Hamilton's West Harbour is one of the most valuable open spaces in the City. With only ten blocks of public shoreline, the West Harrbour is a unique, precious, wonderful place for walking, picnics, boating, fishing, tossing a frisbee or sitting at the water's edge with your baby in a stroller. If it gets harmed, it cannot be replaced.
The City of Hamilton intends to change that. City plans include eight blocks of stores and offices, 1600 new homes on the Piers, and moving events from the City's events parks to the tiny Pier 4 neighbourhood park.
There are moments when neighbours see signs that the City is also working to move the entertainment district from Hess Village to the West Harbour. One of our parks is planned for a parking garage. The City has said it intends to remove the only private marina on the harbour. New buildings are planned for Bayfront Park. The list goes on.
We hope to be able to slow down these changes, to speak for the value of the West Harbour as a place of rest and relaxation, not shopping and Toronto-waterfront condo living.
The threat is real and we cannot succeed without help from people who understand why this open space is so important. We hope you will join us.
There is a second issue.
The West Harbour is part of the North End neighbourhood. Our neighbourhood has been identified as a child and family friendly friendly neighbourhood with over 1000 children under 15. It is a place where people live in small houses on tiny lots.
Streets are important in the North End. That is the reason the neighbourhood fought for ten years to control the traffic so that people who visit the harbour will drive on James and Burlington streets and people who walk and cycle will be on the residential streets.
The current plans of our City threaten the residential streets with severe increases in traffic. When visitors understand the issue, they cooperate. But visitors need to be guided on the traffic patterns. We are also working on that.
We are Harbour West Neighbours Inc. (HWN), a group of Hamilton citizens, most of whom live in the North End Neighbourhood. We have been active in planning for the neighbourhood for over 10 years. Our work included participating in the development of the approved Secondary Plan for the North End neighbourhood, known as “Setting Sail”, helping in the founding of the recognized elected neighbourhood organization now known as North End Neighbours (NEN) and playing a role in two Ontario Municipal Board appeals on behalf of the neighbourhood. After the conclusion of the Setting Sail process, HWN paused and deferred to NEN which is the official neighbourhood association. In 2014 the City of Hamilton unleashed 6 planning initiatives on the neighbourhood, all of which threaten the neighbourhood character defined and protected by Setting Sail. As veterans of the development of Setting Sail, we have returned to our role as neighbourhood activists. Membership in HWN is by invitation.
The HWN 2015 Planning Action Group
HWN has formed a team of experienced neighbourhood planning activists who experienced the history, development and rationale for Setting Sail by participating in its development. The 2015 Planning Action Group has come back together to implement the HWN 2015 Mission.
The HWN 2015 Mission
HWN will focus on defending the principles of Setting Sail against the City's current planning, servicing and development initiatives all of which threaten the character of the North End neighbourhood as framed and protected by Setting Sail and the West Harbouur shoreline, parks and open space. The issues raised by the City's initiatives are set out on the issues list on the Issues tab.
Relationship with the North End Neighbourhood Association
HWN fully supports the role of North End Neighbours as the officially recognized and duly elected representative of the neighbourhood. Its Board was elected for that purpose. However, NEN has an obligation to represent a broad range of interests and as a democratic organization must take into account divergent views on various aspects of the current situation. HWN has a single mission – to defend Setting Sail against the current City planning initiatives which threaten the approved Secondary Plan and the ability of the neighbourhood to influence the outcome in competition with the current goals of the City administration.