Monday, March 14, 2016

Media Release: Win at OMB


Hamilton Health Sciences appeal to expand parking lot dismissed at Ontario Municipal Board


In a decision that is being celebrated among resident associations in downtown Hamilton, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) dismissed an appeal by Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) that would have resulted in the addition of 158 parking spots to an existing 640-spot parking at Ferguson and Barton streets, near the Hamilton General Hospital.

At a pre-hearing held in Dundas last September, neighbourhood associations in downtown’s Beasley, Central & North End neighbourhoods registered to be participants in the case, plus five private citizens opposed to the lot expansion. Along with the City of Hamilton, these eight participants were brought together by a shared view that HHS’s plan violated the vision and principles laid out in the City of Hamilton’s West Harbour “Setting Sail” Secondary plan. The secondary plan calls for additional mixed-use development in the subject corner of Beasley which is currently dominated by institutional buildings and large asphalt parking lots.

Beasley Neighbourhood Association President Allison Chewter thanked the community for their support and was relieved to see the positive vision for Beasley maintained.

“We also credit the City for defending the vision laid out in Setting Sail, especially Councillor Jason Farr who understands Beasley already has more than enough surface parking lots.”

Local musician Edgardo Moreno lives across the street from the proposed parking lot expansion and spoke as a witness at the OMB hearing. Like other residents who took time off work to attend the five-day hearing in February, he told the OMB Chair the kind of day-to-day impact the expansion would have on his quality of life, and that of his neighbours.

“I told the OMB that due to the layout of the site, my neighbours and I would lose any sense of privacy in our homes, we’d have car-lights shining right in our bedrooms, and garbage and pollution running into our backyards.”

The provincially-funded Hamilton Health Sciences hospital network hired premier planning law firm Turkstra Mazza & Associates to represent them at the hearing, where HHS executives spoke about the perceived need for additional parking in the area.

Following the unexpected win against BNA Treasurer Mike Borrelli spoke optimistically of what could be accomplished when residents work together.

“We never thought we had much of a chance against Hamilton Health Sciences with all the resources at their disposal, but thanks to the strength of all our voices, we were able to defend residents’ vision for a renewing downtown.”

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