Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hamilton Sucks!

So the City of Hamilton has reluctantly decided that it will build and partially own a new stadium. Officially, this is to assist Toronto's bid to host the 2015 Pan Am games, but the fact that our existing stadium is falling to pieces as I speak probably has a lot more to do with it. In any case, there are, as usual a ton of detractors to the very idea of doing anything to invest in this city. I can't help but ask, are these people suicidal, or just plain stupid?

There's a reason why I've previously said, that the City of Hamilton has some kind of allergy to doing anything to really make things better for its people. For years, our local government has insisted on chasing away the handful of businesses that want to build some sort of mini industry here. That is, of course, after they have the patience to wade through an arcane bundle of red tape that no other big city in Ontario has even dreamt of. This is truly insane; our officials sit endlessly on their thumbs when historic downtown buildings collapse in the middle of the street, and crooked house builders violate stop work orders, but as soon as a large company wants to make life better for us, they can't shoot it down fast enough.

Consider if you will, the fact that not too long ago, Maple Leaf wanted to build a processing plant on the outskirts of town. This would have given the community a lot of badly needed jobs. You would think that this would be an easy thing for Hamilton City Hall to approve, but no, they said that we didn't want those sort of jobs here. I'm completely serious. Excuse me, but speaking as someone who HAS been unemployed, in a city with one of the largest unemployment rates in Canada, ANY job is one that's wanted! I don't recall ever giving some faceless bureaucrat the right to decide my destiny for me, so piss off.

Then there's the fact that every time we badly need to build something in this city -- a new city hall, new sewers, a new stadium, whatever -- our local councillors constantly ignore it until the press uncovers some disaster; such as, the outside walls of city hall falling down, or the Lister Block, Tivoli theatre, and several other downtown buildings partially collapsing, or lightstands falling off of Ivor Wynne stadium, or our sewers bursting whenever someone coughs near them. Once again, here's a newsflash: considering that the economy not only in Hamilton, but much of Ontario, is based on manufacturing and construction, doesn't it seem smart to... oh, I don't know... give them something to build???

Hamilton is a very weird town; we're the size of a big city, but we very much have a small town mentality. What I mean by that is that we're very scared of -- even angered by -- changing things, until well after they've walked up and bitten us all on the ass. There are people who say that I should get into local politics, but this is a big reason why I'm not sure if I want to: I believe in doing the smart thing; I believe in standing up for the people who are trying to survive in this town. That's simply not the way we do things, here. That's it for me.

1 comment:

Daryl Kaytor said...

I was under the impression that the Maple Leaf plant was approved and the appropriate zoning permits changed.

The issue, to my mind, is not one of jobs, but environmental standards. In Binbrook the water runs off of wells and there have been many instances of Maple Leaf and other meat processing facilities severely altering the groundwater makeup around them.