Special Report: Light Rail

Architects Endorse Light Rail in Letter to Transport Minister

The Hamilton/Burlington Society of Architects just sent a letter to Transport Minister Steven Del Duca calling on the Province to keep its funding commitment for LRT in Hamilton.

By RTH Staff
Published September 26, 2014

The Hamilton/Burlington Society of Architects just sent a letter to Ontario Transport Minister Steven Del Duca to endorse Hamilton's light rail transit (LRT) plan and call on the Province to keep its commitment to full capital funding.

Following is the text of the letter.

Dear Mr. Del Duca,

This letter is an endorsement by the Hamilton Burlington Society of Architects (HBSA) for a Light Rail Transit (LRT) line in Hamilton. We as an organization feel that LRT is the right decision with the greatest benefits for our city - this echoes the conclusions of the City of Hamilton's two-phase feasibility study that was unanimously endorsed by our city council.

New and projected development leading the way for LRT Currently Hamilton has over 20 new multiple residential developments in construction or planning stages within the city's core, representing approximately 1600 units.

This is an unprecedented number not seen in decades. These developments demonstrate a clear trend towards denser urban living - a trend that will be supported and made more successful by the access to expedient and convenient high quality transit afforded by an LRT line.

These developments are just the beginning of a projected 100,000 new Hamilton residents over the next 25 years. To accommodate this influx, LRT will encourage development and densification along its route within the city's built-up area. This supports many of the principles laid out in the province's Places to Grow strategy by:

  • Revitalizing our downtown to become a vibrant and convenient centre,
  • Curbing sprawl and protecting farmland and green spaces,
  • Reducing traffic gridlock by improving access to a greater range of transportation options.

Investment in LRT is the best long-term fiscal decision The upfront costs of LRT are significant. However, both the City and the province have feasibility and benefits case studies on LRT that conclude it will generate a large net benefit in increased tax assessment.

As LRT encourages concentrated growth within its proximity, the expense of new public infrastructure will be greatly reduced as the need for new greenfield developments will also be reduced.

Furthermore, LRT has a lower per-passenger operating cost than alternatives such as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) or traditional buses. Long term, LRT has been demonstrated to be the investment with the best fiscal return for the future.

Hamilton has the commuting habits to support LRT today 70% of Hamiltonians live and work within the city. Among other regional cities provincially, that live-work balance is second on ly to Toronto at 80%.

As an LRT line will run directly through our largest job cluster (the downtown core), many of these intra-city commuters will be given a new commuting option that is fast, reliable, and more environmentally sustainable.

LRT will ensure Hamilton remains competitive and attractive to newcomers. As Hamilton's economy transitions from its predominantly industrial past, the city is emerging as a leader in healthcare and innovation with a diverse economy. We need to ensure we remain competitive, attracting new businesses and talent to our city and province.

An investment in LRT will send a clear message that Hamilton is serious about its future as a livable, sustainable, and economically vibrant centre. It is the hope of the HBSA that you will invest in Hamilton by approving provincial funding of an LRT line.

Sincerely,

The Hamilton Burlington Society of Architects Executive
Drew Hauser, OAA (Chair)
Rebecca Beatty, OAA (Vice Chair)
Graham McNally, OAA (Treasurer)
Edward Winter, OAA (Secretary)
Agata Mancini, OAA Intern (Secretary)

CC: Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina, City of Hamilton Council Members, City of Hamilton MPPs

66 Comments

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 15:21:50

Nice!

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By Starbuck (registered) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 15:22:36

Ontario Can't Balance Books By 2018 Without Tax Hikes, Cuts: Report

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/09/25/...

