By Jason Far

Hello, Breezes readers.  I have been asked by the Breezes to offer a submission that explains what is happening with the Hamilton Waterfront Trust Centre (former Discovery Centre).

Last winter, Council voted overwhelmingly to investigate the feasibility of selling the HWTC to the successful proponent in our Pier 8 project.  The building is now fully owned by the City of Hamilton as the legal lease to the Waterfront Trust (that had some 35 more years remaining) has been dealt with thus unencumbered several parcels of Pier 8 lands.  Yes, those are same lands where we just celebrated the winning bid (Waterfront Shores) from our extensive Request for Proposal process.

In staff’s “investigation” a First Right of Negotiation process was presented.  The winner of the Pier 8 bid to develop the exciting new community would be the only proponent with the right to negotiate a purchase and use.  The use would need to follow the zoning.  The zoning would be Institutional.  Think museum, school, church, library or community centre as just some examples.  With the recent announcement of Waterfront Shores as the winner, the next step would be for staff and themselves to meet to discuss first if there is any interest and then what uses they may see as adding value to residents and visitors.

There have been many ideas come forward from the two community meetings held.  Those ideas will be shared with Council, staff and Waterfront Shores as part of this Right of First Negotiation process.

If Waterfront Shores shows an interest in participating in the Right of First Negotiation they would be increasing overall their commitment to other areas of institutional uses in the Pier 8 development.  There are several commercial spaces as part of this new community that should see approximately 1200 new residential units that will include bringing 65 families out of the cycle of poverty with Habitat for Humanity facilitating affordable home ownership as part of the mix.

I want to thank the Editorial Staff of The Breezes for the opportunity to share this update.  The Hamilton Waterfront Trust Centre is a great facility and one that we should be proudly accessing for years to come.  While  there remains an outstanding decision from the courts (re. Sarcoa) that may affect the timing of such, it is important to keep moving forward with a focus on the HWTC as we begin to build the impressive parks and promenades and now, the Waterfront Shores Village in your beautiful North End.

If you have a great idea for Institutional use(s) for the HWTC, please share them with me soon so that I may pass along to all involved.

Until next time, Breezes readers.