Comment 71155

By JBJ (registered) | Posted November 08, 2011 at 16:10:04

I live in the core and have done so by choice rather than by necessity. We consciously decided not to buy a car and I am fortunate that I can rely of public transit to get to work. What downtown needs, I think, is a mix of various retail services and housing. The independent small businesses are awesome; we try to spend as much money at these places as possible. But I hate having to schelp down Barton Street to Food Basics for groceries (at least the stuff I can't get at the Farmers' Market) when it would be much better to have a grocery store nearer to King and James. The key, though, is housing. Mixed housing, meaning bringing together people from the working, middle and upper classes needs to be developed. It is not much good if all of your housing is geared to income. This will perpetuate the stereotypes that most people in greater Hamilton have about downtown: crime ridden, filthy, full of people doing drugs. However, if housing developments could include some geared to income, some units where the working poor could be assisted with financing, some units more posh and expensive, then this mix of people living and interacting in the core would create a definite vibe within the city. But governments at all levels have pretty much abandoned public housing for more than a decade and as many posters have alluded to, fire codes and by-laws can make renovating existing buildings expensive.

James North has thrived because the artists moved in when building prices and rents were cheap. As the street becomes more gentrified, the costs will increase and others hoping to locate there will be forced to look farther afield. There definitely needs to be some kind of long term plan to think about these issues but unfortunately such a vision is sorely lacking in Chairman Bob's Hamilton.

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