by Jason Farr

While out for a walk by the Harbour West Marina not long ago I ran into my old friend Gilly.  A good sailor name; especially now that he and his wife Fiametta have recently rented out a slip for their nearly new and comfortably docked 25-foot cruiser.  I asked Captain Gilly if he made the recreational retirement buy because of the 140-million-dollar investment the City of Hamilton is making in West Harbour.  I was surprised to learn that he only knew of a few of the council approved projects and when I started running down the list, I watched his smile grow as wide as the boat he just bought.

Inspired by my run in with my old friend, I thought no better place and time than the Breezes to remind everyone of much of what this ongoing transformation includes.

Pier 8

A vibrant beautifully designed urban waterfront community. Approximately 1500 residential units and 13,000 square metres of commercial and institutional space  1400 parking spaces.  Who will it suit? We will find out in the coming days if we have not already.

Pier 8 Promenade Park

A 30-metre-wide promenade park along the edge of the pier that features a salute to our industrial and shipping history.  Play areas for kids, passive areas for those just wishing to relax. The Pier 8 Promenade Park vistas and the park itself will be stunning.

Pier 8 Gateway Park

Here’s another Captain Gilly had missed, but was excited to hear of since his boat is as much for he and his fishing buddies as it also for his growing number of grandkids.  Adjacent to the boardwalk and transient docks, the gateway park will offer a large open area for outdoor market booths, seating areas and a potential location for food trucks or concessions.

Pier 5, 6 and 7

A new boardwalk at the water’s edge.  This will be a vibrant commercial village and public piazza at the foot of James Street North; public, commercial and cultural uses.  The latest of many Waterfront Trust managed projects.  We will look for your ideas the public art piece that will welcome all.

Marina Reconstruction and Expansion and Shoreline Rehabilitation

Features the protection of fish habitats and the construction and installation of the new docks and 440 new slips.  All Captain Gilly approved!

Macassa Bay

Includes creating a generously dimensioned trail for recreational uses right at the edge of the shoreline that sees a wetland area or natural aquatic habitats.  Also the relocation site for the Police Marine Unit.

Bayfront Park Beach

We all know about this one. It was one of the first projects in the West Harbour to be completed.  From waste to waterfront haven!  Unfortunately, consistently high levels of E. coli bacteria made the park’s beach to the west unsafe for swimming most of the time.  We have tried everything from scientific experiments to dogs scaring off geese, but the beach was permanently closed for the 2016 swimming season.  Very recently, council asked Health and Public Works to report back on alternative options for the beach.

In mid-2016, the City and Hamilton Waterfront Trust began a study on water quality issues.

Jamesville Redevelopment and the 500 MacNab Tower

Jamesville future: a medium density mixed-income community on 2.3 ha, contributing to the vibrancy of the West Harbour neighbourhood.  On now: the inside and out repurposing of 500 MacNab.  The 17 story seniors building will be of Passive House design.  Very efficient. The first of its kind. Both are brought to you by City Housing Hamilton.

Until next time Breezes Readers (which now includes Captain Gilly), Bon Voyage! Jay