With no fanfare the City of Hamilton has put blocks of prime waterfront land up for sale. Piers 5 through 7 in the West Harbour are up for grabs, four lots, buy one or buy them all.
The notice of sale and development opportunity appears on the city website along with listings for the sale of vacant land and homes for sale due to tax arrears.
Piers 5 through 7 are located at the foot of James Street North and extend approximately to Hughson Street North. Picture Williams Coffee Pub, and you have arrived. They are adjacent to the big residential development at Pier 8, where servicing and roads are under construction now.
It is not a surprise that the land is for sale, that has always been the plan. But the unceremonious notice on the city website is curious, considering the amount of public input, and staff and committee time that has gone into the vision for this property.
The city and the Hamilton Waterfront Trust have a vision for this land, which may include an artisan village, or even a small hotel. Just over a year ago the city held a public meeting called a“visioning” exercise, where ideas for the appropriate use of this land were solicited.
In the brief For Sale document on the website, the land is for sale “as is”. Buyers must adhere to the current planning framework, and adhere to design and construction techniques as describe in the Setting Sail planning manifesto.
As a resident of the North End, I have followed developments on the waterfront for many years.
What happens in the West Harbour filters through the West Harbour Development Sub- Committee. That committee has not met since December 2019. One would think there might be pressing issues arising over one of the most prominent developments in the city. When the committee last met they tackled “budget smoothing” a nice way to describe a budget shortfall of $15-million dollars on shoreline work proposed for Piers 5 through 7.
An architect who alerted me to the For Sale sign on the waterfront land wondered why there was no press release, no national ad. “Is this how you create a world class waterfront?”
And by the way, where is Hammer City Park? The big waterfront park at Pier 8, was the subject of a design competition and was supposed to be completed in 2018.
I have asked, no response yet.