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By jeffzuk (registered) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 16:33:55 in reply to Comment 104878

Good reminder. Then what about Aerotropolis, which moves forward despite Mayor Bob Bratina voicing "grave concerns" because "of the serious risks involved to taxpayers should the promised development not occur at a level that would support the investment of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars for the required servicing"? Source

Or this: "Perhaps the biggest concern is the risk versus reward consideration. The cost to provide services to these lands is upwards of a billion dollars, with no guarantee of justification in terms of thousands of new, well paying jobs. (Rob Rossini's words to council were…"but I gotta tell ya…if the development doesn't come, taxes will go through the roof….." ) In an aerotropolis setting, likely candidates for development would be warehousing and distribution centres. Current studies show employee numbers as low as one per 4,000 square feet, and wages can be as little as $11 dollars an hour." (Italics mine) Source

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By Starbuck (registered) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 16:40:46 in reply to Comment 104883

I agree

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 15:54:29

Please submit this to the Spec.

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By Sceptic (anonymous) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 16:12:28

The local building association just endorsed the complete renovation of downtown! (Are you surprised) Doctors just endorsed massive increases to health care funding!! (I am astounded.) Architects get massive funding to provide plans for major alterations 403 interchange!!! (I am shocked.) The corollary to this is that all of should never shop when we are hungry.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted September 30, 2014 at 08:17:45 in reply to Comment 104880

Yes yes, don't shop when you're hungry, far better to starve to death.

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By bvbborussia (registered) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 19:06:13 in reply to Comment 104880

Good point

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 16:40:50 in reply to Comment 104880

The corollary to this is that all of [sic] should never shop when we are hungry.

This logic assumes that you get to choose to 'shop when you are not hungry', but if that were the case than both Toronto and Hamilton would be very different places. Toronto would probably have two extra subway lines and multiple rail lines, and Hamilton would probably already have at least one rapid transit line of some kind. Now we are at the point where the investment is needed and we still have to procure the project, which could take a decade.

In other words, if you are hungry and you don't buy food, you will starve.

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By Starbuck (registered) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 16:37:27 in reply to Comment 104880

So true.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 16:41:49

Expect a steady stream of Hamilton's most successful business and community associations to send similar letters over the next month. Basement dwellers won't be happy, which is yet one more endorsement of LRT.

Hamiltons heaviest hitting biz groups support LRT and will be vocal about it.

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By inclusive (anonymous) | Posted September 28, 2014 at 12:01:43 in reply to Comment 104887

Really! Basement dwellers. Offensive is no way to engage

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 28, 2014 at 23:28:11 in reply to Comment 104929

Evidently this sarcastic shot at online trolls (known for living on the computer in their mothers basements) didn't quite come out right. Lol Certainly no issue with basement apartments if that's how it sounded.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 14:57:40 in reply to Comment 104887

Basement dwellers won't be happy, which is yet one more endorsement of LRT.

What???

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By Jason is a state-sponsored troll (anonymous) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 20:58:21 in reply to Comment 104912

Don't mind him. His inflated sense of self-worth usually turns most off, as does his hyperbole and tired rhetoric. Don't feed the trolls...

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By Reality (anonymous) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 16:50:04

It doesn't really matter who endorses it, if city council doesn't sign on it's dead in the water. Councillors may have approved it in principle but that is far from final approval and judging from comments I am hearing from people outside of this insulated blog not too many voters are in favor of it. Council will reflect the views of the majority.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 22:15:16 in reply to Comment 104889

If council has any brains they'll pay attention to data like this:

http://poll.forumresearch.com/data/Hamil...

Even after 4 years of a mayor sabotaging LRT, the 18-54 age ranges overwhelmingly support a rapid transit system. And their preference is LRT in a landslide. Imagine how much more lop-sided this data would be after 4 years with a real mayor and some leadership.

The only age range that is split or opposed on LRT is over 65. Call me crazy, but no city on the planet should be making multi-decade planning decisions based on what folks over 65 prefer. The young, educated, tech-savy workforce is who we are targeting over the next 30 years of city-building. Let's plan for the future, not the past.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 15:38:42 in reply to Comment 104897

If council has any brains they'll pay attention to data like this

Not to be too cynical, but councilors pay attention to two things: voters and donors. If they think these poll numbers will translate into votes on election day they'll get on board (contrary to popular belief they listen carefully to what people say when they are out knocking on doors and so forth). They also pay attention to their finances. If financial backers and contributions start flowing to candidates supporting LRT things will change in a hurry.

