Downtown Bureau

Downtown Update

The good, the bad, and the ugly in recent Hamilton activity.

By Jason Leach
Published April 30, 2007

It sounds like we may be one step closer to making Cootes into a provincial or federal park [PDF].

Boy is this good news! A few years ago, the city was going to allow more bland sprawl on the Pleasantview lands. How great would that entire area be with a hiking/trail network linked to RBG, Cootes and the west harbour.

On the heels of that, McMaster University has proposed installing a fence to prevent people from crossing the road. Let's hope this doesn't catch on or Main Street will be one big long fence through the city.

I heard recently that an A&W is opening on the empty piece of land at the SW corner of Burlington and James N (with a drive thru too, I'm sure). This is lame. A block from the harbour and this is what we're allowing to be built on empty, prime land? Brutal.

Too many condos? Here's yet another good reason for Hamiltonians to be careful what we wish for - once the yuppy trend begins it seems to take no survivors in North America's major cities.

We're losing CH tv and it's being relaunched as E!, one of these bimbo, freakshow Hollywood stations. At least they'll use old CHCH call letters for the news, but come bad can local media get? For the love of all, will someone please get friggin' CBC here?

BBQ owners beware. Several propane tanks have been stolen in the city lately. It appears to be the work of thieves who see easy money in a market for used tanks. A replacement tank will cost you $50.

Finally, a tidbit from Heritage Watch, via Ryan:

The city owns Auchmar, the four hectare (ten acre) property at Fennel Ave W. and West 5th St. featuring Isaac Buchanan's country estate. It's designated municipally and provincially as a heritage building, and Council has made a "commitment to sustainable long-term, public ownership of a restored cultural heritage property for the City of Hamilton."

Now Council is considering selling or giving Auchmar away, possibly to be rezoned for new construction at a busy intersection. Left in the hands of property developers, the building probably doesn't stand a chance.

It's well maintained today, but LIUNA proved with the Lister Block that if you ignore your property long enough, it eventually decays to the point that the city's willing to let you demolish it.

Please let your councillor know how you feel about Auchmar.

Update: For more information on Auchmar, visit the Heritage Watch Hamilton website:

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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By handsupindisgust (anonymous) | Posted May 01, 2007 at 19:21:37

I intend to let my councillor know what I think about Auchmar but will it help? This city started to deteriorate a long time ago and previous councillors like Henry Merling,Terry Cooke, Dave Wilson and Jim Bethune to name but a few watched it coming and helped it along. Dave Wilson the most recent spin doctor who could listen to a problem and then forget about it in the same conversation.

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By (anonymous) | Posted May 02, 2007 at 22:11:02

To "handsupindisgust" and others concerned about Auchmar, please have a look at the new Heritage Watch Hamilton site at There is actually a good deal we can and must do to protect this incredible and rare surviving Regency Picturesque estate.

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By insearchofexcellence (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2007 at 20:15:32

handsupindisgust might be a bit harsh on former councillor Dave Wison, he wasn't alone in screwing up things.I admit that he isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer and I suspect that he only did what his union and the labour council told him. Anyway he is gone now forever and Hamilton should benefit.

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