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Hamilton Civic League Speaker Series: Smart Growth or Planning Folly

By Meredith Broughton
Published April 18, 2010

Smart Growth or Planning Folly? Examining the Proposed Airport Employment Growth District or Aerotropolis.

As deliberations over the size of proposed employment growth lands surrounding the Hamilton airport come to a head this spring, the latest installment of the Hamilton Civic League's monthly Speaker Series examines the facts surrounding this possible expansion of Hamilton's urban boundary.

The event takes place Monday, April 26 in the Westdale High School auditorium (700 Main Street West) at 7:00 PM.

Panelists include: Richard Koroscil, President and CEO of Hamilton International Airport and current Chair of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce; representatives from Hamiltonians for Progressive Development; former city councillor Dave Braden; residents of the affected area; and other community stakeholders will present their perspective and share information on what the AEGD/Aerotropolis could mean for Hamilton.

Every Hamiltonian is invited to come to hear an explanation of the proposed development and to get answers to their questions.

This event is part of the Hamilton Civic League's monthly Speaker Series "Hamilton's Halloween Election: Unmasking Candidates and Issues."

Meredith Broughton is a pastor to students and board member of the Hamilton Civic League. She is completing two graduate programs, one in theology at McMaster Divinity, another in echocardiography at Mohawk. Meredith lives downtown with her husband Jarod and loves showing visitors and newcomers all the good things Hamilton has to offer.

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted April 19, 2010 at 10:46:05

Oh dear, looks like the civic league is engineering another pile-on session, this time with Koroscil as the target. I had hoped this civic league would be a little more objective in its approach to exploring civic issues in advance of the election. Unfortunately that does not appear to be the case. While there is just one week before the event, I suppose we can hold out some hope that a more balanced panel will be presented on April 26. Otherwise the course of the discussion has obviously been designed with a specific, pedictable outcome in mind and is therefore not really worth attending.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted April 19, 2010 at 11:29:35

Gotta love this GD city. You put people who support the status quo buildout in the same room as people who oppose the status quo buildout and it's a "pile-on session", I guess we should just stick to the usual way of doing things where the people who support the status quo never actually have to face people who oppose it at all. They just stay in their bubble surrounded by yes men and wonder just what the fuss is all about.

Hey, just a thought, maybe the outcome is "predictable" because everyone knows the airport is a terrible idea that goes against everything we claim we stand for, gosh better protect the plan from any of that. :P

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted April 19, 2010 at 12:00:22

Z Jones: But those who oppose the status quo are growing in numbers and their voices will be heard. Reality Check disses the efforts of the few who volunteer their time to engage the people in this city, yet he or she will not attend because why, because they are afraid to meet the opposition.

Nothing but a coward. Given the recent volcano and the fact that airflights are grounded, who knows, if this could go on for a long time. The systems just in time models would soon come crashing down, as the emphasis is no longer on the local economy.

How many of those supposed jobs up there would be filled by the precarious employment, as companies like fed ex, that tried to prevent the hiring of a certain gourp of people in Toronto when the union won the battle, claiming safety issues, yet those issues were not an issue when they were being paid by the temp company.

Since so many in our community go hungry, should not the land be used to grow food, instead of laying asphalt on it, which further contaminates the environment.

Yes we know, it is all about the big guys making their profits, not what is best for the people as a whole.

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By jonathan dalton (registered) | Posted April 19, 2010 at 14:57:26

Well I suppose if they only sought panelists on one side of the issue, it could be derided as exclusivist. Can't win.

I was involved in the last discussion (on transportation) and appreciated and learned from all of the panelists there, including those with a more status-quo leaning. There was a surprising amount of consensus in the discussion.

An issue like Aerotroprolis needs to be represented from all sides or there would be little point to the discussion.

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted April 19, 2010 at 18:36:12

Jon Dalton, I could not agree with you more. AN issue like AEGD needs to be represented by all sides at a forum like this. My point, lost during my own little pile-on of prompt down-voting, is that there is no possibility for abalnce in a debate where there is one invited speaker who is a proponent facing a panel of five (or more) opposing speakers. A panel with this type of makeup cannot possibly lead to a fair and open exchange of points of view, as was aptly demonstrated here immediately following my initial posting.

note to moderator: It could add value to the voting system here if two adjustments were made: First off, please drop the fading of font based on down-voting as it is too much akin to censorship to be part of a discussion forum. Secondly, it may be constructive to display the member names of voters and how they voted. That would assist in determining (and possibly deterring) people who consistently downvote based on the poster rather than the content of the post.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 19, 2010 at 18:42:38

why don't we worry about showing names of those who voted once everyone signs in under their real name instead of these stupid anonymous screen names.

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By Jarod (registered) | Posted April 19, 2010 at 20:38:45

I can agree with the idea that a panel should be comprised of a wide variety of perspectives.

Although, at the same time, I find myself not terribly concerned with the opposition the panelist will have. Mainly because logic, truth and facts should speak for themselves. The panelist could be a hundred to one in a room full of opposition and still come out on top depending on the facts and his ability to navigate the discussion.

I'm not saying I agree with aerotropolis (mainly because I don't) But what I am saying, is that there are/have been many conversations and debates where activists are routinely outnumbered, and persevere because they use logic, facts and truth and stand by their word. If they can do that on a semi-regular basis, why then, should it be so ridiculous for someone to defend their thought process publicly. If anything, (were I opposition) I would relish the opportunity to have the floor and speak my peace and maybe clear up some things that may be a little ambiguous.

I sat for an entire semester of transportation engineering in a room full of people who don't like buses (I enjoy riding the bus) who actively hate the proposed LRT (I am hopeful to see this come to pass sometime soon). What I found, after all the yelling stopped, is that people will listen to reason...eventually.

If the opposition had such a strong argument, that could stand the test of a single evening in a room filled with people who may disagree, I don't think you'd be so concerned.

Maybe just me

Comment edited by Jarod on 2010-04-19 19:42:19

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted April 19, 2010 at 21:20:32

Realitycheck - I absolutely understand your concern. We have been trying to make a balanced panel from the start. We are also working closely with Westdale on this.

So far over half a dozen people on the pro-AEGD side we've contacted have politely declined to share their opinions or cited prior committments on that evening. The anti-AEGD side, perhaps because they are more vocal, was easy to secure a few committed panelists for.

We keep inviting, and there are one or two more people we are hoping will respond more positively to our invitation to balance out this panel, but we can only work with who wants to show up and share their opinion.

Like any other issue, this one has two sides - each with their strong opinions and legitimate concerns. It is my sincere desire - as well as that of the Hamilton Civic League - that we get equal representation on both sides so that we can flesh out the discussion fully.

We are also planning to have City staff give an outline as to what the AEGD is, in case those who come aren't too familiar with the concept can have a better basis (without pro or anti bias) before the discussion.

I hope that addresses some of your concerns. Absolutely, we want this to be a balanced discussion - but we can't force any panelists to appear on either side.

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By stupid anonymous poster (anonymous) | Posted April 21, 2010 at 20:20:28

Comment voting, while good intentioned, is used solely for censorship. Scrap it. Faded text and negative scores just stand out further as flame bait.

How is the use of a stupid anonymous screen name any different than a stupid registered screen name? About the only value there is in registering is the ability to make your opinion heard by down-voting any other comment that doesn't completely jive with your immaculate world view.

The RTH commenting community has, through this feature alone, ostracized many honest commentators and over time has shaped the discussion to its liking.

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