You are recently quoted in The Hamilton Spectator as characterizing Saracoa as a "key anchor” at the waterfront, yet Saracoa is expressing concerns around the future elimination of over 100 parking spaces, fearing that this may be part of an effort to “squeeze them out”. In conjunction with the difficulties they are facing with respect to the noise by-law and issues with respect to the decibel levels of the music that was played on the patio, one may understand why they would be reading it as such, agnostic as to whether that is truly the case.
You had indicated that parking would be provided for as part of a multi phase plan and that it may take the form of being part of another building or a centralized parking complex. Given the potential impacts that such a reconfiguration might have on businesses like Saracoa, and given your consideration of them as a key anchor, did the city reach out to Saracoa and consult with them as part of planning the parking reconfiguration. if so, what form did that take, when did it occur and what were the results? If not, why not?
Sarcoa Restaurant has a lease on the site at the Hamilton Waterfront Trust Centre with the Hamilton Waterfront Trust, on lands that were formerly owned by Parks Canada, and are now owned by the City of Hamilton. The City knows that Sarcoa has rights to parking under its sublease with the HWT.
In practicality, the parking within the city-owned lands in the West Harbour area, primarily operate in a multi-use fashion. Williams Cafe patrons, trail users, cyclists, anglers, boaters, along with Sarcoa patrons, all utilize parking within the area for their various uses. I am sure that on busy evenings within the summer months, the reality may be that Sarcoa patrons actually utilize parking spaces within the West Harbour well beyond the 125 spaces identified in the lease, at no additional cost to either them or their patrons.
There is no expectation that re-development, which will take several years to complete, will remove parking available to Sarcoa under its sub-lease.
This is evidenced by the Pier 8 Urban Design Study which outlines a parking plan that would accommodate 1422 spaces within the development blocks, and another 56 additional spaces of on-street parking. The City is satisfied that these numbers can accommodate the parking demands for the new development as well as the existing uses such as Sarcoa, Williams Coffee Pub, and other uses.
As for the process that determined the future development of Pier 8, that decision was made over a decade prior to Sarcoa even opening their doors and their patio.
Approved by council in 2003, The “Setting Sail” Secondary Plan redefined the future land-use designations for most of the Pier 8 area to “mixed-use residential”, and also changed the future land-use designation of the former Parks Canada owned lands, to a combination of “Open-Space” and “Institutional”. These land-use designations reflected the existing use of the Parks Canada Marine Discovery Centre, which occupied the site at the time.
This Plan was not only well defined and debated publicly, but it was also the subject of an Ontario Municipal Board hearing and eventual approval. These are facts that were publicly available and could have been easily realized by Sarcoa’s operators during their own “Due-Diligence” process prior to entering into their existing lease.
Sarcoa Restaurant is a key-anchor to the West Harbour Waterfront today, and we hope for years to come. In the short-term, the reality is that nothing at all changes for Sarcoa restaurant or their patrons. The area will continue to operate just as it does today, and will only get better over the course of the next few years.
Developers, builders, financiers, and end-users from Hamilton, the broader GTHA, and even internationally, are all looking at this Re-Development as a great opportunity for a true urban waterfront destination. The size and scale of our Plans are truly transformational for the area and for the City. With their existing lease, Sarcoa restaurant is actually poised to not only take advantage of the substantial public investment that is happening on Pier 8 today, but will benefit further as Pier 8 becomes a "year round” destination, for residents and visitors alike.
City of Hamilton
Lead of the West Harbour Waterfront Project