Comment 63156

By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2011 at 11:47:58

The key to cementing this is really to create jobs for the tsunami of Toronto "housing refugees" that have been arriving since the early aughts. EcDev's claim that Hamilton "is one of Ontario's most economically diverse" cities may be semantically sound but in reality we're top-heavy with public sector job growth – Hamilton can boast around 71,000 jobs between educational services, health care and social assistance; there are approximately 448,000 humans in the Hamilton-Burlington CMA between ages 20 and 64.,_Ontario#Biggest_employers

There is additional urgency if you put any stock in the population projections
presented to the City by the Centre for Spatial Economics in 2000:

Not only has Hamilton failed to meet 2000's Slow Growth population projection of 532K (or even the Current Growth trending of 549K), but the CSE estimates show the old city of Hamilton slowly draining of population.

Flawed though the study may be – and failing to foresee the real estate dynamics that lay ahead – the fact remains that Hamilton is not adding jobs as quickly as it is adding residents. The longer that dynamic continues, the longer the commuter culture will compound.

And in the ten years that passed since that CSE projection, the city has not been very good at staunching the flow. An article in January 19, 2011's Spectator admitted that the city had added "about 300 [downtown residents and/or jobs] per year over the last decade."

Even forgetting about CSE/GRIDS, let's look at Places to Grow projections, which call for 80,000 new households to sprout up in the next 20 years. Assume for the purposes of this exercise that there will be an average of two employment-age individuals per household. How many jobs do we need to create/attract for each of the next 20 years to achieve 51% intra-Hamilton employment?

Killing the talk of a "bedroom community" is at least a two-fold challenge. First, you need to promote and realize a mainstream culture of civic engagement. Second, you need to consistently reduce the percentage of your employment-age population that must leave the city for work. To this I might add that the relative affordability of Hamilton real estate only adds to the viability of its identification as a "bedroom community".

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