Connaught

Province Rejects Connaught Mixed-Housing Project

By RTH Staff
Published December 23, 2009

The Spectator reports in a breaking news story that the Ontario Government has rejected all six projects that Hamilton submitted to the Ontario Affordable Housing Program Extension to convert into affordable housing - including the controversial Royal Connaught proposal.

The proposal, which Council approved in an in camera session on September 16, 2009 after deferring the decision in light of issues raised by Councillor Bob Bratina, was mired in controversy over: whether converting an iconic downtown landmark into affordable housing supports downtown revitalization; whether city staff had followed the RFP process properly in recommending the Connaught project; questionable procedural advice concerning whether Council was allowed to submit its projects together or piecemeal; last-minute revelations of the developer's significant property tax arrears (and related mini-controversy when the developers promised to pay their outstanding property tax - if Council approved the project); and the questionable economics of the public subsidy itself.

Many local advocates, including Raise the Hammer, recommended petitioning the provincial government to reject the proposal. However, it was widely considered unlikely that the province would interfere with local decision-making in terms of which projects to put forward.

It will be interesting to learn why the province rejected Hamilton's submitted projects. In all, the Ontario government approved 16 projects across the province for $141 million in funding to create 1,200 affordable housing units.

104 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By birdie (registered) | Posted December 23, 2009 at 14:45:51

Early Xmas present ftw!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 23, 2009 at 15:49:14

In the big scheme of things, 1,200 units of affordable housing, does little, when so many across the province are struggling and are in need of affordable housing. I met many at a housing forum in Toronto. It is especially more difficult for those who live in rural communities,as transportation isses are a weighty issue.

How long will this building sit empty and unused? Ten years, twenty?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2009 at 17:26:18

Grassroots, are you suggesting the Connaught should be redeveloped into affordable housing, despite the fact it has a rather high cost/unit to convert when compared to some of the other projects on the list? If the connaught had been approved, how many other approved projects would it be taking away funding from? Would we have a net gain or loss of units if the Connaught was funded? (ie. if the Connaught was one of the approved projects would we only be looking at 1100 units instead of 1200?)

I'm willing to wait to hear what the province has to say about the reasons Hamilton's bids were all unsuccessful. Until that time I think we shouldn't jump to any conclusions about the decision being a good or bad one.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted December 23, 2009 at 17:46:33

If 1200 units does little, what good would the Connaught's 100 units have done? I'm not sure what your point is, grassroots.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 23, 2009 at 18:18:20

In my mind the Connaught had little to do with affordable housing for the many that struggle in our community. I saw it as more of bailing certain people out in our community, the developers. So before people get their hair tied in a knot, that I was specifically advocating for the Connaught.

Affordable husing is an issue for many across the province, I met and heard their stories, which mirror the many stories, here in our community.

All I was trying to say was, that 1,200 units across the province does little, when so many need. Anyways, I think that social housing needs to be looked at, considering the story about Mr Al Gosling, the senior who was evicted, left in the streets and who has now passed on. Can you imagine, being 82 years old, and coming home and finding you are locked out, with no place to go, you have lost all your belongings?

My question to thorw out there is, why haven't these "business" people done something with the building? Why would they try to opt out for public funding, yet out the other side of their mouths, they would be talking down those the struggle?

Talk about a welfare state? Those at the bottom get crumbs, meanwhile back at the ranch?????

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By proofreader (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2009 at 21:43:02

Your opening sentence is missing the punch. What about these projects is the spec reporting on? It just kinda leaves you hanging... Don't even think of pointing to the headline

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted December 23, 2009 at 22:14:42

I think city staff need to be held accountable on this one. I watched council the night this project was discussed and one of the councillors asked staff if they would jeopardize the other 5 projects by leaving out the Connaught. They were emphatically told that YES, the remaining 5 projects would be put in jeopardy if council were to leave the Connaught off the list. As it turns out, including the Connaught ended up jeopardizing the entire list. Did staff really have no clue about this, or were they determined for some reason to get the Connaught through?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Balance (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2009 at 01:06:02

The Feds and the Province are probably sick of handing out money to Hamilton all the time. They should spread the wealth, which it appears that they have. I have no doubt the Connaught will lanquish until the City offers more by either sticking staff in there at an extrodinary amount or purchasing units themselves. They won't do anything without a handout like the Lister.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2009 at 10:56:50

If we could get a power centre built near the Connaught then maybe some developer would be interested in doing another Rosewood Suites kind of deal with out needing a taxpayer's handout.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Really? (registered) | Posted December 24, 2009 at 10:59:08

I also have to think that the inclusion of the Connaught was what killed the other proposals. This whole situation wreaked of corruption & unfairness, and the Province could certainly smell it (although I'm sure our emails & that petition didn't hurt).

Will the Connaught Consortium try for funding again in 2010? Will Council give in? Will Bratina walk out rather than face a tought vote? We'll just have to stay tuned...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mr. Maestro (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2009 at 15:31:00

You're all so quick to judge. Mr Meister makes a good point, if there was something attractive next door this place would be sold out.

Would you have down-voted this if your buddy jason wrote it? We all know he's well capable of this level of sarcasm.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2009 at 15:50:10

This is great news. Unfortunately the developers of this project and the welfare industry in this city will just hold on this project waiting for some level of gov't to come along and bail them out.

Downtown Hamilton will never be revitalized so long as it continues to become a dumping ground for bums. For this reason the city needs to begin REMOVING the number of welfare housing and social agencies in this city. We are only attracting losers to this city instead of taxpaying middle class who are choosing to live in Burl/Oak/Miss.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 24, 2009 at 17:33:25

Capitalist: You hold such hatred for those that struggle, the working poor, those who are sick, disabled and those just trying to find work.

Sure there are those who have problems, but to be honest, I would not want to live in vision your of the world. You lack any sense of compassion, you see yourself as perfect, but you are not.

You should be thankful for those workers ( the working poor) who stood up years ago and fought for the many things you take for granted now. There was no such things as vacations, health and safety, weekends, benefits, health care, education, libraries.

Let me ask you a question if these other locations are so great, why do they keep sending their problems to us? Why can't they take care of their own?

This is the world we now live in. would you step over someone dying in the streets? Someone who had a heart attack?

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Johnny (anonymous) | Posted December 25, 2009 at 23:36:54

I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted December 25, 2009 at 23:47:50

Thanks Mr. Maestro. The minus 5 voting in just 2 days is a new record. I really think some of the folks on this side need to give their heads a shake.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 26, 2009 at 10:37:19

grassroots, Capitalist's comments are not about a hatred for the poor. I read it as an observation that concentrating those in need within a small specific geographic area is not good for anyone.

If you want to chastise someone for wanting to eject the poor from their neighbourhoods, take a look at Burlington, Oakville... heck just about any southern Ontario town other than Hamilton and Toronto. They all send the needy here, and in my opinion we've done more than our provincial share already.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By d.knox (registered) | Posted December 26, 2009 at 11:55:26

I notice that several articles point out that Hamilton's request has not actually been rejected; rather, other projects have been given a higher priority. So I don't think the Connaught bid is really dead yet.

A few times in various poverty studies I've been reading, Hamilton has been identified as having quite favourable rental rates. We are pointed out as a destination for larger immigrant and refugee families and also as being a much cheaper place to live than Toronto, yet with excellent social services. Kitchener and London do have cheaper rental rates, but don't have the same vacancy rate or the high number of social services that Hamilton does.

Every time I read about people insisting that Hamilton needs more subsidized housing, I wonder what I'm missing. Why is someone who lives in Burlington writing about how Hamilton needs to house more poor people? As far as I understand things, the subsidized housing is only 80% covered by the province - the rest comes out of municipal taxes - that is, out of the property taxes of people who actually live in Hamilton. I don't understand what the incentive is for the city to keep looking for funding to build more subsidized housing when we can't cover our obligations as it is. Isn't it time for other cities to step up and offer to shoulder some of the burden? And could the province actually be taking pity on Hamilton, finally?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 26, 2009 at 15:28:42

Thanks for defending me so eloquently seacb.

@grassroots

A few points about me grassroots. I am not a rich snob who hates the poor or the disabled. I was born in Hamilton from an immigrant family. They came here 50 years ago and took crappy jobs working in construction or as seamstresses because they could not speak english. Instead of pissing all their money away like so many do today they saved for the future, learned the language and improved their lot in life by purchasing a home and found better work at Hamilton's steel industry. They did not get knocked up at 16. They did not do drugs or get drunk every weekend. They did not seek to live in subsidized housing all their lives. Basically they had a sense of responsibility.

We live in a country where good health care and education is provided for all. Social services exist for people who fall on hard times and require assistance. I know what it is like to be unemployed grassroots, I don't wish it on anybody. I took advantage of what this country had to offer. I got a good university education right here in Hamilton and paid back all my student loans within one year (I didn't piss my money away at Daytona Beach like other students, I waited until my loans were paid off to do that) and was able to find a good job in my field.

