Connaught

City Recommends Connaught for Affordable Housing Program

By Jason Leach
Published September 04, 2009

The City of Hamilton was asked to recommend suitable properties to redevelop under the auspices of the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program Extension, a partnership between the federal and provincial government to create and repair affordable housing units across Ontario.

The number one recommendation from the city? The Royal Connaught Hotel [PDF link].

According to the City:

The construction of these new rental units would result in community-wide housing, economic, and social benefits to the City, including brownfield redevelopment, residential intensification and would be a catalyst for downtown and neighbourhood revitalization.

It's just unbelievable that the city would recommend the Connaught when so many other proposals were presented. The Connaught should be their last option for this sort of use, not one of their first.

The full list of six recommendations is:

  1. Grand Connaught Development Group Inc., In Trust, 112 King Street East, 100 units;
  2. Hellenic Community of Hamilton and District, 37 Strathcona Avenue North, four units;
  3. J. Beume Real Estate Limited, 106 and 127 Burton Street, 27 units;
  4. Polish National Catholic Church of Canada, 2782 Barton Street East, 83 units;
  5. 815488 Ontario Inc., 1489-1495 Upper Gage Avenue, 59 units; and,
  6. Marie Curie Sklodowska Seniors' Lodge, 101 Nash Road North, 40 units.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By Profit! (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2009 at 15:46:06

OK Ryan I got it figured out.

1. Developer sits on neglected property and won't invest it's own money.

2. ???

3. Profit!

See, #2 is getting the government to finance the redevelopment so you don't have to risk your own money, you just get to enjoy the spoils later (think Liuna and Lister).

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By amazed (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2009 at 15:52:05

I am so under-whelmed by the logic of all this. I sincerely hope the Connaught won't be used for low income housing. Such a city landmark warrants higher aspirations.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted September 04, 2009 at 16:33:02

Remember too that the owners took $4 million in city grants. Pumped that money into building 'improvements' (mostly to remove the asbestos) then said "oops we ran out of money" "gosh darn". Then the value of the building was increased by $4 mil. And can be sold on the market as 'asbestos free' thanks to you and I.

Is the city asking for the grant money back? Or are they also going to be the sales agent for this group of crooks.

If this once gorgeous 5-star grand hotel that hosted the rich, famous and royalty is converted to affordable housing.. then I just can't keep hoping Hamilton will one-day 'turn the corner', and I'm going to have to leave Dodge. If I stay, it'll leave me, slowly, through crap like this.

It's a sad metaphor.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted September 04, 2009 at 16:52:36

Ryan, that sounds similar to the story put out by Spallacci before their King East bldg. That ended up being 100% affordable housing and 0% retail.

Everything changes once you get the public's money. Everything except to see how much harder you can wring it.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 04, 2009 at 18:47:48

at least our public sector organizations like Hamilton Health Sciences and St Joes have been building attractive buildings and campuses with public money. Our public (private in name only) development companies in this city continue to take a ton of tax money and the results are less than underwhelming.
I'd rather have Lister and Connaught sit empty and properly boarded up until a purchaser comes along with plans to bring them back to their former vibrancy. Office cubicles in Lister and affordable housing in the Connaught are not the signals we want to be sending to the world about the state of our city. No wonder the NHL is willing to fight tooth and nail to keep a team out of here.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted September 05, 2009 at 08:19:04

Really!? Seriously!? :(

Why not use the Connaught structure itself as condos/lofts, and build a new structure in the south-east part of the lot for affordable housing. Kind of like how Regent Park in Toronto is integrated now.

Smack a grocery store in the podium, everybody wins! Affordable housing in a new building; market-rate condo/lofts in the historic Connaught; Grocery Store for everybody downtown!

I liked Stinson's footprint for the land, and would love to see the north-east corner kept as a parkette with a new restaurant in Fran's with a nice, big patio.

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By Bedlam (anonymous) | Posted September 05, 2009 at 09:47:46

A bad idea. More people downtown who can't afford to sustain the downtown is no way to revitilize it. Give your heads a shake, Council. It should never have been approved.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 05, 2009 at 10:00:23

Affordable bhousing is a very serious issue in ths city. Many cannot afford to pay market rent.

