TPR Newsletter for April 5, 2018: Waterfront Wonder or Worry?

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The storm clouds over the City’s Pier 8 sale are darkening, but you wouldn’t know from the celebratory mood at City Hall Friday as they unveiled visuals of a sunny Pier 8 alongside marketing materials from the four remaining bid teams to purchase the Pier.

The City is not releasing the bid submissions for Pier 8, leaving us to look at the marketing materials for hints at what the bidders are proposing to do. I dive into the bid packages and look at how they fit into the waterfront puzzle.

Three blocks away, over at the courthouse, City lawyers were attempting to defend the Waterfront Trust in a lawsuit brought by Sarcoa. Sarcoa is arguing – with a lot of supporting evidence – that the City stated they were exempt from local bylaws because Pier 8 was federal land at the time they leased, and the Waterfront Trust was a city agency. Sarcoa is seeking a judicial order preventing the sale of the Discovery Centre; a key piece of the Pier 8 plans.

Combined with the ongoing OMB appeal by two industrial users of the Port, the City is going to either have to spend a substantial portion of its Pier 8 sale proceeds on settlements, or be tied up in litigation.

Keep an eye on this file, for the right price, Sarcoa and the industrial users will probably settle with Council, but at the “right price” will taxpayers also be happy?

  • Joey Coleman

TVO’s The Agenda on Hamilton Gentrification and Provincial OMB Reform

Ontario’s public broadcaster devoted Thursday’s discussions on its flagship The Agenda to the topic of gentrification in Hamilton, and published a series of stories from Hamilton, London, and Kingston to supplement the discussion.

Hamilton born host Steve Paikin brought together a good panel of Hamiltons to discuss the issue: McMaster Professor of Geography Dr. Richard Harris, Ward 3 Councillor Matthew Green, Realtor Krysta Boyer, and Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction member Laura Cattari. It’s an insightful discussion well worth watching.

Published Thursday, only a day prior to Hamilton Police arresting and charging The Tower‘s operator with Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence in the Locke Street mischief, TVO explored how various Hamiltonians are viewing gentrification and the impact of Hamilton becoming a suburb to Toronto.

Friday, The Agenda devoted 26 minutes to discussion what has changed, and what is not changing, in the transition of the Ontario Municipal Board into the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

 

A Quick Note on Backpage.com and Municipal Investigations

Last week, the FBI raided and the US Department of Justice shut down well known sex classified ads site Backpage.com; the reactions to this have ranged from positive – due to Backpage being used by child sex traffickers – to negative with those who work with those in the sex trade saying sex workers were able to use the site to vet potential clients.

Hamilton’s Municipal Law Enforcement division used the site to monitor and shut down men’s “spas” which were serving as fronts for prostitution. Nearly all the Licensing Tribunal cases involving violations by spas citing listings on Backpage.com as evidence of prostitution occurring at these “spas”. With prostitution being driven further underground, will Municipal Law Enforcement find it harder to find and prosecute violating spas?

 

Local Briefs:

  • TheSpec’s Andrew Dreschel was in the courtroom Friday as the Sarcoa versus Hamilton Waterfront Trust lawsuit began into front of Justice Parayeski. Unsurprisingly, Sarcoa is seeking a certificate of pending litigation to prevent the City from selling the Discovery Centre while the lawsuit proceeds; one of the possible remedies Sarcoa is seeking from the court is resuming their lease.
    The case will not be heard until fall, the judge’s ruling on the certificate of pending litigation is expected in the coming weeks.
  • The City’s communications division made an interesting wording choice in describing the Ontario Municipal Board decision overturning Council’s attempts to gerrymander ward boundaries to their own personal advantage. City Hall says the OMB “advised” them to change the boundaries to the new ones. (Screencap below)

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Be Engaged

Tonight

  • 6:00 to 8:30pm, 100 Main Street West: City of Hamilton Open House on Downtown Secondary Plan.
  • 7pm, Hamilton City Hall: Ministry of Municipal Affairs information session for potential municipal election candidates.

Tomorrow

  • 7pm, Mills Hardware, 95 King Street East Useful Knowledge Society “Let’s Talk About Hamilton’s Downtown Secondary Plan” with General Manager of Economic Development and Planning Jason Thorne on the proposed Downtown Secondary Plan.
  • 6pm, 294 James Street North: Public Info Session on Central Park Redevelopment details

Wednesday

  • 7pm, Beasley Community Centre, Beasley Neighbourhood Association meeting.

Thursday

  • 7pm, Stanley Avenue Baptist Church, Kirkendall Neighbourhood Association AGM. details
  • *new* 6pm, 769 Barton Street East, Presentation on Barton Street Conservation Management Plan. details

Next Week

  • *new* Thurs Apr 19, 7pm, Nash Jackson House in Battlefield Park, Olde Town Stoney Creek Community Assocation meeting. details

Newsletter top photo: Waterfront Shores proposal for Pier 8.

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