Bravo to Councilor Bratina for his comments regarding deamalgamation in Hamilton.
Too often we only hear about the discontent from the outlying suburbs, yet as a downtown resident I would fully support a complete and true deamalgamation. Many others in the core feel the same way.
The urban viewpoint on this issue is quite simple: inner city residents pay the highest taxes in the entire city and for the past twenty-five years much of that tax money has been used to fund suburban sprawl projects like the Meadowlands, south Mountain, Waterdown and Red Hill Expressway.
The city continues to spiral into debt while charging insanely low fees to the developers of these sprawl projects. A study of any city will clearly show that unabated sprawl is detrimental to urban neighbourhoods and downtown cores. In essence, us downtowners are having our tax money spent on the destruction of the very neighbourhoods in which we live.
To make matters worse, we have lost our voice in municipal politics. The massive suburban growth of Hamilton over the past three decades has relocated roughly 60,000 from the lower city to far flung suburbs.
As the last mayoral election showed, there was a clear difference in the priorities and minds of voters in the downtown area compared with the suburbs.
Unfortunately, Hamilton is mostly suburban now, which means issues relating to urban neighbourhoods, quality of life, pedestrian and cycling safety, transit improvements, air quality, and downtown revitalization are left in the background as our city council clamors around trying to appease the suburban vote with more highways, ultra-wide streets full of big box stores, drive-thrus, and strip plazas and more car dependent suburban sprawl.
Now there's even talk coming from the suburbs of using tax money to keep gas prices artificially low as energy resources slowly dwindle. Over my dead body will you take my tax money to subsidize Joe Cool in the Meadowlands with his gas guzzling SUV, five thousand square foot thermal slum and utter addiction to every useless gadget corporate America throws his way.
Deamalgamation would give urban residents a voice once again. We would use that voice to reinvest our tax money into our neighbourhood streets, business districts, parks, transit, air and water quality, arts, environment and recreation trails and facilities.
And when gas prices hit three bucks a litre I'll do what I do now - leave the car at home and walk to the best dining, parks, jobs and entertainment available in our city.
If only I had some say as to where my high taxes are spent.
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