the reasons we have the situation in the downtown core to begin with. lets develop the many brown field sites and the many boarded up buildings first.
Janjic, Ned Yes Yes, absolutely.

The more employment land available the better. The airport is a great asset and its potential should be maximized. It is an important area for Hamilton's future growth. This will benefit our tax base and help create much needed jobs and investment we are looking for. Quite frankly, I cannot see any reasonable opposition to the proposal.
Jelly, Matt No I believe our focus has to shift towards brownfield remediation and redevelopment within a firm urban boundary, reinvesting in the existing framework of transportation infrastructure, and attracting new clean industry. We now know that air freight is not viable long-term due to the rising cost of oil, and to plan such a large project at such a huge expense predicated on this unsustainable mode of transportation doesn't make sense.

We tend to define brownfields out of existence. We need to take a full inventory of Hamilton's vacant brownfield sites, and lobby for reinvestment from all levels of government to make these lands viable again for a new, clean industrial use. In doing so, we need to employ our own workforce in the clean up and rehabilitation of these properties.

Hamilton's industrial sector needs a reboot- not just for our long term economic viability, but for the health and well-being of some of our most vulnerable citizens. We also need to protect our agricultural lands to ensure we can grow food locally in the long-term. While I recognize Hamilton's need to sustain assessment growth to take the tax burden off residents, I do not believe AEGD is the way to go about it. In the end it will cost us in more ways than we can imagine.
Lescaudron, Dawn No No. At this point I would have to vote against the AEGD. We must concentrate on the already existing infrastructure before we do anything else. What we have is broken, fix it and we will grow.
Novak, James Yes City staff have not demonstrated that there is an immediate need. I believe we should build as the need becomes apparent. If that means we develope 33% of the project now, because there is a demonstrated need, then I would agree. Leave the other 67% until we can rationalize the need. Of course there is a lead-time required in order to meet future needs. Civic staff should be providing yearly reports and councill should respond to future needs as they become apparent. The cost of building the entire project now is mind boggling.

We need to immediately put funds toward updating our current infra-structure in the neighbourhoods of the lower city, now! Our water and sewer system, roads, parks, recreation centres, arenas etc.
Pipe, Charlie Yes I support the Airport Employment Growth District. Hamilton is at the heart of the Golden Horseshoe and has for years wasted this geographical advantage by not having lands available for industrial, warehouse, and transport growth. The AEGD provides the necessary land which will allow us to compete with other Southern Ontario cities. As someone who grew up in rural Wentworth County, I understand the importance of farmlands, particularly those passed down through generations, growing food to feed our city. The majority of farmlands in the AEGD produce sod or cash crops (ie corn) which are harmful to our environment and do little to nourish our city. The AEGD will create jobs and increase our tax revenues.

Response Summary (top)

Brief ResponseCount% of Total

4 Candidates Have Not Responded (top)

Ward 02
Coleman, Shane
Ferguson, Lloyd
Jones, Hoojung
Wright, Kevin