So what if some of the units were geared to income? What because one may earn less money makes them bad neighbours?

A lot snobs in our city!

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By scorby (anonymous) | Posted September 05, 2009 at 10:44:41

Providing for the less fortunate in the form of centrally located housing is a good way to invite participation in a compassionate society. Would it be better to exclude these people because they don't have enough money? No! this would only isolate and further damage the potential of such individuals. Mixed income neighborhoods are they way to go. We must not turn our backs on the poor.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 05, 2009 at 12:27:17

scorby and grassroots I agree with you 100%.
If you don't think Hamilton has enough affordable housing, take a stroll pretty much anywhere from James to Centennial Pkwy. I'm all for affordable housing and welcome the new units proposed for my own street here in Strathcona neighbourhood.

However, at some point we run the risk of turning huge portions of downtown Hamilton into a ghetto. That doesn't benefit anyone, especially those who live there.

Furthermore, this is an iconic building that deserves an 'iconic' use. I realize Stinson's plan was too grand, but the fact is, the Connaught might be the only building in the city where his vision could be realized someday. Buildings like this have the potential to be eye-catching places that begin the change the image of a city.

Anyone I've spoken to agrees that a city is healthy by having a mix of people. If you really think that we are lacking subsidized housing units downtown, I'd be interested in hearing that explained for clarification.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 05, 2009 at 13:40:20

Jason: There is the affordable housing consultation on Sept 10 at the Ukraine Church/Hall at Upper wentworth and mohawk area. Maybe you should attend and hear the voices?

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By hunter (anonymous) | Posted September 05, 2009 at 14:06:30

for crying out loud that's ridiculous. downtown needs more middle-class residents. like the recent article in the globe stated, the concentration of 256 social agencies, including halfway houses and group homes downtown has depressed downtown. the agencies and their services are necessary, but they need to be dispersed around the city and the region.

why is there no giant chapters or movie theatre downtown? hate to echo capitalist but once middle class people with money to spend come downtown then you'll see change.

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By scorby (anonymous) | Posted September 05, 2009 at 14:41:46

I'm not necessarily suggesting adding more low-income units. I'm suggesting that when developing, build mixed neighborhoods instead exclusive enclaves that divide city residents based on income.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted September 05, 2009 at 16:16:24

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted September 05, 2009 at 16:52:07

What's wrong with more affordable housing around OTHER major transportation nodes in this City, not just Downtown!?

*Limeridge *Meadowlands (Maybe b/c 'the poor' like to hang their clothes on clotheslines?) *Mohawk College/Mountain Plaza *McMaster/Westdale ('Student Ghettos' don't count as 'affordable housing') *Valley Park/Upper SC (there are a couple, but not nearly a good enough mix)

I left out Eastgate because it's evident that the area is low-income as it is (especially around the Jerome Cres/Violent Dr area).

It wouldn't make much sense to stick low-income dwellers in areas that are not easily accessibly by Public Transit like, say Binbrook, but it sure makes sense to spread the concentration around Public Transit Nodes so a) Downtown isn't overwhelmed by too many low-income residents; b) They have easy access to Public Transit so they have an easier time getting to/from work without the need of an expensive vehicle; c) Create a wider sense of community/diversity by spreading everybody throughout the City.

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By Bedlam (anonymous) | Posted September 05, 2009 at 22:02:06

Downtown neighbourhoods will always have the highest concentration of poor folks. Neighbourhoods in Corktown, along some of the north end; the cannon st. corridor, barton st. have a housing stock that will attract lower income folks. However, these are good neighbourhoods and one shouldn't confuse lower economic areas with slums. However, to acutally build low income housing in a Connaught building is just bass-ackwards. The city just doesn't have a vision for what a downtown needs as evidenced by the move to designate the Connaught in the first position for Federal/Provincial Stimulus funds. This smacks of a political decision to assuage I'm not sure whose sensibilities. It doesn't portend the right kinds of messages.

As for spreading affordable housing throughout the city, it is already the case in most suburban areas. Certainly Stoney Creek and Glanbrook; Dundas and Ancaster to a lesser extent; and Waterdown has its less affluent areas as well.

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By Rick (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2009 at 07:08:24

No! No! No! All wrong again!

