By Kathy Renwald
After months of no news about residential development on Pier 8, this spring there will be several meetings that should deliver new information about the West Harbour housing project. Some North End residents have been getting postcard invitations to an event called Neighbourhood Drop-In: Let’s Talk Pier 8. This event organized by the developers of Pier 8 will be held April 4 at Castelli Cucina restaurant at 337 James Street North. The event is listed on the Eventbrite website at: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/lets-talk-pier-8-neighbourhood-drop-in-tickets-574557325427 The space is small so you are asked to reserve a spot between 2 pm and 6 pm.
We asked Tercot Communities, a partner in the Pier 8 development group called Waterfront Shores Corporation to detail what information would be available at the meeting, but there was no response up to publication deadline.
In addition, the City of Hamilton is planning a city-wide public meeting in the spring to specifically discuss the 45-storey tower proposal. Chris Phillips, manager of the city’s Municipal Land Development Office sent the following details:
- There will be an additional community-wide meeting, specific to the proposed tower for Block-16 on Pier 8. This meeting will provide an update on the process to date, present the revised tower design and outline next steps in the development application process.
- Although details have not been scheduled yet, City staff expect to hold the meeting in the spring. Final arrangements and format will be determined after the Staff report to April 14th West Harbour Development Sub-Committee and the April 19th General Issues Committee.
The April 14th meeting of the West Harbour Development Sub-Committee meeting and the April 19th General Issues Committee will be streamed live and afterwards archived on the city’s YouTube Channel. The agendas with details of Pier 8 developments will be on the city’s website about a week prior to the meetings. It requires some navigating-but this link is a start: https://www.hamilton.ca/city-council/council-committee/council-committee-meetings/meetings-agendas-video#meeting-calendarlisting
The proposal to build a 45-storey residential tower on Pier 8 is a controversial one not just in the North End, but across the city. Many people are averse to high-rise development anywhere, but particularly in park like settings such as Pier 8-where it will be placed at the water’s edge. Other’s may like the idea of a dramatic building on the waterfront and consider it a valid way to add residential density to the city.
The original Pier 8 development approved in 2018 after a design competition, was conceived to house approximately 1500 people in a village like cluster of mid-rise townhomes. The plan was appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) by Harbour West Neighbours and Herman Turkstra, with Parrish & Heimbecker as an industrial appellant. A settlement reached with a mediator resulted in the surprising addition of a potential 45-story tower among other terms. A tower was seen as a way to increase family sized units on Pier 8.
After the proposal to allow a 45-storey tower to be built on Pier 8 was made public the city held virtual community and design review panel meetings via live-streaming. They are archived on the city website and offer city-wide reaction to the tower proposal. This is the link to extensive information about Pier 8:
Before a 45-storey tower can be built, city council has to approve a change in zoning and an official plan amendment (OPA) at the site of the tower known as Block 16. It should be noted that anyone has the right to appeal the zoning change and the OPA to the Ontario Land Tribunal (formerly LPAT).
According to the city it will be the fall before a recommendation for a zoning change and Official Plan Amendment is put before council for a decision. North End Breezes prior to that will inform residents about the where to view details of the recommendation – and for those who oppose the plan to build a 45-storey tower -how to register a comment in order to have the opportunity to appeal the decision.
The system is complicated, if you want to study it-the city’s official notice about this procedure is at this link: