Comment 92194

By higgicd (registered) | Posted September 16, 2013 at 10:23:30

The part about the Mosque development is particularly disgusting - especially the last paragraph. I want to repeat it straight from the report here. Good ol Hamilton City Planning - getting Rapid Ready and willing to spend tens of millions to ensure no one has to walk too far to their parking lot.

Unintended Consequence - Downtown Mosque

There is an unintended consequence of the Parking Study which will negatively impact a valued downtown stakeholder. This Study has identified that the area bounded approximately by Rebecca, King, Ferguson and John will reach practical capacity (demand will exceed supply) within ten years, should both the parking lot at 140 King William be redeveloped for another use and Municipal Carpark #1 (John and Rebecca) is redeveloped as a public park. Therefore, from a parking perspective it would be prudent to retain 140 King William for parking purposes to ensure adequate public parking in this area of Downtown.

Discussions have been held over the last several years with the Hamilton Downtown Mosque about their expansion plans. Parties to these discussions have included Councillor Morelli, former Councillor Bratina, Councillor Farr, the City Manager, Economic Development staff, and Hamilton Police Services. The Mosque owns a building and leases parking from the City at the corner of Wilson and Catharine Streets. Their desire was to obtain the Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC) and GO Transit lands adjacent to them, such that they would essentially own the full block bounded by Catharine, Wilson, Mary and Rebecca. Their expansion plans include not only an expanded Mosque and parking area, but a school, retail shops, offices and new immigrant reception centre. These uses are all compatible and, in fact, highly desirable from the neighbourhood and City building perspective. Unfortunately the lands they were interested in acquiring, and were having discussions with some City representatives about, were already being acquired by the City for Hamilton Police Services. These lands were eventually acquired in 2011 for the purpose of constructing a future forensics lab.

In an effort to accommodate the plans of the Mosque, in early 2012 discussions were initiated between the Police Services Board (PSB) and the Mosque, with the City at the table, which would have seen the PSB switch their plans for a future lab to the municipal parking lot at 140 King William Street (directly across the street from Police Headquarters). There was staff support in principle with the Mosque, in terms of structuring a potential deal where the Mosque would acquire the ORC/GO Transit lands from the City, at the same price the City had paid for them, plus an additional amount as may be required if there were any incremental costs to the PSB as a result of moving their project from the ORC/GO lands to the 140 King William parking lot. However, the deal was conditional upon the municipal parking lot being available for redevelopment.

As a result of this Parking Study, it is the opinion of the Hamilton Municipal Parking System that the municipal parking lot is needed for current and future parking needs. It is, therefore, not available for the Police Services’ lab, and the lab reverts to the original intended site, and the Mosque will no longer have a site for their expansion. This is an unfortunate outcome, and Council needs to be aware that this is a group that has been patient for a number of years and is now, understandably, extremely frustrated that they are no further ahead than they were several years ago. City staff will continue to work with them to try and identify a suitable alternate site within close proximity to the existing site. We will also work with them to accommodate additional parking on an interim basis on the Police Services’ land. Staff will also examine the existing on-street parking regulations to see if they still meet operational and neighbourhood needs.

Comment edited by higgicd on 2013-09-16 10:24:26

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