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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2008, 9:05 AM
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Ancaster's 'unique' community under attack

Ancaster's 'unique' community under attack: councillor

High density developments viewed as a threat to community heritage

Kevin Werner Mar 07, 2008 Ancaster News.com

Ancaster's way of life is under attack from Hamilton development, says councillor Lloyd Ferguson.

And if nothing is done to preserve its "unique" community, said the first-term councillor, the third oldest Ontario community will likely disappear.

"Ancaster is special," said Mr. Ferguson. "We need to preserve our heritage. We have a duty to preserve it."

The latest "threat" to Ancaster's lifestyle is a residential development council and staff approved last week to be constructed at 591 Garner Road West. Mr. Ferguson strongly opposed the plan.

The development, proposed by Monterey Heights Development Corp, received a number of planning exemptions that Mr. Ferguson stridently fought against.

For instance, the developers asked for and received an exemption to Hamilton's Official Plan to increase the density from 62 residential dwellings per hectare to 105 dwellings, an agreement that Mr. Ferguson said will "lead residents to revolt again."

The development involves constructing one 3.5-storey apartment building, and two 4.5-storey apartments, for a total of 153 residential units on the property. The buildings will exceed the former town's 3-storey height restrictions.

City planning staff stated the higher buildings were justified so that "residential intensification can be achieved with a smaller footprint."

Mr. Ferguson was also irritated that since the residential development is categorized as "adult-oriented" with one and two-bedroom units, city staff agreed to exempt the developers from constructing a play area for children.

An additional problem is the limited number of parking spaces for residents. So far there are about 293 parking spaces planned, but the development, according to planning staff, needs about 322 parking spots. The developer agreed to provide two parking spaces per unit, while reducing the number of visitor parking spots available. The developer had originally wanted 1.9 spaces from the 2.33 spaces required.

Mr. Ferguson said the limited number of parking areas, plus the fact there is no sidewalks along Garner Road West will mean parking will be at a premium in the surrounding neighbourhood.

"People will be parking in the church (next door to the development)," said Mr. Ferguson.

"We shouldn't be supporting this," he insisted.

The Monterey Heights residential plan is only the latest development that has Ancaster residents afraid their town is slowly being consumed.

Other developments that are expected to further change the surrounding environment and squeeze the community's available services, clog roads, and eat up parking spots are Mount Mary's 127-unit development, Wilson Street's 62-unit condominium project, the recently approved hotel and office complex near the Lincoln Alexander Parkway that also will exceed the town's height restrictions, and the 22-hectare, available land on Garner Road the Ontario Real Estate Corporation owns and is willing to sell to prospective developers.

Only last year members of Mr. Ferguson's advisory council urged Hamilton planning authorities to incorporate Ancaster's Official Plan into Hamilton's Official Plan in an attempt to protect Ancaster's small-town atmosphere. There has already been discussions between Ancaster residents and city planners about the issue.

City planners are slowly and carefully creating a new Hamilton Official Plan that incorporates all of the planning designations from the new suburban areas eight years after amalgamation occurred.

Mr. Ferguson said it is Ancaster's opportunity to integrate the former town's specialized characteristics into the city's official document and preserve the character of the community. If not, he said, Ancaster could become just another appendage to the ever-growing Meadowlands commercial and residential area and the sprawl that dominates the Mountain area.

Mr. Ferguson said it could take about a year for city planners to complete the city's new Official Plan, which gives the local community a deadline to get something into the Official Plan. If not, it will be a missed opportunity that will have reverberations throughout the community for decades to come, said Mr. Ferguson.

"Ancaster has its own Official Plan," he said. "It is the third oldest in Ontario behind Niagara-On-The-Lake and York. We need to preserve it. We are unique. We are special. We have to fight for it."
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Old Posted Mar 8, 2008, 1:16 PM
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^^ I think you may have opened Pandora's box here, LikeHamilton!

Ancaster seems to have had the most rampant development in this area over the last few years. They now have 2 big box centres and numerous large subdivisions. Traffic has been steadily worsening--try driving on Wilson, Rousseaux, Golf Links, McNiven or Old Ancaster Rd around rush hour. I don't know how much of this stuff was planned before and after amalgamation, but I do know I've often wondered to myself about Ancaster's poor planning. They should have been thinking about this stuff years ago. Still, the older neighbourhoods west of Willson are still quiet, sleepy neighbourhoods even if it takes 5 min to turn left onto Wilson.
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  #3  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2008, 1:35 PM
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it doesn't take long for things to get outta control when you're asleep at the switch.

personally, i don't feel that height necessarily affects the architectural heritage of a community. all of that new sprawl sure will and i respect the fact that lloyd seems to dislike it. i just assumed that he loved the meadowlands, etc.
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Old Posted Mar 8, 2008, 6:55 PM
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Wow. Getting butthurt about 3.5 and 4 story apartment buildings?