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2009 at 12:28:15

This is completely nuts!!

Hamilton doesn't need any more subsidized housing anywhere in the city.

Hunter you are exactly right.

Too many of these people is the reason for the lack of any decent retail, restaurants or other venues in the core.

Middle class people stay away from downtown because it is full of lowlifes and poor people. GET RID OF THEM!

Start focusing on a downtown for the middle class. Then you will begin to see decent restaurants, retail etc because these people actually have to money to spend in the core. One of the reasons Lock Street is so successful is because it is focused on middle-class.

This is why there are so many pay day loan places or "Cheques Cashed Now" places downtown. Is this a sign of good retail? I just noticed a new "Cheques Cashed Now" place at the corner of James and York. Expect more with this decision.

This is why people laugh at this city.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 08, 2009 at 12:42:41

By Capitalist: Can we get rid of you? People like you are the problem when you spend your time promoting division instead of bringing people together.

Hey middle class, it is not the poor that are your enemy, it is the rich and elite.

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By Bedlam (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2009 at 13:02:39

Grassroots, why are you so afraid of contrary opinions? Capitalist is right on this one. I fear that the city will be irretrievable if we allow ghettos to take over the entire downtown. It well may be too late now. The Connaught is not and should not have anything to do with affordable housing. Period. City Council is mad for even thinking this. Their myopia is formidable.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2009 at 13:03:22

@grassroots are the way forward

I speak the truth. I am not politically correct.

"Hey middle class, it is not the poor that are your enemy, it is the rich and elite."

You seem to have a problem with people who have worked hard and are successful. Many rich people are self-made. Next time you need a job go ask a homeless person and see where that gets you.

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By synxer (registered) | Posted September 08, 2009 at 15:42:44

For once, I can agree with what Capitalist is trying to say -- and to an extent he's right.

Before downvoting:

I've been homeless. I've lived in Martha's House shelter, Inasmuch house, Second Stage Housing and a few others outside of Hamilton. Mind you, I was younger when I dealt with higher poverty -- but I did happen to notice a trend.

There were people who didn't want to be in the shelter. There were people who almost seemingly loved it.

The people who wanted out, made good of their life and used the services provided to orchestrate higher expectations for themselves. Sadly, these people made up the minority of each and every poverty-stricken environment I lived amongst.

I know we all want to view the poor as "poor them", but reality is not so 4-colour brouchure as it appears. It is easier to be poor for some than to be successful.

We should consider that while we calculate to solve the problem, that all factors should be included -- even if it isn't "politically correct".

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By JonC (registered) | Posted September 08, 2009 at 17:17:48

For reference, the cheque cashing place at York and James has been there well over a year. You should come downtown more ofter.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted September 08, 2009 at 18:00:51

JonC, you're right, it's right beside Hairilicious 'Salon' ;)
Better yet, walk three steps down and you'll be at Mex-I-Can Mmmmm

Capitalist, and almost everyone else on this board, are absolutely correct! If this were to go ahead, theoretically, downtown Hamilton will never be able to attract Big Name Reatailers. And if they somehow manage to land one or two in the core, I can guarantee they'll close shop within 3 years if the Connaught is used for affordable housing rather than market-value condos/lofts.

No one is saying the less-wealthy are bad, undesirable low-lifes... we're simply pointing to the obvious fact that they're in affordable housing because they cannot afford market-rate rent, which would suggest that they don't have much disposable income, if any at all.

What benefit would an additional 150 low/no-income residents have on our Downtown Core? More pedestrian traffic/density? Don't need it! Downtown Hamilton is already FAR busier than most US Downtowns I've visited, which coincidently usually have more Big Name Retailers. Why? I can only assume it's b/c those Big Names are catering to the 9-5 Business Crowd (which Downtown Hamilton severely lacks) rather than the 5pm-On 'low-income' residents, which is probably why US Downtowns are Ghost Towns past 5pm, or on weekends.

If we had an additional 150 middle-class --or better -- residents in the Connaught, it may show Big Name Retailers that there are 150 more people willing, and ABLE, to spend money on frivelous items, etc.

Fill the Connaught with the less-wealthy, you turn Gore Park into Regent Park Jr. --An area plagued by desception and ne'er-do-wells. Hmmm, sounds like Gore Park today!