Grassroots, I do not hate the poor. When my family came here we were poor as sh$t. I understand that there are people who have disabilities, or they come from bad families with abuse etc. What I hate are the people who live off the system and expect everybody else in society to provide for them. People who refuse to work even though they can. I hate people who fail to take responsibility for themselves and seek a better life particularly when we live in a country that provides people with so much assistance to do so. These are the bums that Hamilton has too many of.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 27, 2009 at 00:36:21

Capitalist writes: I understand that there are people who have disabilities, or they come from bad families with abuse etc.

So when you walk down the street and you see someone in the street, as to what you refer to as a bum. What do you know about their lives? Could they have come from an abusive home? Do they have disabilities that have not been recognized, like learning disabilities?

You say social services exist for those who fall on bad times but what do you really know about the current social services? If you have never accessed them, what do you know about it? Besides just what you read in the papers.

I am posting this for you to read:

http://www.metcalffoundation.com/downloads/Why_don't_we_want_the_poor_to_own_anything.pdf

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 27, 2009 at 11:32:58


Grassroots, please re-read my earlier post, you don't seem to be understanding what I have been saying.

In addition, you keep harping about how our social services "suck", well I have news for you - social services are supposed to suck (with the exception of those with legitimate disabilities). Being on welfare or living in subsidized housing should not afford people the opportunity to live the same standard of those who work for a living. If social services are too generous then why would people choose to work? Or improve their lot in life by obtaining new skills? We had this debate in the mid 90s and we elected (and reelected) Mike Harris to clean up the mess of an overly generous welfare system.

Dt hamilton is dominated by low income people, resulting in cheap retail and entertainment opportunities. There is nothing to offer the middle class in downtown Hamilton so they take their time and dollars elsewhere. The Royal Cannot project only makes this worse.

Since you don't seem to understand this I can only assume that you are a person who basically lives off of welfare all your life or you are employed as some sort of social worker who actually profits from the welfare industry in this city. In either case your arguments on this topic have become a bore.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By MattM (registered) | Posted December 27, 2009 at 14:40:15

^ agree with capitalist one hundred percent and I am on welfare myself. It gets me by at best and that's all I expect. It does what it I need until I can make enough working to sustain myself.

[Comment edited by MattM on 2009-12-27 13:41:05]

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 27, 2009 at 16:49:38

Capitalist: It figures that you are a Harrisite.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_97_EHQBV...

You may have an education but that does not mean you are smart. So for every battle that was won, that allowed for you to have opportunities, you stand there in defiance and have allowed for the erosion of social services, workers rights, environmental protect, de-regulation, privatization, globalization.

But then the blind do not really see!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXgp2ia16...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By community builder (anonymous) | Posted December 27, 2009 at 17:55:27

Unfortunately the "social justice" set and the investor/developers have formed a unlikely alliance that will turn Hamilton into a welfare city. We need to give people a hand up, build skills and help people develop independence in setting goals to improve their skills and education and find purpose in their lives. We have received a reprieve from the government to re-think our plans for the Connaught. How this beautiful landmark became a consideration for geared to income housing could only happen in Hamilton.We just had Bill Strickland come to Hamilton to talk about building community through world class buildings that provide people the opportunity to build their skills and independence to be successful and improve their lives so they can live more uccessfully and independently. Where are these opportunities in Hamilton for people who are unable to find work or affordable housing? There seems to be a rather large gap between the needs of people living in poverty and the services to assist them to move out of their current situation. We cannot continue to sustain an every growing population of poorly educated and unskilled people through welfare and food banks. We need to take the model used in Pittsburgh and the message from Bill Strickland (recently spoke at Hamilton Place) and use this information to improve Hamilton prospects.

"For nearly three decades, Strickland has worked at his craft back in the same Pittsburgh neighborhood he grew up in - creating a model for turning people with dead-end lives into productive workers. And it's working.

In the Manchester neighborhood of Pittsburgh's North Side, Strickland has forged a series of programs to bring new life to the community. At one end of the lifeline is the MCG, which aims to rescue at-risk school kids by using the arts to teach them life skills. At the other end is the BTC, an innovative partnership with local companies to train displaced adults for real work in real jobs. Since their inception, the two programs have each grown into more than $3 million-a-year operations, with a combined staff of 110 people. Strickland serves as president and CEO, the linchpin that holds all of the parts together.

And there's more. Like any true entrepreneur, Strickland has filled the space between the two programs with other ventures: a jazz concert hall and an innovative Grammy Award-winning record label. Next year, he plans to roll out the Denali Initiative - a national three-year effort funded by the Kaufmann Foundation to teach nonprofit leaders how to think like entrepreneurs."
We cannot let the (albeit well-intentioned) social justice group control the building and future of our city. Our 'creative class' needs to have more say and clout in our community.The impetus from the James Street North community needs to be supported and developed. Their vision and leadership is needed.











Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted December 27, 2009 at 20:33:25

Grassroots, in your estimation, how much would be an appropriate level of welfare assisstance for people living in Hamilton?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 27, 2009 at 21:23:31

@community builder

A very insightful post. I agree with you that we are beginning to see an unholy alliance between developers and the social justice set. This can only be stopped so long as people in this city are not resigned to watch our city (and dt in particular) become a welfare dumping ground.

@MattM

Thank you for joining the discussion. Do not be discouraged. You have a good attitude. Prospective employers will notice this and I am sure that you will soon find something.

@ A Smith

I have read many of your previous posts with great interest and always look forward to reading the next one, however, please don't waste your valuable time on grassroots. He is adding nothing constructive to this debate. He should be ignored.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 27, 2009 at 21:41:51

A Smith: What I think and what is acceptable in terms of the general public could be two different things.

I would like to see an evidence based system.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted December 27, 2009 at 21:54:58

Grassroots, just give me a rough estimate on how much you think people should receive from the government if they live in Hamilton and can't find appropriate work.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 27, 2009 at 23:04:21

A Smith: Well if people who are earning minimum wage are having a hard time, which would be around 1200.00 per month take home and they are accessing the food banks, what do you think should happen?

People do not want minimum wage to go up, so what does that tell you?

If people cannot find work then what happens? Underground economy? Crime?

Who really is the enemy, is it those who struggle or is it those the financial manipulators who have stolen the wealth from the people?

Historically, only when the people start to organize and come together is change apparent. People are starting to organize at a grassroots level. If you give people no opportunities, well you see what we have created.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted December 27, 2009 at 23:21:32

grassroots >> People do not want minimum wage to go up, so what does that tell you?

But the minimum wage HAS gone up. Under Dalton McGuinty, the minimum wage has jumped from $6.85 to $9.50, an increase of 38.7% in five years. Yet, during this time period, the Ontario economy has shed thousands of good paying jobs and food bank use is at an all time high.

The minimum wage is set to go up to $10.25 in 2010, is that high enough for you or should it go up even further?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 28, 2009 at 00:36:53

A Smith: Well even at 9.50, people are not making it and when it goes up again, the costs to live keep going up as well, so what can I say.

Let me ask you a question if labour standards were set internationally, do you think that capital would move around as much? Do you think it is fair say for you to lose your job, say you are making $12.00 per hour, to someone across the globe who is paid .15 cents per hour?

I believe in workers rights but let me ask you another question, do you think it is fair for a government worker to be earning $35.00 per hour for doing a job that would pay say around $15.00 in the private sector?

I do not know what the anwser is but something tells me something is going to give, as the bubble is about to burst.

So either people start working together, or we all we will all go down, one way or another.

If people do not have the money to buy what you are selling, then where does that leave you?

The current welfare rate is $3.65 per hour if you were to calculate it on a 40 hr week. I do believe that was what the minimum wage was 1977?

So have costs remained the same?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted December 28, 2009 at 02:33:54

Grassroots >> The current welfare rate is $3.65 per hour if you were to calculate it on a 40 hr week.

Think about what the minimum wage does, it bans people from working, that's all it does. It doesn't force employers to hire people for $9.50/hour, it just says to businesses that if you decide to hire someone, you must pay them $9.50/hour.

A much better policy would be to scrap the minimum wage and allow everybody to work. This in turn would create more economic output, decrease the number of people on welfare and increase the tax revenue (income and sales) that could then flow to the poor who needed it.

In effect, all the minimum wage does is to idle productive human resources, hurting both the economic wealth of society as a whole, plus damaging the skills and psyche of people forced onto the welfare rolls.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted December 28, 2009 at 10:48:19

@ Community Builder

I agree that we can learn a great deal from the Strickland/Pittsburgh story. I think some people were quick to dismiss this as pigeonholing a Pitt solution in Hamilton. Obviously, there are differences between the two cities, but there are important similarities. I was intrigued by his work in getting U. of Pitt Med. School as an anchor tenant at his new building in a former Civil Rights riot neighbourhood. It is frustrating to watch our own home town University operate as an island. For instance, when they were planning these great Business buildings in the last 15 years, wouldn't it have been great if they had set up an entire campus downtown? Instead, they cram buildings onto the main campus or build them on service roads out of town. That train has sailed, but the planned Medical Centre is an opprtunity that should not be squandered. I live in West Hamilton, and I am pleased with the recent events at MIP, but the Medical Centre should not be there - it should be central, ie, downtown.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted December 28, 2009 at 13:27:16

the medical centre isn't coming downtown anymore. Mac couldn't reach a deal with the school board downtown and like most of Hamilton's developers, refuses to build on one of the hundreds of massive parking lots and empty lots downtown. It's incredible to live in one of the most underdeveloped downtowns in the country and constantly hear these organizations talk about the lack of space in which to build downtown. Somewhere it must have become an unwritten rule in Hamilton that any new building project downtown must first involve a demolition of a perfectly fine building.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 28, 2009 at 15:36:41

A Smith: How do you figure people would be better off if minimum wage was dropped?