I guess the preferred layout is house, house, house, house, house, walmart, house house, canadian tire, best buy, house, house, etc.
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  #5  
Old Posted Mar 9, 2008, 2:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flar View Post
I don't know how much of this stuff was planned before and after amalgamation, but I do know I've often wondered to myself about Ancaster's poor planning. They should have been thinking about this stuff years ago. Still, the older neighbourhoods west of Willson are still quiet, sleepy neighbourhoods even if it takes 5 min to turn left onto Wilson.
I believe that almost 100% of Ancaster’s master plan is pre-amalgamation! Especially the "Meadowlands" area.
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  #6  
Old Posted Mar 9, 2008, 12:37 PM
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this is too funny.
can anyone find Flar's phototour of 'Anywhere Ontario'?
I just want to browse through it again and enjoy the photos of their 'unique community'.
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  #7  
Old Posted Mar 9, 2008, 1:56 PM
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I'm pretty sure that the Upper Canadian settlers didn't have power centres, but maybe that's just a failure of imagination on my part.

Ancaster's policymakers are only half-serious about heritage, which is a shame given the history of the place. I remember the stink they put up with Tim Hortons' original Ancaster franchise near Wilson and Halson -- they finessed a stonework build that was architecturally more in line with a century cottage than an offramp drivethru. That franchise is now gone -- it's home to Celli's. There were unique aspects to Ancaster, but the last 20 years of development have erased most of that. A goodly share of the town's significant architectural heritage is showcased in stone buildings along Wilson East from Hendry to Halson.

The "character" issue dates back further than the 1980s. This page from the City of Hamilton's website describes a century of suburban influence, maybe the most enduring aspect of Ancaster's heritage:

"With the construction of the Hamilton and Brantford Electric Railway reached as far as Ancaster in 1907, the character of the village started to change. More and more Hamilton businessmen found it convenient to work in the city’s downtown core, commuting back and forth to their homes in the expanding residential surveys in Ancaster."
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  #8  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2008, 5:19 AM
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The uniqueness of Ancaster was eroded a long time ago. The plazas throughout the town are quite mundane. The library was recently molested. I love the historic stone buildings but it seems most things built within the last twenty years are ad hock at best. There is some interesting building pieces to work with like the old town hall and churches.

If I could have my way with Ancaster I would reconfigure the shopping plazas into parks and create a small town street in a way similar to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Make the town center a real destination with distinct character.

Last edited by HAMRetrofit; Mar 10, 2008 at 6:41 AM.
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Old Posted Mar 12, 2008, 3:21 PM
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Originally Posted by matt602 View Post
Wow. Getting butthurt about 3.5 and 4 story apartment buildings?

I guess the preferred layout is house, house, house, house, house, walmart, house house, canadian tire, best buy, house, house, etc.
^ That's funny.

I can't add anything more here to how Ancaster already destroyed itself with Power Centres. The 'village' area is car dependent, you won't see anyone walking around like real village centres. the hub being a Tim Hortons drive-thru inside a plaza. give me a break Ancaster. Remember these are the same people that think sidewalks ruin the street.

Besides this was a piece from Werner, he's a moron for writing the article in the same vane that most Ancaster residents view themselves and their crummy little no-place suburb. It's a geography of nowhere.
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Old Posted Mar 12, 2008, 3:40 PM
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^ That's funny.

I can't add anything more here to how Ancaster already destroyed itself with Power Centres. The 'village' area is car dependent, you won't see anyone walking around like real village centres. the hub being a Tim Hortons drive-thru inside a plaza. give me a break Ancaster. Remember these are the same people that think sidewalks ruin the street.

Besides this was a piece from Werner, he's a moron for writing the article in the same vane that most Ancaster residents view themselves and their crummy little no-place suburb. It's a geography of nowhere.

it's not just sidewalks that ruin a street, but CLOTHESLINES too!! the horror!!
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Old Posted Mar 12, 2008, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
in the same vane that most Ancaster residents view themselves and their crummy little no-place suburb. It's a geography of nowhere

What a relief, I was really concerned that the "Us V Them" basis for this Forum had faded away.

