Statement by Nicholas Adams
Hamilton is growing.
It can grow badly, or it can grow nicely. Doing nothing causes any community to grow badly, because the pressure of investment never relents, and concessions eventually have their day (an amenable council, an influential developer, and a crooked approval will eventually have an opening).
Fighting every single change means we can't put in the sensible, community orientated changes that we want while we are still ahead of the powerful players. They are always waiting on the periphery for the public to drop their guard, at which point they shove their projects through at the expense of the common citizen (some cheesy exclusive condo/mall monstrosity).
A light rail system is a quiet, high-density, high capacity, accessible system for the people of Hamilton. It serves those who don't want or can't have cars. It is far more quiet that the bus (for the benefit of the residents near Main). It is more comfortable than the bus. It won't get held up by traffic (it will be bad in ten years). Seeing as Ontario has already made the expensive commitment to nuclear energy, why not transport ourselves with carbon free energy? Goodness knows, we're paying for it!
The downtown houses are all already converted or converting to duplexes and triplexes. Downtown Hamilton is densifying because it is a beautiful place to live, but this means less room for cars, traffic, and more potential for noise. How about making a decision that allows Hamilton to densify with LESS noise and LESS traffic? How about we get ahead and make MORE of Hamilton nice and accessible BEFORE it gets dense, so that it doesn't become an expensive , over-crowded mess like Toronto?
Like any city these days, Hamilton needs good industrial jobs. Heavy manufacturing has been suffering for decades, and interest rates are not budging because there is no broad income growth. Modern, advanced, infrastructure projects are the best way to get everybody back into good employment where they can put their skills and experience to full use.
My grandparents lament the Ontario of the 50s and the 60s, when the public built first and asked questions later. Infrastructure led settlement, it didn't pander to settlement or respond to crises. Infrastructure wasn't held up by fighting and whining. Infrastructure was for the public, not for some corporation. If somebody wanted to get ahead and came from nothing, all they needed to do was show up and be a team player, and they could build a future. There was plenty of work to do. "The Future" was supposed to clean, advanced, safe cities (infrastructure, amenities), not stupid useless apps, riches for real-estate investors/lawyers/lenders/coder-bros and unemployment for everyone else!
There is a need (modern transit), there is a solution (LRT), there is money (federal funding) and there are benefits. Please, let's grab this opportunity!
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