Why is Hamilton...

... so hostile to business and economic development?

We have seen Stelco (I still call it that) and Dofasco (I still call it that) seriously downsize or shut down, Siemans shut down and start a different plant in Halton, the Airport lands constantly underdeveloped (don't give me the "Greenbelt" gruff - if that happens, my relatives won't be able to ever sell their property), the constant closure of businesses downtown and along Barton
St, vacant buildings that generate ABSOLUTELY ZERO tax revenue, a meat-processing plant that would have employed many UNIONIZED (a good thing) people run out of town before the shovel broke dirt, areas in the city left to rot (Rheem) with NO accountability from the landowners, etc ad nauseum.

As I stated in a different thread, residential property taxes in Hamilton are assessed stupidly. I pay less property tax on a 3-bedroom town home in Ottawa (7 years old, 1900+ sq ft) than my Mom does in West Hamilton for a 60-year-old 2 bedroom house (about 1500 sq ft). Is this a way to "top up" tax revenue due to the lack of business taxes being paid?

I once read (can't be bothered to look it up) that the average taxes for a business in downtown Hamilton are higher than in downtown Toronto. Especially in so-called vacant "heritage" buildings that it seems takes a Constitutional Amendment to alter in any way in order to make them economically viable.

Add to this the closure of McMaster University Medical Centre's ER to anybody over the age of 12 (kind of cuts off a first-class ER to anybody living between James St and Cambridge).

There are many more reasons than I can list as to why Hamilton seems to be so hostile to business and economic development. How does this tie-in to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats?

141-year tradition. An owner who wants to at least stop losing money playing in an economically-unfeasible stadium (be it IWS, West Harbour, etc), and employs over 200 people (taxpayers) in a prime office area (Jarvis St) and wants to add so much more to his business (soccer team, actually wanting to help develop WH). An owner that has been hamstrung by Council trying to force him to move his team where THEY want him to move, regardless of the financial loss he would take.

City Council should take a long, hard look at themselves in a mirror and search whatever soul they might still have to see if they can find it inside themselves to lead some "real" change in the region.

Of course, the cynic in me realizes that the Councilors have guaranteed jobs for the next 4 years, being paid about four times the "welfare case" assistance that many of their constituents have to live on, so why should they care?

Many Councilors in particular are anti-business/development.

I know of a restaurant owner who recently went thru hell (aka Brian McHattie) when he wanted to set up a higher-end establishment in McHattie's ward.

It took close to a year to get approval and to finally build and open... no problems from City planners and staff (who should be looking after studying and approving/disapproving such businesses) but thru Councilor McHattie who didn't want another "licensed bar" in his ward.

This restaurant owner says he'll approach Burlington next time he tries to set up a business venture as his friend had little trouble and was welcomed with open arms with his restaurant proposal in that city.

And yet some of these Hamilton clowns wonder why they get such grief and Hamilton has the reputation it has re being anti-business and development :roll:

Sig, great post. I've been watching this whole mess from a distance, not commenting since I don't live in Hamilton, and there have been enough locals doing that job.

But, as you point out, the time has come to evaluate the whole business aspect of the situation.

To any outsider, Hamilton was distinguished by it's industry, a factory town, if you will. That was its identity, and it was a source of pride, and rightly so. Those days are gone. When outsiders think of Hamilton now, looking for high points, there really are only two....McMaster University, (and hospital), and the Tiger-Cats.

Now, if they lose the Cats, what's left? NOT Business! A smart business owner will go to Toronto, Mississauga, Kitchener-Waterloo.

A city must have a soul! And Hamilton seems to have lost its soul and it's whole raison d'etre some time ago.

Hamiltonians have heard their city referred to as 'the armpit of Canada". Get used to it! You'll be hearing it again.

Yes you are correct - cities like Hamilton are hostile towards business. They don’t want to put the burden of taxes on to the resedential property tax bill so they tax businesses at a much higher rate. The downtown business owners pay the brunt, they have to go through so much “red tape” when it come to liquor licenses, zoning etc. And then we wonder why they give up and move out. If the city wanted to encourage business in its core they would look at something like a “tax free” zone. But you can imagine the outrcry from the public to find out that a business would pay less tax than a resedential taxpayer? It’s a vicious circle. It’s a lot cheaper for a business owner to rent and pay taxes in a suburban mall.

I see that the city is going to try to make part of the downtown in front of Gore Park a pedestrian only precinct and a bus mall not too far away with heated glass enclosure… I don’t think this will work. In Ottawa they have the Sparks Street Mall, completely closed to traffic bout 25 years ago. It’s completely empty at night and its only busy during the day with the office building crowd. Restaurants/bars just don’t want to locate on that pedestrian only street.
Yet people flock to nearby Elgin street which is a very busy road with busses and cars, parking metres and parking lots. Same on bank street and the Market area.
They tried the heated bus enclosure on Rideau street too about 20 years ago and had them all ripped out 10 years ago!!
It became a magnet for the bums and the stench under there was terrible and drove people away. Since they started allowing car traffic it has picked up considerably.