Do you promote slavery?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted December 28, 2009 at 16:53:53

Grassroots >> How do you figure people would be better off if minimum wage was dropped? Do you promote slavery?

I'll try this one more time. Make sure you read my comment several times before you respond...

The reason why people would be better off without the minimum wage is because the minimum wage does NOTHING to force employers to hire people at $9.50/hour. Do you understand? All the minimum wage does is guarantee the wage level IF a job is offered, it doesn't actually force employers to hire people.

Therefore, if a person WANTED to work for a company for $8.00/hour rather than go on welfare, the government wouldn't allow them to. The minimum wage in this case takes away a person's freedom to make $8.00/hour * 40/week * 4 weeks a month = $1,280/month and instead forces them to take a welfare payment of less than half that dollar figure. Furthermore, when people work they build skills that increase the value of their future earnings potential.

That's how people would be better off without the minimum wage. Unless you don't think that earning 1,280/month and developing work skills is better than a welfare cheque of around $550 month and learning nothing. Is that what you believe? Yes or no?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 28, 2009 at 17:37:28

A Smith: Ok, let us get into this debate. Yes, I am sure that some people would accept a job a $8.00 per hour, instead of wallowing on welfare. But the amount $1280.00 is gross, not take home, so they would be bringing in around 1000.00 per month.

I can agree that learning skills is important. The problem with your proposal, is that some employers would take advantage and pay people pittance. You trend on dangerous ground.

My issues are around workers rights, so if businesses are calling for less regulations, which would include occupational health and safety, workers have problems in gaining access to WSIB, where would that leave workers if they got injuried?

http://www.thespec.com/article/306617

Where are the voice of the people in this article?

If labour and environmental regulations were set internationally, then we would not see the exploitation, that we do.

Let me ask you a question, do you think that workers have a right to stand up and voice their opinions? Or do you think that only the monied class should have a say?

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/...

Do you think that these workers rights were being upheld? Do you think that safety was the primary concern or do you think that the bottom line was what was the driving force.

Maybe these workers should of be taught, that they do have the right to refuse unsafe work or at least that there is a process.

I am sure that fear and intimidation is used to keep workers from exercising their rights.

So fill me in on your thoughts! Say it was you that fell, would your family members, your children, if you have any, would they be happy that health and safety procedures may not have been followed?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted December 28, 2009 at 19:54:19

Grassroots, employees are nothing more than private contractors. Therefore, if you can convince Walmart that your labour skills will bring them $11/hour in added profits, why wouldn't they pay you for your services? If they still chose not to, you could start your own company and hire away all the people currently being underpaid and still make a profit.

Eventually, the only people that would be left at Walmart would be those who were being overpaid for their labour, since you would only hire those being underpaid. In a short period of time, you would put Walmart out of business.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 28, 2009 at 19:58:00

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted December 28, 2009 at 22:32:12

yea, cause as we all know, none of Hamilton's white collar jobs are located downtown.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 28, 2009 at 22:45:06

A dedication to the Harrisite, "The Capitalist"

A poem by Robert Priest:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfGbsXioK...

Another poem by Robert Priest:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2q4aqSGC...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By z jones (registered) | Posted December 29, 2009 at 00:14:47

"consequently the dt has nothing to offer middle class professionals"

Someone should inform all the middle class professionals I see downtown every day.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By z jones (registered) | Posted December 29, 2009 at 00:16:22

"refuses to build on one of the hundreds of massive parking lots and empty lots downtown"

Is that the case? From what I've heard most of the lot owners don't want to sell -- too much easy money charging people to park there cars.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 29, 2009 at 11:13:57

"yea, cause as we all know, none of Hamilton's white collar jobs are located downtown."

"Someone should inform all the middle class professionals I see downtown every day."

@Jason and z jones

Many of the white collar workers you see dt are local, prov and federal employees. They have to be located dt for political reasons. Hamilton has been losing private sector white collar workers from the dt to other areas of the city of Burl/Oak (just go for a drive along the QEW).

If you think I am wrong why don't you read councillor Bratina's post under "City buys Innovation Lands"? He confirms what I have said and, quite frankly, I would rather believe the councillor for dt than you two guys (no offence).



Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 29, 2009 at 11:23:55

@grassroots

Harrisite? What’s the matter grassroots, did Harris cut your welfare cheque and force you to go and work for some greedy capitalist?


By the way, I hate poetry.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted December 29, 2009 at 12:04:14

"Many of the white collar workers you see dt are local, prov and federal employees. They have to be located dt for political reasons. Hamilton has been losing private sector white collar workers from the dt to other areas of the city of Burl/Oak (just go for a drive along the QEW)."

This is true.

The other large cadre of downtown white collar workers are those employed in the legal services sector ... and the only reason they are located downtown is because the Hamilton legal community is largely litigation driven and litigators need to be close to the court house (which is also located downtown largely for political reasons).

Aside from gov't and legal, there ain't much else. There are no head offices left to speak of (as far as I know).

We don't have much of a financial services sector in this city anymore either, just relatively minor branch offices with few high level employees (CIBC and Standard Life are exceptions, but their local offices have steadily shrunk in size over the last decade or so according to my understanding).

Just think, at one time the downtown was a major regional financial/insurance hub, and housed the head offices of some of the largest corporations in the country (often the Canadian subs of major US manufacturers). We had investment bankers, metals brokerages, etc. That was decades ago of course ...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted December 29, 2009 at 13:06:11

capitalist, I'm not saying that jobs haven't been leaving downtown, I'm making the point that you were completely wrong with the statement that downtown offers nothing to middle class professionals. Despite the crap we read in the media, the MAJORITY of Hamilton residents work in our OWN city, and the majority of them work downtown, not Halton or GTA etc.....

Downtown has the best restaurants, nightlife, cafes, galleries, patios, specialty districts like Hess, Locke, Augusta etc..... than anywhere else in the city. It's not even close. Unless by 'middle class professionals' you're referring to those who only need a Hortons and McDonalds drive thru as their post-work entertainment on a Friday night.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted December 29, 2009 at 14:13:45

Jason,

I strongly question whether the majority of Hamilton's middle class (and above) residents work in the downtown. I doubt if data exists to support this assertion.

I also question whether the downtown offers "middle class professionals" what they want in a community, Locke being a notable exception.

There are some good restaurants in downtown, but there are arguably better ones in Ancaster, Burlington and Oakville.

Your average middle class worker is not likely to be much interested in Hess, which has developed a reputation as a sleazy, brawly club strip catering pretty much exclusively to students. Most "middle class professionals" are happy to get their "post-work entertainment on a Friday night" at a bland suburban chain pub; if they want more they'll go into Toronto.

There is virtually no quality retail in the downtown.

As far as I'm concerned, downtown, as it is, offers very little to the "middle class professional" other than relatively high quality, relatively low cost older housing stock. The amenities to support a thriving middle class community just aren't there yet.

Add to this the fact that "middle class professionals" don't like being outnumbered by those visibly (or at least ostensibly) lower on the socio-economic spectrum and you've got a complete answer to the question of why they shun the core (as Capitalist might say, "It's the bums, stupid").

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted December 29, 2009 at 16:00:25

according to statscan, the majority of Hamiltonians work in Hamilton. Downtown Hamilton has the largest concentration of workers. Anytime I'm in Hess just after work I see a ton of suits in the G and G or KOI/Sizzle. Ditto for London Tap House, Augusta Street, Acclamation etc......

Yes, retail is sorely lacking, but one would hope that we'll slowly see that change, although having a downtown BIA and a mindset at city hall that is constantly quoted as saying "downtown will never be a retail centre again" kind of seals our fate doesn't it? They are the ones we're paying to help draw investment into the area and they don't even believe in it's potential. I'd love term limits at city hall, and I'd love to permanently shut down the downtown BIA. Sadly, both moves would be a BIG step in the right direction for downtown.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Really? (registered) | Posted December 29, 2009 at 17:06:10

The City has to reasess it's Affordable Housing/Social Services policies ASAP!

The fact that the vast.. VAST majority of Affordale Housing/Social Service Units are concentrated around the Downtown (Stinson, Lansdale, Beasley, North End, Strathcona) is unacceptable, and is the PRIME REASON people/business avoid Downtown Hamilton.

No matter how many Streetscaping Pojects, Public Art additions or Urban Brail you add is not going to help the increasing number of poor/scary/angry/aggressive people taking over the Downtown. It's seriously becoming a ghetto of social services! People may come by to take a peak at the new AGH, but they probably wont stick around to eat/shop/play.

