Comment 89637

By Cooler heads (anonymous) | Posted June 20, 2013 at 10:21:39

I’m all for heritage preservation, but let’s not resort to completely demonizing this developer. This article ignores several key facts: first, Blanchard has a proven track record of preserving historical buildings (three out of four properties at the corner of James and Main are his properties, including the Piggott building).

Second, Blanchard has repeatedly said he would be willing to preserve the buildings if he had the money to do so. He has asked council to help him out financially, but so far, that hasn’t happened.

Third, let’s not forget that Blanchard has already shown he’s willing to compromise when it comes to preserving these properties. Original plans called for all four of these buildings to be knocked down, but after he heard the community outcry, he agreed to keep some of the heritage elements intact.

Finally, I actually think this development will be good for downtown. The last time a developer promised to spend this much on a downtown project was in the 60s and 70s. Thriving downtowns need a mix of old and new.

I’m not being an apologist for Blanchard, but the riled-up handwringing demonstrated in this article isn’t productive. I love Hamilton’s built heritage, and yes, preserving it is extremely important. But it’s naive and unhelpful to cast stones instead of working towards meaningful dialogue and compromise. Instead of working ourselves into an angry frenzy, why not get in touch with Brian McHattie, who is working on beefing up the registry of Hamilton’s heritage properties?

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