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 08, 2009 at 18:41:19

Bedlam: In the first place the only thing I said about low income housing or affordable housing was that I did not see the big deal if a few spots were deemed as low income.

Synxer brings up valid points as well, that some do not want to be in that situation and others well, sadly they do. The focus should be on the system, lots of bureaucracy but very little trickles down to those who need help. A poverty industry exists.

Does it not make more sense to have all at the table talking, instead of creating more division within our society? Just because someone is poor does not mean that they do not have something of value to add.

All capitalist wants to do is hide the problem, not solve it.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 08, 2009 at 19:51:18

I think it's easy in this case to agree on a few points:

a) poverty is a problem b) ghettoization is not a solution for the individual or the neighbourhood c) downtown Hamilton carries more than it's fair share in affordable housing options for people. Adding more to the mix just exacerbates points a and b.

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By Unbelievable (anonymous) | Posted September 09, 2009 at 01:20:48

I can't believe this...........I'm sick and tired of paying property taxes in this City, this Province and Country. We've already given this Connaught group about a $1 million and this is what they are finally coming back with.............more government handouts. Downtown already has enough with Spallaci, the place beside the strip club, City Views and City Place and who knows what else. Factor in the old age homes and city leased space. What a joke.

We need a real downtown renewal division in this city not what we have. In my opinion this is a sad day for downtown Hamilton, I can't believe this......I am sympathetic to the needs of the less unfortunate but this is such an iconic building. If this happens it will definitely send the wrong message, there has to be something better for such an icon.

I'll admit, I have nowhere near the financial wear with all, but if I won the lottery I'd buy the Connaught and restore it to it's glory. It would be the premier location in the city for everything.

I don't know what else to say, I'm shocked. I probably should have waited a day to send a message. I believe the Connaught is a symbol of the downtown, more so, then anything else including the Lister Block. King Street is our major street in this City.

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By AnnonObserver (anonymous) | Posted September 09, 2009 at 10:58:13

"The question, of course, is whether the Connaught deal does this. History suggests that we should be deeply skeptical. "

It isn't just the fact that the developer may renege on the mixed use plan we need to worry about. We also have to be concerned with middle income earners not wanting to be part of a mixed-income complex, which would lead to the same result.

I used to work for a private company that did home inspections, technical auditing and reserve fund planning for condominiums and government subsidized housing projects. If we ever did work for a mixed income project you would often see one of two patterns.

The first is what I call the Optimistic Case, the lower income families took pride in their new homes, the neighbourhood as a whole functioned well and was kept clean and safe. There would be very few for sale signs and most of the neighbours had been there for years and were friendly with eachother.

The second, Pessimistic case is basically the exact opposite. The lower income families didn't keep their homes in good repair which detracted from the community as a whole. (Usually this neglect was coupled with a general attitude of not caring about anything.) This led to arguments between the neighbours who did keep their homes in good shape and who's property values were now declining. They would then try their best to move away, usually selling to new people who just didn't care (since they were the only ones who'd want to move in), which just perpetuated the cycle.

What I'm trying to illustrate with these anecdotes is that its not enough for a government or builder to create a mixed income building or neighbourhood and then walk away. They need to create a rule structure and enforce it to the letter to make sure anyone who turns out to be dealing drugs or allowing their home to bring down the rest of the community can be removed, to allow those who want to rise up out of their situation to live in a safe place that won't enter the vicious cycle into a ghetto.

One solution would be to set up the mixed income building like a condominium, with an elected board of owners (and in the case of subsidized housing perhaps someone from the city) which can pass bylaws, put liens on noncompliant owners, and deal with the small issues before they escalate. It would also give the owners a united voice in case of problems with the city or the building owner.

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By synxer (registered) | Posted September 09, 2009 at 11:50:08

Middle class people stay away from downtown because it is full of lowlifes and poor people. GET RID OF THEM!

Lowlifes are a subset of society, not necessarily poor people. Although, like other levels of prosperity, lowlifes tend to abuse the poor often. If gives the impression that poor and lowlifes are among the same.

Lowlife: dude who steals purse in downtown Hamilton Lowlife: dude who steals your investments in downtown Hamilton

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted September 09, 2009 at 12:23:14

I use strong language because I an sick and tired of seeing a once prosperous downtown become a slum and a ghetto.