Does anyone ever wonder why Downtown can't land any big name retailer? Maybe you should all email MEC for their reasons..

Maybe it has something to do with that fact that the 'majority' of residents Downtown can't afford to support themselves, nevermind a new back-pack or mountain bike. Why do you think every second store is either a Dollar/Discount or Pay Day Loan hut? B.c they're simply catering to the clientelle.

Perhaps this is why I, as a Downtown Hamilton resident, find myself shopping in Downtown Toronto every couple of weeks? I actually find it more comfortable/convenient for me to GO Bus it to Union Stn than take the super-packed 25 Upper Wentworth to Limeridge (which doesn't have most stores I enjoy shopping at, anyway). And, side question, Why are the new Articulated Buses running 3/4 empty 20 A-Line routes when they should be on those like the 25 which is constantly packed. Branding?

Come On, Hamilton... Really!? Get your Priorities Straight! Spread the 'wealth' of Social Services ACROSS THE WHOLE CITY! You want to concentrate them around Transit Nodes? Here's a couple NON-DOWNTOWN nodes off the top of my head: Limeridge Mall, Valley Park, Ancaster Meadowlands, McMaster/Westdale, Centre Mall... (oh wait, that promised Transit Node was dropped just like the promised ped-friendly design of the Centre).

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted December 29, 2009 at 17:20:05

Tammany said: "There is virtually no quality retail in the downtown. "

Thanks for that blanket statement. I agree - there is a real shortage of quality retail downtown - but to say there isn't any is a real shot to the gut to some of us working really hard at it.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Really? (registered) | Posted December 29, 2009 at 17:26:50

^^ Dave, I believe Tammany is referring to 'big name' retail, ie: The Bay, Winners, Indigo/Chapters, H&M, MEC.. u know, the stores most people go to Malls and/or Downtown Toronto for.

I don't think He/She was trying to insult the small guys who are the true heart of the Downtown Retail Sector; Shops & Shop Owners one would never experience at a mall and/or Big Box Centre, which is what makes downtown a Destination as opposed to a basic shopping centre experience.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted December 29, 2009 at 17:52:39

you're the man Dave. Keep up the great work on James North. Really? you nailed it with that last post. I can't stand being crammed on a 40 foot bus on the B-Line knowing that the A-Line is using artics in order to help 'brand' it. Give me a break. The B-line deserves artics all day, all night, everyday.

Part of the problem with people coming to AGH but not hanging around after is because it's easy to step out onto King St and if the Honest Lawyer doesn't appeal to you, you can look either way along King and see nothing but fast moving traffic, a wide road and few people or destinations within eye sight. Why would anyone just start wandering down seemingly empty streets in a city they aren't familiar with? We need the entire Gore area - both sides of King - to become a Hess/Locke/Augusta type destination with the same broad range of appeals and destination that all 3 of those places have. JS and the Eaton Centre need to be turned out to the streets and for the love, we had better not screw up the Gore master plan process. I see a lot of ribbon gardens and walkways to nowhere. Just allow people to put out huge patios in front of all the buildings on King with attractive public spaces that encourage hanging out and market stalls, vendors, buskers, festivals etc....and the place should come to life slowly but surely. I'm very concerned about this entire process and hope that if nothing else, they allow for a very generous right of way for outdoor patios along the entire street from James to the Connaught. Make it better than Hess. Better than Augusta. Just as cool as Locke, and watch the big retailers start clamouring for space in JS, the Right House, Connaught (assuming it sells to someone willing to spend money on it) Terminal Towers and even some of the crappy empty lots all around the Gore.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 29, 2009 at 18:40:00

Ok Jason, let me tone down some of the rhetoric.

Downtown does have many good restaurants, entertainment options and great neighbourhoods (Hess, James s & N etc) that many middle class people (including myself) frequent. However, the demographics of the dt are too heavily tilted towards low income, disabled, senior etc. This is why the core is full of crappy retail and pathetic scooters. Why would a middle class person want to purchase a condo or rent an apartment in the core and then have to drive to a suburban mall to access good quality and abundent retail options? This defeats the purpose of living in the core. Not only that but if you are living downtown you are always under the constant threat that the city is going to build some subsidized housing or halfway house etc next to you. Many people are not willing to take that risk.

On another note, yes many Hamiltonians do work dt, however I would not say that this represents a majority. Many Hamiltonian work in the city's industrial parks and the education and hospital campuses. What is really dissapointing about this city is that we are one of the few large cities that actually have a net commuter DEFICIT i.e. more people living in Hamilton commute out of the city for work than those who commute in. But this is largely a result of the declining manufacturing sector over the last 30 years.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 29, 2009 at 19:26:48

Capitalist writes: What’s the matter grassroots, did Harris cut your welfare cheque and force you to go and work for some greedy capitalist?

I have been on welfare three times in my life, once in 1986 when I separated, with a child, I had a job within three days, in 2004, because a temp company refused to give my ROE after six months, I ran out of money and could not access EI. After gettng a job, which I lost to workplace bullying, I sued for wrongful dismissal and won, I again had to access welfare as my EI had run out before securing working again. I took one cheque, the "workfare" rules are too much. I was forced to take a job, well beneath my skill level, at minimum wage, which I probably would of taken, if not that had to work for three weeks for nothing. The job was almost out in Winona, not on a bus route, and would have to pay gas, which I had no money to pay for and the reality is if you take money from a line of credit or if a friend or family member helps you out, they consider that as income as well and will deducted that from the next cheque. I mean would you go to work and not get paid? My OW worker knew what I was saying. I did not hand in my cards for the next cheque, what was the point, as I would of been cut off anyways. I survived but at great emotional cost.

I have worked probably harder then you ever had to, I have a post secondary education, I was upgrading my skills, Mac/Mohawk program in Labour Studies, when I lost my job last April. I have spent numerous hours volunteering in the community.

My EI will run out soon and I have not yet secured work. I will be entitled to $572.00 per month, which does not pay my rent, never mind all my other obligations. So I could be in the streets, one of those "bums". But of course you are too busy stepping on people to really f&*king listen to the realitites people, workers face.

So if I have problems, where does that leave those who do not education, skills, those who may have undiagnosed disablilites such as learning disabilites? those who may have addiction problems? Even if a worker is sick, has no benefits or even injuried where they can no longer work, must wallow on welfare for about three years before accessing ODSP.

You are a arrogant, selfish, egotistical person, who lives and judges people. In fact I would say it was people like yourself, that "KILLED" DOWNTOWN. Go shop at the Gap, pay big prices for garbage, who cares that a worker is paid pennies for making that product, just so you can feel "so important", in your so called fancy duds.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2009 at 00:11:29

@Grassroots

First, in an earlier post under this topic I gave a clear description of whom I considered "bums". Based on what you told me about your situation I clearly do not put you in that camp as you are someone who works for a living and sought education/training to improve your lot, however you have since experienced some misfortune which was beyond your control. Please take the time to scroll up and read it and you will hopefully understand the distinction that I make.

Second, you called me "a arrogant, selfish, egotistical person, who lives and judges people". In addition to these insults in an earlier post you called me a "Harissite" (which clearly was not meant as a complement) and under another topic you once called me a "moron". I do not recall ever levying a personal insult at you that uses the same strong language that you have directed towards me. I will leave it to other readers of this post to make their own judgements about you based on these comments.

Third, and I mean this sincerely, I do have sympathy for your situation. I know what it is like to be unemployed (again, please scroll up to read my earlier post), that is why I will take back that "cutting your welfare cheque" crack I laid on you and issue an apology. Had I known that it had personal connotations I never would have written it.

Fourth, in your post it appears that you are having trouble solidifying steady employment despite having a post sec education. Please don't take this as an insult but only as a mere observation, but could it be that your skill set (you mention labour studies) is not in great demand by employers? You may want to look into the following program if you have not yet done so.

http://www.secondcareerontario.com/web/second_career/

Grassroots, despite all our differences and all the personal insults that you have hurled at me I do wish you good fortune.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 30, 2009 at 03:21:21

Capitalist: Let us put by gones behind us, ok? I talk about the system because it is cruel, plain and simple. If I have problems, where does that leaves those who may have "issues". People can make mistakes, does that mean they should suffer? Sometimes it is easy to sit back and judge, yet not walk in the shoes of someone else. There was a story last winter I believe in the globe and mail, where a drunk, saved someone from drowning. When asked about their life, family members had been murdered, which affected them. Some people carry pain that is not so visible.

I have already checked into second career and I will have to fight teeth and nail, just to qualify, as I was not laid off but lost my job again to workplace bullying. One of my employers was the type that on a daily basis either yelled, screamed, slammed doors, threw things, kicked things acrossthe office, who was even hitting their own family member.

I went to the forum at the Art Gallery where they explained the changes to human rights commission, I asked a question about my human rights re employment issues, as my claim would not qualify under human rights. The majority of the calls the commission is getting is from people like myself, who cannot afford legal services, that you cannot get legal aid for employment issues and the legal clinics do not help either. Of all the lawyers there, not one had an answer. There is no law that protects a worker from workplace bullying, period. If you have a union, you are entitled to grieivance but that can be a long process as well. I would refer you to our female police officers and their fight.

