There was some excitement around the council table today when Peter McCallister, Chief Development and Operations Manager at Stelco appeared before the Public works committee to discuss the development of surplus industrial land on the Stelco site. Stelco sits on an 800-acre site and as a result of the shutdown of primary steelmaking there is about 550 acres surplus to Stelco’s needs. Stelco wants to develop the property as an industrial park but needs to get an amendment to a Sewer Bylaw allow for the servicing of the lands. Several councillors wanted to know the nature of the kinds of industry that would be attracted to the site. Councillor Merulla said he would “sign on the dotted line,” if he could be assured the industries will be non-polluting. Mr., McCallister replied that Stelco have already turned away potential tenants whose operations would not conform to the master plan that Stelco has envisioned. Mr. McCallister said there are some industrial artifacts on the property that might be worthy of preservation for historical purposes, but he said most of the old buildings will have to be demolished.
Last week the Bay Observer interview retiring Director of Growth Planning Guy Paparella talked about the potential for the development of surplus lands in the area. Guy said he believes there is a leadership role for the City to bring all the Bayfront parties together. “Bring them all in—Dofasco, Stelco, the Port Authority” says Guy. “We need a real community drive to make that happen. We have in Hamilton the greatest opportunity to re-invent ourselves. Just because the Bayfront was part of an industrial vision of 150 years ago doesn’t mean it’s a bad vision.” He hopes the major players in the industrial area will come together to develop a vision and then make a plan towards an achievable goal of maximizing the potential of the area.
Staff outlined some technical issues that needed to be sorted out to make it possible to agree to the Stelco request. But the clear mood around the table was that the development needed to be supported one way or another.
Staff have been instructed to come up with a report setting out options to make the vision reality.