Revitalization

Short-Term Pain Just More of the Same

By Ryan McGreal
Published October 02, 2007

John Kernaghan's economic prescription in today's Spectator ('Short-term pain essential for city's long-term gain?', Oct. 2, 2007) is shockingly wrong-headed.

His first suggestion is for the city to "live without planned improvements to existing roads, sidewalks and other housekeeping so new roads and sewers can open up development lands."

If we're looking forward, can we please take a few minutes to think about the likely economic conditions we'll be dealing with?

Global oil production is currently at or very near an all time peak. Daily production has been stalled at around 84 million barrels for the past three years, despite oil prices that have quadrupled since 2000, and despite dramatic increases in exploration and drilling.

To think that tomorrow's growth economy can come from servicing greenfields around an airport several kilometres from the centre of town is simply delusional.

Even if the city should somehow manage to leverage a transportation mode with very poor long term prospects for economic spin-off development, the work would involve low wage, low value-add warehousing and logistics.

These are insecure, $10/hour jobs with minimal benefits, not exciting career prospects.

If Hamilton is to grow its economic base and attract new employers, we must do the following:

The Farther Out model of development has run its course. Between rising energy costs, climate change, and escalating gridlock in car-dependent suburbs, smart cities are looking inward - and upward - toward a rich future of dense, vibrant urban development that provides a healthy business climate and an excellent quality of life.

That future does not exist in warehouses surrounded by asphalt next to an airport.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By umm.... (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2007 at 16:43:12

That's funny. We have already been delaying improvements to roads and sewers so that we could open up new development lands for DeSantis and all the other buddies of city council.

What was the Meadowlands for? What about the Red Hill Parkway? What about the Linc?

Where has it gotten us? Are we better yet? Where's our budget surplus from all the fancy new property taxes we were supposed to get from all this development?

Can we stop now and try to rebuild our roads?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted October 02, 2007 at 17:08:26

I'm going to give John Kernaghan the benefit of the doubt and suggest he wrote the entire article with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. How else to explain the hilarity of this throwaway line:

"Toronto-area industrial realtors are waiting for land to open up as many GTA businesses look to move down the QEW corridor and escape gridlock..."

Comedy gold.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 03, 2007 at 10:08:03

these guys must think we're idiots.

This wasn't all that long ago:

http://www.raisethehammer.org/index.asp?...

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