Where is the justice? Can we close our eyes, to things that the working class fought for and we are losing. It is not right or left, it is about issues and what is just and right, that is what I talk about.

So to appeal to your conservative nature, I would suggest that you spend some time, checking things out, as to how the system is failing many. In punishing those who you deem as undesirable, you also hurt many other people. The poor did not cause the situation downtown, it was the powers to be. Remember now it was government?(back by who) kicked all those with mental health issues into the streets. The big banks back the pay day loans. Dollar stores, well going to high class places, things are still made in the same place, you just pay more, because of "branding", "brainwashing", corporatism"???

Re: the labour studies program, it enhances my background in payroll,almost 20 years, WSIB and Occupational Health and Safety, I have done all payrollfunctions, except hire and fire.Also I have learned about the labour movement and where reform needs to happen.

A PEOPLE UNITED, WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A sign of the times ... (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2009 at 09:02:51

grassroots,

Get your head out of the dirt... no pun intended.

There are lots of jobs out there. Not all of them may be to your standards, but they're jobs. Overeducated, unskilled individuals, like yourself, who chose to take Labour Studies, Arts, Religious Studies, Humanities, etc. should have known that these majors will not get you a decent career. McMaster (and all Universities) are full of confused students who are taking these courses and piling up their student debt that may or may not be paid off. Want to learn about any of the above? Try the real world.

You mentioned above that you were bullied at a previous job. That doesn't surprise me. You sound like one of those people who goes around shoveing your socialist ideas down peoples throats. I have absolutely no sympathy for people like you and quite enjoy watching you fail. Your views/work ethics are obviously flawed and seem to have only caused you hardship. Everyone falls on tough times, but you seem to be constantly "down on your luck."

Get out there, get some real world business experience and change your "oh poor me" attitude.

Anyway, I'm off to start my 9-8 job. Cheers.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2009 at 11:43:18

@grassroots

I tried to extend an olive branch to you as I am sympathetic to your situation and you respond by going on a socialistic rant about the flaws in the system and how the world is screwing you over. I was hoping to get an apology from you for the insults you levyed on me (as I had graciously apologized to you for much less serious offences.)

I think I am more inclined now to agree with the comments of the previous poster (A sign of the times...) when s/he said:

"You mentioned above that you were bullied at a previous job. That doesn't surprise me. You sound like one of those people who goes around shoveing your socialist ideas down peoples throats...Your views/work ethics are obviously flawed and seem to have only caused you hardship. Everyone falls on tough times, but you seem to be constantly "down on your luck."

Or, to put it more plainly, you are just a troublemaker.

I will no longer be engaging with you in any debate on this site, as it is a waste of my time, please extend me the same courtesy.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By TreyS (registered) | Posted December 30, 2009 at 12:09:52

".....who chose to take Labour Studies, Arts, Religious Studies, Humanities" lol.... sounds exactly like my courses at Mac.

I agree these courses have little economic use, but they are important to learn. The point is, a B.A. is a B.A. is a B.A. Even if you got a B.A. in Geography or History or Math. It's still of very little value. What it does say to employers is that YOU CAN LEARN. Most jobs are learned on the fly in the workplace. Take a computer science student for example... who graduated in 2006.. they're already out of date and useless unless they were in the workplace learning new technology.

Most undergrads take small specialty courses afterwards anyway, at a College, if they don't go on to a Masters. And a student that earned an undergrad degree can usually handle a Mohawk course in their sleep.

To get back on topic. I want to say one word about the Connaught Welfare Housing proposal. "Demolition-by-conversion".

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2009 at 13:25:52

"Thanks for that blanket statement. I agree - there is a real shortage of quality retail downtown - but to say there isn't any is a real shot to the gut to some of us working really hard at it."

Dave, Really is right? - I certainly had no intention of insulting or undermining the quality independent retail in the downtown; the independent business people downtown are the vanguard of the core's revitalization.

There are a number of smaller retailers whom I frequent downtown, and they are great. But I think you have to admit that for a couple or family looking to live in the downtown, there just isn't the sort of retail ready at hand to support a middle class household.

I suppose we could just say: middle class households should consume less and be content with what IS at hand, but asking people to make fundamental changes to their lifestyle is not a promising strategy to attract new residents to the core. People won't compromise comfort or habit for the "privilege" of living in one of the most stigmatized neighbourhoods in the country.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By John Neary (registered) | Posted December 30, 2009 at 17:36:46

Tammany >> "for a couple or family looking to live in the downtown, there just isn't the sort of retail ready at hand to support a middle class household."

As a young middle class guy living in the middle of Beasley, I respectfully disagree. Besides the food I grow or obtain from farm shares, I buy groceries at Maker's Market (Ferguson and King, or James and Colbourne), the Farmer's Market (York and MacNab), Food Basics (Mary and Barton), and the independent South Asian, Mexican, and Italian grocery stores on James North. I buy hardware from Arruda's (Hughson and Barton), gardening supplies from Tregunno Seeds (Catherine and Wilson), stationery from Mixed Media (James and Cannon) and Grand and Toy (Jackson Square), and kitchen supplies from Chris's Store Fixtures (James and Murray). There's a Beer Store at Barton and Elgin and an LCBO in Jackson Square.

How many suburban neighbourhoods have that many shops within 1 km?

Downtown Hamilton has more problems than many other city centres, but even with all of the parking lots and abandoned buildings and urban highways, there's still a lot going on here. It appears emptier than it is because it was built very densely in the first place. By contrast, suburban neighbourhoods built with a lower density can appear more lived-in even when there's nothing really there.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 30, 2009 at 17:54:57

By A sign of the times writes: Get out there, get some real world business experience

Do you mean like bookkeeping, payroll, A/R, A/P, taxes, preparing financial statements, how about budgets and such? Is this the real world business experience are you talking about?

What would you know about my work ethic? Nothing, that's right!

Of course, in the real world, I have no doubt you ar a bully, you would be like this person.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC32nbGVu...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2009 at 00:16:09

Grassroots, have you ever thought about starting your own business? For whatever reason, you really don't seem cut out to be an employee.

Maybe your destiny is to build a big company, hire lots of workers and treat them the way you keep telling everyone they should be treated. Have you ever thought about starting a business?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A sign of the times ... (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2009 at 00:35:01

@grassroots:

Funny how you still can't seem to find a decent job with all those skills. Maybe your attitude has something to do with it? Or the fact that you have the personality of a pencil?

I'm not a bully, but I do call a spade a spade.

Goodnight y'all

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 31, 2009 at 01:13:27

A sign of the times

a song for you

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3i6OrOZwt...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By d.knox (registered) | Posted December 31, 2009 at 09:49:14

Grassroots:

I can't believe that continuing to engage in this conversation is good for you. It must be frightening and frustrating to be facing the end of your EI, but lashing out is only going to invite more negative responses.

Please reach out in a positive way to some of your friends for support. You seem to know a great deal about how some of the social assistance programs work, so I am guessing that you have some good contacts to draw on. Perhaps if you let your son/daughter know exactly how bad things are for you right now, the two of you could work out a supportive arrangement.

Hope you have a peaceful New Year.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Wiccan (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2009 at 11:03:48

Grassroots, maybe one of your problems is that you are spending too much of your time trolling on this website and viewing youtube videos rather than looking for work???

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2009 at 12:01:00

"As a young middle class guy living in the middle of Beasley, I respectfully disagree. Besides the food I grow or obtain from farm shares, I buy groceries at Maker's Market (Ferguson and King, or James and Colbourne), the Farmer's Market (York and MacNab), Food Basics (Mary and Barton), and the independent South Asian, Mexican, and Italian grocery stores on James North. I buy hardware from Arruda's (Hughson and Barton), gardening supplies from Tregunno Seeds (Catherine and Wilson), stationery from Mixed Media (James and Cannon) and Grand and Toy (Jackson Square), and kitchen supplies from Chris's Store Fixtures (James and Murray). There's a Beer Store at Barton and Elgin and an LCBO in Jackson Square."

That's quite a list. I never sought to deny that it's possible to live in the downtown. Your list makes it clear that it is. My point was that the amenities most middle class people expect just aren't there. I love the independent "ethnic" grocery stores on James North, but I feel confident in saying that a lot middle class people would never think to shop in them. Ditto with the Market - many people wouldn't think of a farmers' market as a place to buy routine groceries. We need to cater to the most basic expectations of the people we want in the core, not compel them to make alternative choices which they might find unusual or inconvenient.

Everyone knows it: what we need is a full service, quality mid-range grocery store like a Metro, Fortinos or Sobeys right in the downtown (there used to be one!). Even a lower-end grocery store like a food basics or a no frills would suffice (although I think a mid-range store would do wonders for downtown perception and is to be preferred). A name-brand, large format department store would be great as well (I know that department stores are generally seen as an outdated retail format, but they really do work in high-density environments; most of the world's great cities have at least one or two thriving department stores in the core).

