Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Monday June 5, 2017
Hamilton is rebranding — and not as a bedroom community
Hey Toronto: Hamilton wants to be your business partner, not your bedroom community.
The sensitive topic came up repeatedly on the first day of the cheekily named Hamilton Consulate event on Queen Street West, which is using panel discussions, music, fashion showcases and even business-oriented speed dating to “rebrand” the city in the eyes of Toronto investors.
The city’s white-hot real estate market was a popular talking point — particularly a local realtor’s study that suggests priced-out Toronto residents were responsible for a quarter of Hamilton home sales in the first three months of the year.
But well-known GTA developer Brad Lamb, an event panellist who has pitched a 600-unit, two-tower condo project on the former CHCH property, found himself clarifying quotes attributed to him in a Toronto magazine declaring Hamilton is destined to become a “suburb to Toronto.”
The self-proclaimed Toronto condo king told concerned Hamilton boosters he was taken out of context.
“I would never call Hamilton a bedroom community. I don’t develop in bedroom communities … I like Hamilton because it’s a city,” said Lamb, who added he is considering four possible Hamilton condo and rental projects in the downtown worth more than $1 billion, including at least one 300-unit tower on Main Street.
(He said his other contentious quote about a “dying city” was meant to refer to Hamilton as a past industrial powerhouse.)
Lamb, nonetheless, maintains newcomers to Hamilton who continue to work in Toronto will be “part of the recipe of success” for the growing city. That continued population growth — he sees Hamilton topping a million people faster than provincial projections — is also critical for economic development, he argued.
“Intercity migration is going to take place. Some of those people are going to have great jobs in Toronto and they’re going to keep those jobs … I think that is a viable lifestyle, especially with the GO train,” he said.
City planning head Jason Thorne said there’s no doubt there will be “more fluidity between where people live and work in future.”
But he argued Hamilton is “in no danger” of becoming a suburb of Toronto. He said past studies show only a “pretty small fraction” of local commuters actually travel outside the Hamilton-Burlington area. (Continued: Hamilton Spectator)