Do you want to buy a condo downtown next to subsidized housing, homeless shelter or methodone clininc?

Imagine you did buy a condo downtown and the city built subsidized housing etc right next door, how much would your property be worth?

This scares away investors. Investors cannot get financing to do projects downtown because these factors increase risk. (banks demand higher interest rates which make downtown projects unfeasible).

These policies drive the middle class away from our city and to the suburbs.

I live on Hamilton mountain. I would consider moving to Westdale, Lock Street, Ottawa Street, or any of the other older hoods ( i love victorian homes) but I would never move to downtown Hamilton because it is a ghetto of poor people. The result is that my middle class dollars get spen elsewhere. Thus you have downtown Hamilton in the state it is in.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted September 09, 2009 at 13:19:13

AnnonObserver wrote: "One solution would be to set up the mixed income building like a condominium, with an elected board of owners (and in the case of subsidized housing perhaps someone from the city) which can pass bylaws, put liens on noncompliant owners, and deal with the small issues before they escalate. It would also give the owners a united voice in case of problems with the city or the building owner."

This idea is brilliant, allow those who actually live in the building to help govern themselves. Not only does it give them a voice when things go wrong, it also lets the residents know that they are accountable not just to some faceless bureaucracy but to their own neighbours. I can also see it fostering a sense of community sorely lacking in today's neighbourhoods. My only concern would be if one group managed to take over the board and run it like their own little kingdom, this is why I think someone representing the city would need to be on the board to act as a tiebreaker in votes and to keep an eye out for problems with the board.

Unfortunately, that kind of solution is a little too forward thinking and proactive for a city that had to wait for chunks of the Lister Block to collapse before they started enforcing the existing building bylaws. I fear that any new housing projects will wind up, as Ryan put it, "tax gifts to well-connected local investors".

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By Director (anonymous) | Posted September 09, 2009 at 19:07:11

I guess they need somewhere to stick all the scrubs who were kicked out of the Red Lion.

Look on the bright side. They won't need to provide parking spots for cars, just scooters.

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted September 09, 2009 at 19:24:24

An earlier comment questioned why the spaces are not being spread out across the city. In all fairness, the application to COAHP is for 313 units, 100 of which will be in the 200-unit proposal for Connaught. Fully two-thirds are located well outside downtown: 59 on the mountain, 123 in Stoney Creek, 27 in the north end, 4 in Strathcona.

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By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted September 09, 2009 at 22:40:47

The Royal Connaught has a big part to play in the rediscovery of the Gore and the proposed project as it stands right now leaves a lot to be desired.

Also - did anyone read in today's Spec Oscar Kichi asking the city to do more to bring conventions into Hamilton? The owner of the Crowne Plaza and partner in the Connaught JUST built a convention centre next to his hotel. He should get off his high horse and do it himself - the nerve of these guys...

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 09, 2009 at 23:37:37

As someone who did collections, is this hotel, the crowne royal, living up to their expectations? This business struggles to pay others, who service them.

It is up to them, to ensure that they get a steady atream of custmners, to ensure success, but have they done that?

Is it feasible that this owner could be in touch with Mr Waterfall to come up wth a holiday package?

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By frank (registered) | Posted September 10, 2009 at 08:55:48

Ryan said "Any viable solution must provide a path from poverty to economic security - and I still think cultivating mixed-income neighbourhoods is part of that path."

Agreed, but having volunteered at one of the shelters downtown I can corroberate what synxer is saying... Unfortunately, while we'd like to think that the majority of homeless or "down on their luck" people are itching for a chance at a better life, the reality is that they only time they'll take that chance is if it's a handout... The danger in that is exactly what others are saying, because of lack or will or simply lack of skill they don't look after their houses and bring the property values of the places around them down. (btw, Jerome Crescent is NOT affordable housing... I have yet to see one person who doesn't take pride in their property. You need to look a bit more northwest for that)

I understand the desire for mixed neighbourhoods but what amounts to essentially a 50/50 split for units in the Connaught is preposterous. If affordable housing is to be incorporated into it, it should be 25% or less - there's enough affordable housing in the area.

