Comment 109525

By m (anonymous) | Posted February 22, 2015 at 17:08:36

Welcome to Hamilton; frustrating, isn't it?

The same constituents and pathetic, pandering councillors who make it their mission to stop any and all progress downtown are the same who will complain about high residential taxes or about not getting their "fair share" (all while building a $1.7 million dollar bocce ball court).

While I currently live on the mountain, I can appreciate that what is good for the core is, in turn, good for us all. I may never use the Cannon bike lanes, but I understand that they are a wise investment of "my" tax dollars because they improve the livability of the surrounding neighbourhood. I never once used the bus lane as an HSR rider, but I was willing to lengthen my commute by two minutes (or adjust my route!)for the greater good of our city. If built, will I ever use LRT? Maybe, but if I don't, I realize that this is exactly the type of investment we need to make in order to attract new economic and residential development opportunities, to compete with other cities in an effort to retain current Hamiltonians and graduating students, and to reduce reliance upon the residential taxpayer.

When trying to explain this logic to "unengaged" friends and family (who, I have now come to realize, have jobs and families to tend to...thanks, Terry!), I often find that it falls on deaf ears. There is a rooted indifference toward downtown or the "old" city. In many cases, I would go as far as to say there is a hatred. Where does this hatred stem from? It beats me. Perhaps they were once approached by an "undesirable" along King Street East; perhaps five lanes on Main Street are not enough for them; perhaps they've fallen victim to the urban versus suburban rhetoric. Whatever the reason, my experience has been that if I take the time to try to explain the value of bike lanes, bus lanes, LRT, etc., I am often met with dismissive remarks such as, "Yeah? Well, downtown sucks" or, "Yeah? Well, downtown should still be razed." It's hard to convince those who have no desire to be convinced.

It's no surprise that Whitehead has more success with "individual engagement at Westcliffe Mall." Is this guy serious? While there, he can confidently woo constituents with his feathered hair and a handshake as he promises them a filled pothole and a new blue box.

Most of us reading this site know that most of our councillors are completely inept when it comes to common sense, 21st century city-building. What's worse is that they have no desire to learn. Councillors have openly admitted to making up their minds regarding significant issues before even hearing study results or staff reports. Huh? Making the difficult, and right, decisions would jeopardize the "impressive" runs of many of this city's councillors.

I have accepted the fact that the pandering, career councillors in this city cannot be trusted to make the right decisions, and they cannot be persuaded with logic or reason (Whitehead's often defensive replies to Ryan and others are embarrassing). Unless ward boundaries are redrawn to balance the current urban vs. suburban imbalance, things will never, ever change. I don't see this redrawing of boundaries happening any time soon.

So, what's the solution? I know this isn't very "activist" of me, but, unfortunately, I think we'll just have to wait until a critical mass is achieved in the core. Hopefully, the turning point will be when people start moving into the condos being built and proposed downtown. Hopefully, these new residents, who have invested in the core, will add their voices to ours. Hopefully, this critical mass will allow Hamilton to achieve its potential in spite of council.

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