City ‘on cusp' of a world-class waterfront development

News Jan 23, 2014 by Matthew Van Dongen The Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton expects to spend $13 million to hurry up a radical Pier 8 redevelopment that promises to transform barren, contaminated industrial land into condos, businesses and public trails.

City councillors endorsed a plan Wednesday to overhaul the failing water and sewage system under Piers 5 through 8 and do proactive environmental soil testing in an accelerated effort to make the area "development ready" within four years.

Overall, the city is looking at spending nearly $40 million on servicing, sidewalks, breakwater and marina improvements as part of a grand rejuvenation plan for the west harbour waterfront.

But the time to push ahead on Pier 8 is now, said city manager Chris Murray.

"We're not talking anymore about development in a decade or two decades," he told councillors at a Wednesday general issues committee meeting. "We're now on the cusp of having a world-class waterfront development … for this community."

The upfront spending is expected to attract nearly $500 million in private investment that could add 1,600 units in condos and townhouses on the pier lands, which already include Sarcoa restaurant, Williams café and a public skating rink.

"It's just such a game-changer," said Councillor Chad Collins, who made the motion in 2012 to fast-track a servicing study for the area.

"We've been seeing incremental changes on the waterfront for a decade — but when we get these services in the ground, the changes you'll see will be dramatic. Really, what we're doing is planning for thousands of new residents, an entirely new neighbourhood."

The city already has about $7.7 million budgeted for west harbour studies and construction in 2014; a failing pumping station on Pier 8 is due for an environmental assessment this year with an eye toward replacement.

The recommendations endorsed by councillors Wednesday include testing for soil contamination and negotiations to reroute oil pipelines that cross the pier. Land leases for those Imperial Oil and Sun-Canadian pipelines, which cross Hamilton Harbour, have either expired or are about to expire.

Mayor Bob Bratina warned Wednesday the city could be in for a "scary" discovery given the area's industrial history. A consultant's report shows most of the land north of Guise Street, which includes Piers 5 through 8, was created by dumping fill, slag and other industrial waste in the first half of the 1900s. "Dig a hole and you might be surprised what we find," he said later, adding the city needs to form a "blue ribbon task force" to study Hamilton's brownfields.

Staff project lead Chris Phillips said testing on Pier 8 has found contamination, but no "deal-breaking" problems.

Phillips conceded the city can't predict the length of time needed for geotechnical work and negotiations over the rerouting of underground pipelines. The city is also working to end a Hamilton Port Authority lease on the pier as soon as possible.

A report on that effort comes to council in February.

mvandongen@thespec.com

905-526-3241 | @Mattatthespec

City ‘on cusp' of a world-class waterfront development

Chris Murray spells out the benefits as councillors push giant overhaul

News Jan 23, 2014 by Matthew Van Dongen The Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton expects to spend $13 million to hurry up a radical Pier 8 redevelopment that promises to transform barren, contaminated industrial land into condos, businesses and public trails.

City councillors endorsed a plan Wednesday to overhaul the failing water and sewage system under Piers 5 through 8 and do proactive environmental soil testing in an accelerated effort to make the area "development ready" within four years.

Overall, the city is looking at spending nearly $40 million on servicing, sidewalks, breakwater and marina improvements as part of a grand rejuvenation plan for the west harbour waterfront.

But the time to push ahead on Pier 8 is now, said city manager Chris Murray.

"We're not talking anymore about development in a decade or two decades," he told councillors at a Wednesday general issues committee meeting. "We're now on the cusp of having a world-class waterfront development … for this community."

The upfront spending is expected to attract nearly $500 million in private investment that could add 1,600 units in condos and townhouses on the pier lands, which already include Sarcoa restaurant, Williams café and a public skating rink.

"It's just such a game-changer," said Councillor Chad Collins, who made the motion in 2012 to fast-track a servicing study for the area.

"We've been seeing incremental changes on the waterfront for a decade — but when we get these services in the ground, the changes you'll see will be dramatic. Really, what we're doing is planning for thousands of new residents, an entirely new neighbourhood."

