Scott: I think Corporation is hiding something
City of Hamilton Councillor Larry Scott called for more information about the redevelopment of the Hamilton Waterfront, expressing concern that the project is further along than the public has been led to believe.
The Corporation has said that no plans for the final project have been created, but during a public meeting of the Corporation yesterday Mr Scott said he wasn't convinced that was the case.
Mr Scott said he has heard a budget for the project being discussed, which he said would suggest that a plan has been produced.
“Have we not seen a plan like we have not seen a lease, or didn't see the lease until late?” Mr Scott asked. “This tells me that a plan has been created, a Waterfront plan and a West Hamilton plan. I get the impression that all information is not before me.”
He said he wanted to get a bank loan to build a house, the bank would want to look at the site and have all the information before lending money. This case, he said, was the same principle but with a much larger scale.
Mr Scott said. “I know the numbers that have been bandied about are huge, and I would have thought that huge an investment would cover the waterfront, but if that can be fixed than the design must be fixed.
“I want to see design, and I have been told nothing has been put to plan, which means that nothing is fixed here at all. If nothing has been fixed, then a good councillor ought to be asking the same questions that I'm asking.”
If plans have not been fixed, he said developers may be aiming for a “moving target” financially, particularly with the Corporation promising public input.
“If there was challenges getting the original sums, and these sums are now like a moving train, I see difficulty down the road, where [the developer] is going to have to go back at some point in time and get more money,” Mr Scott said.
“Our skin is in the game for 262 years, and nothing seems to be finite.”
Councillor Keith Davis, chairman of the City's Business Advisory Committee, responded that all the Corporation has at this stage are “macro concepts and macro budgets, without detail”.
“If you want to draw and quarter me for more information, that's it,” he said. “The developer submitted a proposal which gave consideration for culture, for entertainment, for all kinds of things.
“From that, you can go and get a generalised budget information and finance. When it comes to the finer details, that's another case.”
In December 2012, the Corporation gave Allied Development Partners Ltd a 262-year lease for the Hamilton Waterfront area between Barr's Bay Park and the Department of Marine and Ports headquarters on Front Street as part of a redevelopment project.
The lease was revealed in mid-March, sparking anger from Government and members of the public due to the lack of consultation regarding the future of the land.
The House of Assembly yesterday debated legislation to allow Government to void the sale of land or leases longer than 21 years — including the Waterfront lease — if they are not submitted to the Minister of Home Affairs within two weeks.
The Christmas season is set to begin in Hamilton on November 29 this year, with the official tree lighting ceremony.
The event will also mark the first of four weeks of late night shopping, and the lighting of Christmas Lights throughout the city.
During late night shopping evenings, Reid Street will be closed to traffic between Queen and Burnaby Streets, while Court Street will be closed to traffic between Victoria and Angle Streets.
And “light vendors” will also take to the streets, selling items like pies and hot chocolate.
On December 1, the Christmas Parade will return to Hamilton, while the Christmas Boat parade will take place on December 7.
The Corporation of Hamilton yesterday approved $5,000 in funding for the boat parade, which takes place in Hamilton harbour every other year, along with $2,500 of funding for CADA’s Let Us Drive programme, aimed at helping holiday revellers get home safely after drinking.