Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No Hamilton Aerotropolis

You'd think with all the serviced industrial land in Hamilton, ready to go, not to mention all the brownfields, that this city would look to fill those in first for new businesses wanting to locate here.   But guess what?   After years of debate, the city fathers want to develop a "Hamilton Aerotropolis", 1173 hectares (2898 acres) of virgin farmland, around the airport and the Highway 6 bypass.   (Source:   Raise the Hammer) Land that, cleverly enough, is largely not in the "Greenbelt" protected area.

Thirty years ago I lived in a part of town that was quite literally at the edge of the urban boundary.   Matter of fact, you just had to jump a fence to cross into the property where the largest radio station in the city had its transmitter (that tells you how old I am!) -- an area long swallowed up by residential and commercial concerns.   But that was also prime farmland, and it's gone forever.

Do we really want to throw away all that farmland around the airport on the possibility that businesses will want to come here, when we already have shovel ready properties?   And that most points in Hamilton are within a 20 minute drive (and will be a twenty to twenty-five minute ride on light rail from downtown once the A-line is upgraded from the present express bus)?

Especially when just servicing the land won't even be covered by development charges even if they are hiked to more realistic levels?    And not to mention, the airline industry is shaky at the best of times, we just lost more Westjet ™ flights to Toronto, and the cargo business while quite lucrative only generates peanuts of royalties to the city coffers under the long-term lease agreement to an out-of-town developer?

And lest we forget, as we boil in another massive heatwave, greenfields act as a temperature moderator.    Pave that over, and the city core would be even hotter (even with Lake Ontario on the other side).

How moronic can we get when this city is a major regional processor of food and oilseeds, and will soon get the country's biggest bakery ... and at the same time we tell the few wheat and corn farmers we have left in Hamilton to go fuck themselves in the name of "light industry"?   What happens when there is no farmland left to create the food to service the food plants?    And the West really does become a desert?

We have lost too much farmland in Hamilton and too much forests.   Enough is enough.   No Aerotropolis!

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