The young, educated, tech-savy workforce is who we are targeting over the next 30 years of city-building.

This may be so, but it's the voters today who determine who has political power at City Hall. Not enough emphasis on their needs and you get a populist backlash. Right now Hamilton is in transition. This is a tricky place to be from a political standpoint ... the old is receding but not yet dead and the new is emergent, but not yet dominant (well actually, the old is still pretty dominant and the new is pretty nascent). I would like to think that council is thinking about the next 30 years, but the reality is they think in election cycles.

Comment edited by RobF on 2014-09-27 15:46:58

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted September 30, 2014 at 08:21:13 in reply to Comment 104913

Fortunately, that's too cynical in my experience. Most of council are pretty committed to the people of the city.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 23:05:53 in reply to Comment 104897

I suspect council will pay attention to data like this:

poll.forumresearch.com/data/Hamil...

"One fifth of voters select taxes as the single most important issue out of six (20%) in this campaign, and this is followed by just fewer who opt for leadership (16%). Then, economic development (15%), transit and city services (13% each) and poverty (12%)."

Then again, it's just one poll, with all of its attendant flaws. No fait accomplis at this point.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 12:37:23 in reply to Comment 104899

Re: "attendant flaws"

Sept 21, 2014: Progressive Conservatives to take most seats
poll.forumresearch.com/post/147/all-tied-up-in-new-brunswick

Sept 26, 2014: New Brunswick election: Brian Gallant, Liberals win majority government
cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/elections-new-brunswick-makes-liberal-win-official-1.2778604

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 23:23:31 in reply to Comment 104899

definitely they will pay attention to that. There's only one way to lower the residential tax burden - new development in the already existing urban area, curb sprawl and lure new investments, companies and jobs to the city. Hamilton has kept it's tax increases in the 1-2% range the past several years. Lowest in the GTHA by far. Mississauga has seen some 10% plus increases past few years. Hamilton literally can't cut anything. Which is why many people worry about Clark bringing Mike Harris' common sense slash-fest to our city. No thx.

Growing the economy wisely and with proper growth is necessary. LRT can be a driver of that, along with proper guidelines limiting low density, debt-producing sprawl and adding new density through the entire region.

Check the tax implications when we redevelop the under performing lower city:

http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/23...

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 23:10:25 in reply to Comment 104899

Re: "attendant flaws"

forumresearch.com/forms/News%20Archives/News%20Releases/40010_Alberta_Issues_Poll_(Forum_Research)_(20120422).pdf

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 26, 2014 at 22:23:02 in reply to Comment 104897

The problem is the 65-and-over bracket basically own municipal elections. Getting university students to vote is like pulling teeth, especially municipally.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted September 30, 2014 at 08:22:50 in reply to Comment 104898

If it were as easy as pulling teeth, I'd be right on it. Couple of big lads to sit on either shoulder and a pair of pliers? Easy peasy.

But it's not even that easy.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 17:01:33

advocacyhamilton.com/tools-for-effective-letter-writing/salutations

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By TheBaldasaro (registered) - website | Posted September 26, 2014 at 17:08:27

@TheBaldasaro: BRT/LRT My business plan supports beefing up BRT to expand service and shorten wait times. My plan includes an LRT-LOOP from GO BUS STATION on James , South to GO RAIL STATION on James, North of Barton. Travelling North on Bay, South on James, East and west between King and Hunter, it encompass the new HSR/BRT Station on MacNab. This is the only LRT that makes sense. It is the HEART OF THE SYSTEM to follow. (Fossil fuelled BRT = tomorrows dinosaur.) GO to Go Service will serve all East and West BRT Routes of the G.H.A. It will attract local and out-of-town Tourism and Toronto Commuters to our Condos. This our plan is our best opportunity for creating a sustainable and expandable BRT/LRT which benefits the entire City. See LRT vs. BRT https://raisethehammer.org

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted September 30, 2014 at 08:52:58 in reply to Comment 104891

This is a tiny toy-train system that isn't worth funding, won't generate economic development, and requires more mode changes than is sensible. Fundamentally it doesn't link the city together.

