Spring is in the air Breezes readers and with that more and more people will be making their way to the North End’s immense and increasingly public waterfront. By now you are well aware of all the shoreline development that has been ongoing throughout the pandemic and with particular emphasis on Piers 5 through 8. This latest phase of waterfront development represents an investment of approximately $25.3 million.

As you take that walk along the waters edge there is a relatively new potential development that I would like for you to ponder. A recent LPAT (Local Planning Appeal Tribunal – Provincial body) decision between a North End neighbourhood group and the proponents called for a planning process to be played out respecting the potential for a very tall tower on Block 16 (just east of the Waterfront Trust Centre). In honouring the LPAT resolution, Hamilton City Council has approved an enhanced public engagement process looking for public feedback on whether the long-planned design for mixed use mid-size development on Pier 8 could/should be altered to permit high-rise(s) on this one block. There has already been one community meeting and one design meeting with another design meeting coming up on April 27th.

It is vital that the North End community have a chance to be heard in this debate before a final decision ultimately comes before City Council. Remember, the LPAT decision was to engage on the concept, but the final decision rests with City Council. I would be pleased to hear directly from you by email and you may be certain that your correspondence will be shared with the City Planner and included in the report to council as a matter of public record. So, what have we heard so far? In my own correspondence with residents it appears to be a split decision so far and during the virtual community meeting on March the 10th there were residents who also had differing opinions on a tall tower for the waterfront. One resident said, “it doesn’t make sense to me that a building this tall (45 storey’s) can be considered an enhancement to the esthetic or quality of life of the harbour area.” While others disagreed and see a “landmark” waterfront building as a win for the North End with no significant change in the over-all unit count for the Pier 8 development as a whole. One resident shared this with our office “our waterfront should not simply be a place you drive down to once in awhile, it should be a place with people coming and going, thriving restaurants and businesses, and it should be treated as a destination and an asset, open and welcoming to everyone, but also supported by a permanent mass of people.”

The varying opinions to date are not surprising. When the LPAT put this new and potentially very large wrinkle into the long-planned for Pier 8 mid-rise concept, I expected as much. Given that this is a significant departure for this one block, more than ever, I encourage you to get involved in the debate and share your opinion with me. Beyond the design meeting on April 27th, another full public consultation meeting will be held by the City in September of this year. You love your North End waterfront and most appreciate what has been approximately a 150 million-dollar local investment to date. Tower or no tower, there is so much for future generations to enjoy. Until next time, Breezes Readers!

Councillor Jay
Ward 2 Office: 905-546-2711
Email: Jason.farr@hamilton.ca