Comment 33380

By Mahesh P. Butani / http://www.metroHam (anonymous) | Posted September 11, 2009 at 13:46:54

Hello Highwater,

My point was not a thinly-veiled criticism of Harry in particular. If anything it was a frontal assault in broad daylight -- on the approach to re-development that he has come to represent.

Hamilton has used Harry, as much as Harry has used Hamilton to push growth by any means necessary. That is not to say he is a bad individual or Hamilton is bad city.

Rhetoric and grand-standing is the only legacy of this approach. The result is either million dollar condos -or- its polar opposite the ill-defined affordable housing.

The victim is downtown once again, and the hundreds of individual property developers and entrepreneurs and owners - the real heroes of the core, who built the foundation incrementally over the last ten years - to enable Harry to undertake the much celebrated grand walks around downtown.

Did these walks result in him understanding the development cycle of the core or location specific solutions to jump start our economy? No. They resulted in a photoshoped caricature of a mega-city tower vainly transplanted in defiance of economic realities onto a small block of downtown. We clapped and cheered and popped champagne bottles.

We are doing the same thing once again. We are jeering and jabbing and popping email campaigns. A familiar approach to re-development is being photoshoped on us, just that instead of the unsustainable condos, we are being flashed unsustainable affordable housing. What is the difference here from the earlier version? None.

If John Mokrycke, Architect - had by divine intervention made his fateful call to David Butterfield* in BC, instead of Harry -- what kind of development would we have seen on the Connaught site? What kind of progress would we have made in the last two years in the core on the remaining vacant lots?

This is not a criticism of anyone -but approaches- we take as a community. It is a plea to make the right calls and right connections. As we only have one opportunity to do it right.

Done wrong, the kind of discourse you witness here is the outcome.

* 'The Trust for Sustainable Development' is a not-for-profit corporation that identifies projects with the potential to implement sustainable strategies and then invests in pre-development project preparation (often valued at more than one million dollars USD) for large-scale developments. The Trust researches, identifies and finances exciting, sustainable project ideas to bring them to fruition. As the project nears start-up, the Trust creates a for-profit company to develop the community (or building). The for-profit company acts as Master Developer and oversees permitting, design and sale of building lots. It is this business model that ensures the sustainable strategies planned for will, in fact, be implemented in the physical development.

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