Comment 33411

By Stephen Martin (anonymous) | Posted September 12, 2009 at 21:43:10

Here is the text of a letter which I just emailed to Andrea Horwath on this topic:

Dear Ms Horwath,

I am writing to urge you, My MPP, to oppose the proposed redevelopment of the old Royal Connaught building as a subsidized/partially subsidized housing development. I certainly support affordable housing, but I think it needs to located in the right place. As a teacher in Burlington for many years, I have observed how well children from subsidized housing have integrated with children from homes with considerably more income. The key to success there seems to be a mix of incomes and equal opportunity to access good school and municipal facilities. Downtown Hamilton has few of these things, and it's not hard to predict the social disasters that will result when families are dropped into an area with no parks, no playgrounds, and no rec facilities, but lots of traffic and, let's face it, lots of people experiencing personal challenges of various kinds.

The downtown area, with all its problems, needs to attract investors who will build attractions for tourists, conventions, and the citizens of Hamilton who do not live downtown. Will a large development of the sort proposed do that? Will these new residents have money to spend to support downtown businesses and attractions? Will the development raise the tone of the area, especially around Gore Park? And, more to the point, is this a convenient, safe and rational location for affordable housing for families and seniors?

When I read this story in the Spectator my heart sank. What a symbol for the decline of a city, when its grand hotel is converted to affordable housing....

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