Hamilton Council, in the closing days of its current term, adopted a bold and comprehensive planning document that over time will inform future development and redevelopment in the lower city neighbourhood of Barton-Tiffany.
The Barton-Tiffany Urban Design Study, developed by City staff in cooperation with GSP Group, establishes the design concepts, streetscapes and guidelines for a large area of the West Harbour nested between Cannon Street West to the south and the CN shunting yards to the north. The area is located west of Bay Street North and extends to Crooks Street.
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This is prime urban real estate ripe for renewal given its proximity to the GO Transit hub on track to open in 2015, an emerging waterfront community at Piers 7 and 8, and an evolving downtown.
Equally important, the area includes two significant city owned assets: Central Park and a swath of land along Barton Street West between Tiffany Street and Hess Street North.
The study, spearheaded by the City’s Urban Designer Julia van der Laan de Vries (pictured), calls for a set of innovations that will create the conditions for positive economic and social transformation, including enhanced mobility options and complete streets, provisions for intensification through targeted density and higher buildings, an improved public realm, and the conservation of key heritage elements (built, natural and cultural).
The study process benefited from extensive community consultation led in part by Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr and involving local neighbourhood associations, residents and businesses. This has helped bring an oftentimes fractured community together around a shared vision and plan.
This vision includes a recommendation to re-imagine the City owned public works building in Central Park as a facility for arts and culture, recreation and other community uses. Examples of the adaptive reuse of industrial buildings are now commonplace worldwide, including at the Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto (see photo below).
Other recommendations for early action include soil testing in and around Central Park, a master plan for Central Park and necessary amendments to the City’s Official Plan and Zoning Bylaws.
Parallel actions include engaging the City’s Real Estate Section to bring the Barton-Tiffany lands to market as early as next year.