Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hamilton's boondoggle (?)

So the city fathers and mothers here in Hamilton are finally going to let us residents see what over $70 million in renovations bought for the city hall built just fifty years ago.   And it's worth keeping in mind that after all that money was spent, several city departments will still be scattered around downtown and other parts of this sprawlling megacity.

Obviously, the artwork needed to be saved, but wouldn't it have been less expensive just to have built a whole new civic centre from scratch, one that would have had all the employees in it too?   Sure, the "new" old hall is plugged into the community co-energy project that Sheila Copps made sure the federal building was not connected to (even though the plant was right across the street!) and other things have been done to make the hall as close to net zero-emissions as possible -- but you knew this project was doomed when several "wow" factors had to be cut and the marble cladding (part of the reason city hall originally got a heritage designation) was replaced by cement.

The only thing redeeming about this is that it was "under budget."   I could think of a number of ways $72 million could be better spent, especially in a city with chronic unemployment.

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