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By Logic (anonymous) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 18:37:38

Just finished reading the Spectator's Forum poll. Eisenberger in a comfortable lead and McHattie is bringing up the rear. Time for progressives to smell the coffee and block Clark's train wreck. Brian can't win.

Makes sense no?

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted September 30, 2014 at 08:53:38 in reply to Comment 104892

Actually, Undecided is in the lead.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 22:08:03 in reply to Comment 104892

Larry, is that you??

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By Too Early (anonymous) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 19:13:55 in reply to Comment 104892

Nice try...

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 22:10:14 in reply to Comment 104894

agreed. Couple notes: Brian scoring well among highly educated voters. Let's hope he can spread that city-wide. Clark dominating those who voted for Bratina last time, oldest voters and those who vote Conservative in Prov elections. Thx for coming out.

Also of note, the poll was entirely done via landlines. In other words, folks like me have no chance of being called in such a poll since we only own cell phones. This is true of a large % of younger voters. Again, this will help Brian I think when a proper landline+cell poll is done.

I could really see Clark landing in 3rd.

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By jeffzuk (registered) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 23:46:18 in reply to Comment 104896

Plus factor in the large undecided vote. Part of the reason for Eisenberger's lead is his name recognition prior to the campaign heating up in the final 30 days. I'm not saying McHattie's fortunes will change – he will have to capitalize on the increased attention he's going to receive – but I agree with those above that it's too early to draw conclusions.

Comment edited by jeff on 2014-09-26 23:47:01

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By Encore (anonymous) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 01:38:29

Will RTH reach out to Ticats, Tim Hortons, Mac, to do same? Would be great if these started their own internal campaigns to reach out to their clientele with same message.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 18:48:23 in reply to Comment 104903

Mac is already on record as supporting LRT.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 28, 2014 at 10:05:19 in reply to Comment 104918

The hospital or the university. It seems they could make the argument on public health grounds.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted September 28, 2014 at 10:13:11 in reply to Comment 104925

The University.

goo.gl/wqafLZ

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By DiIanni (registered) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 09:41:20

Jason, this is me. It may be a bit early for such a dramatic move. However, the poll is interesting from a number of perspectives. It seems to confirm the information Dreschel mused about several columns ago about private polls. It certainly confirms the numbers in a poll that had my name in it when I was contemplating another run. Fred had strong recognition and approvals; Clark and McHattie had very low numbers in each category. The crucial weeks are coming up. The ballot box question isn't clearly defined yet, even though Brad is trying hard for it to be LRT and the media is supporting this debate because well, they want a debate. As important as this issue is, very few elections in my estimation are won by people who want to 'stop' something from happening. They are usually won by people who want to make something happen. That is why Brad is coupling the LRT debate with an 'affordability' argument. His problem is that he has flip-flopped on the issue so it feeds into the 'opportunistic/dirty-tricks/integrity' theme that is emerging.

As for the large undecideds? It shouldn't come as a surprise that the number is as large as it is this far away from election day. However, again experience tells me that the undecided vote will eventually split out in more or less the same way as the decided vote indicates which means that the largest share should go to Fred.

However, now is the time for all campaigns to focus. Brian is playing catch up and if he thinks he will gain most of the undecideds, it will be miraculous for him to do so. Not impossible, but highly improbable.

Brad will need to expand his base of support but unless he can convince people that he isn't as Brian said, "Machiavellian" it will be hard for him to do so. Not impossible but very improbable.

Fred needs to maintain momentum, not make mistakes, spend money wisely. Stay on message and bring it home.

I will do my best to enjoy the race. I love politics. And of course help Fred Eisenberger win. He really is the best choice.