I don't mean to be excessively negative about the downtown. But I take exception to any comment which seems to suggest a complacent attitude about downtown's amenities. I firmly believe that the downtown (and I don't mean the lower city as a whole, just the core), as it is, is largely unsuited to the needs and expectations of middle class families. I think people who care need to harp on this point incessantly until things begin to turn around.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A sign of the times ... (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2009 at 13:53:21

@Tammany,

I couldn't agree more with your post. But first we need people who can afford to shop at those stores. There are currently only 2-3 middle class condominiums downtown. Almost all of the people living there shop at the dreaded Fortino's on Dundurn. Downtown will not turn around until trendy, hip and exciting condominiums are built. That's it, plain and simple. Until that happens, nothing will change.

The city hall lot would have been an ideal parcel of land for 3-4 highrises with main floor retail.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2009 at 14:29:22

I agree that much more in the way of high end residential needs to be built, but again the question arises: which comes first, the people or the amenities? Will developers be able to sell expensive condos to middle class people when the amenities they demand are absent? At the same time, it makes little sense for a retailer to invest in a market where there is little in the way of current demand. In some markets, yes, the confidence in future development is so great that some businesses will open shop on a speculation basis, but very few will take that sort of chance with downtown Hamilton.

I disagree that we need high rises. I say fill in the parking lots with low and midrise development first. Banks and financiers need to be shown that quality residential is saleable and sustainable in Hamilton. Overly ambitious projects like the Chateau Royale which maintain high vacancy rates for years after completion only hurt the perception of the downtown as a viable market.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted December 31, 2009 at 17:55:20

Tammany wrote: We need to cater to the most basic expectations of the people we want in the core, not compel them to make alternative choices which they might find unusual or inconvenient.

I especially agree with this, but also the rest of your post. Bang-on.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A sign of the times ... (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2009 at 19:03:36

@Tammany

Put the required retail on the main floor of the residential buildings. Has anyone been to a Sobey's Express in downtown Toronto? They're open 24 hours a day most days and carry their most popular products. I know so many people who would move downtown just for the convenience of 24 hour grocery shopping downstairs.

Chateau Royale is a dump. The Piggot Building is dark and depressing. City View Terraces on Caroline/Napier looks like every other building in Hamilton. Core Lofts, Margaret Street Lofts and Allenby Lofts are fine examples of what Hamilton needs and wants. There are waiting lists for all three of those buildings.

The City Hall lot would have been ideal, since the city could have stayed in Jackson Square. It would have been a fine use of the empty office/retail space that is only growing. I don't see any of those empty parking lots for sale... The city could of auctioned the site off to the highest developer. Just imagine the tax revenue they would collect from these buildings?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted January 01, 2010 at 12:21:36

you're bang on about Core Lofts, Margaret and Allenbey. Prices have done well in those projects as well. I, however, am no fan of having a City Mall. For one, it's a joke of a building with mostly low end tenants (and that's while it's filled with city hall - get ready for a parade of dollar stores once city hall leaves). Secondly, the owners don't seem willing to invest money where necessary to draw major tenants or open up the building to the street. There are landlords downtown who do a great job (Right House, Blanchard etc....) IF we were to move city hall anywhere, I'd want it to be into one of those buildings, as a sort of reward for keeping the faith downtown all these years and not allowing their properties to become filled with dollarmarts. Third, despite the crappy streetscape along Main, City Hall has a large public gathering space which is absolutely essential in our society. Where would we celebrate, demonstrate, parade and protest if city hall was buried deep in the old Eatons store??
If we ever decide to take a wild step out of the 50's and actually reclaim our downtown streets for commerce, people, attractive public spaces and vibrancy, Main St in front of city hall could be wonderful and animated with markets, cafes, patios, music, etc....imagine a pseudo-Euro style public plaza with cafe tables and public art surrounding the soon to re-open fountains in front of city hall? Imagine weekend farm stalls and artisan/crafters drawing residents from the densely populated neighbourhoods surrounding the hall? Main could either hold LRT or become a normal 2-way street like Yonge in TO and with priority given to slower traffic, attractive urban design and pedestrian friendly amenities, it could be a great district in the heart of the city along with hopeful similar districts at the Gore, James North and York/Farmers Market.

Perhaps in this next decade Hamilton will stop electing 1950's thinkers and will actually take some of these basic steps towards growing a livable, vibrant, urban economy once again.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A sign of the times ... (anonymous) | Posted January 01, 2010 at 13:46:20

@jason,

The retail spots would be sold to businesses at the developers discretion and clauses built-in to the offers preventing any sale to undesired uses. No dollar stores, pawn shops, XXX video booths ... you get the idea. Ironstone Condominiums in Burlington was very successful in finding solid buyers using this concept. I'm not suggesting an outdoor "city mall." I'm suggesting a fresh community with amenities at everyone's door step, lots of undergound parking, CarShare and bicycle parking/share. If the LRT goes ahead, and my fingers are crossed that it will, I am almost certain that there will be a stop right infront of the condo's. The city has a very attractive property tax incentive for new and refinished residential units downtown, that is not being used to its full potential, or at all.

I know I'm dreaming, but once a community like this is built downtown, everything around it will flourish.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2010 at 04:47:58

One way the city could attract more investment would be to tax businesses not on assessment, but on the square footage of their property. Currently, the tax system punishes property owners who increase the market value of their buildings and actually rewards those who decrease the market value of their buildings.

If property owners paid taxes based not on the quality of their properties, but on the square footage, the result would be a competition to see who could build the highest quality properties using the least amount of government infrastructure and services.

This shift away from taxing quality to taxing quantity will give property owners the confidence to once again invest in the downtown. If a 250k building can be improved to 500k without the threat of a doubling in property taxes, the result will be very happy property owners with much more willingness to do just that.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2010 at 05:32:03

As an added thought, the calculation of square footage of the property should likely include the land + the building sq. footage. This way, developers would be penalized for big lots, regardless of the the sq.footage of the home and condo/apartment owners could not get away with claiming they use small amounts of land. Since police, fire and parks are consumed by people, not acreage, people that live in high rises need to pay for these as well.

Even without these two clarifications, the switch to a system based on square footage would still promote higher quality properties and a better experience for the residents of Hamilton. Anything to move us away from penalizing property owners from wanting to make quality improvements has to be better than the system we have today.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JonC (registered) | Posted January 03, 2010 at 11:46:34

You again demonstrate that you have never owned land in your life.

Not to blow your mind, but the primary value of the vast majority of properties in Hamilton is land and thus large lots are penalized. My residence's value is around the hypothetical price, and for me to double the value of the house I'd have to make the actual building 3 to 4 times more valuable, typically larger (note: the land is worth more than the house and does not change in value by this construction). So hypothetically, the building could hold more people, have more floor space for private business to run, etc. A business downtown would have more floor space or units. All those things require more city services. If I was just creating a monstrosity for my wife, the dog and me, sure I'd be paying double the taxes, but we would have just dropped a few hundred grand to buy unneeded floor space, so we'd probably have some extra cash floating around come tax time. In the majority of cases, increases that dramatic result in LESS taxes per occupant/business usage sqft (which actually makes sense, since less infrastructure is required).

Overall, switching to a straight square footage system would do is penalize those living in currently less desirable neighbourhoods and reward those living in

The only immediate change that needs to be made is to place a shortened limit on the reduced taxation rate for vacant land, and maybe to not have city council encourage illegal surface parking on those vacant lots.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JonC (registered) | Posted January 03, 2010 at 11:48:42

Note to Ryan: I just realized I can upvote my own comment. That seems like a flaw of sorts.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2010 at 16:19:08

JonC >> Not to blow your mind, but the primary value of the vast majority of properties in Hamilton is land and thus large lots are penalized.

Too bad, because the tax system we use today is even more unfair.

Currently, if a person invests money to make their property more valuable, both for themselves and their neighbourhood, the city rewards this effort by increasing their tax bill. Even though the underlying property requires no more government services, things such as police, fire, recreation, transit, roads, the city still wants more money, simply because the property now has a higher market value.

In contrast, the person who doesn't make the effort to increase the value of their home and surrounding neighbourhood, but rather allows his property to get run down, ends up paying less in taxes. Furthermore, when you throw in the fact that the lazy owner's property still requires the same amount of government services as it did prior to getting run down, the lazy guy is actually being rewarded for making his/her part of the city look worse.

By moving to a tax system based on the size of the property, rather than the value of the property, tax bills would only increase if the amount of government services consumed increased. Therefore, if a property owner built a 20 storey building on his/her land, the tax bill would increase to reflect the added services that new residents would require.

However, if a property owner simply added quality improvements to the land, things that made the property and the neighbourhood more valuable, the tax bill would only go up by the average tax increase. Under this new tax system, people that invest their time and money to make the city a better place to live, but in a way that doesn't lead to higher costs, would not be punished by having to pay higher taxes.

>> switching to a straight square footage system would do is penalize those living in currently less desirable neighbourhoods

No it wouldn't. Since the new system would be based on the quantity of government services consumed, it would simply ask those areas to pay their fair share. Furthermore, if a person fixed up his/her home, they would be rewarded by being able to keep the full value of that increase and not have it taxed away from them. Overall, this new tax structure would simply ask people to pay the true cost of the services they were using.

