by Mac Christie Flamborough Review
An Oct. 10 meeting was the chance for Waterdown residents to give feedback on three projects – the Waterdown Community Node Secondary Plan Study, the Waterdown Community Transportation Management Study and the Waterdown Village Built Heritage Inventory. – City of Hamilton photo
Waterdown residents had the chance to share their vision for the future of the community at an Oct. 10 community workshop at the St. Thomas the Apostle Parish Hall.
Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge said the workshop, which was attended by close to 100 people, was the chance for residents to have a say in the future of Waterdown.
“It’s the first time that the community has had an opportunity to have a say in any development or any part of Waterdown since about 2002 to 2005,” Partridge said. “For that reason, I was particularly excited about the event and the opportunity for so many people to come together.”
She added the turnout to the event was fantastic.
“I think the best part was how engaged everybody was,” she said.
The event, hosted by the City of Hamilton, was a chance for residents to give feedback on three projects — the Waterdown Community Node Secondary Plan Study, the Waterdown Community Transportation Management Study and the Waterdown Village Built Heritage Inventory.
The City of Hamilton’s official plan identifies the central Waterdown area as a community node, which serves as a focal point for the surrounding community. According to the city, the purpose of the study is to create a plan to help manage change and redevelopment in the area.
Christine Newbold, the city’s manager of community planning and geographic information systems, said the idea of the evening was to get residents’ concerns and formulate their vision for the area.
“What they want to see,” she said. “How they envision the future of the Waterdown core.”
She added they heard a lot of concerns in the secondary plan area, including the character of the area and maintaining heritage protections to keep the small town community feel. As well, she said there were concerns about the impact of the bypass road on development north of Waterdown.
“We have heard that people value that small-town feel,” she said. “People are worried for the health of the BIA (business improvement area) and the commercial area in the core.”
Newbold added there are also concerns that the level of traffic on Dundas Street will deter successful businesses.
However, Newbold said she heard a lot of excitement about the city soliciting community feedback.
“I’ve heard (from people) that they have been wanting to talk about these issues for quite a while and didn’t have a venue for them,” she said. “So we’re happy they’re here and that the community in engaged in it.”
Meanwhile, the community transportation management study is being completed following the requirements of Phase 1 and 2 of the municipal class environmental assessment process. The study is meant to review the existing transportation network and identify areas for improvements to address existing and future transportation needs. This work will build on road improvements already planned, or in progress. The meeting outlined proposed transportation solutions and sought input on the solutions developed to-date.
Steve Molloy, the city’s manager of transportation planning, said the workshop was to get feedback from the residents in the community.
“We’ve been hearing for a number of years, a number of their issues — whether it’s cut-through traffic, speeding or congestion,” he said. “We’ve just regurgitated what we’ve heard and part of this is to validate what we’d heard and add on to the comments we’ve received.”
Molloy said staff presented several ideas to solicit feedback, adding the comments will be compiled and presented at a future meeting with some preferred solutions.
He stressed there were no preconceived notions or concrete plan at the meeting.
“We threw up a big net of ideas and options,” he said. “Some options may not be good, some options may not be great — that’s the point of the consultation, to get the feedback from people.”
To that end, Molloy said there is no plan to widen Dundas Street through the core — adding it is simply an option that was presented.
“Is it an idea? Absolutely,” he said. “Is it a good one? We’ve heard loud and clear that some people don’t like that, so we’re not going to ignore these comments.”
Molloy said the main concerns that have come up are the continued volume and truck traffic on Dundas Street, as well as growth and infrastructure.
Overall, he said the purpose of the study is to come up with short- and long-term solutions that are workable for the community.
Meanwhile, the Built Heritage Inventory is meant to identify and recognize heritage buildings in Waterdown and help inform secondary plan policies to enhance Waterdown’s historic character.
The Oct. 10 meeting was a chance to show the preliminary findings and give an overview of the historical evolution of the Waterdown core, said the city’s heritage project specialist Alissa Golden.
“We’re about halfway through the process,” she said. “The outcome will be a set of recommendations to list properties on the register and also flag any significant landmark buildings that might also warrant formal protection or designation.”
Mill Street resident Garth Wetherall said he was happy that the community had a chance to comment on the future of Waterdown.
“I was skeptical coming into this, I’ll admit,” he said. “I’m not as skeptical now.”
Wetherall said his major concern is that the Waterdown downtown and core doesn’t lose its character.
“Let’s keep a little bit of flair to it,” he said. “They’re actually listening, so kudos to them.”
For more information or to make comments on any of the plans, visit www.hamilton.ca/waterdown.