In addition to being unscientific ("most Ancaster residents") these comments do nothing to advance the debate and are nothing more than self-gratification--a way for you to justify your viewpoints.
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Old Posted Mar 13, 2008, 4:22 PM
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it's as scientific as 'my opinion'.

Note to all Forumers: No opinions are allowed here. only scientific, peer-reviewed research.

I live close to the meadowlands, have several friends, work colleagues and family living there and have attended bbqs and house parties. Trust me, they think they're special because they have a mortgage in the Meadowlands, and they believe the area is 'beautiful'. that's their opinion, that's fine with me. But I don't think many people are shocked to hear me report this. Ancaster residents usually can't wait for a discussion to come up about where people live. Or they'll have to slip it into a conversation where it wasn't necessary to drop where you live. Dundas residents are a close second to this behaviour, but no one is worse then Burlington residents, especially the ones the grew up in Hamilton, which is half of Burlington.

As far as calling it a "Geography of Nowhere" maybe you should read the book. That's not an us vs them comment, it's the truth.
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Old Posted Mar 13, 2008, 4:29 PM
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Spare yourself the trouble of reading that particular author's work. In my opinion, his rambling bias writing does not capture an in depth understanding of suburbs. There are much better works out there on the topic. He flat out hates them, and the bias really supersedes his arguments.
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Old Posted Mar 13, 2008, 5:16 PM
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I wouldn't say ignore the book altogether. It is one of the seminal works of the New Urbanism movement and sheds a great deal of light on the current thinking of urbanists within and without the academic community. Is it biased? Absolutely. Kunstler writes from an advocacy perspective and not that of cold empirical science. That being said, its data analysis has been criticized (quite rightly) as flawed and tendentious, but that doesn't detract from the fact that the principles behind its arguments are extremely compelling.

When an argument is objectively cogent (as I would submit Kunstler's is) bias one way or another is not enough to overwhelm it ...
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Old Posted Mar 13, 2008, 10:08 PM
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this may not be the right place for this, but I just saw on CBC news that Mississuaga has NO snow clearing bylaw. There are entire residential streets that haven't been shoveled once this winter. amazing.
I'm guessing Ancaster doesn't allow this since it's part of Hamilton...but I wonder how many other suburbs don't have snow clearning bylaws?
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Old Posted Mar 13, 2008, 11:48 PM
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this may not be the right place for this, but I just saw on CBC news that Mississuaga has NO snow clearing bylaw. There are entire residential streets that haven't been shoveled once this winter. amazing.
I'm guessing Ancaster doesn't allow this since it's part of Hamilton...but I wonder how many other suburbs don't have snow clearning bylaws?
I wouldn't be surprised. It was prolly an oversight that noone ever thought of. It was small villages till suburbia set in a few decades ago, and all the suburbanites drove so no one probably thought of this.

The point is though that I doubt it's intentionally anti-pedestrian but is just ignorantly so.
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Old Posted Mar 14, 2008, 1:25 AM
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I find this article very unintentionally funny, especially because I keep thinking about flar's "Everywhere, Ontario" thread

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it is a shame we might lose all this to an invasion of 4 storey towers
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Old Posted Mar 14, 2008, 1:32 AM
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WOAH! When did Ancaster get an Indigo and an Ikea?
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Old Posted Mar 14, 2008, 1:40 AM
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dang....that IS some unique community!!
I think some of those warehouses are 4-6 stories high anyhow...maybe the local residents would allow buildings higher than 3 floors if the developers agree to not put any windows in the floors above the 3rd. then it would fit in beautifully with this stunning community as shown above.
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Old Posted Mar 14, 2008, 1:52 AM
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With all due respect to Ancaster, the town center does have some of the oldest heritage buildings in the province. I think every measure should be taken to preserve them. They deserve preservation and appreciation for their role in Ontario's history. The town center needs some guidelines on how to preserve and enhance these features.

I would not be so harsh on the big boxes. All of those stores can be found at Younge and Dundas, yet arguably the corner still maintains 'somewhat' of a unique identity. I really think that it is the format of them that is the problem. Consumers are the main drivers in subsidizing spaces to form like this. If communities are not demanding better formats for these developments the 'everywhere Ontario' is the result.
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