This idea of pedestrian only areas is very European and doesn’t work in Canada - it’s not just about our harsh climate but we are a car culture and people want to drive to the downtown and be able to drive by stores or restaurants and then look for a place to park. When you make it tough for drivers the drivers just drive somewhere else. They are not going to leave the car at home and hop on a bus!

You got that right mike. The only people who use the bus regularly here are the people who have little other choice I'm afraid.

My theory is that we have this core of leftists at council that have caused the problem. McHattie, Merulla, Duvall are the main councillors who are adamantly against buiness and free enterprise. They dump on business as being the bad guy and cling to the union mentality as the means to solve the problems. Unions have had a strong and positive role in society but their lack of being able to current with the effects of globalization have rendered them somewhat out of date. The world is different now but those like M, M and D (possibly Collins and Whitehead also) still think it is black and white, good guy versus bad guy.

It may be interesting to watch what develops as the City has to deal with it's union employees as the contract is up. On the one hand, these three amigos wish to prevent any contribution by the city to a stadium that would see a private enterprise do business there (forget about the jobs Young has brought as they have missed that part), so that they appear fiscally responsible.

On the other hand, I bet you they give the union employees all the money and benefits they want, certainly more than raises in the private sector. At the same time, if they had been fiscally responsible, they would have not voted for the massive expenses incurred in making City Hall their new Taj Mahal. Hell, they work for the citizens, why could not city hall have continued to operate out of Jackson Square, and the City Hall property be sold to big bad business for tons of money to erect a massive commecial/residential complex. No chance of that, in that if you are going to be paid $82,000 per year for a glorified part time job, you may as well have all the trappings. By the way, contact your aldermen and see if they bought new furniture when they moved into the new offices.

As a poster in another thread suggested, what these councillors are doing is welfare also, perhaps it can be called "governmnent welfare".

As much as everyone doesn't like to speak openly about this, the councilors who are anti-business in Hamilton have a strong constituency behind them.

Someone should remind the politicians of Hamilton and Aldershot that sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Does no one want to take a chance on a big project that, at the very least, will generate hundreds of immediate construction jobs?

blue, come on, that's a novel and somewhat complicated idea for people like Merulla and McHattie to grasp and digest. Hey, I like to know the names of all the weeds growing by the side of a 4 lane highway as well, or the names of the weeds in the derelict CP campground, correct Mr. Collins? I'm all for environmentalism, "NDP values" etc. these are noble values. I've voted for NDP'ers in the past but now I know otherwise.

As well, I do live in the real world, so someone told me the other day. :wink:

I believe the city of Burlington has already given Angelo Paletta
all the approvals and zoning change for his development there

it's the new stadium idea being thrown into the mix that
has several councillors thinking out loud bout it's impact.

I also believe the some of the councillors who are grumbling
will still vote to have their staff give them more information

then, they'll see the light and vote YES to include a stadium.

[url=http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/306815--burlington-stadium-talks-in-high-gear]http://www.thespec.com/news/local/artic ... -high-gear[/url]
The local developers Angelo Paletta, 48, said the stadium would be just one part of a planned development that

would include a 9,000-seat arena and an
adjacent hotel, retail and office complex.

It has to be an offer the city of Burlington "can't refuse" 8) LOL !

It probably will be if they Ticats and the developer have been workin on it since the summer. If its a last minute half baked project it will likely be rejected.

It's been proven time and time again that socialism doesn't work. Hamilton hasn't figured this out yet.

Note the comments from other city's politicians in contention for the stadium when Hamilton Councilors screw this up.

"It has to make business sense".

They also talk of the jobs, investment and future potential with such a project.

Unlike the local Council mindset of fulfilling personal and political agendas and ignoring the business-side realities.

Any wonder these other communities (Burlington, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, etc) are progressive and thriving while Hamilton stagnates?

The dam NDP socialists in Burlington are blocking the stadium project there as well !@#$%.

Wow... just listened to the new Mayor of Burlington on Bill Kelly's CHML show and he actually made sense.

They (Burlington Council) were going to ask questions and see if relevant info can be gleaned (before the HOSTCO deadline) before making any decision re the Aldershot stadium.

As he said, they need to find out what info they don't have in order to make an intelligent, informed decision. What a concept!

They are at least considering having Burlington City staff investigating and coming back with info vs Hamilton Councilors who summarily dismissed even trying to get any more info, even though it had more time.

Why should info and facts get in the way of making an intelligent, informed decision? :roll:

Interesting longtime. My guess is that Burlington councillors are somewhat more educated than most Hamilton councillors in general and I mean education in the broadest sense, not just the number of university degrees after your name. :wink:

Earl, you're probably aware that knowledge doesn't necessarily produce intelligence; nor does intelligence necessitate wisdom.

And voting in the same city council (except for 2 newbies) and mayor (no-brainer) you can expect the same result. That's why Hamilton is Hamilton.

Methinks the whopping 30% voter turnout might be a reason as well...