Most importantly, this new tax system would have profound effects on shaping the quality of neighbourhoods city wide. The result would be far fewer homes built in sprawling fashion with low population densities and more higher quality homes built in the way they used to be before the car revolution. As for how this would affect your pet causes like the LRT, it would make them a hell of a lot more cost effective, something I thought you would be happy about.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JonC (registered) | Posted January 03, 2010 at 17:28:52

Again, you criticize a system you don't understand. There isn't a continuous update to values. All they look at is your home sale home sales and building permits. The system wide re-evaluation of homes that occurred twoish years ago was the first in many years. And the current values are below market value. Maintaining a property doesn't increase your taxes and letting it go to shit doesn't decrease them. If you file a permit to convert to a duplex, that affects it. You add a story to your house, that affects it. You bulldoze a property, that affects it. Adding insulation or re-doing the kitchen or painting the outside doesn't affect your property taxes.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2010 at 19:26:20

JonC, according to the MPAC people, updates to assessed values have taken place in 2008, 2005, 2003, 2001, 1999 and 1996.

>> Maintaining a property doesn't increase your taxes and letting it go to shit doesn't decrease them.

According to MPAC, assessed values are based primarily on the sales comparison approach. In other words, they look at sales prices of similar homes in the same area and then they tweak numbers to account for differences in lot size, age, renovations and quality of construction.

Therefore, if a theoretical neighbourhood in Hamilton does nothing but improve the inside of the homes, this will still increase the assessed value of that area because it will show up in the market prices when they are sold. In contrast, if another area of the city makes less improvements to their homes, market sales prices will be lower and this will reduce assessed values.

Ultimately, the primary factor that increases assessments are market sales prices and higher sales prices can be the result of any quality improvement, inside or outside, including insulation, new kitchens, or painting the exterior of your house.

That's why fixing tax rates to assessed values, which really means fixing tax rates to market values, reduces overall property investments and the quality of housing stock in the city. Since we know that making a property newer and better to look at does not increase the amount of needed government services, why should people pay higher taxes just because they do just that.

Conversely, why should people that allow their homes to get run down and sell for lower market prices be rewarded with lower tax bills? That is the equivalent of giving tax-breaks to someone for spraying grafitti on the sidewalk. The city is rewarding lazy people and punishing people that want to make their neighbourhood look better.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JonC (registered) | Posted January 03, 2010 at 23:22:54

I'm aware of the MPAC dates, if you recall there was an inordinate amount of outrage at the one two years ago. That is because they actually did a really serious overhaul bringing assessed values much closer in line with market values than they ever had been previously.
http://www.mpac.on.ca/pages_english/pdf/...

"In contrast, if another area of the city makes less improvements to their homes, market sales prices will be lower and this will reduce assessed values. "

Key word is area. If I redo the kitchen, it won't matter when the 2011 mpac assessment is done. It will only matter to my neighbours if I sell my home. In fact it's the exact opposite of your conception of reality. If I let my house fall apart while my neighbours flourish, the value of my home and taxes will increase even though I've chosen to live in squalor. When you've read thousands of appraisals you can get back to me about comparative appraised valuations.

Also, even if you knew what you were talking about, "why should people that allow their homes to get run down and sell for lower market prices be rewarded with lower tax bills?" This is not a reward. You would need to lose 10k of value to get a tax break of about $150 a year. What a deal!!!! Tear my roof off now. No wait, tear my neighbours' roofs off.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 04, 2010 at 04:31:50

JonC, imagine there are two neighbourhoods in Hamilton, one is called Lazy, the other is called Effort. In Lazy, the majority of people enjoy taking it easy and living for the moment. In contrast, the people that live in Effort love building for the future

Over time, the people in Lazy fail to maintain their homes and the result is a neighbourhood that looks run down and dirty. Meanwhile, the people of Effort spend their weekends adding value to their homes, things such as landscaping, interior improvements, etc. The result is that homes sell for much higher market prices in Effort than in Lazy, even though both neighbourhoods use the exact amount of government services.

Under the current tax system, the people of Effort will end up paying more in taxes, simply because they tried to make their neighbourhood better. In contrast, because the market value of homes in Lazy are only 50% of the ones in Effort, the people of Lazy only have to pay half as much in taxes, even though they receive the exact dollar figure in government services.

This is an accurate description of the system we have today. One in which effort is punished and sloth is rewarded. Do you think it's a good idea to punish people just because they want to increase the quality of the neighbourhood?

Ryan has told us before that taxation leads to less of the behaviour being taxed. If this is true, why are we taxing effort and not laziness?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JonC (registered) | Posted January 04, 2010 at 17:32:32

The system we have today is actually one of the wealthy pricing the poor out of their neighbourhoods wherein land value is determined not by average home upkeep but by the average paycheque. Of course, I suspect your puritan mind would equate poor with lazy and vice versa.

The people moving into those higher priced homes accept a higher rate of taxation as a price to pay to not have to live among the others. The amount is written on the listing, so it's not exactly a surprise. People living along the escarpment know they are paying a premium relative to people a few blocks away when they buy the home. That's part of the cost. To quote myself from earlier "Overall, switching to a straight square footage system would do is penalize those living in currently less desirable neighbourhoods and reward those living in", and apparently I didn't finish my thought, 'more desirable neighbourhoods'.

Just admit that what you are suggesting is method to eliminate progressive taxation and we can move on from there. Then you can move directly onto a tax rate per person instead of unfairly taxing people, just for having a spacious home.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted January 04, 2010 at 18:25:20

ASmith, please explain to me then why my 30x60 foot lot in downtown Hamilton is taxed at a higher rate than a typical sprawl home in Waterdown??

You effort vs. lazy thing is completely wrong when you break down tax rates according to land size and property value. A home in Waterdown assessed as 50% more expensive than mine with a 50% larger lot pays the exact same tax amount each year.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 04, 2010 at 22:04:18

JonC >> The system we have today is actually one of the wealthy pricing the poor out of their neighbourhoods wherein land value is determined not by average home upkeep but by the average paycheque.

And under this new tax system, this would not happen, because taxes would not rise simply because the neighbourhood became more popular. Therefore, a poor neighbourhood could invest time and effort into their homes and if they went up in value, they would still pay the same level of taxes as they did before, one based on the size of their property.

Furthermore, there would also need to be adjustments made for agricultural properties, since these would not have the same level of infrastructure that residential areas do.

JonC >> "Overall, switching to a straight square footage system would do is penalize those living in currently less desirable neighbourhoods and reward those living in", and apparently I didn't finish my thought, 'more desirable neighbourhoods'.

According to the MLS, a home in Westdale that has a lot size of 3,778 sq ft and 3,000 sq.ft interior is priced at $389,000. A home downtown has 1000 sq.ft of interior space and a lot size of 1082 sq.ft. It's priced at $114,500. Therefore, the Westdale home is priced at $57.4/sq.ft whereas the downtown home is priced at $55.0 sq.ft. In fact, they already pay the same amount of taxes per sq.foot.

It gets interesting when we look at Ancaster. According to the MLS, a home there with a lot size of 17,980 sq.ft lot and 2,900 sq.ft interior space is worth $689,000. The price per sq.ft works out to $33/sq.ft. Under the new tax system, this house would see it's tax bill jump by two thirds, from approximately $10,000 to $16,500. Therefore, it would appear that the people who would see the greatest jumps in their tax bills would not be the poor, but those who own the big homes on big lots.

Jason, under the new tax system, people would be taxed based on the size of their property. In the case of Waterdown, according to the MLS, there is a home there that is up for sale for $509k. This home has a lot size of 8,478 sq.ft and 2,400 sq.ft. This works out to $46.8/sq.ft. Under the new tax system, this house would need to see it's tax bill increase by 20% to match the level of homes downtown.

If this system was in place today, most downtown homes would likely see their tax bills decrease.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JonC (registered) | Posted January 05, 2010 at 08:43:06

If you don't want to be honest about your intentions, that's fine. I won't bother continuing the conversation beyond the below.

Three points chosen, I'll assume at random (Don't worry, I don't really assume that). I hope you do better in your petition to city council, which you'll never make. I'll give you a head at making a better pitch by taking away the hard to analyze house and just look at vacant land.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted January 05, 2010 at 09:47:19

Jason, would you please cut the crap!

"A home in Waterdown assessed as 50% more expensive than mine with a 50% larger lot pays the exact same tax amount each year."

Your house in dt Hamilton is currently paying a rate of 1.587609%, a house in Waterdown (Flamborough) is paying 1.381026% (or 1.360939% without transit). The differences in rates I suspect is a holdover from amalgamation and area rating (something that should be done away with.)

To provide an example for those who are mathematically challenged, lets say your house is assessed at 100K and a house in Waterdown is assessed at 150K (50% more than your house as you stated) then you are paying $1,587.60 in property tax (100,000 X 1.587609%) while the house in Waterdown is paying $2071.5 in tax (150,000 X 1.381026%).

