The North End neighbourhood has suffered through decades of VISIONS for the North End and the West Harbour. It looks like the attraction of the neighbourhood to City visionary planners will never stop. After five decades of plans that went mostly nowhere, in 2014 the city launched six separate planning initiatives in the North End neighbourhood, including the Phillips Plan – a virtual plague of planners.
It started in 1963 with Urban renewal and has continued every decade since. Visions of Crystal Palaces on Bayview Park. Visions of a casino on the Waterfront. Visions of a major amphitheater at the water’s edge. Visions of a chain fence of high rise buildings all along the shoreline. The North End has been visioned to death. The Phillips Plan is one more exercise in VISION planning where the vision is created in City Hall or in the offices of the standard Toronto consulting firm and then sold to Hamilton as a fix for everything that needs fixing in Hamilton.
Here are some of the examples of those historic visions all gone the way of dinosaur while the West Harbour and the North End grew and matured organically, cost-efficiently, and steadily as a people place.
This is a partial list. The North End neighbourhood has become a sandbox in which planners of all kinds love to play. Fortunately for the City, most of what has happened in the North End that works today has been organic, gradual, functional and often the result of volunteer or private sector effort. Most of the North End rehabilitated from urban renewal when the city planners and engineers left the people who live in the neighbourhood alone to rebuild. And they did.