Perhaps another idea, instead of simply building affordable housing all over the place would be to take a look at why there's such a demand for it...?

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted September 10, 2009 at 09:30:10

Hamilton does not need anymore subsidized housing in downtown or anywhere else in the city. PERIOD.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted September 10, 2009 at 09:48:58

Some quotes from today's spec article:

"If selected by the province, the project would receive $12.9 million from the housing program and $5.6 million in tax and fee breaks from the city. The units would be geared toward seniors and the disabled."

"Mayor Fred Eisenberger said the plan achieves the city's goal of bringing more people to the core."

"Battaglia said people's opinions will depend on how they view affordable housing. The units will be targeted toward the working poor."


I am beginning to think that Hamilton is the stupidest city on the face of the earth. The reason why downtown Hamilton looks like a leper colony is because it is populated largely by poor people, poor elderly and disabled people. These people do not have the financial means to shop at good retail outlets or good restaurants or visit other downtown venues such as the theatre or the AGH. Thus the downtown is full of cheap dollar stores and Salvation Army discount stores. Middle class people move to the mountain or suburbs where they can get the services they desire and live in a hood where people take care of their properties with pride of ownership (Jason, why are you not ranting about how this is causing "urban sprawl").

So what is the city's solution? - more subsidized housing!

The city is taking this path because it is much easier to fill the RC with bums than it is to actually work hard to redevelop what was once an upscale location.

This episode displays how this city has declined to a complete and utter joke.

Can you imagine the city council's of Toronto, London (ont), Montreal, or any other city even considering something like this? They would fight tooth and nail to ensure that this property is returned back to its former glory!

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By z jones (registered) | Posted September 10, 2009 at 09:55:50

^ Upmod because I literally laughed out loud reading your comment. :)

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 10, 2009 at 10:02:36

capitalist, you're absolutely right about stuff like this causing more sprawl. I'm trying to find out who owns the place. My guess is that you'll find some suburban homebuilders somewhere in the money chain. It benefits them to keep cramming more poor people downtown because they know it will continue the flight to the burbs in their new projects. Why do you think half of the dumpiest buildings downtown are owned by people with a stake in the suburban home building business??

Reality Check, dig up some stats on the total number of subsidized units and shelter space downtown compared to stoney creek, the mountain etc......

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 10, 2009 at 11:35:19

Frank writes: Perhaps another idea, instead of simply building affordable housing all over the place would be to take a look at why there's such a demand for it...?

Yes why is there a high demand?

Maybe it is the smoke and mirrors, that they are actually helping those less fortunate. With the new Ontario Child Tax Benefit, the increase that just happened in July, is that essentially the government is clawbacking that amount off of the ODSP and Ontario Works cheques.

So they have lost the special diet funding, back to school and winter clothing allowances. The deception is that for many who are the middle class think that those who are struggling are getting more, when in fact they are getting less.

So to give an example, with the increase in the OCTB and the clawing back, that I know someone who is now getting 31.00 per month less. Just actually how is this helping people when they are getting less money but the spin is something else?

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By frank (registered) | Posted September 10, 2009 at 12:27:56

Grassroots, there's high demand because society has created a lot of pansies who would rather DEMAND a handout than go out and work for what they need.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 10, 2009 at 13:28:15

Frank: Well that may be true in some cases but not all.

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By frank (registered) | Posted September 11, 2009 at 10:35:00

Grassroots, in my experience in working with the less fortunate, it happens to be the majority...and for that same reason it's not advisable to take a building with major history and put its success in such a precarious position. It's insane to run the risk of ruining landmarks on the happenchance that those entering will take pride in their homes...

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By Really? (registered) | Posted September 14, 2009 at 17:01:32

Can you imagine the city council's of Toronto, London (ont), Montreal, or any other city even considering something like this? They would fight tooth and nail to ensure that this property is returned back to its former glory!

Actually... London (ON) has plans to introduce high-end rentals in it's East Downtown (I believe along Dundas St East) to try and even out the percentage of low-income residents with these high-income residents.

London (ON) has also built several high-end rentals in their core, a couple around the JLC, and I believe in the north-downtown area as well. They're not spectacular architectural landmarks, but at least they're bringing a more diverse population to London's Downtown.