Therefore a house in Waterdown assessed at 50% more than you is not paying the same amount of tax as you but they are paying about 30% more!

Please learn some math skills and do your homework before you begin spewing your nonsense on this (or any other) forum.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 05, 2010 at 09:56:23

JonC, my intentions are for society to stop rewarding lazy people for sitting on their ass. The current tax system does this and it needs to stop.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 05, 2010 at 11:23:22

A Smith's definition of Lazy and Effort just described the attitudes of Southern Europe. I'd much rather be working to live rather then living to work.

Visit a Mediterranean country, Spain, S France, Italy, Greece, Portugal and you won't want to come back to our work, work work lifestyle. Trying to get a bigger house then your neighbour, a newer car, make more money and fame. You'll never win Smith and it'll kill you before 55.

And to be clear. Not many people wake up and say "hey I want to be on welfare". Granted some might prefer it. But largely in my experience some are unemployable for a variety of reasons, some have personality disorders, some have physical disability, mental illness, are full-time care givers to children or elderly parents, some have addictions, some people are just considered "to not fit in" and are constantly fired because of their socializing skills. It's not fair to say that all are lazy. The world is not fair to everyone. There are plenty of stories of people overcoming adversity but for every good news story there is a bad news story.

I'm glad to live in a country that takes care of every citizen to the best it can. Having said that I still don't believe turning the Connaught a centre-piece of downtown into a social housing project. It's too important a building, it's demolition-by-conversion, I don't trust what the current owners say, it's too visible on what should be the most expensive real estate in the City, it's damaging to our outside image and discouraging and embarrassing to our own citizens, it does nothing to help our lack of pride in ourselves.

[Comment edited by TreyS on 2010-01-05 10:24:31]

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 05, 2010 at 13:35:31

TreyS >> I'd much rather be working to live rather then living to work.

And under a tax system based on square footage you could do just that. However, under this new tax system, you would also have more incentive to increase the value of your home/neighbourhood, since your new home equity would not be taxed at 1.59%, as is the case today, it would be taxed at 0%.

The city could still tax people at whatever level they wanted, it just wouldn't be able to take more from people just because they added equity to their homes. Taxes would be based on services received and that would be mean the square footage of your home plus the lot size.

People respond to incentives and punishment. The current tax system punishes people for keeping their homes in good shape and punishes them even more if they try and make them look nicer. In contrast, the city gives tax breaks to people who do the opposite.

If a tax system based on sq.footage was in place today, investing in one's home would automatically become more profitable. The result is that people would invest more time and energy in their homes and the result would be a city that looks not necessarily newer, just healthier.

There are many parts of the Hamilton that are filled with great historic homes, but many of them also look extremely uncared for. If a person worked to spruce one of them up and increased the market value by 10k, the city would charge them $159/year for that privilege. In Burlington, that same 10k equity increase would only cost $108. In Toronto, 10k worth of new equity would only result in an additional tax charge of $85.

By taxing effort and success at a tax rate much higher than our neighbours, the City of Hamilton is getting less of it. The result is a city where homes are cared for less, become run down quicker and overall look old and sad. This doesn't have to be the case and if the tax system ever stops punishing hard work, the housing stock of Hamilton will be renewed, turning the city from sick to healthy.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted January 05, 2010 at 17:58:58

I know just what you mean, A Smith! We saved up $10,000 so we could finally have our dream kitchen, but as soon as we found out we'd be paying $51 more in taxes than someone in Burlington, we said no way Jose! So now we're going Galt by living in squalor just to spite council. Ha! Take that, Hamilton!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 05, 2010 at 22:07:02

highwater, I'm glad you finally agree that setting tax rates to Burlington levels would be insignificant. Remember when you used tell me that Burlington tax rates (approx 1%) were DANGEROUSLY low? If you don't here is a quote...

By highwater (registered)
Posted April 07, 2009 11:54:08

...Here in the real world, opposing dangerously low tax rates is not the same thing as favouring high ones.

As you can see, you were quite traumatized by the idea of reducing Hamilton's residential tax rates from around 1.6% to around 1%. You thought the city would be starved of massive amounts of cash. Apparently now you think the complete opposite, that reducing Hamilton's tax rates to Burlington levels would result in an insignificant amount of money back to taxpayers.

Just to clarify, were you wrong before, or are you wrong now?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted January 05, 2010 at 23:40:10

Trey S: What do you mean by this " some people are just considered "to not fit in" and are constantly fired because of their socializing skills"?

Why should people be fired just because someone thinks that they do not fit in? Is it not more about the lack of worker rights, then anything? Who is anyone to sit in judgement?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By reuben (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2010 at 09:08:32

i think that last post by A Smith gets a perfect '10' for true troll form. inspiring.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted January 06, 2010 at 11:20:39

^It's impressive, yes. Of course he forgot to multiply my insignificant amount across the city, thereby proving the opposite of his point which is that small amounts for individuals actually have a very large impact on the city's revenues, yet he would have us believe that individuals make major decisions based on these negligible amounts. It is to laugh.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted January 06, 2010 at 11:26:37

Also, I'm very flattered by the fact that he remembered that quote at all, let alone the amount of time it must have taken him to track it down. You're right Reuben, epic troll.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2010 at 11:05:47

highwater >> small amounts for individuals actually have a very large impact on the city's revenues, yet he would have us believe that individuals make major decisions based on these negligible amounts.

If you read my original comment, I'm actually suggesting a 0% tax on new equity, not just the difference between Hamilton and Burlington, which is roughly 0.5%. Therefore, the savings on 10k of new equity would be $159/year.

Currently, Hamilton homes are taxed at the rate of 1.59%, which means that for every 100k of market value, a person pays $1,590 in taxes/yr. If you invest time and money to increase the market value of your house, the city increases your tax bill. If you don't invest time and money into your house, the city reduces your portion of the tax bill.

Under a tax system based on square footage, taxes would not be based on investment at all, but simply on consumption. Since market value has absolutely nothing to do with how much a house consumes in government services, taxing market value is nothing but a punishment on success. Taxing market value rewards people who make the city look run down and punishes those who build the city back up.

Keep in mind that the city could still tax at whatever level it wanted to, it's just that the tax increases would need to be based on usage, rather than market value. In this way, they city would encourage home builders to create neighbourhoods of high value, but also of low costs.

If you like the idea of taxing wasteful sprawl and promoting low cost, but high quality neighbourhoods, taxing square footage is a much better way to get there than the tax system we have today. Reread this comment a few times and you'll see that I'm correct.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By frank (registered) | Posted January 07, 2010 at 14:34:56

yipes...

Grassroots perhaps you can explain to me the fellow who refused my offer to buy him food in lieu of change? Or the guy who turned down an offer of working for $10/hour in favour of asking people for change? We have more than enough social housing downtown. Bleeding hearts are great as long as the people they're bleeding for are in fact worth the blood. As I said before, social assistance would be far more effective if there was a way of weeding out the mooches. Perhaps a listen to Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colours song will help you out? Poor is as much a state of mind as it is a function of your bank account balance.

In the last 2 years we've had 2 proposals on the Connaught. Perhaps it's a trend... I hope so.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted January 07, 2010 at 21:23:23

Frank: The problem with you is that just because a couple of people whom you have had encounters with have turned down your offers means that everyone is the same.

As an employee, who spends much time posting instead of working, maybe you can get some time off work and attend a CAWDB (Campaign for Adequate Welfare and disability Benefits) meeting and meet some good people who struggle, who would not turn down offers of assistance.

It makes me wonder if you work for the city and if your employer, meaning the tax paying people know that you spend your work time not doing work? But of course in your mind, you are untouchable, think again.

Of course in your world, no one would receive help, they would dying in the streets, while you step over them. I would say that you are sociopathic, you have no conscience, you just exist.

As far as the Connaught goes, it will probably sit empty and unused for years until the owners can get money from the welfare state.

Your right wing rhetoric gets tiresome and boring. Poor is not a state mind, it is a reality, that many wish not to live in.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By woody10 (registered) | Posted January 09, 2010 at 01:15:15

Jeez Grassroots, take a pill. Frank is bang on in weeding out the mooches. He isn't the only one who has had this happen. I refuse to give money to people but always offer the food etc. None take it. One guy asked me for a dollar to buy some food, I reached into my bag and gave him a banana I just bought and he threw it in the garbage beside me and told me to F O. That and the other references I've mentioned over a few articles are not isolated incedents. Wake up man! your Rhetoric is incredibly foolish and serves no purpose!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By wow (anonymous) | Posted January 09, 2010 at 09:09:44

Original post's word count: 217
Approximate word count of comment bodies: 15,431

I love this site.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted January 09, 2010 at 10:44:47

LOL, wow you should have named yourself "win" instead.

These Connaught articles always lead to massive discussions (though they do often get offtrack). At least there's a small group of people passionate about this city.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted January 09, 2010 at 22:36:08

ok, so the Century theatre is out of our hair now. Another beautiful parking lot is on the way. Down comes the Connuaght in 3...2....1....demolition by willful neglect via slumlord.....0!

[Comment edited by jason on 2010-01-09 21:37:12]

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds