Monday, March 7, 2016

Media Release: Community Group Launches No Ghetto Hamilton Campaign Opposing West Harbour Land Sale Decisions

After attending many public engagement meetings hosted by the City of Hamilton, a group of engaged residents has come together to create No Ghetto Hamilton to formally oppose what appear to be decisions already made by senior staff and certain Councillors about the sale of city-owned lands in the West Harbour. 

“We’re angry about how this whole public engagement process has unfolded. It’s turned into a quick and easy real estate deal that ends up ghettoizing vulnerable people,” said Dan Jelly, one of the group’s founders. “Lots of people who have attended these public meetings keep calling for inclusionary housing. It’s outrageous that our city is still willing to warehouse poor people in isolated buildings. But that’s exactly what they plan to do.”

The City commissioned a report by the consulting firm Deloiitte that reviewed four properties in the West Harbour. They were Pier 8, 500 MacNab, Jamesville Townhouses, and the Barton Tiffany lands assembled by the City for the proposed Pan Am stadium. The report includes a single Implementation and Transition Plan that recommends consolidating all of the affordable housing currently on two of the proposed sites to a new tower at the Barton Tiffany location. Currently, there are 236 units of affordable housing on the MacNab and Jamesville sites. The report suggests building 200-400 new units to replace the old units, selling the land to the highest bidder and permitting developers to build condominiums.

Given the 50-year lifespan of most social housing buildings, based on comments made by Chair of City Housing Hamilton, Chad Collins, this decision would mean another two or three generations of vulnerable people would end up living in isolated buildings that house only other poor people.

The No Ghetto Hamilton group has produced a video primer designed to provide information about the basics of the City’s development plans. The video is posted to the No Ghetto Hamilton Facebook page and to YouTube. The group says there are many proven inclusionary housing models used throughout the world that Hamilton could look at. They claim the city is about to use a discredited and failed model from the 1960’s in 2016.

“This approach is harmful to those in need, right now and 50 years from now. This is a lazy approach to development. It’s not city building. We need some answers from our senior staff and from our Councillors and we need them now, not after the land has been sold to developers,” added Jelly.

The group say inclusionary housing is being done right now across the bay in Burlington in new condo buildings and questions why the City of Hamilton is not doing the same thing on its West Harbour lands.

Facebook Link, click here. 

Please note: This media release was received by The Hamiltonian. The Hamiltonian did not author this release. The entire text above was received as such and has been published as received, verbatim.