Hell, Downtown London ON (smaller than ours) has more fast-food chains than ours! How pathetic is it when our Core can't even support what is supposed to be 'affordable meal options'!?

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By Really? (registered) | Posted September 14, 2009 at 17:03:28

"Can you imagine the city council's of Toronto, London (ont), Montreal, or any other city even considering something like this? They would fight tooth and nail to ensure that this property is returned back to its former glory!"

Actually... London (ON) has plans to introduce high-end rentals in it's East Downtown (I believe along Dundas St East) to try and even out the percentage of low-income residents with these high-income residents.

London (ON) has also built several high-end rentals in their core, a couple around the JLC, and I believe in the north-downtown area as well. They're not spectacular architectural landmarks, but at least they're bringing a more diverse population to London's Downtown.

Hell, Downtown London ON (smaller than ours) has more fast-food chains than ours! How pathetic is it when our Core can't even support what is supposed to be 'affordable meal options'!?

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By jim soklar (anonymous) | Posted September 15, 2009 at 15:44:47

there comes a tipping point for low income housing.
Hamilton is way past this point.
How about some social housing in Ancaster?, dundas? stoney creek???????
Sorry i forgot, the people that vote for this social housing live
there , god forbid!!!!

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By undesirable poor person lurking in your (anonymous) | Posted September 18, 2009 at 01:01:12

CHCH news did a story on this tonight. They interviewed a couple of "working poor" people who live in converted low-income downtown buildings who thought the Royal Connaught being converted was a wonderful idea so long as it was only for the WORKING poor (ie. incomes under $43,000 per yr) and kept the welfare UNDESIRABLES out.

I was appalled. Then I come here and what a bunch of haters most of you are! Kick us all out? There's enough low income housing already we don't need more? We just want handouts because we can't be bothered to work?

How about THIS scenario.. grew up middle class in Dundas (ie. WITH MONEY - PERHAPS LIKE YOU)... well educated (ie. WITH A DEGREE - PERHAPS LIKE YOU)... making decent money in the workforce and geesh, even paying taxes (ie. MIDDLE CLASS INCOME - PERHAPS LIKE YOU)

and then, through an "unfortunate circumstance" - and I leave it at that as it's nobody's damned business - I became disabled and was no longer able to hold down my job. After running through my EI/savings and an eventual bankruptcy I ended up on ODSP (that's the welfare version of disability for the uninitiated). For the record, I DO work to the extent that I'm able although most of it is then taken back by ODSP so I'm making no real extra. I like how I am automatically lumped into the "welfare bum looking for a handout" category and therefore hardly a human being anymore.

I live in an upscale area of the city and pay market rent (enough low-income housing my rear end - there's a 10 year waiting list). I wear brand name clothing, shower daily and OMG even have all of my teeth and nary a cavity in sight! Can you believe it? I don't even deal drugs/take drugs/visit methadone clinics let alone allow the front lawn to get too long. I can hear you now - if I can manage all of that, my $1000 a month cheque must be too much - let's cut it back further!!! How I manage is to save for months until I can purchase something. (Next time any of you has to save for 2 - 3 months for a couple of packages of socks - then we'll talk).

You'd better watch out because I might be the person next to you - associating with me might bring your property values down.

I really hope for your sake that none of you elitist snobs ever have anything happen that affects your incomes/jobs/security/health.

Do I think that the downtown should be overloaded with an abundance of low-income housing.. no. I agree it should be spread around. I also feel that it needs to be accessible to ALL - not just the "working poor". I agree that there need to be at least a skeleton framework of regulations in the lease agreements that make it possible for people to live harmoniously. But to hear comments like "Capitalist", et al.. hell, why not just round us all up and shoot us? Problem solved - the nasty poor people eradicated from Hamilton once and for all.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted October 27, 2009 at 15:39:04

Thank you 'undesirable poor person ...'. I would rather live next door to you that many of the people who have posted here. You Nailed It!

It's amazing how when, "The going get's tough, the tough always find somebody else to blame". I guess the poor are the last group that it isn't P.I. to dump on?
It's interesting that some people here seem to really believe that everyone under a set net worth is on drugs, a criminal, or both. Or maybe they don't really believe it. Maybe their spouse chewed them out today? Many their boss read them the riot act? Maybe their hemorrhoids are acting up again? Who can say? Perhaps they are just ignorant bigots?

