Letter: McMaster Health Campus 'Fine Addition to Fantasy Hamilton'

By Letter to the Editor
Published July 15, 2011

As a downtrodden Hamilton Red, I was gratified to learn from a piece in the Spectator of July 12, titled An opportunity for partnership, that Doctors Kelton and Price intend to revitalize me by building a McMaster Health Campus at the corner of Main and Bay in order to offer me the care I "so richly deserve."

This is very good of them and I am of course pleased to shell out my share of the twenty million bucks which the City has dedicated to this noble endeavour. I would only blow it on beer and chips anyway. And I enjoyed the "concept drawing" of the proposed facility. It is another beauty and a fine addition to Fantasy Hamilton.

But I don't see the parking lot in the picture and I wonder how big that baby will be. Judging by the recent Health-led development at Barton and Wellington, the area required is about three times the footprint of the buildings.

This is a lot of asphalt and automobile exhaust, which would seem to offset the Doctors' commitment to public health. And yet they want to partner with the providers of those services. Hmm...

Of course, there need be no contradiction. If health professionals would walk their talk, the problem is easily solved. They could just take up residence downtown closer to their work, and walk or cycle to the job.

Since this is about as likely as the cure for all cancers popping up tomorrow morning, I suggest that our partnership would be better balanced if the docs built their plant, and emitted their respiratory irritants, somewhere on the Mountain, nearer to where they live.

I propose the intersection of Upper James and Rymal Road. This is surely the bleakest part of Hamilton, and is in desperate need of the intensification that a ten story "landmark" building could supply.

As for the concomitant pollution and the endless grey drizzle of marketing jargon about "catalysts" and "revitalization" and "partnerships" eventuating in "a new dimension of care", the Mountain dwellers are far more deserving of them than we degenerate and cynical old city Reds.

I am entirely willing to sacrifice my share of this "care" to my fellow citizens on the hill. It's only fair.

Shawn Selway

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By trevorlikesbikes (registered) - website | Posted July 15, 2011 at 14:06:43

Hey Shawn, great letter but please don't be tossing that flaming paperbag of K9 fecal matter on my porch!

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By Me 109 (anonymous) | Posted July 15, 2011 at 19:12:18

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted July 16, 2011 at 14:04:42

Never thought of Upper James & Rymal as the Main & Bay of The Mountain, but the shoe might fit. Lower city folk sometimes forget how big the city is: City limits to downtown is about the same distance as a round trip on the proposed McMaster-Eastgate LRT line.

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By Shawn Selway (anonymous) | Posted July 17, 2011 at 22:52:04 in reply to Comment 66278

Hey Fred. IMHO, some sprawl repair is definitely in order. If I lived on the mountain, I think I would be pretty tired of hearing about fixing the downtown day after day...Actually, I live downtown and I'm pretty tired of it too...

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By RichardDenOtter (registered) - website | Posted July 17, 2011 at 09:24:10

Hey Shawn, why so much hatred towards doctors? My wife and I live in downtown, and so do many of her colleagues. FYI, the resident doctors (what you become after you get your MD) don't earn that much, less than nurses in some cases. And a lot of them do not "emit their respiratory irritants" just because it's easier to walk to work.

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By Shawn Selway (anonymous) | Posted July 17, 2011 at 22:40:39 in reply to Comment 66296

Hey Richard. Hatred? Geez. It's an observation that there's a contradiction between the overall objective, public health, and some of the means meant to achieve it. I'm not too fond of those surface parking lots though. Hate em, in fact. I am aware that residents and indeed fully qualified docs on call work some ridiculous hours and in the beginning don't get paid that great either. Pretty good credit though -- despite the monster debt load. None of that is relevant to the matter under discussion though. Or at least the one I'm wanting to discuss. Cheers. Shawn.

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By RichardDenOtter (registered) - website | Posted July 18, 2011 at 00:56:52 in reply to Comment 66320

I agree with you on the parking lots. In fact, I wonder if it's possible to create an investment pool with the sole purpose of buying them out and converting into something useful. I don't think any of them are openly for sale right now, but I bet the owners will consider offers.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 17, 2011 at 10:23:34

I must say, the enormous growth of Parking lots around the General lately irks me more than a bit, as does the massive web of distant parking lots McMaster has built in the West End (connected by shuttle bus). I don't necessarily see this as a scathing indictment of the medical profession. But would a couple Henderson-style parking garages be too much to ask?

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By Shawn Selway (anonymous) | Posted July 17, 2011 at 22:46:59 in reply to Comment 66298

Yup. Couple more parking garages downtown like the one kitty corner from the market, with green roofs, would be a great step forward from what we have now. Later, if development pressure occurs, you remove and replace with underground parking or none. We rarely consider interim solutions in Hamilton.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 17, 2011 at 23:28:15 in reply to Comment 66321

We used to play Bike Polo on top of that garage. The panoramic view was really stellar. They kick anybody off if they catch you up there, though (last time I checked).

Another priceless spot downtown - if anybody's paying attention.

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