The Harbour West Neighbours group is expressing concern about the path being taken to implement the Setting Sail plan. In a memo sent to senior Hamilton planning staff the West Harbour Neighbours say there are major issues that need to be resolved including:
- The City has become the largest land owner and developer in the neighbourhood and at the same time is the land use regulator. This conflict of interest is severe
and requires careful resolution.
- The stress on the neighbourhood has increased with the early transfer of Piers 7 and 8 from the Port Authority to the City and the construction of the Go Station.
- The issues resolved in the first stage such as controlling the role of the neighbourhood as the place to drive through to get to somewhere are raising their ugly heads once again; the character of the neighbourhood as a child and family friendly neighbourhood is clearly in danger of being lost.
- A GTHA move towards intensification within fixed urban boundaries presents a particular challenge for the North End because it has been the target of so many repeated Visions, starting with urban renewal, that assume the North End and in particular the West Harbour can be the fix for Hamilton’s problems.
- The Philips plan describes the Philips’ proposals as “transformational”. That is clearly accurate. The residential and commercial densities proposed by that plan and now being marketed are more than double what was agreed to by the neighbourhood and the City in Setting Sail.
HWN says all remaining planning issues left unfinished should be resolved through the same level and character of public participation as used in the prior episodes from 2002 and 2012.
The North End neighbourhood was invaded by a plague of planners in 2014.
Not one of their reports critically examines the proposed changes in terms of the eight mandatory criteria in Setting Sail. None start from the core principle adopted by the North End neighbourhood that planning must start with planning for children, a philosophy that is now being extended by the neighbourhood to include planning for seniors.
The Hamilton Waterfront Neigbours have issued a three-point proposal moving forward:
- All seven planning initiatives should be incorporated in one public process;
- Inclusive public participation should be used; involving all the stakeholders who participated in the original Setting Sail study.
- There should be serious and candid disclosure by the City on its ability to listen to any input given by the resident stakeholders given the momentum already in place for these seven initiatives.
These proposals are entirely consistent with Hamilton’s Mission Statement to be the best place in Canada to raise a child and engage citizens.