Is anyone surprised that developer-friendly Hamilton is allowing homebuilders to construct houses without first obtaining a building permit?
According to Steve Buist of the Hamilton Spectator, "A city building department official acknowledges that the practice is contrary to the Ontario Building Code but necessary so that builders can meet deadlines."
Today's Spec editorial firmly states that neighbouring cities Burlington, Guelph and Brantford "emphatically do not allow home construction without a permit. Builders cope with the process and timelines there."
Hamilton turns this on its head, even going so far as to break the law to accommodate our homebuilding industry. In a follow-up article today, Buist quotes Vince Molinaro, president of the Hamilton Halton Home Builders Association, who was eager to distance himself from the practice.
"To be fair, (home builders) put pressure on the city," said Molinaro. "But just because we put pressure on them, it doesn't mean they have to give in to that pressure."
True enough, but it's pretty brassy coming from an organization that has sought and enjoyed tremendous influence and concord with the city.
Hamilton has been run like an old boys' club for too many years. The lawlessness, cronyism, and corruption have strained our credibility, lost us business opportunities and taken a tremendous opportunity cost in healthy, economically sound development.
We've wasted decades on sprawling, business-as-usual growth on easy terms for the homebuilders when we could have been investing in a vibrant, sustainable city that actually pays for itself and serves its citizens well.
Mayor Eisenberger was elected on a wave of disgust with the cronyism that had permeated city business. He needs to move quickly to demonstrate that he is prepared to start airing out the house before we pass out from the fumes.
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