Thanks for asking, Jason.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted September 30, 2014 at 09:00:58 in reply to Comment 104904

Thanks. I think the polling analysis here is really good, and it squares with the experience of previous campaigns as well. You and Fred were beating Bratina all ends up in the last election too, until fairly close to e-day. The dynamic is different here with one frontrunner instead of two; it does make Fred's job easier this time, a lot of playing defence, which he's good at.

He's run a really boring campaign, except for your mistakes I guess, but I don't think it's hurt him. Bratina's boondoggle of a mayoralty has made people long for boring even when it's as bereft of ideas as Fred is.

I still think Brian will win though; he's smarter and more dynamic than his opposition and offers more. I think people in the city long for it to be something more and are tired of being told they aren't good enough.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 15:43:20 in reply to Comment 104904

Interesting analysis. Do you have any thoughts on the eventual composition of council? Do foresee any surprises?

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By Starbuck (registered) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 14:32:55 in reply to Comment 104904

Good analysis.

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By jeffzuk (registered) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 13:11:34 in reply to Comment 104904

Another reading is to suggest it's still anyone's race. That's what I gathered from comments made by Lorne Bozinoff, the president of Forum Research, who conducted the poll, to the Spectator:

"No one wins a mayoral race with 26 per cent of the vote. I'm surprised no one is doing better at this stage … It suggests no one has really caught the imagination of voters yet."

Mr. Eisenberger's name recognition has allowed him to come out to an early lead leaving plenty of space – in the form of a huge block (34 percent!) of undecided voters – for the other candidates to make their case and become better known.

Personally, I'm hoping that once the voters get a good look at the other candidates, they'll pick the one with a past that doesn't include running for the Conservatives, supporting Aerotropolis or wavering on LRT.

Comment edited by jeff on 2014-09-27 13:19:23

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By Travutt (anonymous) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 11:05:16

Go Brian

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By DiIanni (registered) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 15:57:10

Do you have any thoughts on the eventual composition of council? Do foresee any surprises?

I think the current councillors seeking re-election are all slated to return. The obvious races are in Wards 2, 3, 9 and Dundas. Because of the lack of incumbency in those wards, it is anyone's race to win. I think that Sandy Shaw, Aidan Johnson and Brian Lewis are vying for the top spot with Mr. Tony Greco a real dark horse because of his name recognition. Ira Rosen and Jason Allen seem quite motivated but don't have the same profile.

Ward 3 is a real dog's breakfast (so to speak) to try to guess. Matthew Green has good endorsements from grass root groups, Ralph Agostino has name recognition as has Tim Simmons, Bob Assadourian is working hard, Mark Di Millo has a team of animated campaigners in yellow jerseys out each day and Drina Ozimaic has experience and is well connected. The dark horse here is the astute and cerebral Brian Kelly, Bill's brother.

Ward 9 has an interesting mix: Marie Robbins is running a strong campaign, Doug Conley, an old friend from Stoney Creek Council days is active in the community, Nancy Fiorentino has name recognition, having run several times is smart and photogenic to boot, and Ms. McMullen has labour backing.

Dundas: where to start? Arlene Vanderbeek is an insider, Toby Yull is working hard, Danya Scime has run before and Rick McCourt has some credentials.

The sad thing in some of these wards is that only one will win. I can think of 4 or 5 who should be elected.

Isn't it fun though to participate?

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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 20:36:30 in reply to Comment 104915

In other words, the council of the next four years will be three-quarters identical to the current council.

The good news? If we keep rotating turnover at that rate, we can potentially have have an entirely new council in another 12 years. Then we can turn our attention to refreshing City staff for the 21st century.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 18:56:00 in reply to Comment 104915

Sorry, ward 1 is between Jason Allen and Aidan Johnson. Sandy Shaw has some name recognition, but the only thing Mr. Tony is recognized for is living in Ancaster and owning student rental housing in Westdale. Brian Lewis and Ira Rosen aren't even on the radar.