If I had a large income & could live anywhere in Canada, I would Not chose Hamilton. Hamilton doesn't have what it takes at this time to attract very affluent people. If it did, they would be here. Now!

"If you build it, they will come." ?
Why? So they can drive for an hour (if they are lucky, or take the Go Train, if they are Green) to see a stage production, attend a cultural festival, see a movie that will never be shown in Hamilton, or take their kids to a Museum program or art exhibition that will never make it's way here?

"You have to crawl before you can walk."
You must create a desirable place, with tangible advantages, financial & educational opportunities, attractive environments, diversity & cultural amenities before you can expect people to come here. Your other alternative is wave money at them & hope some of them stay. (Isn't that what we have been doing? Do you think it worked? If it did, why is this up for discussion?)

"We want it all-NOW!" Yes my children of the immediate gratification generation, you may want it all, a.s.a.p. but you have to Work for it. You know, try & achieve something beyond you petty desire to rub shoulders with Donald Trump. You have to make Hamilton into a great place to live, & you start by working from the bottom up, not from the top down. (Mass deportation won't work!)

Rather than trying to Import a new population to Downtown, why in the heck can't we start by making Downtown a better place for the people who live here NOW? Once you've done that, Downtown will start to look & feel like a place that people want to visit, invest in & live in. You know.. a COMMUNITY!

I find it difficult to believe that some of the people who have written such incorrect, hateful & disparaging things about a large sector of their own city's population would expect actual human beings to exit their current location to come & live next door to them. Much of this discussion has put Hamilton back 20 years to anybody who reads it. Congrats for confirming a few negative stereotypes, & probably discouraging many who might consider relocating to Hamilton!

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted October 27, 2009 at 16:37:47

I'm all in favour of saving historical landmarks. Hamilton has not shown much desire to do that, either downtown or in the 'burbs. We lose many historical building & wonderful pieces of architecture every year.
It seems a bit flimsy to say that, "For once we are taking a stand & by golly we Will save This One." I've heard that so many times, & it is frequently followed by a fire or some other almost convenient catastrophy. Sorry, but I don't buy into that line anymore. If you have the means to save a building, then shut up & save it.

Toronto? Only the facade of Maple Leaf Gardens exists now, only new construction has unearthed the former Parliament Buildings, & the old docks & markets near Lake Ontario. Castle Loma was slated to be demolished, until the Kewanis Club saved the castle. It happens to every city, that until they begin to have a sense of history, they see no merit in keeping historic buildings alive & vital.

Perhaps this Connaught Hotel fervor is the beginning of something new in Hamilton, or maybe it's just another aspect of The Blame Game? It's just taken on a life of it's own, & a pretty nasty one.

The same people who claim to want to preserve & revitalize Downtown are the same ones who say that it's so horrible, they won't go there -Until it becomes what They want it to be. There are a lot of 'Theys' out there. Who's individual vision should Hamilton follow? Wasn't The Eaton Centre one of these forward looking 'visions'?

The only streets that seem to have gotten any attention are the side streets. The Ferguson Station area is Very pretty, but alas there are almost no business' on it. King & Main remain dirty, & uncared for. (& still one way speedways.) Why did we pretty up the side streets & leave the main ones to rot? Is that supposed to be a sense of History? Isn't there any history on central King & Main streets?

You can't blame the working poor or any other kind of poor for the fact that Downtown has been allowed to become unsellable & grotty. They don't have steam cleaners to take decades of grunge off the sidewalks & buildings, & they didn't make Main & King one way freeways. Whatever part they have to play in what some see as 'The Downfall' of Hamilton is minimal. Every great city has it homeless, it's addicts & it's criminals. They are a VERY SMALL but very visable part of the many people/families who live at or below the poverty line. You do not recognize most of the working poor, but you do notice a panhandler & you choose to define 'poor' in terms of panhandlers, junkies, etc.. Ie: You are ignorant of what & who surrounds you.

If you want to lay blame, try laying at the feet of those who have made things this way, & those who made a tidy profit while doing just that. (Local governments of the past, & developers)

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