HHHBA letter calls uncertainty over LRT plan "shocking" and calls on Council to "have the vision to see the benefits" and support the plan unanimously.
By RTH Staff
Published June 08, 2016
The Hamilton-Halton Home Builders Association (HHHBA) has written a letter to Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger to reaffirm its support for the City's light rail transit (LRT) plan and to express its "concern" with the recent bout of Council uncertainty about the project.
Suzanne Mammel, the HHHBA Executive Officer and Policy Director, writes of the $1 billion in Provincial LRT funding, "It is shocking that an injection of this type of investment by others into the City would be reconsidered or potentially turned down" after the City spent years lobbying the Province for the investment.
Mammel notes that LRT supports the redevelopment of the downtown and lower city, helps Hamilton meet the Province's intensification targets - increasing from 40 percent to 60 percent infill - and is a "City building project" that "can really make Hamilton stand out relative to its neighbours, with whom we compete for new residents, new jobs, and new industry."
The letter calls on Council to "have the vision to see the benefits this brings to our City for years to come" and to support the LRT plan unanimously.
A related news release from Mayor Eisenberger's office today notes that to date, the Mayor has received 1,002 calls and emails from constituents in support of LRT and only 32 opposed.
Following is the text of the HHHBA letter:
Re: LRT in the City of Hamilton
Dear Mayor Eisenberger and members of Council,
On behalf of the Hamilton-Halton Home Builders' Association, I am writing to express our concern with the recent discussions surrounding LRT and its future in the City of Hamilton.
Our Association advocates for choice and affordability in new home construction and renovation, and is the voice of the residential construction industry in the Hamilton and Halton regions. Further, our industry is one of the largest economic engines within the City. As such, we consider any investment into the City's infrastructure by the provincial and federal government to be a good one, especially a project the magnitude of LRT.
As we move towards a more intensified development model, and to accommodate the influx of new residents (and accordingly the economic spinoff they bring), it has been the direction of many recent City and provincial policies and initiatives to direct much of that development and redevelopment into the downtown and built up areas. In fact, by 2041, the equivalent of the population of Montreal is expected to migrate to various areas of the GTHA.
As the City invests in its downtown, as it has with incentive programs to bring residential and ICI development to the downtown CIPA, waterfront, Barton/Tiffany and other areas, we must look at opportunities to further facilitate that development. The province's complete investment of over $1 Billion dollars is a gift to the City, one the City lobbied for and worked hard to achieve. It is shocking that an injection of this type of investment by others into the City would be reconsidered or potentially turned down.
The province is currently considering modifying its intensification targets to 60% intensification within the built boundary from its current 40%. That implies that the vast majority of developments will be high density in order to make this accommodation. With that brings more people into an unchanged footprint and we need to be progressive and forward thinking as to how we house and move them, and we deal with transit for them and other residents who travel into and through one of our busiest corridors.
Lastly, LRT is a City building project. One that can really make Hamilton stand out relative to its neighbours, with whom we compete for new residents, new jobs, and new industry. The City should be unanimous in its vision of our City's future by supporting LRT and what this investment brings to our City. All of us wish to see Hamilton prosper and continue its current reimaging to a vibrant City desired by all.
We would ask that you all have the vision to see the benefits this brings to our City for years to come, and move forward with LRT as planned for the past year.
Yours very truly,
Executive Officer and Policy Director, HHHBA
Please take a few moments to tell Council to take YES for an answer, reaffirm its support for LRT and accept the full capital funding from the Province that Council has consistently voted for since 2008.
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