And you forgot Marc Risdale in Dundas.

Comment edited by highwater on 2014-09-27 18:57:13

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By DiIanni (registered) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 15:57:46

Sorry Jason Farr. Of course I meant Ward 1, not 2...Jason will win.

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By DiIanni (registered) | Posted September 28, 2014 at 08:43:10

Highwater, I also forgot Cam Galindo, the 19 year-old in Ward 9. He won't win-this time. But he is quite bright, brash and articulate. Maybe in 4 or 8 years. Apologies to those I left out. Mine wasn't intended to be an exhaustive commentary, just observational. Ward 1 and 3 are hard to call. Get Out the Vote (GOV) will be crucial, as always. As for Mr. Tony, I did say he was a 'dark horse' but the Ancaster thing isn't critical to someone who spends as much time in Ward 1 as he does. It really is his 'home base'. Yet, I take your point about Aidan and Jason, but I think Sandy IS in the mix as is Brian.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 28, 2014 at 12:40:47 in reply to Comment 104923

the Ancaster thing isn't critical to someone who spends as much time in Ward 1 as he does. It really is his 'home base'.

But it's critical to the voters and he knows it, or he wouldn't try to hide it by using one of his student rentals in Westdale as his 'campaign headquarters'. In any case, he is well know throughout Westdale and Ainslie Wood as an absentee landlord. No one can win ward 1 with no support west of the 403. More like 'lost cause' than 'dark horse'.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted September 28, 2014 at 10:14:41

"an unprecedented number not seen in decades"

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By OhLarry (anonymous) | Posted September 28, 2014 at 20:18:16

Another technique to catch a front-runner could be to accept vast amounts of money from the development industry and various numbered companies, disregarding municipal election spending laws in order to outspend your opponent and buy an election.

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By JayRobb (registered) | Posted September 29, 2014 at 12:38:43

Not sure it would matter if every Hamilton resident wrote a letter to the Minister of Transport.

The Province is putting all GTHA transit projects through a rigorous business case analysis.

About a dozen big ticket projects are vying for the $15B in funding over the next decade.

It's likely that projects with the strongest business case will go to the front of the line while the Liberals have a majority government.

Projects sent to the back of the line face at least two provincial elections and no guarantee how much funding will be left to invest.

So how confident should we be in the business case for Hamilton's transit project - an LRT running on a street with no congestion, moving 13,000 rides per day (the Ottawa Confederation LRT will move up to 10,700 passengers per hour each way at peak times) and running blocks away from the new James North GO Station (the Province has flagged GO service as a priority).

Would Hamilton's business case be stronger if there was a north-south leg, anchored at the waterfront (where we're looking at up to $500M in private sector investment and 1,600 condo and townhouse units), stopping in front of the GO Station, running down James North to Main or King and then ending at Mac?

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted September 29, 2014 at 21:48:08 in reply to Comment 104942

The North-South LRT is called the A-Line.)

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted September 29, 2014 at 13:13:07 in reply to Comment 104942

Well, that's why the province commissioned their own Benefits Case Analysis that was published back in 2010.

And that study provided convincing evidence that Hamilton's B-line LRT would have a strong net benefit. This resulted directly in the province giving the city $3 million towards the 30% engineering design of the line.

All this, including the alternatives you discuss, has been analyzed in detail by both the city and the province.

And the province has been very clear that projects will be funded not on their "business" case, but on their "benefits" case. Which is why the studies had the title and focus they did.

The major difficulty has not been in justifying the need and benefits of Hamilton's B-line project, but finding the new revenue sources that will be required for the $15B in funding. And the fact that Hamilton has been passively waiting for the province to send them the money has not helped their case politically. The province has been extremely happy with the planning that has been done by City staff, Metrolinx and the consultants, but that is not enough.

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By jayrobb (registered) | Posted September 29, 2014 at 13:57:09 in reply to Comment 104944

So we're going to roll the dice on a project that doesn't connect with the James North GO station or service what'll be a subdivision worth of development and $500M of private investment planned at the waterfront?