The city already has about $7.7 million budgeted for west harbour studies and construction in 2014; a failing pumping station on Pier 8 is due for an environmental assessment this year with an eye toward replacement.

The recommendations endorsed by councillors Wednesday include testing for soil contamination and negotiations to reroute oil pipelines that cross the pier. Land leases for those Imperial Oil and Sun-Canadian pipelines, which cross Hamilton Harbour, have either expired or are about to expire.

Mayor Bob Bratina warned Wednesday the city could be in for a "scary" discovery given the area's industrial history. A consultant's report shows most of the land north of Guise Street, which includes Piers 5 through 8, was created by dumping fill, slag and other industrial waste in the first half of the 1900s. "Dig a hole and you might be surprised what we find," he said later, adding the city needs to form a "blue ribbon task force" to study Hamilton's brownfields.

Staff project lead Chris Phillips said testing on Pier 8 has found contamination, but no "deal-breaking" problems.

Phillips conceded the city can't predict the length of time needed for geotechnical work and negotiations over the rerouting of underground pipelines. The city is also working to end a Hamilton Port Authority lease on the pier as soon as possible.

A report on that effort comes to council in February.

mvandongen@thespec.com

905-526-3241 | @Mattatthespec

City ‘on cusp' of a world-class waterfront development

Chris Murray spells out the benefits as councillors push giant overhaul

News Jan 23, 2014 by Matthew Van Dongen The Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton expects to spend $13 million to hurry up a radical Pier 8 redevelopment that promises to transform barren, contaminated industrial land into condos, businesses and public trails.

City councillors endorsed a plan Wednesday to overhaul the failing water and sewage system under Piers 5 through 8 and do proactive environmental soil testing in an accelerated effort to make the area "development ready" within four years.

Overall, the city is looking at spending nearly $40 million on servicing, sidewalks, breakwater and marina improvements as part of a grand rejuvenation plan for the west harbour waterfront.

But the time to push ahead on Pier 8 is now, said city manager Chris Murray.

"We're not talking anymore about development in a decade or two decades," he told councillors at a Wednesday general issues committee meeting. "We're now on the cusp of having a world-class waterfront development … for this community."

The upfront spending is expected to attract nearly $500 million in private investment that could add 1,600 units in condos and townhouses on the pier lands, which already include Sarcoa restaurant, Williams café and a public skating rink.

"It's just such a game-changer," said Councillor Chad Collins, who made the motion in 2012 to fast-track a servicing study for the area.

"We've been seeing incremental changes on the waterfront for a decade — but when we get these services in the ground, the changes you'll see will be dramatic. Really, what we're doing is planning for thousands of new residents, an entirely new neighbourhood."

The city already has about $7.7 million budgeted for west harbour studies and construction in 2014; a failing pumping station on Pier 8 is due for an environmental assessment this year with an eye toward replacement.

The recommendations endorsed by councillors Wednesday include testing for soil contamination and negotiations to reroute oil pipelines that cross the pier. Land leases for those Imperial Oil and Sun-Canadian pipelines, which cross Hamilton Harbour, have either expired or are about to expire.

Mayor Bob Bratina warned Wednesday the city could be in for a "scary" discovery given the area's industrial history. A consultant's report shows most of the land north of Guise Street, which includes Piers 5 through 8, was created by dumping fill, slag and other industrial waste in the first half of the 1900s. "Dig a hole and you might be surprised what we find," he said later, adding the city needs to form a "blue ribbon task force" to study Hamilton's brownfields.

Staff project lead Chris Phillips said testing on Pier 8 has found contamination, but no "deal-breaking" problems.

Phillips conceded the city can't predict the length of time needed for geotechnical work and negotiations over the rerouting of underground pipelines. The city is also working to end a Hamilton Port Authority lease on the pier as soon as possible.

A report on that effort comes to council in February.

mvandongen@thespec.com

905-526-3241 | @Mattatthespec