And here's what the Province said when announcing the 2014 budget - "The Province will work with Metrolinx and municipalities on how best to prioritize transit investments through the use of rigorous business-case analyses. These analyses will help prioritize Next Wave projects that could be accommodated within the Province’s dedicated fund for the GTHA and provide the best value for Ontarians."

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 30, 2014 at 07:54:21 in reply to Comment 104948

The only one trying to roll the dice are guys like Clark. We've done all the in depth planning that every city does before a major investment. We've learned from the practices of cities around the world, and have had some of the worlds top researchers go over and verify our studies. Its so 'Hamiltonian' to ask for more and more studies that we all know simply end up in us missing the boat as usual. The heavy work has been done. Other than some minor tweaks and adjustments, it's time to build.

It must be so wild and refreshing to live in a city like K-W that has not only started LRT construction, but is also paying for a good portion of the construction on their own. Wow. A city that actually believes in itself enough to pay towards a transformational infrastructure project. We only do that in Hamilton when it's a project guaranteed to pave over more farmland, add more traffic pressure and increase the debt burden on taxpayers by subsidizing thousands of new homes. Ambitious City?? LOL

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 29, 2014 at 20:50:47 in reply to Comment 104948

By law, The Big Move comes up for review by 2016, at which point the province will still be aggressively trying to balance its books. It will be interesting to see what the TBM 2.0 document looks like, and how the criteria for Metrolinx's BCA have shifted, if at all. The fact that senior government officials are pretending that they don't know anything about what the City wants in terms of transit infrastructure, and that the analysis for rapid transit remains to be done is not the most promising omen.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted September 29, 2014 at 14:17:54 in reply to Comment 104948

Remember, the province actually promised two rapid transit lines so, ideally we should be building both the A-line and B-line.

And the Rapid transit team was already starting to plan the A-line when they were abruptly shut down in summer 2011.

But there are many good reasons (detailed in the City and and Provincial reports) why the B-line is the highest priority.

It is interesting that they used the usual "business case" language in the budget announcement, but given the planning Metrolinx has done, the BCA's would fulfill the requirements of a "business case". I'm pretty sure they're not planning on re-doing all the BCA's they've already done on these projects!

http://www.metrolinx.com/en/regionalplan...

Just to be clear, this is what the BCA's considered:

"The BCA examines several different high-level transit options within the context of a spectrum of considerations: transportation user benefits compared to the financial impact; good value for tax-payer dollars; environmental, economic and social benefits of the various alternatives; the impacts that a project has on communities; and alignment with the current policy objectives."

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-09-29 14:21:13

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted September 29, 2014 at 13:28:50

What especially annoys me about the current debate is the unjustified claim that Hamilton's B-line would take many years to plan and build, even once a decision has been made.

Just this weekend the Spec article on LRT claimed it would take "8 to 12 years" to build once approved!

This is far longer than other cities take ... why would Hamilton's system be any different?

To take just one example, let's look at the timeline of Dijon (France)'s two LRT lines. http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tramway_de_...

  1. May 2008: Council votes to investigate building two rapid transit lines because the current bus network has insufficient growth potential. They then compared three technologies (LRT on rails, Express bus, LRT on tires).

  2. November 2008: they decide on LRT on rails.

  3. November 2009: they complete public consultation to identify problems and improve the plans, and formally launch the project.

  4. October 2010: construction begins.

  5. September 2012: the first line begins operation.

  6. December 2012: the second line beings operation.

Note that this is less than four years from preliminary studies to operation of the first line. (And construction of the first line took only 23 months.)

We've been studying this project for seven years and some people are now claiming it would be a further 12 years before it actually opens!

This is crazy: they think we will take about 20 years to build one line, when Dijon built two lines in only four years!

(Note that the total budget was 400 million euros, for 20km of lines ... again much cheaper than the estimate for Hamilton's B-line. It should be able to do it for much less!)

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-09-29 13:34:25

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